Riding King's Crown Easter Morn
In which Beorn of Gus Boots Willsen handles gradients preferred by mountain goats and bears, both up and down; I meet nary a soul; and a bald guy ascends and sits atop Mount Baldy for a pipe and coffee.
Tantalizingly close, just up the way a few miles and across Highway 24, is Rampart Range ridge, with amazing views of Pikes Peak (a rarity, living in Ute Pass so close to her, the glimpses we get on local trails are fleeting and tree or hill blocked), but they are social trails and completely undeveloped. I hadn't tried them in years, since running was my mainstay instead of cycling. But King's Crown neighborhood has grown in recent years and the network of social trails has been used more, including the south-eastern outlier that ascends Mount Baldy in a loop.
I'd been waiting for both a quiet highway day (crossing 24 without a light or center median is un-fun) and the likelihood of no snow on the trails, and as I reached Crystola is was both warm and quiet and seemed a good opportunity to go and explore. I was to the trail in no time, delighting to test for the first time Beorn's chops on unfamiliar trail. King's Crown also seemed a good call on Easter morn.
As one expects ascending a mount, the way is up and often steep. Beorn needs that ridiculous 18” low gear, and can handle the steep terrain that requires it because of the long wheelbase. Sit back to pedal up? Yup. What a delight!
Ahhhh! LCG. Lowest Common Gear. The gear every bike comes with. There is perfect synergy between the gearing and capacity to ride, for when the rear wheel spins out for the grade and loose decomposed granite, I'm just having to lean forward to weight the front wheel (likely why the rear slipped). Maybe in future I'll figure out the balance point better, but wow, was this impressive!
Some turns are taken at a leisurely pace.
Other turns are so fast they require banking at speed. Grin.
Through the turn and entering the straight away.
Tra-la-la, tra-la-la ...
Some journeys, though wee, feel epic.
Pikes Peak from near the top of Mount Baldy.
Beorn's applewood bar ends with brain tanned, smoked leather grips. The snowy peak behind the grip, to the right on the horizon, may be Mount Evans, just west of Denver.
Pipe and coffee with a view.
Virga in the distance. It grew, was no longer in the distance, and the drops reached the ground for my descent. Oh! Fresh, cool, spring rain on pine and sage loam makes for a delightful snootful! The snowy mountain on the right of the horizon is likely Mount Elbert, the highest mountain in Colorado, roughly 70 miles away as the crow flies.
Heading for home.
The trail looks remote but Highway 24, quiet as it was on Easter morn, made its presence known throughout the ride. I loved discovering these trails more accessible and was impressed by how ridable they were (at least for a long wheelbase bike). This may make a wonderful, if occasional, addition to the trail rotation.