Despite losing a day of their two-day mountain bike excursion, 11 ORC trip participants had a blast in Lake Pueblo State Park this past weekend.
Senior Sarah Geisse and freshman Alex Beutel designed this weekend trip for beginner and intermediate mountain bikers who wanted to test out their skills.
“Alex and I were both interested in exploring Lake Pueblo State Park because neither of us had been biking there before,” Geisse said. “The mountain biking in Lake Pueblo State Park is awesome, very similar to some trails in Fruita.”
Along with the leaders, eight students hit the trail on Saturday morning. Less than an hour from school, Lake Pueblo State Park is home not only to its 4,600-acre namesake reservoir, but also to about 10,000 acres of land etched with miles of single-track riding. In other words this park is mountain bike heaven, even for kids hailing from Colorado Springs, which has been known as the state’s mountain bike capital.
Starting out on Saturday morning, the group tackled the intermediate level Inner Limits and Outer Limits trails.
“The rolling trails made for fun single track riding without any significant elevation change,” senior participant Charles Allison-Godfrey said.
He also recommended using a “shorter travel bike,”which, despite having less suspension than a full-on downhill bike, is lighter and easier on the legs during the rolling uphill sections.
The crew split into groups according to skill and comfort level as the leaders encouraged riders to try bigger and more difficult terrain.
“They were definitely offering little bits of instruction, but for the most part, everybody was just charging. A lot of the intermediate stuff doesn’t require that much skill, just good intuition,” Allison-Godfrey said.
Those with the necessary confidence also took on trails with names like Roller Coaster and Skull Canyon, both of which required advanced techniques such as “rock crawling,” where the rider traverses slowly and carefully over intense rocky terrain.
As the first epic day of riding wound down to an end, the group realized it would have to abandon its plans for weekend domination and throw in the towel a day early. The trip’s downfall proved to be the same icy temperatures and wintry precipitation that sparked fierce, “thank-God-it’s-finally-snowing” joy in the hearts of Colorado’s skiing and riding community on Saturday night.
“Basically, we found out that it was going to be horribly cold that night and the next day, and you can’t really mountain bike in the snow,” Allison-Godfrey said.
And so, instead of pitching a winter camp at Lake Pueblo and waiting for the next day’s formidable conditions, the tired and satisfied bikers made it back to campus late Saturday evening, just before the snow kicked in. Even though Mother Nature decided to end the fun a little early, the group’s optimism still made Saturday a dusty, rip-roaring success.