Monday, September 19, 2005
A devil of a ride.
There is red dirt on the tires and that can only mean one thing. I packed my most precious belongings and headed west to the Devil's Backbone this afternoon. I moped around all afternoon because I couldn't find anyone that had the same desire to go get pounded around on this 8 mile piece of technical rocky trail that I've grown to love in my three years here in Colorado. Finally at 4pm I realized I didn't need anyone to share this one with, I'm fully capable of enjoying the "Boner" as its affectionately called, all by myself. I rode the trail out to the loop at a leisurely pace, but lit the afterburners once I hit the technical climb that starts the back loop. I realized this weekend in Laramie that I wasn't feeling too good on the rough, rocky parts of the course, so I figured there is no better place to hone this skills than the infamous back loop of the Backbone. I rode two laps in the standard clockwise direction, then just as I was getting tired and hungry I switched it up and did a lap in the counter-clockwise direction. It's funny, I can't count how many times I've ridden this trail, but I think this was the 2nd or 3rd time I did the loop counter-clockwise. It's like a whole new trail riding it backwards and it was exactly what I needed. Since I'm not too good about previewing race courses, I'm usually cross eyed with my tongue hanging out when I see everything for the first time in a year (assuming I've raced the course before). I wasn't quite as wiped out as I would have been in a race situation, but I definitely saw my technical skills spiral down the toilet bowl as I hit the first few rocky parts of the trail. I managed to keep the rubber side down all day, although I found myself doing a handstand at one point with my bike behind me upside down, feet clipped in, balancing on my front wheel, bar ends, and hands. I suppose that isn't exactly rubber side down, but I came out of the situation better then my friend and former teamate Danny who I once saw leave a blood spot on the very rock I was doing my handstand on. I rode a few parts that I usually don't make, but I also screwed up a lot of stuff that is usually pretty rideable. Oh well, I'm glad I went, maybe this will be a new Monday afternoon tradition. I managed to take a ton of pictures so I thought I'd share a few with you as well as a quick description of each. Here we go.
Pulling into the parking lot you are greeted with a view of the Backbone itself shadowed by the majestic Rocky Mountains.
The Backbone disapears behind a hill as you start the trail, but quickly comes into view as you round this corner.
The trail winds along beside the rock formation and through this meadow. I really like this part of the trail, especially on the way back because its slightly downhill with some cool little ups and downs.
After the traversing the length of the Backbone (which is a very unique and interesting feature geologically, I'd be glad to explain it's formation if anyone is interested, but I'm not counting on much interest from the readers of this site), the trail crosses the meadow and heads up this hill with a few steep loose switchbacks.
The view from the top of the first section of climb.
This section used to freak me out because it seems like if you fall to the left you'll just keep picking up speed until the barbed wire a hundred feet down or so.
The view from the actual top.
Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there is still time to ride the loop one direction then flip it and ride it the other way.
One of the first really fun rocky parts.
The view from the urinal.
More rocky fun.
Man, that was a lot of pictures. Sorry, some of them towards the end got a little blurry because my camera was flying unwrapped in my jersey and got a little sweaty. Oh well, this is one of my favorite trails and the pictures don't do it justice. I had one of those rides today that reminded me of the reasons I started mountain biking back in grade school. I remember the feeling of flying down Smudy Bear with some of my closest friends back in the early days, and it's those feelings that make me get out on my bike and ride until I can't see straight. Mountain biking is one of the most physically demanding things I've ever done, but it's not the competition that gets me out on my bike, I really can't explain why I do it, I guess you have to ride a trail you really love to fully understand why simply pedaling around on a bunch of rocks and dirt gets my blood flowing the way it does. I leave you with a parting shot, and ride the boner if you ever get the chance, you'll probably hate it, but oh well I like it.
P.S. I wasn't even tired after the ride so I went and big ringed Towers Road like 8 times.