Sunday, April 13, 2008

Heil Valley Ranch

On Sunday, April 6 I rode Heil Valley Ranch, this time starting at the trail head instead of riding from home. It was deceptively nice looking that day; by the time I started riding there was a chill wind. I underestimated how many layers to bring with me and started a bit cold, but luckily it was nice in the trees so I was warm enough most of the way through. The ride took a litle longer than it might have because I stopped to take pictures for this post and to fiddle with my front shifting. I think the front shifter cable stretched out a bit more since its last adjustment causing the front derailleur to rub the chain in the big ring. I've also found there to be some sort of front end rocking going on. Initially I tried tightening the headset but it still seems problematic. It is difficult to find where noises come from when you hear them most clearly on the trail.

For this ride I took the usual trip up Wapiti from the trail head and a right turn on Ponderosa. Shortly after this turnoff comes the Wild Turkey Trail, which is really turning out to be a nice section. There is maybe only one small part that is poorly planned. When traveling southbound there is a fast section that leads up to a hard right turn with a rocky incline to navigate. Because there isn't much warning it looks like most riders are going off the trail and widening it out since they can't slow down in time for the rocky section. It isn't a hard enough turn to be dangerous, it just isn't conducive to putting riders in a position to ride the technical portion.

At the end of Wild Turkey I turned a hard left onto Ponderosa and rode it clockwise past the Wapiti connection and back to Wild Turkey. I like riding the Ponderosa loop after taking Wild Turkey because it allows a nice transition to WT southbound without having to go out and back. If I had more time I would have made these trails into some sort of figure-eight. I am thinking Wild Turkey northbound, Ponderosa clockwise, Wild Turkey southbound, Ponderosa counter-clockwise. Maybe I'll try it next time.

To finish up I returned on Wapiti, which in itself provides a fun downhill. It isn't too steep to ride in control, (especially with the big wheels) but it is fast and rocky enough to make it interesting. For a ride fairly close to Longmont, Heil is turning out to be a favorite.

The photos here were taken at the trail head in the parking lot, the homestead near Wapiti, Wild Turkey overlooking Hall Ranch at Highway 7 and Wild Turkey overlooking Longmont in the distance.

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