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.