Towards the end of Fly Gulch is a cow pond that is home to the “other” Northwest Colorado gator. Mr. Moots loves to visit this spot….you know….”family time”.
We’ve just past under 8 weeks to go until we host our 4th Annual Moots-Colorado Ranch Rally! The event is just about sold out, if you hurry you may still be able to get in. Our 50 mile noncompetitive gravel/dirt road ride benefits our local Community Agriculture Alliance by bringing awareness to the amazing resource we have right out our front door here in Steamboat. Farm or ranch to table is a real thing and we are lucky to have these historic family owned operations serving up food to our town and beyond. We are really looking forward to the event.
Speaking of the event, this last weekend a solo ride on the Ranch Rally course turned into documenting the state of the course and I have to say….I’ve never been able to ride the route in April. It’s been really dry here and the snow has made a quick exit, even from the non-maintained B road sections. I snapped some photos around the course and have some helpful tips for you to be thinking about as you prepare for the rally on June 17th…..I hope you enjoy.
Out behind the Sleeping Giant or (Elk Mountain) the gravel is a little more serious (softer/deeper) than other areas on the course…there is also this steep little climb to tackle. Tip—The entire Ranch Rally is doable on a road bike with a 28mm tire, but even nicer on a 34mm.
Top of the Mystic climb…..many mountains to view from here…..Sand Mountain, Hahns Peak and Mount Farwell. Tip–Come prepared with two bottles, tubes and inflation device so you can get yourself out of a jam or help someone else along the way.
Not bad for April! Crusing along Routt County road 46 towards Mystic.
The first section of “B” or “winter maintenance-less” road comes about 15 miles in. These small sections of the course do not get plowed during the winter months so they sit under snow until the sun does its thing. They are short sections and require just a bit of line choice to make them smoother. Tip–Keep your eyes up the road in these sections and pick the smoothest line possible….also watch for on coming cars, keep to the right!
Topping out on the first “B road” headed west. Quaker Mountain in the background. Tip–Since the dirt and gravel roads have no painted center line, it’s super important to ride heads up and to the right at all times. In this picture the route starts to tip downwards at speed…..when braking on loose surfaces such as gravel and dirt roads, think less is more. …feather your braking so you don’t lock up and skid.
Headed almost North East at this point on Upper Deep Creek and sighting the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area in the distance. That is the Continental Divide that runs out of Canada all the way to Mexico and is at about 12,000 feet above sea level. There will be a stocked aid station at the half way point on the Ranch Rally route. Tip–The majority of the Ranch Rally route sits between 6700 and 7500 feet above sea level. Hydration is the key to having a good day on course. Start drinking fluids 48 hours before the start and continue to sip during the event. Your body dehydrates much quicker at higher-altitudes. Mix in straight water with your favorite sports drink for best results.
Cattle shoot on upper Deep Creek. Zirkels in the distance.
County Road 52E (also known as Salt Creek) can be a tricky one. Another “B” road section that is about 2.25 miles in lenght. Rolling hills which can be sandy at times, with possible rutted two-track. Tip–Tire pressure…..more than likely you are running too much pressure. Even modern day road tires that are 25-28mm require less pressure due to their larger volume and when riding dirt and gravel roads you need even less. Next time you go out for a ride, try running less than you normally do. You’ll bounce around less and the ride will be much smoother. Start out at 80-90psi max and go down from there. Larger 33-35mm tires can go down to 40psi and ride great.
Lower Fly Gulch. The last climb of the day on the Ranch Rally. This little “berg” comes late in the route and is about 3/4 of a mile long, with a flat start at the bottom that kicks up just a bit towards the top. This is a late-day-leg-tester….thankfully it does not last too long. Once over the top you’ve got a gravel descent to finish it off. Sections of this can be loose and rough….pay attention, you’re just about to lunch! Tip–When riding gravel keep a nice even grip on the handlebars…..don’t “death squeeze” the bars. This will help absorb the rougher surface and keep your upper body more relaxed and less fatigued.
Mountain gator in the cow pond. At the bottom of Fly Gulch look for the golden eyes of the mountain gator. Not really sure why the rancher placed him there, but we like it!
WHAT I RIDE FOR THE RANCH RALLY—MY SET UP
Frame: Psycho X
Fork: Enve thru-axle disc Cyclocross fork
Head set: King I7
Group: Sram Force CX Disc
Gearing: Crank 50/34 teeth, 11-28 cassette
Tires: Clement LAS file tread 33mm (they really measure 36mm) clincher w/tubes—running 38 psi front & rear
Wheels: Mavic Allroad clinchers
two bottle cages
real deal frame pump by Topeak
Saddle tool roll by Rapha (tube and tool kit wrapped inside)
Garmin 510 GPS
Spur Cycle Bell
3D printed (by my son) Storm Tropper head on my stem
May the Force Be With You!
Look for more updates as we get closer to June 17th!