A taste of winter

Last weekend, Nick and I got to spend some time up in Buffalo Creek and it was a super fun time. We were going up for a group ride and Mexican potluck on Sunday and decided to make a weekend of it. We hadn't ridden in Buff Creek at all this year, so I was really looking forward to some hours on the trail.

Saturday, we drove up the pass with clouds hanging heavy on the mountains and draped across the slopes of Pikes Peak. The moisture filled the air with the occasional flake of snow drifting down amid the mist and rain. Perfect riding weather. And the trails at Buffalo Creek would be in awesome shape, thanks to the rain. We just needed to dig out all the winter gear that had been hidden since March! I could tell we hadn't ridden in that kind of conditions for a while, we both over dressed and had to stop and take jackets and hats off pretty quickly after we started riding.

We had no agenda when we started - just ride up to the CT and pick a direction. Ended up going west, looking for some of the fun descents and trying to avoid the long climbs for a bit. Nick reminded me of one of the rock garden sections that I'd wiped out on last time we'd ridden there. I got close enough to be able to follow his line this time around and was able to clean it. Wasn't pretty, but for the first time being able to ride it, I'll take it. I really like riding in Buff Creek - it's fast and flowy with nothing super scary (except for Black Jack - which I haven't ever seen). The climbs are mostly long and gradual with a few steep sections to keep you honest. And there's a lot of new trails. We took the CT over to Red Mountain trail, which cut between to road to get to GasHouse Gulch Trail. I'd never ridden it before, and it was fun. Then down GasHouse to the Morris Creek climb. We thought about calling it a day, but Nick wanted to find Nice Kitty (he kept calling it "Hello Kitty"). So back down we went on Shinglemill. A little riding around and we spotted the almost hidden bridge that lead to Nice Kitty. Then forty minutes of climbing. Wow - but a good, steady climb - some sections to rest, some rock gardens and a few really steep sections. By the time we reached the top, I was ready to head back to the camper!

We rode during the prettiest part of the day. The low clouds kept rolling in and out of the mountains like waves, each cloud bringing a layer of mist with it. The aspens gleamed with color, bright beacons of gold amid the green and browns. I think the low light really highlighted the strong colors of the trees - no competition from the sun. Nick happened to be wearing a yellow jersey with red shorts and an orange Osprey pack - he fit right in among the trees! Despite the number of riders out enjoying the single track, it was also so quiet. The clouds absorbed all the ruckus of life, the rain kept the trails nice and tight and the crisp air highlighted the fun of riding.


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