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Mountain biking from Boulder – it’s possible! Sunshine-Poormans-Betasso-Boulder Canyon

November 11, 2015

Yesterday my buddy showed me the route to actually mountain bike from Boulder.  Boulder has a zillion hiking trails right in town but all are closed to mountain biking.  So we met at 2:30 at the far west end of Mapleton Avenue, which is incidentally the Mt Sanitas trailhead as well as the mouth of Sunshine Canyon.  I was a bit apprehensive about riding on the road, and I still am.  There’s no sidewalk or guardrails or even shoulder to get off the road, so you have to rely on every single car seeing you and giving you a wide berth, or at least a berth.  I was quite happy to notice there was very little traffic on the road which was comforting.  I ride a mid-fat Specialized Fuse hardtail which I love, but it is a bit slower than regular-tired bikes.  That plus the fact that John is stronger than me and pretty soon he was out of sight and I was left on my own pushing my way up the mountain.  I passed 3 or 4 side street turnoffs, none of which were “Poormans” which I was looking for.  Up and up and a really tight hairpin turn and up and then off in the distance was John waving his arms and yelling encouragement.  I pumped a fist and hammered it a bit harder and I was there.  It wasn’t so grueling really, and I don’t think more than 20-30 minutes or so.  Next leg was downhill, all the way to the end of Poormans on a dirt road, then it emptied out onto another paved road, Four Mile Canyon, where we took a right for another 5-10 minutes of climbing, then on the left side of the road behind a guardrail was a little dirt track, our trail, the FourMile Link connector trail.  Blissfully downhill, I hadn’t ridden my bike since we had done the Whole Enchilada in Moab a few weeks before, where I had rented a Pivot for the day – and had gotten used to it.  So I was  bit wobbly and timid.  It gradually wore off as we reached the bottom and a beautiful river flowing with a small bridge across it.  Apparently the bridge had only been installed for a few weeks, you used to have to wade through the river, bike in tow.  No longer.

Another uphill on the FourMile Link through tight pine forest up up up to the Benjamin Loop with a fat arrow sign pointing clockwise (it’s changed periodically and you can get ticketed for not following it).  We were running short on daylight, with a sunset of 4:50, having left at 2:30, so we didn’t do the full Benjamin Loop, only half of it.  Also note we were in the shade ever since Poormans, sun was hiding low in the south over the mountains – which meant chilly.  We rode, uphill again, to the Loop Link trail, completing half of the Benjamin Loop.  We took the Loop Link trail – with some oncoming traffic which addled my brain a bit until we got to the end of it to the Canyon Loop and I looked a map and realized traffic obviously goes both ways on the Loop Link.  Then we were onto the Canyon Loop, with some downhill and around a bend into some glorious warm sunshine where I had to stop and bask in the beauty of the canyons and mountains spread out before me and enjoy the sun on my skin.  More fun downhill then more up on double wide track, and then finally finally the end of the uphill.  Which was great but I wasn’t all that upset about all the uphill, I rather enjoyed it and the adventure of the trip.  Plus the added wildcard of the sun going down gave a bit more spice to the outing.

And it was a brief down on wide easy trail… and then the capper for the entire ride – and for the past few weeks, the incredibly fun and exciting and flowing and steep and fast and beautifully laid out Betasso Link trail.  I whooped with exhilaration and joy as I flew down it, turning and turning and turning again, sailing down over big rock gardens, banking around turns, absolutely glorious and one of my new favorite trails on the planet.  I gave another involuntary “woooo!!” and was answered by John up in front of me somewhere.  Down and down and gloriously down and then popped out into a small parking lot in Boulder Canyon, John cheering me on for the last bit.  Giant grins on both our faces as we talked about how crazy fun that was and both so happy to have had – or rather be nearing the end of a great adventure on a Tuesday afternoon.   Then a short ride down Boulder Canyon on the pavement – not pleasant with no shoulder, but we made it maybe 5 minutes and then we were able to turn off onto the Boulder Creek path and fly down it, barely pedaling and still talking about how much fun we had on the Betasso Link downhill section.  Pedaled into town, down Pearl street for a stop at Spruce Confections for a coffee and a local Max Bar, sat and chatted about life, kids, adventures, business.  And then we were off, pedaling back home and I carried my big grin with me the rest of the evening.  And it was still a bit light out as I rolled into my driveway.

 

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Two weeks in Colorado – Breck winter park ft Collins boulder

March 27, 2015

Took the fam to Colorado, what a trip. First week in Breck and skied Arapahoe basin with chicago buddies, fraternity bros, my 2.5 yr old daughter, and Co buddies. Checked out property in Breck, wp, ft Collins. . It is looking like we’ll be moving West 🙂


Colorado ski trip to the Beav and Vail with Spence

April 10, 2013

My best buddy since age five called a few months ago and invited me to go skiing with he and his doctor friends from Wilmington NC.  I readily agreed as I had had zero ski trips this season and how’s guy supposed to get by in life with zero ski trips I ask you?  I booked the flight and the weekend came, off to Colorado from Midway.  A couple of hours after I arrived the Wilmington physician crew arrived.  Solid dudes and a great time goofing around with them.  We spent the night in Boulder with Spencer’s family, my second family since I was 5 years old.  Then off to the mountains in the Volvo they let us use, I got to drive and rocket us up I-70 after the beautiful drive down 39 from Boulder to Golden, right along the foothills and past the former nuclear warhead site, Rocky Flats.  As we rolled up into the mountains I was so excited showing things off and pointing out various mountains and buffalo, they began to give me a hard time as it seems I would point and the car would go in that direction, not inspiring confidence. We got there in one piece thankfully.  The famous Beaver Creek, and Spencer’s awesome cousin Chuck who works at the fabulous Osprey hotel hooked us up with rooms, lift tickets, ski rentals, and food.  The price of the whole shebang was seriously a fraction of what I was expecting.  Kudos to Chuck and his beautiful wife Dawn for treating us so well.  We stayed in a $900/night room for $80… amazing.  The Osprey apparently is the closest hotel to a chairlift in North America and I believe it, steps from the lobby to the Strawberry lift.  Ski valet right there at the door to watch your shoes, skis, etc, making it so easy to ski.  Fun to live like the big dogs for a weekend and not pay big dog prices.  Spencer and I shared what was essentially a honeymoon suite, fireplace, king bed, bathrobes, pretty funny.

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Then we hit the slopes.  A beautiful day of skiing ensued, and I was plenty tired and sore  though it was only about a half day.  I was actually a bit timid and felt rusty and out of shape.  Those feelings faded over the next two days and especially the third day at the stunning Vail Resort.  Incredible skiing, hit Sunspot, Wow, and a favorite bump run of mine off the front, so much fun we did it twice.  What  mountain Vail is, enormous, fantastic conditions most of the time, and plenty of terrain to keep anyone happy.  On a powder day there’s nowhere better I say, you can get fresh tracks all day and for days after if you know where to look.Image

Saturday night we hit the Beaver Creek Chophouse.  I was actually disappointed with my steak and with the service – maybe coming from Chicago I expected too much though I doubt it.   Sunday skiing at Beaver Creek with the three physicians and my lawyer buddy from college and his seven-year old son joined us.  Skied with a bunch of doctors and lawyers, good stuff.

Sunday night got a bit crazy as we went straight to the bar apres ski and didn’t leave for six hours – and then only to wander briefly around town, where the below “mouth wrestling a bear” incident happened.ImageLater this evening we convinced Brian to bust out his guitar and amp he’d brought from Wilmington to jam for us.  He played for hours in the lounge for us, asking each of us in order for requests, and then belting out a tune to us.  Really fun and quite a talented, rock and roll doctor.  Looking forward to seeing him again live in Wilmington next time I visit.  Good stuff.

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And I already told about how fabulous the day at Vail was – terrific conditions, I knew the mountain and my favorite runs, and I was in good shape again, no longer rusty nor fearful, and got such a giant adrenaline rush, a feel good rush, bombing down the slopes, stunning peaks in the background, dancing down the moguls, ripping through the powder, flying down the cattracks.  What a feeling.  I remembered why I love skiing so much.  All of it with my best old buddy and other fantastic people – such a social sport, riding up the lifts, stopping every so often on the way down the hills to chat and laugh.  Wonderful way to spend time.

We headed back to Denver, flying down the freeway through the mountains to make a 5pm dinner reservation at Lola’s Mexican restaurant in Denver.  Great to see Bliss and Jordan, had been ten years since I had last seen them, they look great.  Then I hopped on a bus to DIA, as the rest of the crew went to the Avalanche hockey game.  At DIA, they cancelled my flight (All flights were cancelled), which with a dead phone left me in a bit of a spot, as they weren’t paying for hotels due to it being a weather issue.  I headed back out, and caught a bus to Boulder, and with no phone was unable to let anybody know I was coming.  I sat next to a fascinating fellow who was a former European Union official, how cool is that?  We talked global politics, fun way to pass the time.  I noticed a Whole Foods and a road name, Baseline, which had a good shot of being roughly near the home of Dave and Margie, but I had no clue really with my phone dead.  Whole Foods was closed but the Noodle restaurant was just closing, I barged in and plugged in discretely, and called Spence, and his dad – Spencer was only about ten minutes away, they picked me up, and bam, made it back to the Carney’s home.  Spent the night, up in the morning, flights were all in action so off to the airport we went, managed to get on a 9am flight easily, and back to Chicago, direct flight, and straight into the office for a productive afternoon of work, then home to see my gorgeous baby and beautiful wife who I missed!


Colorado Road Trip – Aspen, Telluride, Breck, Vail and White Freeways

February 27, 2010

View down "Plunge" into Telluride

Took off for a ten-day road trip from Colorado with no particular set agenda other than the first four days were to be in Aspen with my fiance and my family and sister’s family-in-law.  We had a great time as we always do skiing Snowmass, staying in my sis’s aunt and uncle-in-laws’ gorgeous home, taking the little kids to ski school and generally enjoying life.  Woody Creek tavernAwesome Tavern outside Aspen is always a fun outing, and hanging out in a ski town is fantastic.  From there back to Denver, stayed with a fraternity brother and his family, enjoyed their company and skied Tuesday with Paul at Breckenridge where I have a season pass.  Great time and congrats to him on making full partner at his law firm this year.  We skied a bunch of hard stuff as usual.  Wednesday skied Vail with my friend Kristen who’s on my True Adventure team, then headed to Telluride to see a buddy who lives there and another buddy who’s family has a place there and very generously let us crash with him.  Wonderful town, located in a dramatic dead-end or “box” canyon with sheer cliff wall rising on each side, one of them being the ski resort.  Read the rest of this entry »


Thirteen Attempt 14er Mount Belford, Six Summit

October 22, 2009
True Adventures headed to Colorado for a long weekend, Thursday through Monday in mid October 2009.  I took fourteen people from True Adventures out with me.  We met at church the weekend before and I asked how many had experience with mountaineering or winter camping.  Right around zero people raised their hands.  So we were off on a crash course on winter camping and the mountains and altitude!  I taught them as much as I could that day and over a series of emails during the ensuing week.  People were able to either purchase what they needed or rent it from REI or borrow from friends.  I love the first part of a trip – buying gear and packing is half the fun.  We all flew into Denver and managed to get cars and all meet up in Leadville where we spent the night at the Alps motel, quite clean and reasonably priced.  The next morning we woke up and distributed food – all $270 worth from Costco!  We had plenty.  Off to the trailhead for the Missouri basin route up Mounts Missouri, Belford, and Oxford. 
On the trail up into Missouri Basin

On the trail up into Missouri Basin

We hiked up the very steep first section of the trail about two hours, the girls leading the charge to our campsite where we took a break and set up camp near an old dilapidated log cabin around noon.  After a lunch of pb&j’s on pita we all packed up our daypacks and headed further up the valley, quickly getting above treeline and into a stunning valley with a fresh blanket of pristine white snow.  Read the rest of this entry »


Things to do in Denver if you’re alive

March 10, 2009

Lots to do in Colorado in early March.  It gets quite warm and sunny in Denver, and the snow is often the best up in the mountains.  See below for some ideas:

Ski the steeps at Snowmass with your brother-in-law and the brother of your brother-in-law (did I say that right?).

Scott and Mark Baby about to go big

Scott and Mark Baby about to go big

Watch Big Air Friday at Snowmass from the best Apres Ski bar in Snowmass, the Cirque

Big Air Friday from the Cirque bar

Big Air Friday from the Cirque bar

Go Rock climbing in Morrison Colorado, outside Denver.

Bouldering

Bouldering

Do some backcountry skiing into Francie’s Cabin near Breckenridge

Francie's Hut in the backcountry outside Breckenridge, Colorado

Francie’s Hut in the backcountry outside Breckenridge, Colorado

Go mountain biking at Matthews/Winters Park near Denver

Mountain biking Matthew/Winter Park with my friend Pete who lives out there now - lucky bastard

Mountain biking Matthew/Winter Park with my friend Pete who lives out there now – lucky bastard

Apres Ski with a ski bunny or two

Apres Ski in Snowmass

Apres Ski in Snowmass

Take your little nieces sledding

sledding with my amazing nieces

sledding with my amazing nieces

Take your nieces sledding at the Snowmass Club

Take your nieces sledding at the Snowmass Club

Ski Breckenridge

Skiing Breck with Ryan Weaver, in from Chicago for the weekend

Skiing Breck with Ryan Weaver, in from Chicago for the weekend

Ski Arapahoe Basin

The fabled Palivicini at A-Basin

A-Basin

Snowboard Loveland Pass and hitchike back to the top of the pass.

Hitchiking up Loveland Pass after an embarassing attempt at snowboarding

Hitchiking up Loveland Pass after an embarassing attempt at snowboarding

Stay and visit with old friends in Denver and eat a yummy meal

Hang out at the Hotsprings pool in Glenwood Springs

Hanging out at the Glenwood Springs pool, late February

Hanging out at the Glenwood Springs pool, late February

Eat lunch up on the mountain and watch people compete in skiing off cliffs freestyle at Snowmass

Snowmass Freestyle cliff jumping competition from Gwyn's

Snowmass Freestyle cliff jumping competition from Gwyn’s

Go to the greatest mountaineering store ever, Neptune Mountaineering, in Boulder, check out their museum and talk about famous climbers with the famous staff and owner Gary Neptune.Incredible Ice Axe selection at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder

Party and grill out with thirty  new friends at the amazing Blue Sky Basin at Vail, gorgeous view of several 14ers including Mount of the Holy Cross and Mt Elbert.View from Blue Sky basin in mid March, 2009, lots of folks grilling and enjoying

Go bouldering in Morrison, Colorado.Bouldering

Stay with some old friends in Boulder that have become quite a bit more successful than when you knew them a few years back!The super fun and terrific Teegarden family from Boulder!

Take your girlfriend snowshoeing in the backcountry after spending the night in a backcountry cabin

Backcountry snowshoeing and telemark skiing

Backcountry snowshoeing and telemark skiing

First day, hiking in to the cabin

Leave a Comment » | Aspen, Brooke and Courtney, Colorado, hiking, Lisa, Mountain Biking, Partying, Skiing, Traveling | Permalink
Posted by Adventurer


Road Trip! Chicago to Colorado for 2.5 weeks :)

February 24, 2009

Heading west tomorrow!  Packing up my Blazer with all my winter toys – snowshoes, alpine skis, telemark skis and skins, snowboard, hiking boots, sleeping pad and bag.  Lots of time to have fun in the mountains, gotta have the proper equipment.  It’s 1000 miles exactly from Chicago to Denver, about 15-16 hours.  I’ll leave in the afternoon, put down 6-10 hours, crash in the car or a cheap hotel, get up and drive to Aspen to meet the family and extended family for three fun days.   Then the following weekend a place in Frisco, stay with a buddy in Vail a few nights, maybe do Couchsurfing.com for a few nights, maybe spend a night in a backcountry hut, see some friends in Denver, other friends in Golden and the Bundy’s in Fort Collins, last weekend with Brinks’ and their in-laws in Vail, Lisa flys out to join me for a few days and drive back with me.  Looking forward to it.  See I have this season ski pass, I HAVE to get my money’s worth 😉 

It’s pretty stressful to travel like this – lots of things to be done, work to worry about, all this stuff to pack.  It’s hard work to break out of the everyday momentum.  Was thinking about that today.   But so worth it – makes a life more exciting and interesting in my opinion.  And it gives me life – gets me fired up.  I really love the mountains.

Chicago to Denver road trip map

Chicago to Denver road trip map

4 Comments | Colorado, Lisa, Mountaineering, Skiing, Traveling | Permalink
Posted by Adventurer