Monday, July 22, 2013

A Ride on the Buffalo Creek Trails

This week we are in Colorado for our annual summer trip out west. Ben and Allison have again welcomed us to their beautiful home in Highlands Ranch, Colorado for us to stay.  With so many trails to ride it is hard to decide where to go.  Originally we picked Three Sisters to visit again.  We went there last year and sometimes it is nice to know where you are going instead of always having to stop and look at a map.  Do to some of the rather technical sections of Three Sisters and the fact that we were all going to try and stay together the choice was made to go to Buffalo Creek Trails in Pine, Colorado.

Carolynn's weak point in riding is climbing, especially in high altitudes.  The trails in Pine, Colorado are between 7,000 to 9,000 feet.  With this being our first day and not used to the altitude we all had trouble breathing, but no one more than Carolynn.  Luckily for us Ben let us use his tow rope and Christopher stepped up and offered to help his mom with the first two miles which were the steepest and would give her the most trouble on the day. 
We came to another steep section of Buck Gulch and I insisted she let me help her to catch her breath, I encountered a little mechanical difficulty. While shifting down to the small ring my chain somehow derailed - most likely due to the extra torque from taking off before she was clipped in and ready to go.  While derailed chains are usually not a big deal, they are when the chain gets wedged between your frame and linkage system.  For the life of me I could not get the chain out - the linkage while compressed allowed the chain to slide between the link/frame and when I got off the bike this unloaded the suspension system and put a death grip on my chain.  I had Carolynn continue up the climb to where Christopher was because he was riding ahead of us.  I had just told him to ride to the top and then come down and enjoy the downhill until he met up with us again.  I always make fun of Christopher because he carries this huge knife with him during rides.  What I would have given for the knife (or a screwdriver) on the mountain side. As crazy as it sounds,  I ended up having to remove the shock and part of the linkage system to remove the stuck chain. 

Yes I love Colorado and the views that you get on top of the mountains.  The Buffalo Creek Trails have some great trails with killer views.  I now see why they are on IMBA's Epic list.
Part of the trail system goes through some areas that were damaged by recent fires. It's a unique feature which offers some great views, but does allow you to get full sun exposure.  It was in the 90's today so while these open areas were nice to ride through I was looking forward to the cooler single track sections. 
Carolynn rolling along on her new 29er.  She really enjoyed the ride of the Women's Anthem 29er and handled the technical sections of the trail with more confidence. I was actually shocked while riding behind here on this descent.  There was this large log with a drop off and she just rode right over it. 
Buffalo Creek has a wide variety of trails including some nice single track.  The majority of it flows really well and is in the shade which is nice on a hot summer day.
Christopher and I  decided to try out Raspberry Ridge.  We would soon find out this was a rather technical section of trail.  Carolynn proceeded down the flowing Homestead trail which leads to Sandy Wash and some epic views and yet more climbing.
If you like technical trails and rock then you will like Raspberry Ridge. I grew up riding on sandy dirt so these types of trails are always a challenge for me. Christopher had little trouble on them and his Kenda tires were hooking up as usual.
Some great views on top. I could spend all day up there just chilling out and dreaming of living in the mountains.
Yes this is part of the trail.  There were rocks placed out on the top that you were supposed to follow.  Some sections were easy, but others were just plain crazy.  I could not imagine someone actually riding these.  I could barely walk up them and my shoes were slipping at times.
At the end of nearly 4 hours of riding I was done.  The altitude and heat had taken its toll.  We descended back down Raspberry Ridge to meet up with Carolynn. 

After nearly and hour of looking for Carolynn we came up on her bike.  Where was she?  Chilling under a tree enjoying the views.  She was also done, but we still had to make it back down the mountain to the trailhead.  A very fun descent down Strawberry Jack ended a great day of riding at Buffalo Creek. We did not get to ride the entire trail system, but the trails we did ride were very fun and well worth the trip to Pine, Colorado. If you are ever there be sure to check out Buffalo Creek Trails which in my eyes earn the Epic standard from IMBA.

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