This last weekend Erik (my boyfriend) and I decided it would be a lovely day to go on an easy mountain bike ride. I chose a trail that I thought would be pretty mellow based on distance and technical ability. The trail I wanted to ride is called Foothills trail, which goes in a big loop. It is a wide, level path with only a few easy uphills and one slightly technical downhill section, but there are gorgeous views of the plains and the mountains. This trail is located just East of Boulder, and winds through the open plains and around some picturesque ponds and reservoirs. But the coolest thing about this trail is that it cuts right through the center of a working ranch!
Now riding through a ranch is very interesting, as we discovered. There are a lot of cattle gates that you need to go through to connect with the bike-able portions of the trail. These gates are spring loaded, and if one isn't paying attention it would be easy to slam your bike frame in a metal gate (ouch!). I usually dismounted to go through these gates, but Erik became pretty skilled at balancing on his bike while opening and shutting the gate gently (he refuses to unclip from his pedals unless absolutely necessary. I ride with flats, so I don't have the clipped in obsession).
But the thing I did not expect on this ride were the cows! We had to ride our bikes quietly and carefully through an entire herd of cattle! I was pretty crazy riding slowly next to a huge animal like that, hoping that the squeak of your brakes doesn't startle it into running you down (I am told cows are docile animals. I still think they are kind of scary)! There times when I was forced to get off and walk, or drag my bike off the trail to make room for a passing bovine. One gate presented a particular problem as there was a huge bull standing just on the other side (pictured above). We hung out at this gate for a while trying not to make eye-contact with the big bull, and eventually he decided we were not a threat and moseyed (or maybe it was more plodding) off. Plus the trails had a fair number of steaming cowpies deposited conveniently in your way.
All in all it was a great late morning/early afternoon ride in an area of Boulder we don't spend much time in. This weekend we are hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park to Chasm Lake. It should be awesome! I will definitely post about the trip. My goal is to hike Long's Peak at the end of the month. Chasm lake is only 8.4 miles round trip, but Long's Peak is a rugged 16 miles! Not bad for a day hike! Long's Peak is one of Colorado's 14ers, so named because it is over 14,000 feet in elevation.
Wish me luck this weekend, and on my journey to the top of Long's!