The second weekend spent on a Norco Search from Auburn Bike Company was spent exploring Eldorado National Forest. I picked up a fellow adventure rider, Evan Burgeson, to go out in search of new places and fresh lines on Strava. We parked off the side of the road, east of Georgetown after stopping in at Wortons market to grab some sandwiches to go. I loaded the Norco up with my Revelate Designs handlebar bag with a bunch of snacks, some oranges, and a sub sandwich for Evan and I. We left the truck with two full bottles each and rode in the general direction of where we thought trails were. We found a road that used to be there, but was overgrown with manzanita and covered in pine needles. We continued down the slope, slipping and sliding over the needles, until we ran across narrow line of singletrack. Score! The singletrack was rocky with sharp edge rocks and had loose gravely rocks over large smooth rocks. The trail was slightly naturally rutted by drainage and made for a fairly technical CX ride. We rode through caves of manzanita and the rolling clouds provided good lighting without disguising rocks and holes. Naturally, we had to stop for a few pictures.
We made all our route decisions based on playing rock paper scissors at intersections… it kind of worked. We wound our way up some singletrack that spit us out onto a road that we followed in search of more singletrack. We didn’t find any more singletrack, but instead a road that deteriorated into a manzanita grove. We hiked straight up the hill towards where we knew another road would be and stumbled into a number of private property signs. We tried to follow the road back to where we came from but we found even more private property, no trespassing signs. Once again we went bushwhacking up onto the mountain to go around. We found the road that had deteriorated and attempted to ride down the hill towards it. The hill got steeper and steeper and I had a minor crash into the soft bed of pine needles. It was perhaps one of the most pleasant crashes I’ve ever had. I got up and walked the few more meters to the road and we backtracked together towards our last trail split. We followed the roads south and they eventually turned into pavement. All of the side roads turned into private property or dead ends so we continued south towards Spanish Flat. We enjoyed a few miles of descending and stopped at the bottom of a hill a creek for a picnic. While trying to grab a sweet pic of his bike in the stream, Evan slipped and got his feet wet. Apparently a rain runoff stream in November is chilly or something. I could his wet socks sloshing in his shoes for the rest of the day. After a relaxing picnic of filling our stomachs, we started a paved climb up to where I had ridden the previous week. The climbing was slow due to our full stomachs but we managed to find the singletrack I had been looking for the week before.
We followed the moto trail for a few glorious miles. It was a little rough for CX bikes and I found the front rim on square edge rocks a few times and despite my best efforts, the wheels remained true and I had no snake bites or pinch flats. I was impressed. The Norco took my abuse like a champ and the hydro disk brakes gave me all the control I wanted. I’ll admit that my hands were starting to get a little beat up after our 16 mile ride. The trails we were riding on cross bikes were moto trails and rough with no suspension. The WTB 47c Horizon tires worked pretty well at soaking up the bigger rocks but they were by no means a replacement for suspension. It was great feeling comfortable jumping the bike over swoops in the trail and off a few little drops and through the roots. We could not have asked for better dirt on the trails. Hidden in the shadows all day, they were turned up by motos and had the consistency of fluffy brown pow. It was the stuff mountain bike dreams are made of and the traction I had was impressive. We covered a mere 28 miles and 4k feet of climbing that day but we were spent. It was a good day with plenty more to explore in the area. I’ll be back.
*All photos by Evan Burgeson