Posted May 11, 2005
Feeling at home in the OHV area
I feel good about riding in Off Highway Vehicle areas. In places where people drive Jeeps through creeks and shoot at the No Shooting signs, we mountain bikers have a very low impact.
The kind of riding we're capable of -- especially with downhill bikes -- just isn't compatible with shared-use trails. Heck, even when you slow to walking pace, some Audubon types still freak out. At Left Hand Canyon, where the trails are gnarly and so are the trail users, we're not seen as an abomination; we're seen as a curiosity.
The Left Hand Canyon OHV area is just few miles outside Boulder, CO. It consists of two drainages with eroded Jeep trails splashing through the valley floors, rocky trails skirting the ridge lines and rutted trails plummeting down the slopes. Riding a bicycle here requires a lot of hiking, but the descents are deliciously intense. And they're legal. And we can ride how we like without scaring anyone.
Yesterday a group of us hiked up Carnage Canyon (that's the real name) then hung a right 1,400 vertical feet to an 8,000-foot ridge. The trail on top is wide and very rocky, with about 89 potential lines per square meter. We sessioned a couple spots on the way up then pinned it on the way down.
The endless rock gardens challenged us to find perfect rhythm. Fast corners gave us that G-loving feeling. And the final descent through Carnage Creek kept us bouncing and slipping (but not unclipping!).
In the end we hiked for about an hour and descended for about 10 minutes on some very DH-worthy trails. When we rode through the shooting range everyone stopped shooting, and when we railed past some 4x4s the drivers nodded approvingly. In this OHV area, downhill mountain bikers are about as bothersome as bird watchers.
Here's more info about Left Hand Canyon.
We also enjoy riding at Pawnee Grassland (shown below).
Fight terrorism: spend money!
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