A few weeks have passed since our last post, travels, coaching and work have kept us busy. In mid-August we headed out to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for a week of riding. We have visited Steamboat many, many, times over the years. With abundant snowfall and champagne powder, it is hard not to return again and again, but, it was not until 2014 that we visited in the summer. That summer we were pleasantly surprised by the riding in Steamboat and decided to return again this year.
With four bikes, luggage, and our Oscar “Dude” in the backseat we set out for Colorado after attending a family funeral. We made it to York, Nebraska and stayed overnight before continuing to Steamboat Sunday morning via Cheyenne, Wyoming. After what seemed like days in the car, we stopped atop Rabbit Ears pass for a short walk before heading into town. After unloading and putting the bikes together, we began to settle in for a week of riding.
Emerald Mountain: Many of the trails in Steamboat are very accessible from town, on Monday morning we rode from the house to Emerald Mountain taking the easiest way up we could find on our first day in the Mountains: Bluff’s Loop, Larry’s Run, Prayer Flag Road, No Mo’ Bluez, then up Wild Rose to the top. It was my first ride on my new, fully rigid, Trek Procaliber 9.8, which proved to be an outstanding climber. After a brief refueling on top, we returned via Wild Rose and I continued down on an easier route since I was riding rigid, and Tara hooted and hollered her way down NPR (No Pedal Required), a new flow trail filled with berms and tabletops that winds to the bottom.
Spring Creek and BME Day 1 Enduro Trails: On Tuesday, Tara and Sarah set out to ride the day one stages of the BME enduro, which consisted of Lower Bear, Hot Springs, Mad Creek Spur, and Red Dirt. While I rode over to Spring Creek and then did a brief out and back on the trails up on Buffalo Pass. Spring Creek is good climb to the Dry Creek Campground, where new trail development is currently underway. The trail development on Buffalo Pass will be a great addition to the existing Steamboat trails.
Steamboat Bike Park: Wednesday took us to the bike park, where the gondola provides a welcomed ride up the mountain to the trails. We warmed up on Tenderfoot, which at 4.2 miles in length is super twisty, windy, seemingly to be never ending. On the next ride up the gondola, we hit Rustler’s Ridge, Buckin' Bronco, and EZ Rider. Rustlers is a super fun trail, with great tabletops and berms. After a few more runs, we then took a break, then tried Flying Diamond and I went flying. After a brief recovery and bike adjustment we finished on the lower Raw Hide, before hearing the gondola operator say “last lap” on our way back up.
Divide Trail Epic: In 2014, we were shut out from riding the Divide Trail due to a late snowpack and downed trees. This year our luck was much better. On Thursday, we rode the Divide from Rabbit Ears Pass to Steamboat Resort, via the Continental Divide, and eventually back into town. It was a beautiful day. En route we encountered numerous rock gardens, alpine lakes, rugged trail, and short punchy climbs with rocks, which at elevation made for slow progress. At most trail intersections going left kept us on track, but at one alpine lake we made a wrong turn, back tracked and eventually found our way onto Mountain View which leads to Steamboat resort. Shortly after starting on Mountain View we came upon a sow moose. We made noise with our bells, she didn’t move, instead she looked annoyed at us, after over five minutes of deliberation, we quietly moved past her on the trail, trying not to rile her up. After a fairly long series of climbs we came onto the resort trails and where we encountered several Enduro racers heading to Pete’s Wicked, so we decided to descend on another trail, which we never found, and ended up taking the service road most of the way down. My brakes heated up and squealed loudly, requiring me to stop to let them cool down.
After four solid days of riding, we took a break and went the Strawberry Hot Springs for a little R&R on Friday .
Emerald Mountain, Part II: Saturday morning we rode from the house again to Emerald Mountain, this time taking Lupine up to the Quarry area. It was a fun, challenging blue trail to climb and was good work, once we got warmed up. Then we rode up Blair Witch to Hudson, up Stairway to Heaven, to Lane of Pain and continuing onto the top. We descended Wild Rose, Hudson, Blair Witch, to Blackmere before hitting up NPR all the way to the bottom.
Spring Creek and Buffalo Pass: Sunday morning we drove up Buffalo Pass, and after watching a moose much on his breakfast, we rode past the campground onto the trails. Great views abound up on Buff Pass. After another moose encounter, this time a sow with her calf, I left Tara atop of Spring Creek, which she descended and I met her towards the bottom after driving down to the trail head and riding up a little ways.
Perhaps one of the lesser known Colorado bike destinations, Steamboat Springs is definitely worth a trip. It has something to offer everyone from the cross country rider to the bike park fanatic to everyone in between.