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For a state cleaved in two by the Rocky Mountains, there’s a wealth of diverse terrain on hand for mountain bikers looking for their next ride. The Rockies definitely aren’t just for skiers and hikers. Either option, though, depending on the time of year can be taken advantage of if you’re looking for a day off on your bikation.
Colorado, along with California and Moab, Utah, played a seminal role in mountain biking’s storied beginnings. It was an avid cycling community in Crested Butte and Marin, California, who, back in the 1970s, took it upon themselves to tinker with clunkers and road bikes to find better alternatives to “forearm suspension” as they rode over mountain and off-road terrain. The rest is history.
Where to begin? In western Colorado, there’s desert terrain and singletrack in Fruita. There’s even trails for riding in the state’s eastern plains. San Luis Valley? Plenty to ride. It’s the heart of the state, specifically the territory of the Front Range and the Central Rockies, that boasts the majority of the Centennial State’s staggering +8000 miles of tracks (Crested Butte alone is home to +750 of those miles). There’s tracks in the alpine, tracks in the valleys, tracks for days and days catering to every skill level.
The community statewide is strong, and getting stronger. The resorts, looking to accommodate off-season recreators, have upped their game as well, creating miles and miles of track for the skiless months. Snowmass, Crested Butte, Breckenridge, Vail, and many others have taken great care and measures to craft thrilling trails for everyone. Perhaps even more enticing for those looking to ride a resort, there’s a chance to utilize existing lift infrastructure to get the most out of barreling down thousands of feet in the mountains. There’s no shame in getting a vertical boost – want a quick downhill ride before work to get your adrenaline going? Take a lift!
Lifts aside, for lots of trails, gaining vertical the hard way is a rite of passage for any mountain biker in Colorado – native or not. To mix my sporting metaphors, you gotta earn your turns to get to the goods. Either way, at the end of one ride, or a day of riding, the beer and pizza will taste great.