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Sunday, November 13, 2011

In search of that new route…

Every weekend I know I’m riding somewhere, I just need to figure out what to do and where to go. I can only ride the same rides, the same roads, for so long. I need to explore like a lone wolf. After I read the Bike Snob by Christopher Koelle, a must read btw, I knew I was and will forever be a Lone Wolf.

From Bike Snob... you will love this small book!

I needed a new ride, my ride of the last 6 weekends, 50 miles on the Platte, Cherry Creek, Highline Canal, Sand Creek, and Clear Creek was getting old. I started with Google maps and narrowed it down to an area I liked- an area with at least some dirt roads. I settled on Pike National Forest.

Click here for my Garmin route.

During the summer you’ll find a constant stream of motorcycles riding from Pine Junction to Woodland Park for this beautiful stretch of road. There were a few riders out yesterday. I put together a loop of 40 miles, 25 miles of pavement and 15 miles of gravel, just over 3,000’ of climbing, and fuel/coffee stop in Deckers. Aside from being the windiest day of the year it turned out to be a fantastic route. Wide shoulder along Deckers Rd, Co Rd 126, an epic 7 miles of  8% climbing, and one of my favorite dirt roads in the state. I’ve ridden motorcycles in the area since 1982 and knew it would be perfect for long adventures on the right bicycle.


Deckers Rd looking back as you climb, the burn area from the Hayman Fire is on my left to the West.
 
That’s a welcoming sign, 8% grade for 4 miles! It would have been a blast had it not been for the winds yesterday. At one point, I was doing just over 40 mph and a gust of wind instantly slowed me down to just over 20 mph and about threw me off the road. Any other time I’m sure you could set a top speed record on this decent.


My buddy Brian Smith, a relatively new rider that I talked into joining me. That’s the beauty of new guys, they don’t know any better and if they have an adventurous spirit like Brian you can talk them into new rides. He’ll never look at this blog… he does have a cool Masi!

Town of Deckers, supplies and coffee if needed. Here you bust a left.


Transition to gravel! I road with 35c cross tires and was comfortable all day, Brian used a 28c Continental Top Contact that he said was a little squirrelly on the gravel. Of course he had 90 psi in those tires. It's hard to convince some people more air isn’t necessarily faster.  
 

You ride along the South Fork of the South Platte River... it’s really spectacular through here!
 



Historic South Platte Hotel. Built around the turn of the century by the Zang Brewing company. Once the town of Symes, now the South Platte Hotel  is the only building still standing. It was once a railroad stop on the Denver, South Park and Pacific railroad. Just like Phantom Canyon on the Gold Belt Century, old railroad grades that are now dirt roads make for ideal cycling.


The North fork of the South Platte.

Even though the town of Foxton shows up on the map you won’t find any supplies here…

The old post office in the town of Buffalo Creek, a welcome sight after a 5-mile ride up river in a vicious head wind. There is a little store in the old building where you can get sodas and things if needed.



For the first time out, I drove to and started in Buffalo Creek. Now that I’ve done the ride, I would recommend driving down Foxton Rd from Hwy 285 and parking in one of the many pullouts when you get to the Platte River Rd. We rode the route counter-clockwise and got the climbing done early. If you park where Foxton Rd meets the Platte you could ride it in either direction!

8 comments:

RobInDallas said...

Dude! Are you kidding me?!! I was drinking a PBR on the Decker's store patio after fishing Saturday morning, and I saw two guys ride by on what looked like a cross bike and that Masi. I stood up to look (stare) at what they were riding, and I think that may have been you guys!! Did you roll through about one o'clock more or less? How about that wind?!! RB in Dallas

Eric Althen said...

Hey Rob! That is funny! It was us, In fact I remember you standing there looking. I figured you were wondering what the hell we we're doing out there on such a crazy windy day. What are the chances that you found my blog after that day... to funny. That wind was really blowing that day, we suffered. Back in Dallas already, and what the heck were you doing in Decker's all the way from Dallas!?Thanks for dropping a comment!

nordic_68 said...

I'm stoked to discover this blog - figured there must be somebody in CO who's bridging the gap between road rides and dirt. I may end up living in CO soon and if that happens, will relish trying some of your routes...

Shane said...

Eric - Thanks for the great route idea and the inspiration. I ended up beginning my own blog specifically to post gravel routes that I've found and hopefully find some other folks interested in these type of rides. If you're looking for other rides, and haven't done this the Poudre River Trail and Great Western, it's worth the trip. http://gravelquest.blogspot.com/2011/12/poudre-great-western.html

Shane

Ian said...

Awesome route. That dirt road looks amazing! You should come out to San Francisco next year for the Old Cazadero 300k (http://www.ridebike.org/2011/old-caz-300k/). It's an epic mixed terrain 300k that explores remote dirt/gravel roads in Sonoma County. There's even a stream crossing! I think you'd enjoy it, I rode it last year on a road bike with 700x32 smooth Grand Bois tires.

Eric Althen said...

Ian, The OLD CAZADERO 300 looks amazing, I've added it to my ride list of epic rides, thanks for the recommendation! If there is any chance I can make I'll be sure to drop a line, you never know...

Steel Riding said...

Would riding a fixie with a buch of geared bikes be considered "Lone Wolf"? Perhaps we should create some epic, multi-day, road to nowhere dirt road ride and all it the "Lone wolf"?

nordic_68 said...

Thanks so much for posting this route. I got around to riding it in June and just posted photos and an online brief today. Can't wait to ride this in the fall when it's cooler!

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/rocky-mountain/buffalo-creek-deckers-loop-dirt-288899-post4073069.html