Saturday, February 9, 2013

Friday White Ranch Ride

After running at White Ranch for years, I finally rode a mountain bike there.

As I cranked up a hill I pulled off to the side for a female runner descending with a smile on her face who exclaimed something like "this park is beautiful" and how she had never run from the lower parking lot. I smiled, talked briefly and agreed, acknowledging the judgement I had already made myself, long ago: this park is probably my favorite in the Jefferson County system. And I guess that's my second cougar sighting while trail running in CO.

I had taken Friday off. I was thinking of weekday skiing at Vail, but the Mountain Games were on, and I didn't feel like dealing with the mob scene, plus... no snow in several days. I may try the ski mountaineering race some year though.

The trails up top were a mix of dirt and snow, occasionally ridable and occasionally requiring dismount (at least for me). Below is a representative segment from Maverick Trail, which I really should run more often:

Coming up on a ridge with a view of the Great Plains, I got a feeling of anticipation:

The front (east/north) side had the most snow. I ended up walking a good bit of this, especially due to many technical/rocky uphill sections where I had absolutely no chance of riding upwards. Shorthorn is really pretty technical in spots.

The downhill after that was great, however, especially on the Belcher Hill trail. It was really interesting riding the same terrain I had run for years, and although I couldn't hack some of it, I think I did pretty well. For example I didn't think I'd be able to ride much of the stretch from Maverick to Shorthorn, but I did.

Distance was 8.22 miles, time 2:36 (moving 1:46), elevation gain/loss 1,588 feet, avg. speed 3.1 mph, and max speed 16.3 mph.


  1. I live up near the edge of Golden Gate Canyon and I've done a bunch of rides from home, through GGC and down to White Ranch. Some sections of White Ranch are pretty awesome and if you do all the loops/ trails is can be a pretty big ride. Hate the erosion/water drop things though.

  2. Lucho - That is definitely a Leadman-rated training ride, depending on which trails you take. And it's uphill on the return. From the map it looks like you probably connected on Drew Hill Rd. Cool.

    My bike skills are intermediate at best, but I got used to popping the front tire up most of the water bars. What I could not seem to negotiate were the eroded cuts through the trail from water, some of which were a foot deep. I suppose that will come with time.

  3. I think it was you who really got me into White Ranch trails. I have been running this park this entire week and LOVE it. My favorites are Shorthorn, Longhorn, and Mustang. Love Mustang's woodsy-ness.

  4. WildChildT - Mustang is great, I like that ravine in the back with the aspens and boulders. On this bike ride I cut across Maverick -- the turn for that trail is maybe 1/4 mile past the Mustang junction -- and decided I needed to run it more too.