Obviously if you’re going to go to Colorado, you’re going to ride some mountain bikes. Our best sellers with Moots have been their cross/gravel bikes, but we have sold and hope to sell their incredible mountain bikes. Three of the four of us own Moots cross or road bikes, so we were excited to spend time on their mountain bikes. In my last post, I wrote about the pedigree of Moots and how it carries into every model, every frame, and every weld. Mountain bikes are central in the heart of Moots. It’s who they are and where they are. So I was pumped to ride their bikes where they were made to ride. We had meetings each day, but the majority of our daylight was spent riding Moots bikes all over Routt County. Chad and I had the pleasure to ride the Rogue YBB the whole week. It was an incredible bike. The YBB added the perfect amount of cush going down and purchase going up. It was like riding a cloud. This was the longest I’d spent on a 650b bike and although I’ve nestled into 29+ as my favorite tire size, the 650b was a blast to whip around for a change. It felt like a jackrabbit. Dean and Aaron rode MX Divides. We all talked about switching bikes at some point, but after the first ride, we had all made home on our individual bikes and ended up sticking with them. It was nice to get comfortable on a demo bike – generally the rides are so short you can’t fully appreciate the finer points of the design. The first day we had the pleasure of riding Emerald Mountain. Emerald is literally the mountain in town. One can cross the river, ride down the path, and start climbing the mountain. It was a postcard we had the pleasure of living in. It’s always entertaining to me to visit places and hear the locals talk about their trails. Not just the types of trails, but the names of the trails themselves. I’m always curious how they got their names, and how long a stretch of dirt needs to be before it gets a name of its own. Hearing Jason describe our route, I just smiled, nodded, and quietly concluded to just stay on his wheel. There were so many trails, connectors, turns, and options. As we climbed up, we were instantly rewarded with views of Steamboat. Not long after starting, we turned on to a trail called Morning Gloria, a fresh 4mi section of switchbacks and bench cuts. It was really fresh. Tires and torrents had not yet smoothed out the trail and the hillside roots were still dripping sap. It was a fun climb and I imagine a even more fun descent (next time). We ended up on the top of Quarry Mountain and had a fun jaunt down the backside to home.
The next morning we rode Spring Creek. The trail follows the creek up towards Buffalo Pass through incredible Aspen groves and much of the trail is lined with shoulder-height ferns. It’s a safe and agreeable trail, except for one steep rocky cheese-grader section (on which I graded some cheese on the way down). The upper sections of the trail overlooked a few little valleys. The colors were amazing. The big day of the trip was a 20mi endeavor in North Routt County, near Clark, CO. This area is close to the Zirkel Wilderness and it was immediately clear that it did not see the same foot and tire traffic as different parts of the county. Matter of fact, I don’t believe we saw a single other rider that day. We did see some horse people (centaurs). There was a sense of “wilderness” about the area. We had heard of some mountain lion sightings on Emerald that week, but I never felt “out there” on Emerald. I did here. I expected a bear or lion to jump out at any time and give us all wicked high-fives. The vistas on this trail were the kind that stop you in your tracks. We would all find ourselves in the front at different spots and the first around a bend would shout out or whoop and you knew there was something good up there. I ended up at the back for most of the day – I just couldn’t help but stop again and again to soak in the views (and catch my breath)(and pray we found the right trail). The most amazing landscape of the day was riding through new growth after a fire stripped all the standing trees. At first glance it was a wasteland, but then it was clear that life was abounding. It was glorious. We missed a turn on to Scotty’s Run trail. At the time, I did an inventory of my gear to see if we’d survive a night out there. It was a nice daydream, but my inner Eagle Scout was ashamed. I didn’t have some of the essentials with me. Luckily, Aaron fund us the way. We ended up bushwacking back to the trail, knowing it was close to the stream at the bottom of the valley. Once we found it, I was comforted to find that it was no wonder we missed it. It was sometimes impossible to see even when you were on it. It was a little overgrown and the trail was full of debris. It was a rough trail, and the only one who seemed actually comfortable was Chad. We had our suspicions about Chad’s upbringing, and we have now confirmed he was raised by mountain goats. Some of the sections were staircases of rock, with fallen trees and cliff drops, and Chad was just bouncing over them. While the rest of us spent physical and mental energy to get to the end, he only became more and more charged as we went on. It was impressive. And annoying. The sun was setting as we made our way back to the parking lot. It was a surreal moment. As we finished the trail section, I was done. It was fun, but I was cashed. Once we hit the road leading to the lot, though, I didn’t want it to end. I ended up riding comically slow, sitting up, drinking in the experience. It was a good, long day on the bike. Our last ride was another spin on Emerald. We had a limited amount of time since we had a plane to catch in Denver, so we just rode up and up and up until it was time to come down. It was a good ride. We brought our bikes back to Moots and lovingly washed them down before heading out. Even as we lined them up, after spending four days riding them, I couldn’t believe the moment. I’d look at the row of bikes and get giddy all over again. Thanks to Aaron, Dean, Bobby, and Chad for being such great riding friends. Thanks to Moots for everything else. All pictures by Tobie DePauw, unless they’re good pictures, in which case they were probably taken by Dean Frieders, Bobby Wintle, or Chad Ament.