Shearboy has long thought about the possibility of running arguably the toughest trails in Northern Colorado sequentially (There) and then in reverse (Back). In fact, last year he made an attempt at this very ride…quite unsuccessfully though. The main reason was group dynamics. It is just too difficult to pull a big group through terrain like this.

Some people wondered why they didn’t see a ride invitation for this one or any sort of advanced notice. First, we needed to prove to ourselves that this could be done. Second, we wanted to set a ‘ballpark’ time that this ride can be completed in so future riders would have a yardstick to measure the ride with. Third, this ride MUST be done in small groups. There is simply no way you can get a large group through these tight singletrack trails efficiently. The ideal group will be 2-4 riders. We went with 3 and it worked perfectly.

So on with the report. The plan was to meet at the base of Moody at 7am, and as with any great plan, things change. I get caught behind a hay-hauling truck coming up Horsetooth and can’t get around. I am late. No matter, when I get there Mark has only just gotten there and Crash isn’t there yet.

Firing up the thumpers, the adrenaline begins to pump, this is going to be a ride to remember. Grabbing judicious amounts of throttle we blast off into our latest adventure. Moody Hill is torn to bits and I manage to nail a sharp rock somehere on the ascent. I get to the top and nearly hit cRAsH headon! Holy Schneikies…we both thought we had the trail to ourselves!! He spins around to meet us just as I am getting the front tire pulled off the bike. As a side note, I have had three flats in my life and 2 of them have been on Moody Hill! WTH?!

Mark enjoys his only only smoke of the day!

Cooling the bikes off on an already brisk morning. September is perhaps the best month of the year to ride in Colorado.

Mark is really enjoying that new trials tire!

Heading up Donners Pass you never know what to expect. Somedays the trail is managable, other days it is a slippery, slimey mess. One thing pretty much stays constant…it is Rocky and Steep!

A little video of the boys climbing Dante’s Inferno

Eventually, just after you think Satan has no mercy, it levels out and you can finally catch your breath!

The 450exc is in her element up here. Unfortunately I have been battling a bug all week and pretty much feel like somebody took a baseball bat to my entire body…and this is just the first climb of the day! Oh boy!

Who knows what the signs says, but we were there!

Mark makes it to the top of Satan’s highway.

cRAsh makes sure no man gets left behind.

Mark continues to puff on his first cigarette of the day…you will soon be amazed at how long ONE cigarette can last!

I asked Mark if I could borrow his new tire, he graciously told me where to go!

“If you haven’t ridden the Rowdy Section, you haven’t ridden Donners” – Mark

I don’t have a picture, but the other two guys do, but I had my first off-trail-excursion (OTE) in a long, long time on this trail. My shoulders bounced off a tree and sent my handlebars in the wrong direction at the wrong time! Oooops! Did I mention I felt like crap before the ride even started?

We all worked up a sweat on this ride on a cool September morning!

I asked Ray if he wanted me to ride his bike down for him…he politely declined.

One thing becomes apparent really quickly. These boys CAN RIDE! Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Where were we?

Oh yeah, we just got to the bottom of the Rowdy Section and Mark is wondering why his rear brake isn’t working. You didn’t have to be the head checker at WalMart to figure out that his brake lever was bent clear around.

Keeping on task was really important on this ride. If we were going to get this done before dark, we had to keep moving. We made our way over the switchback section of Donners and then off to Monument Gulch. As we approach the open meadow area of Monument Gulch we are given a little gift. A whole bunch of Wild Turkeys!

Can’t see them? How about a little ZOOM!

Monument Gulch is not a technical trail by any measure, but it does have a nice rhythm to it. We motored on through and headed down Pingree Park Road to Poudre Canyon. We had wondered if the recent asphalt truck accidents were going to cause us any problems, but luckily the canyon was open.

Gateway to Poudre Canyon

Shearboy motors down 63E

Motoring up the canyon we head to Rustic. After grabbing a Gatorade at the store we were up Seven Mile trail like a flash. We are really working hard at keeping the stops to a minimum. And there weren’t any pictures until we got to the top.

cRAsH was loving the pace!

Shearboy, do you like riding fast? YUP!

Swamp Creek Cutoff is a rocky, rooty, roller coaster of excitement. The excitement begins as soon as you pass through the fence and never reallly lets up until you get to Bald Mountain Road. Shearboy, cRAsH, and I rode well together. No matter who was leading, we never had to wait long for any rider to catch up. Riding with 2 other guys that share the passion for riding is a great feeling.

The crux is a wonderful challenge. I don’t think I have ever gone the same way twice.

More Swamp Creek action

Popping out of Swamp Creek we run into two guys from Longmont that had never ridden the area before. We download our limited knowledge and talk the guys into riding Swamp Creek. I think perhaps they enjoyed themselves. We zip up Bald Moutain Road and get to Killpecker. Our goal is to get up and over Killpecker by noon. The clock is racing so we get moving.

If I had to design a trail from scratch, I think I would end up with a trail like Killpecker. There is really nothing else like it in the area. The trail is three different sections all linked together. There are rocks, roots, water crossing, ledges, climbs, descents, singletrack, and narrow trees. Sheer nirvana.

I am pretty sure the other guys love this trail as much as me.
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We roll into our lunch break at 12:10. Only 10 minutes past our goal. Not bad. We made excellent time over Killpecker.

Trailside Cuisine is served.

After laying on the ground for 45 minutes, letting the feeling return to our arms, it is time mount up for the return trip.

Killpecker just flowed well. We never even stopped so no pictures!

Before we know it we are back at Swamp Creek Cutoff!

What is not to love??

We are really putting the hammer down now. Not a single stop on Swamp Creek on the return trip. We are in the zone now. We stop at the top of Seven Mile only long enough to regroup and we are off again.

Down at Rustic we are greeted by a high mountain shower.

Cheddar Harvest Sun Chips and an Orange Gatorade and a few gallons of gas. Getting resupplied takes long enough to let the storm pass.

This is my last image as we don’t stop again until we reach the bottom of Donners Pass. I will have to rely on my riding partners to finish this off!