Getting in one last ride before winter | SkyHiNews.com

Getting in one last ride before winter

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking with Keith

Keith Sanders

Winter is coming quickly and it is time to get in that last classic ride on your cross country bike.

It was a hard decision on what was going to be the last classic ride of the year. Personally, Tipperary has always been a classic for me. It may be that I have raced it many a time or that it has always been an iconic trail and has a vast history.

Our first races where held there. The race course — aka Tipperary Race Course — had national and international status. At one point Velonews magazine named it one of the top 5 cross country race courses anywhere.

We were a haven for world class mountain bikers. It was not uncommon to see the who's who of international mountain bike racing training here. A get together of mountain bikers was more like seeing the future Hall of Fame inductees in their youth. World Champion Julia Furtado was a regular along with icons Susan DeMattei, Missy Giove and many others. Local pros Wade Wilderman, Todd Wilderman and Bill Reed (they built WTB) lived and trained here.

I may have made my last classic ride of the season on Tipperary. I set off, riding up the Church's Park road, being careful while navigating the occasional snow and ice. Once I made the turn to Tipperary I was met with a few additional challenges. The first stream crossing was frozen on either end. After carefully tip toeing across the stream in order not to get my feet wet, I continued up the trail. The trail was mainly dry with a bit of snow here and there from winter's return. The trail was in far better shape than when I rode it late last fall. Last fall snow covered the ground with a few open areas allowing the trail to peak through. This year it resembled more of a summer ride with some occasional spots of snow.

Rolling down toward the St. Louis Creek Road was a joy. The exposure allows more sun to reach the trail and the track was mostly clear, which meant a bit fast and fun. The normal springs were frozen, which made you pay a bit more attention but for the most part it was like summer had returned. I am always surprised by how many different types of animal tracks cross the trail. It is not uncommon to see the tracks of elk, deer, moose and bear.

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The ride home was bittersweet. As anxious as I am for winter it is always sad to see summer and fall come to an end (on that note, you can typically ride in the Kremmling area after the Fraser Valley is snowed in). It has me thinking of next year and the things to come.

The summer and fall riding was so much fun. I'm looking forward to what is in store in the future. Maybe I'll sneak in one more classic ride if the weather will let me, or it may be time to break out the fat tire bike and play in the snow … So many choices yet so little time.

Group rides

Beavers Sports Shop at the Best Western in Winter Park weekly group ride is now over for the season. Come join us this spring as soon as conditions will allow 970-726-5988

Looking for more information? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber!

Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach him at keith@winterparkskirental.com .

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