Rocky Canyon Rd

It rained a fair bit, so I decided to ride Rocky Canyon Road instead of hitting a trail that was likely going to be pretty muddy.  Nobody cares if you ride the roads, dirt or not, when it’s muddy out.

Rocky Canyon Rd is easy to get to: Head towards the Military Reserve and stay straight on Reserve Rd instead of turning into the Reserve.  Reserve Rd will turn into Shaw Mountain Road and wander up hill for a ways.  Just after the first speed bump the road will “Y”, staying right will take you to Table Rock, turning left will get you to Rocky Canyon Rd.  I parked my car just before the road turned to dirt and started riding from there.  The only decision point you’ll run into is where Rocky Canyon Rd continues past Road 275.  Just before the 5 mile mark you will crest a hill and there will be a well marked road on your left telling you you’ve reached Rd 275; that’s the one you want to take.  Turn left (uphill) and keep climbing.

Here is the map of where I went:

The elevation profile is from the top coming back down.

As for the road itself, as you can see from the elevation profile, it’s a primarily steady climb all the way.  There aren’t any surprises except for the occasional car, and since it’s a road, the riding is simple.  Last year when I road it the road was terribly washboardy.  Usually, washboards aren’t that big of a deal on a mountain bike, but these were something awful and it made the ride really unenjoyable.  Right now, though, the road is fine and not a total drag.

I’m not really one for dirt roads.  Some people really enjoy them, but I get bored of them quickly.  It feels more like work than fun since the only thing difficult about it is how strenuous it is.  For someone who’s in good climbing shape, Rocky Canyon isn’t going to be terribly difficult.  But, for me, at the beginning of the season, it was a beast towards the end (my turnaround point at least).  It wasn’t until about 5 miles that it started getting/feeling really steep.  The weather was a mix of sun and snow and the road itself was wet with only a few slippery spots.  Once past the five mile mark I started running into patches of snow on the road that couldn’t be avoided.  A couple of these forced me to walk.  The main reason why I turned around when I did was because the snow started to get thick, and I didn’t feel like walking.

Here’s a shot from my turnaround point:

The thing you have to understand about this ride is that you can really put yourself through your paces for the entirety of the hill, because as soon as you turn around, all you’ll have left is downhill.  So, where normally you might need to pace yourself throughout the whole ride, you really only need to pace yourself for the first half, and then let gravity do most of the work on the way down.  That being said, when the road dries up and the surface becomes less slippy, you can really put the hammer down on the way back down and make the descent a workout too (but even then, the return trip won’t last very long).  Today, it was just too loose for going balls-to-the-wall.

If you’re going to do this ride in the next few days (or any time when it’s cold) remember that the descent is going to be really cold.  I brought some extra leggings and a wind jacket, but I was a right popsicle when I got back to my car.  It took the whole ride home for me to gain feeling back in my toes, so you might think about bringing thicker gloves, booties, and some kind of ear covering.  I was still working hard on the way down, so my core stayed warm, but anything sticking out got treated to the harshities of the environment.

Overall, this was a good ride, given the circumstances.  It gave me a great workout, kept me off pavement, and didn’t make anyone mad about riding in the mud.  Something I plan on doing when the snow starts melting is to ride from here to Bogus Basin Road in a loop.  It’s about 50 miles, and something I’ve never done…but for now, 12 miles is good enough.

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~ by cardwelc on April 8, 2011.

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