19 November 2015

Stardate 2015.885

A little Asphalt... A Little Gravel... A Little Sunshine!

This past Saturday Snowcatcher and I journeyed out to Chatfield Reservoir for a warm autumn road ride. Temps were in the 50s and low 60s. It was a perfect fall day. As I write this blog, however, I'm enjoying a hot beverage after shoveling close to 9.5 inches of snow that fell overnight. It appears cycling season is winding down. Following are some pics.

Chatfield Reservoir

Lonely picnic area

Riparian area heavy in motionless quiet

Occasionally, the ubiquitous bovine happens to be a Texas longhorn.

Wide-open prairie from atop lightly graveled dirt road base

Prairie and pasture

After a final zig and zag, we turned around to head back to town.

A harbinger of things to come is 9.5 inches of fresh snow on November 17th.

Dieter and Wolfgang like to race to the snow stake.

Dieter won the sprint; Wolfgang buys the beer for the weekend.

The final snow tally for the storm was a little over 9 inches.

I think we may be months away from a similar day. Thanks for reading...


17 November 2015

Stardate 2015.879

Winter Is Slowly Arriving

I think winter has finally arrived. We received about 4.5 inches a week ago with more snow on the way. Nonetheless, I've put in some good autumn rides. Better yet, I'm still in shorts, but probably not for long. Following are some pics from an afternoon ride up Waterton Canyon. Enjoy!

The narrows of Waterton Canyon only sees several minutes of sun this time of year.

Waterton Canyon is deep and narrow; even with warmish temps the snow sticks around.

The Colorado Trail is the end of the line for the day.

I wasn't dressed for riding in the snow.

It was time to chase some sun.

The road looks harmless enough. I'm looking down a steep incline just below the Colorado Trail that becomes icier with the season. A number of people have not had good days here. I'm aware of several broken bones, including a broken hip – ouch!

Wolfgang and Dieter showing how to climb in true mountaineering fashion.

This pic puts Dieter and Wolfgang's first ascent into context.

That's it for now. On the docket is a gravely road kind of ride.


12 November 2015

Stardate 2015.866

We're Baaa-aaack!!

A big change in the weather was forecast for the next few days. Forecasters were predicting 2 to 6 inches of snow overnight. This would be our first measurable snow for the season. I had planned on riding before the storm after taking care of some errands. Unexpectedly, my return was rewarded with the following spectacle.

What a mess. 90 Shilling bubbled down Dieter's chin while Wolfgang slurred an old Beach Boys tune – I think. It was something along the lines of...

...Well East Coast girls are hip
I really dig those styles they wear
And the Southern girls with the way they talk
They knock me out when I'm down there

I wish they all could be Dieter and Wolfgang
I wish they all could be Dieter and Wolfgang
I wish they all could be Dieter and Wolfgang girls

"Well, well, look who showed up! You two are no better than an old farm cat who makes an appearance each year at the first sign of winter," I chided. "Where have the two of you been?"

"North Carolina," wheezed Wolfgang.

"We've been doing bicycle-related physiology research at North Carolina State, Duke and the University of North Carolina," explained Dieter.

"All three?" I prodded.

"Those are highly rated research schools. So you've emigrated east to become tar heels?" I asked. "Albeit tar head would be more apropos.

"Well, it's kind of nice to see you two again. I have a ride planned, so let's ride, and you can tell me all about your research. I hope you're not too hung-over to ride, are you? By the way, stay away from any Friday night spinster dances for a while. Your reputations still precede you. Oh, and thanks for polishing off what would have been a delightful after-ride beverage," I mused.

Following are some pics of our ride on the eve of the year's first snow. The mad Bavarians easily kept pace with the Pearl.

The Bavarians easily hop from rock to rock.

Both Bavarians admiring veins of pink feldspar embedded in the rock.

There isn't much these two can't ride, especially for their size.

These guys wrote the book on backcountry oak riding.

In my opinion, they earned the beverages they had already downed. It was nice to ride with them again. Moreover, their research sounded like it may become ground-breaking – time will tell the tale. Overnight, the weather gods deposited 4.5 inches of snow. Wolfgang and Dieter didn't miss a beat and were out in the cold by first light.

And the saga continues. Thanks for reading, and occasionally check back for new adventures.


10 November 2015

Stardate 2015.860

Stunning Autumn Days

Following are some pics from several recent rides up Waterton Canyon. I ride this area a lot. The days have been classic autumn with nippy mornings and warmish afternoons – a true Indian Summer. My ride up the bighorn sheep-infested canyon deposited me at Strontia Springs Reservoir. From here, I rode the Colorado Trail up to its intersection with Trail 800. Another quarter mile deposited me at a fork in the trail, so I took it! Ha ha ha, I've always wanted to say that. Anyway, I did take the left fork. Called the Roxborough loop trail, it arced me back around to Trail 800. A larger loop, Trail 800, would require more time than I had. I used the Roxborough trail to shorten 800's loop.

Let's ride! Last week's yellow leaves are about gone.

Forest trails have a lot of root-bound, keep-you-on-your-toes character.

Stealthy singletrack

"In and out of shadows this ride was," Yoda proclaimed.

More delightful singletrack

The trough is steep, loose and about 100 yards in length. Rarely can I get up it without a stop.

From this point, the trail becomes fast, steep and loose, depositing you at Strontia Springs dam.

I hooked back up with Snowcatcher, and we cruised out of the canyon. That's it for now. Later gator.


04 November 2015

Stardate 2015.844

It's Twoo, It's Twoo...

...Denver Water has reopened its Waterton Canyon to the public. The fish squeezers (wildlife biologists) have deemed the bear count to be back down to a normal tenancy. On the other hand, the resident bighorn sheep are deep into the rut, and a lot of head-banging is taking place. The male rams are very powerful; I'm glad they're usually docile toward humans. After an eight-week closure, it was nice to access the Front Range foothills via the canyon again. Following are some recent picks.

Greetings Waterton Canyon

A new sign

There were several newly uncovered, basketball-sized, paper wasps nests hanging about.

Blood red sumac

I like to ride with skeletons.


Rough and rugged foothills line the South Platte River.

The low sun angle of fall and winter creates nice lighting.

These guys spend the day baaing and grunting at each other. They shove and kick each other around. Then, out of the blue, they'll rear up and head-butt. The sound of the clash echoes throughout the canyon. The ewes seem to be in hiding. Perhaps larger rams are already breeding with the ewes and these guys have been pushed out for the year. When Snowcatcher and I first started visiting Waterton Canyon, there were four massive, dominant rams. These four were almost always together. We named them Gigantor, Broken Horn, Mutt and Jeff. I think they've moved on to sheep heaven. However, we see their traits in many of the smaller rams.

That's it for this round. Thanks for reading...

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