Bear Creek Trail Closure Proposals

March 25th, 2014

Jones Park

A few weeks ago the Forest Service had an open house about proposed trail closures due to the greenback cutthroat trout in Bear Creek. I’m not convinced they’ve studied the impacts of the trail well enough to say they’re a problem but because of settling a lawsuit with environmental groups it probably doesn’t matter what the impact is. The US Fish and Wildlife Service must approve any trail work in the Bear Creek drainage including current trail maintenance.

At the open house, 3 alternatives were shown. Alternative A is the current trail system and we know that there’s very little chance the trails will remain the same in the future. Alternatives B and C have various trail closures and re-routes.

Both new alternatives would still allow the “Missing Link” trail to be created to link Barr Trail to the Jones Park area but would make it longer because of going around Jones Park and I believe add an uphill section. Also with both proposals, High Drive would be closed to vehicle traffic but would be open to non-motorized use.

Alternative B has all of Jones Park off limits and the upper part of Bear Creek Trail (666) closed. A trail re-route from Pipeline would keep Captain Jacks away from Bear Creek and connect where Captain Jacks currently drops down from the ridge to the creek and intersects with 666. A connector would be created from Buckhorn over to 666 near Josephine Falls.

I believe Alternative C is the same as Alternative B except that all of Bear Creek Trail (666) would be closed. I don’t think you’ll find it surprising that I don’t like this plan.

One part of “Alternative B” that I’m not sure is necessary is the complete closure of Jones Park at least to non-motorized use as that area is flatter and doesn’t have nearly the erosion issues of lower on Cap’n Jacks. Most of Jones Park is Colorado Springs Utilities land and I don’t think they want to make sure they have no risk with the greenback cutthroat trout.

One effect of closing Jones Park is access to Mt. Arthur and Mt. Garfield will be more difficult. It would be nice if a trail could be built from the Section 16 area to allow more access into that area. Also there are ruins of historic buildings in the Jones Park area that would be off limits.

It’s not clear how long it will be before the whatever plan is approved will be implemented. The US Fish and Wildlife Service have until late summer to approve the plan the Forest Service submits to them.

I talked to Forest Ranger Allan Hahn at the meeting last month about how soon trail re-routes could be done after a plan was approved. Although the Forest Service doesn’t have money for the changes, he believes the plan could be implemented in a matter of weeks since so many people are willing to volunteer to get access to the area. I’m not optimistic that with all the government red tape that volunteers would be turned loose to get the re-routes done that quickly.

Now it’s time to move forward and get the best possible trails under the circumstances. Input on the proposals can be sent to the Forest Service by emailing bcc@fs.fed.us, faxing (719) 477-4233 or mailing. Comments must be received by March 27th, 2014. One thing a found from talking to the Forest Service is they don’t understand very well how people use the trails and that it would be helpful to them to know more.

The Gazette did an article that includes some of history of the Bear Creek area. Someone who is fighting against any closures also has history on the area with historic photos. At this point, I don’t believe fighting the changes is productive but the page has some interesting information.

Below is the letter the the Peak Mtb Collective has been asking people to sign at the informational meetings they’ve held. Use it as is or as a starting point for your feedback to the Forest Service. Also go to the Peak Mtb Collective page and sign up for email updates on the Bear Creek drainage trails and other Colorado Springs area trail issues.

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Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project
Pikes Peak Ranger District
601 S. Weber Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
719-477-4233
bcc@fs.fed.us

In reviewing the proposed changes to travel management and recreational activities and the improvement actions for the stream habitat in the Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project (BCWRP) area, I understand that the project’s purpose is to protect the greenback cutthroat trout as well as to maintain a balance among the many trail user groups. The area in question has a well-established, recognized trail system that is important to the outdoor lifestyle for which the Pikes Peak region is known.

As an avid user of the Bear Creek area and Pikes Peak region trail systems, I am aware of the important balance we share with our eco-system. I have read full through the proposed BCWRP proposals and I support “Alternative B” as the action plan for implementation by the Pikes Peak Ranger District. I believe “Alternative B” supports the objective of protecting the greenback cutthroat trout as well as offering a balance between access and use of this vast trail system.

Acknowledging that change is needed in the area, “Alternative A” offers little compromise regarding the ecological concerns of the project. “Alternative C” offers limited compromise by significantly limiting trail access including the complete closure of trail 666. I believe either of these plans hinders involved groups’ respective goals and could have negative long term effects.

I want to thank everyone involved in the project and look forward to seeing “Alternative B” move forward. I also extend myself as a resource in the implementation of “Alternative B” in the Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project.

2014 Leadville Mountain Bike Race Series

January 17th, 2014

Leadville Winter Fat Bike Series 2014

Fat bikes have become the rage in the last couple years. They’re perfect for riding in the snow and a snow race series begins in the Leadville area tomorrow. There will be 4 races in the Leadville winter MTB series this year.

The first is tomorrow, Saturday, January 18th, at Copper Mountain’s WinterBike race. Registration starts at 4pm and will be located across from the Ice Rink and Zip Line in Center Village. The race begins at 6 pm. Fireworks at 7pm. There will also be a kids race that begins at 5pm.

There will be demo bikes available before the race. You can check out your new bike from REEB, Borealis Bikes, Boo Bikes, and Twenty2.

The series is a great way to try out snow racing if you don’t live too far away to see if you want a bigger snow adventure like the Susitna 100, Arrowhead 135 or Iditarod Invitational.

Although snow racing is best on a fat bike like the Borealis Bikes Yampa that has clearance for giant tires, you can do it on a regular mountain bike. You just put as wide of tires as will fit on your frame and run low air pressure.

2014 Leadville Winter Mountain Bike Series Schedule

  • January 18 – WinterBike at Copper
  • February 8 – Tennessee Pass Night Jam
  • March 1 – Mineral Belt Mayhem
  • April 12 – East Side Epic

Chris had a good writeup of the East Side Epic a few years ago.

Get the latest info on the Cloud City Wheelers Event Page or the Leadville Winter Mountain Bike Series Facebook page.

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Global Fat Bike Day 2013

December 6th, 2013

Fat Bike Day in Colorado Springs

Fat bikes have become all the rage in the last year or two. Borealis Fat Bikes makes great carbon fiber fat bike frames and are located right here in Colorado Springs. They are available locally at Pro Cycling and online at Competitive Cyclist.

Tomorrow, December 7th, is Global Fat Bike Day. There are several events around the US and at least also in the UK. Some of them a listed on the Global Fat Bike Day 2013 Facebook page.

It will be very cold and snowy in Colorado Springs unlike the weather for last year’s Fat Bike event here when it was warm and dry. There will be several demo bikes including ones from Borealis Fat Bikes. Check out the details of the Colorado Springs Fat Bike event here.

Related Links:
2012 Colorado Springs Fat Bike Day Photos

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What Colorado Springs Projects are Important?

October 25th, 2013

Mount View on Cog Railway

Nick Kittle wants to know what’s important to the people of Colorado Springs. Nick used to work for Colorado Springs doing sustainability stuff but now runs his own company, Sustainovation LLC.

To find out what’s important to Colorado Springs residents, Nick created a survey with 22 possible local projects. You can chose up to 5 and rank them in importance. There’s also a box to add something that’s not on the list. It’s not an official survey but Nick likes to get things done and has connections so it’s a good way to get your voice heard.

There are several outdoor related projects including Manitou Incline improvements. I’m not sure the Incline needs to be improved but it does need to be stabilized and maintained so it doesn’t deteriorate further. Other outdoor projects include Ring the Peak (Pikes Peak), Implement the Bike Master Plan, Bike share program and Pikes Peak Greenway improvements (including waterway fixes/trail, etc).

There are a couple projects I like that aren’t on the survey. One is the trails on the South Slope of Pikes Peak that’s dragged on for years now. The other is the Missing Link Trail (temporary name) from Barr Trail over to Jones Park. That’s a trail that was approved a couple years ago but has been mired in red tape.

Deadline to complete the survey is tonight, Friday October 25th at midnight. Go fill out the survey and get your voice heard!

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Friends of Ute Valley Park

April 19th, 2013

Ute Valley Park

I live close to Ute Valley Park. It’s a beautiful 338 acre open space surrounded by neighborhoods but it’s easy to feel like you’re outside the city. I’ve been mountain biking in it for years and now that I live close I hike in it with my family.

Ute Valley is a popular with hikers, runners and mountain bikers. It has become more heavily used since the Waldo Canyon Fire closed Mountain Shadows Open Space and Blodgett Peak Open Space.

Most people don’t know that about the eastern half of the area is not part of the park but is owned by HP. There are a few No Trespassing signs near trails at the HP property boundary but people have freely used trails on HP property. Last summer’s Pro XCT in Ute Valley Park course included trails on the HP property.

Concerns about the HP property being developed and the increase in social trails prompted the creation of the Friends of Ute Valley Park (FUVP) last fall. Ute Valley has been the last Colorado Springs open space without a friends group.

Friends of Ute Valley Park Earth Day FlyerI’ve been working on the Friends of Ute Valley Park website the last couple months. I still have plenty to do on it but we’re using it post new on the park. We also have a FUVP Facebook page.

Tomorrow, Saturday April 20th, there will be an Earth Day event at the Ute Valley Park parking lot on Vindicator 9-11 AM. The park ranger, Friends of Ute Valley Park and Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates will be there with information. There will also be a brief maintenance project and park clean up. Please come out and join us.


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Trails Around Jones Park Could be Closed

April 4th, 2013

Jones Park Above Colorado Springs

Last year it was determined that the 750 greenback cutthroat trout living in Bear Creek near Jones park are the only genetically pure greenback cutthroat left. The US Forest Service was sued by environmental groups for not sufficiently protected these fish. Last fall Bear Creek Trail (666) and Captain Jacks Trail (667) were closed to dirt bikes and camping was prohibited in the area.

I’ve been hiking and riding these trails for over 25 years. Here’s a Jones Park ride report from a couple years ago. The Ring the Peak mountain bike race also uses these trails.

Now the Forest Service is proposing closing 3.5 miles of trail along Bear Creek to all users. While I’m for protecting the fish and agree there’s still erosion problems in spite of all the work the dirt bike groups have done, I have trouble believing closing the trails is necessary.

It seems strange that such a heavily used area is the only place that the fish have survived. Since they have survived, why is it necessary to close the trails? It seems that rerouting the trail in places and adding more erosion control should be sufficient.

The USFS has a webpage with a several detailed documents on the assessment process. The detailed trail assessment includes a map of the affected trails.

The proposal has some possible trail reroutes and at least one would allow connection to the proposed Missing Link Trail which would be really cool to have completed. The information on these possible reroutes start on page 74 of the trail assessment document. Medicine Wheel has some good comments on the proposals.

Tonight, Thursday March 4th, there will be an Open House from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Leon Young Service Center (1521 Hancock Expressway, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903).

If you can’t make the open house, you can provide comments through April 30th, 2013 by mail, fax, or email to:

Bear Creek Watershed Restoration Project
Pikes Peak Ranger District
601 S. Weber Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
(719) 477-4233 fax
bcc@fs.fed.us

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Current Outdoor and Cycling Deals

March 28th, 2013

Outdoor Gear

Spring is here and it’s time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Here are several current outdoor deals if you’re in need of some new gear.

Updated April 6th

Backcountry.com

Backcountry.com has a huge selection of outdoor gear including bikes and gear. Now through April 7th, you can get 20% off one full price item with code SAVE20.

REI

REI Memebers save 20% on 1 Full-Price Item on REI.com plus 1 Item on REI-OUTLET with coupon code MEM2013. Not a member? It’s only $20 for lifetime membership and they target giving 10% of qualifying purchases back as a dividend each year.

Sierra Trading Post

Save an additional 15-25% during the Sierra Trading Post Spring Sale. They also have a couple coupon codes that are good through May 8th.

Tahoe Mountain Sports

Save 20% on up to 2 full priced items. Use promo code: New2 – Offer Expires 4/17, some restrictions apply.

CampSaver

CampSaver has an extra 20% off sale items in their Outlet with code OUTLET-20. In addition, Big Agnes, Granite Gear and Exped are on sale in their main store. Expires April 10th.

Fontana Sports

Take an additional 20% OFF all Snowboards, Snowboard Boots & Bindings (already reduced up to 40% off). Use Coupon Code: A20SNB

Jenson USA

Jenson USA is running their 3 Million Dollar Bike Sale. Get up to 58% off complete bikes. 74 models to chose from.

Moosejaw

Take 20% off almost everything at Moosejaw. Shop spring styles from top brands like Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, Icebreaker, Lole and Prana (and tons more) all at 20% off. No code necessary. Free Shipping on All Orders $49+. Ends April 14th.

evo

Get extra 20% off all items in their outlet for their last chair outlet event. Use the code: last chair to receive the discount. Ends today, March 28th.

They are also selling all of their Ski and Snowboard goods at major discounts, up to 50% off on many 2013 items in the main store. No code necessary for the main shop.

Konasports

Get an additional 15% off already discounted items in their Outlet section with coupon code OUTLETDAYS. Ends April 1st.

TriVillage.com

TriVillage is offering 20% off over 600 items for triathlon, road cycling, and mountain biking with coupon code: DEALS20. If you want something that’s not included, you can use DEALS18 and save 18% on any other regularly priced items site wide! Also, TriVillage offers free shipping over $75 which just adds to the savings! Expires March 29th.

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Last Day to Register for 2013 Leadville 100 Lottery

January 31st, 2013

Powerline Leadville 100

Powerline Climb

Today, January 31st, is the last day to register for the 2013 Leadville 100 lottery for your chance to dig deep going up Powerline and on the rest of the course on August 10th. You have until midnight MST but if you plan on registering and haven’t, I’d suggest you do it as soon as possible just in case you have issues with registering. Head over to this page to register.

As has been the case for the last several years, there’s a $15 charge plus fees just to sign up for the lottery. This fee gets donated to charity though. Also the entry fee if you get picked in the lottery has gone up yet again. It’s now up to $345.

Although the Leadville 100 lottery used to be the only the only way to get into the Leadville 100, now there are the qualifiers to get a slot. There are also various charity slots that can be used to gain a Leadville 100 entry.

Good luck to everybody that is in the lottery! I’ve entered the lottery again in hopes of making my 10th start. Since I had a streak of 3 DNFs, I’ll be going for finish number 7.

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Global Fat Bike Day

November 30th, 2012

Fat Bikes in Colorado Springs

Photo Courtesy of Allen Beauchamp


Fat-bikes.com has declared tomorrow, December 1st as Global Fat Bike Day. They’ll be having a get together in Wisconsin. Right here in Colorado Springs, we’re going to have our own fat bike fun. Pedal of Littleton is having a fat bike event up there too.

You may not heard of fat bikes but they’re gaining popularity. Fat bikes are mountain bikes with extra wide tires that were created for riding in snow. The tires can be twice as wide as a regular mountain bike tire. They also work well in sand.

Racers for the Iditarod Trail Invitational would weld 2 rims together to get enough flotation in the snow. Then the Surly Pugsley was created and better wheels and tires came along. Now the Salsa Mukluk and Surly Moonlander are popular fat bikes.

Tomorrow’s event here in Colorado Springs is in Sand Creek near Platte Avenue. The Hub bike shop and the Surly rep will be on hand with some demo bikes including Moonlanders. For more details on the fat bike demo, see the event page on Facebook.

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Black Friday Outdoor and Cycling Gear Deals 2012

November 22nd, 2012

Here’s a list of outdoor and cycling related deals for Black Friday and through the weekend to Cyber Monday. Some of the deals are already available and some are just on Black Friday or Cyber Monday so check the details.

A couple big deals are 40% off regular priced items and 20% off sale items at Konasports and up to 30% off at Sierra Trading Post. See list below for coupon codes. The list is alphabetical by store name.

Altrec

Backcountry.com

Backcountry.com is running a few different sales through 11/28/12 with up to 70% off and includes free 2-day shipping on $50+ orders.

Bike Nashbar

Take an extra 20% off orders over $50 including bikes and frames through Sunday with code 72635. Some exclusions. Free shipping on Monday and Tuesday with code 43841 on orders over $25.

Climb High

25% off Rab, Patagonia, Brooks Range & ISIS. 20% Off All Ice Climbing Gear. Free shipping and free returns on all orders. Deals run Thursday through Monday.

CycloCamping.com

DC

Spend $125 and Get $25 OFF Your Next Order & Free Shipping. Offer Expires 11/26 at Midnight.

Derailed

15% Off Sitewide on Snowboard and Ski Apparel and Accessories and More.

Dogfunk

Equipe Sport

Getz

Save up to 50% on The North Face + Free Shipping over $75. Good through 12/1/12.

Giantnerd

Up to 80% off bike and outdoor gear.

Half-Moon Outfitters

Save an Extra 20% Off Select The North Face Items through 12/3 while supplies last, with promo code: tnfsale. Free Shipping on orders over $49!

Icebreaker

Jenson USA

Lots of great bike and bike accessory deals.

Konasports

Get 40% of regular priced with coupon code BCW40 and 20% off sale items with code BCW20. Excludes UGG, Oakley and Nixon . Free 2 day priority shipping in the US excluding oversize items. Click here to visit Konasports.

Moosejaw

Save 20% on almost everything at Moosejaw. No code necessary! Deal excludes some brands. Ends 11/25/12.

Pactimo

30% Off Cycling Apparel – Jerseys, Jackets & More! Sale runs through Monday.

Performance Bikes

Door busters in every category including bikes. Take an extra 20% off items other than door busters and bikes. Ends Sunday. $20 off orders over $100 on Monday.

Peter Glenn

Extra 20% off sale items on Monday with coupon code CYBMON12. Excludes skis, ski boots and ski bindings.

ProBoardShop

Up to 70% Off Snowboards, Skis, Outerwear, and much more through Monday. Click here to see.

Real Cyclist

Biggest Sale of the Season – Up to 50% Off thousands of bike items.

REI

Save on Gear with REI’s Cyber Monday Deals! Online only at REI.com. Save 50% on all REI Brand Outerwear for Men, Women, Kids on Friday only.

Rock Creek

Sierra Trading Post

Soul Poles

Get 20% off custom ski poles and free shipping with coupon code cybersoul.

Tahoe Mountain Sports

30% Off All Patagonia Clothing for Black Friday-Cyber Monday AND Get Free Shipping Too. Ends Monday. Also check their sale page.

The Clymb

Get the best prices of the year Monday only. Expires 11/27/2012 At 8:00AM PST.

TriVillage

20% Off Almost Everything for Running, Cycling & Swimming + Free Shipping over $75 w/ code: BLACKFRIDAY20. Ends Monday night.




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