Aspen’s one-wheeled wonder and other random cycling notes
Kudos to the city of Glenwood Springs for the work they did last year on the first phase of a trail system in South Canyon, 2 miles west of the West Glenwood exit on Interstate 70.
The new system provided a much-appreciated option for mountain bikers this spring when so many other trails were snowed shut and many remain wet at higher elevations.
The Coal Camp Trail, part of South Canyon’s network, provides a great challenge, climbing 800 feet in 3 miles with an average grade of 8 percent.
A second phase with 10 miles of singletrack is contemplated for construction in the future, featuring longer, steeper climbs and descents and outrageous views of the Flat Tops.
Glenwood Springs and multiple partners, including New Castle, Garfield County, Alpine Bank and Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, made the trail network happen.
So, there I was at a trailhead at the Kokopelli Loops west of Fruita on Sunday at about noon when I look up a ridge and see a unicyclist barreling down a somewhat technical descent.
“That can only be one person,” I thought to myself. Sure enough, a few moments later Aspen’s own Mike Tierney reached the base. The one-wheeled wonder was checking out Wrangler, one of the latest loops added to the Kokopelli system.
Tierney’s balance, lung power and leg strength are, frankly, unbelievable.
A crew is working on a jug handle trail that will lengthen the riding on the Glassier-Buckhorn system. The new Vasten Trail will add 6 miles from the top of Glassier and tie into the Buckhorn Traverse.
The Vasten Trail is named for a family who homesteaded up on what’s now known as the Crown. The trail in progress is an oddity in that it crosses three counties — Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield.
The new trail will provide more options for cyclists accessing the Crown from the Rock Bottom Ranch side.
Be patient for a completion later this season, according to Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association executive director Mike Pritchard. Good things will come to those who wait. RFMBA is among the partners making the trail happen.
Road bikers also have gotten a treat in the midvalley this spring/summer. Eagle County is paving its portion of Frying Pan Road, which is making a super smooth surface. As of Saturday, about 5 miles had been paved but work is progressing.
While the new pavement makes for a smooth ride, take care not to let a wheel slip over the shoulder. It’s a bigger drop now.
As previously reported, the trails crew for the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District has done a super job clearing deadfall from the Mill Creek Trail on Basalt Mountain. Numerous charred trees fell on the popular route during and after the Lake Christine Fire. Since that report, a newsletter by the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association was released and noted that Missouri Heights resident Chris “Whitey” White and his son Harrison also helped clear the trail. White is a trail agent with RFMBA, someone who is trained in trail work and volunteers to individually dedicate a few hours per week to maintenance. White previously worked to rid a section of the trail of a vicious patch of thistle.
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Onsite parking won out over a Turkish bath at a new lodge planned to be built across from City Market. Aspen’s elected officials didn’t want to burden the neighborhood with offsite parking for the new hotel.