Combine your bicycling with other activities
Mountain Biking with Keith
Editor’s note: This article was scheduled to but did not appear in the Friday, May 22, edition. It is being published today instead.
Mountain biking can be part of other sports and experiences. As I was sitting on my boat last week going through the motions of fishing, my mind wandered to the adventures of days gone by and what new adventures lie ahead.
I often mix mountain biking with other activities. It’s a great way to add a remote hike, reach that out of the way fishing spot, have an evening picnic while watching the sunset or anything else that comes to mind.
I’ve had some great hikes that began by riding my bike to the starting point for my hike. I think that this is a great way to access some of the wilderness areas by being able to bike to the wilderness boundary, stash the bike and take off from there. In case you didn’t know, you are not allowed to ride your bikes in a wilderness area by law.
One of my favorite bike/hikes is in the Vasquez Pass area. Vasquez Pass is south of the town of Winter Park and part of the Vasquez Wilderness Area. If you look up the Vasquez drainage from the view at Meadowridge, you can see Vasquez Pass in the distance.
Vasquez Pass is an old logging or mining road, much like D3, Broken Thumb or the Spruce Creek part of Tipperary. This used to be a very popular ride before it became wilderness. As with most areas in Grand County that are not easily accessed you will see few people if anyone at all.
My adventure begins by riding up Vasquez Road, cross the creek (sometimes it is fairly quick and deep. Tip: Bring heavy duty trash bags to wear like waders. This lets you waddle across the creek and stay dry) and ride to the wilderness sign designating the wilderness boundary. There I stash my bike, change my shoes and continue on my way.
The views here are breathtaking. Begin the hike before the gentle old road turns upward. Moose and elk are common sights as they seem relaxed in their home. The view from the top is impressive as are all high alpine views. On one side you are looking down on the Henderson Mine, on the other you look down upon the Fraser Valley, which is close but seems far in the distance. One of the nice things is that once I am back to my bike it is basically downhill home.
There are a lot of different bike/hikes you can do. A few ideas are: Byers Peak, Bottle Pass, St. Louis Lake, The Continental Divide Trail from Rollins Pass to the north and Mount Nystrom to name a few.
Of course don’t forget the fishing opportunities. High mountain lakes and streams take on a new meaning when you expand your opportunities. This may add a new dimension to your summer adventures. As with any remote adventure always be sure to let people know where you are going and when you plan to return. I suggest leaving a note on your bike as well, just in case something goes wrong.
Be careful out there and if you have a great time then do it again! Enjoy your rides! Life’s too short not to have fun!
Looking for more information or want to get involved as a mountain biker? 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 me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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