It’s been a really really busy year here at Rodeo. Working on bikes, kits, forks, wheels, rallies, and the Roundup has taken a huge bite out of miles ridden. They say if you work in the bike industry then you can expect to ride less. They may be right about that but we aren’t going down without a fight. We started Rodeo because we loved riding bikes, with friends, in the mountains, and we’re going to keep doing that until our legs have no pedaling left in them. The bike industry can wait.
Monday was a government holiday so Monday was a day for riding bikes. Geoff had a new Traildonkey that he hadn’t yet fully put through its paces and he had some time to burn. He extended an invite, I accepted, and into the hills we ventured.
We’ve been to Stoney Pass before. We even did a Rodeo Rally there in 2015. It may have been one of our most epic ever. Our intended route was frustrated by deep snow. We diverted, thought we’d found a way around, and ended up hiking miles through a thunder storm blizzard. We only barely made it back to the cars with all fingers and toes intact.
I always wanted to go back and redo the intended route. On paper it had it all: Pavement, dirt roads, singletrack, big views, and a collective sense of essential Colorado-ness.
On Monday we finally went back for our do-over and the route didn’t disappoint. Despite the treat of snow (again) the weather mostly cooperated with mild temperatures and great bike riding conditions. The ground was damp from recent rain and snow which created the most exquisite riding surface that anyone could want. Only Geoff and I were along for the ride this time and we moved at a casual, unhurried pace. We stopped a lot, soaked in the views, took photos and videos and appreciated that rare sensation that we could enjoy a ride this good and would still somehow make it home in time for dinner.
We’re happy to have had such an ideal day on Monday, and we’re happy to be able to share the ride with others in hopes that they too take on the loop some time soon.
Traildonkeys ready for a big day.
The initial miles are spent on a gradual climb. It’s solid work, but it’s best to eat you vegetables before desert.
Pikes Peak really is stunning and imposing from this vantage point.
A right turn at the bottom of the descent near Deckers is where the great riding starts. The gravel doubletrack road leads into the canyon and teases what is to come.
Trees give way to the stark features of the Hayman Burn area. Site of the largest recorded wildfire in Colorado’s history. The terrain is minimal but stunning it its own way.
The Traildonkeys were squarely in their natural habitat.
The loop features 5k feet of climbing. Take your time and enjoy it.
Geoff approaching one of the many summits of the day over Cheeseman Reservoir
Don’t forget plenty of water, food, and versatile clothing. It gets pretty remote out there.
If there hadn’t been a fire here I wonder if these rock formations would even be visible…
Clouds build quickly in the afternoon and can easily turn in to mountain thunderstorms. Start early and plan ahead.
After another climb and a ride through a meadow with a herd of buffalo grazing in it the climb up Stoney Pass begins. The gradients are never very steep, and the increasing foliage are an ever increasing feast for the eyes.
Ascending Stoney Pass. In the summer and fall the aspen’s foliage are a stunning sight.
The dirt road descent from Stoney to Wellington Lake is a total ripper. Once you are over the top of Stoney you have quite a bit more descending than ascending left on the ride.
Wellington Lake is a privately owned lake but is open to visitors for a fee. It’s a great place to refuel with water or take a quick swim to cool down in the summer.
At 40 miles the loop is challenging but not soul crushing. Geoff seems pretty chill here with most of the tough stuff in the bag.
After Wellington another fast dirt road descent takes you to the trail head of the Buffalo Creek trail system. To me this is the highlight of the ride. These trails are fast, flowing, and are some of the finest Traildonkey terrain anywhere.
Decomposed granite trails and smooth rock traverses dot the landscape. The flow and fun of these trails are off the charts.
Perfect temps, tacky roads and trails, and all the time we needed for a relaxed ride. Monday may just have been a lucky day.