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  1. #1
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    is May too early for a 4-5 week MTB trip to the Rockies?

    hi all,

    ok, so i'm trying to work out the exact details for my upcoming MTB trip in the Rockies. it's kind of a juggle as i'm trying to mix many things:

    want to visit:
    Denver, Boulder, Fort Colins CO
    Salt Lake, Moab, UT
    (maybe) Flagstaff AZ
    (maybe) Sante Fe MN

    + main goal is to do lots of technical mountain biking in CO, UT, AZ, NM (definitely Moab)
    (my secondary goal is to scout some cities for potential return to the US - mainly Boulder, Fort Colins, Salt Lake)

    ok, so here's my main question:

    is May too early? (because of snow and colder temperatures?)

    May/beginning June just works really well, because my sister and parents will be able to visit the week of Memorial Day (May 30th) so the 1st week of June AND there are 3 German holidays during May so i have to take less vacation.
    + i've already got some stuff planned for the end of June, July, etc and would have to shuffle a lot of stuff around

    or should i try starting end of May and all of June??

    or should i forget meeting the Memorial Day thing and shoot for July?
    why drive when you can ride?
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  2. #2
    Beauty Everywhere snowy's Avatar
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    I think you'll be ok. In all you could really start riding in March but at lower elevations. Colorado is just a hard state to read this time of the year. I have biked in March and then sometimes not at all till May. I think you'll be ok in May just be prepared for crazy weather. It can still snow in May so have your clothes ready. I don't live far from Boulder at all and I remember riding up there early last year.
    If you start at the end of May you will be totally fine. Your going to Moab as well I went the beginning of May a couple of years ago and it was HOT!!! So your totally fine. I just remember sticking to my sleeping bag!!!
    Have a great trip and hope this helps!!!
    YOU"LL LOVE COLORADO!!!!
    GREAT TRAILS!!!

  3. #3
    Luggite bsyptak's Avatar
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    I was mountain biking in May in Breckenridge last year. Should be fine. Could snow, but if it does it'll just be muddy!

  4. #4
    Canon fiend MadMan2k's Avatar
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    I went on a raft trip in Colorado in early may last year - it was pretty warm.

    It'll probably be getting into the 80's in the afternoon by then here...

  5. #5
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    hey thanks,

    i'm thinking the daily highs should be generally ok...
    although we'll probably be camping so not so low daily lows would be preferably...

    my main concern is if there is still considerable snowpack so that maybe trails might still be snow-covered and thus unrideable or wet because of melting snowpack?

    i guess most of the riding would not be really high altitude, although i would like to ride a couple of passes - my numbers may be off here, but i'm thinking max up to the 10,000 to 11,000 ft range... anyone know about where the snowlevel usually is in May in UT/CO (i would think the south-face side should be almost snow-free, but the north-face could be down pretty low). further south and lower elevation like Moab should be no problem i think. especially concerned about Western Colorado...

    anyone know if that is typical to be snow-free enough to mountain bike in Breck as bsyptak did last May?

    but if it looks generally doable, then maybe i can start in Moab and then later in May ride in Western Colorado... anyone think starting middle or late May worth be so much better to be worth the re-planning hassle?? (i.e. best would be starting May 1st through the first week of June, but i could MAYBE start middle of May until mid-late June - right now i'm thinking maybe start of May 14 would a little replanning - the main "negative" being that the week with my family would be in the MIDDLE of the trip instead of the end...
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

  6. #6
    Canon fiend MadMan2k's Avatar
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    Yes, it'd probably be a better bet to start with UT/NM/AZ and then go to CO after you're done there, and finally family.

    Maybe if you drive by where I live, you can check out the Alien Run trail near Aztec, its about 10 miles from me:
    http://content.mtbr.com/pscTrails/Un...9_4565crx.aspx

    I've ridden most of it, but that was in winter - the scenery is even nicer in the summer.

  7. #7
    1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain telenick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathank
    anyone know if that is typical to be snow-free enough to mountain bike in Breck as bsyptak did last May?
    I live 20 minutes from Breck and I can assure you that bsyptak is on the money. However, it is very weather dependant in Summit County whether you can ride on any given day without dealing with nasty weather in May. But who cares? Rides in nasty weather are part of the fun.

    Don't leave Fruita out of the picture. Fruita is where race buddies and I go for winter training. In May, it's perfect.

    In my opinion, the Front Range (Golden and Morrison near Denver) ain't what it used to be 10 to 17 years ago. The trails are so hammered that it's sad. Ride in Summit/Vail, Steamboat, Crusty Butt, Durango Fruita, Grand Junction, Telluride and anywhere in Utah's Canyon Lands. I assure you won't go wrong. Although, I'll admit that I'm a biased mountain boy.

    Good luck on the relocation.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathank
    hey thanks,

    i'm thinking the daily highs should be generally ok...
    although we'll probably be camping so not so low daily lows would be preferably...

    my main concern is if there is still considerable snowpack so that maybe trails might still be snow-covered and thus unrideable or wet because of melting snowpack?

    i guess most of the riding would not be really high altitude, although i would like to ride a couple of passes - my numbers may be off here, but i'm thinking max up to the 10,000 to 11,000 ft range... anyone know about where the snowlevel usually is in May in UT/CO (i would think the south-face side should be almost snow-free, but the north-face could be down pretty low). further south and lower elevation like Moab should be no problem i think. especially concerned about Western Colorado...

    anyone know if that is typical to be snow-free enough to mountain bike in Breck as bsyptak did last May?

    but if it looks generally doable, then maybe i can start in Moab and then later in May ride in Western Colorado... anyone think starting middle or late May worth be so much better to be worth the re-planning hassle?? (i.e. best would be starting May 1st through the first week of June, but i could MAYBE start middle of May until mid-late June - right now i'm thinking maybe start of May 14 would a little replanning - the main "negative" being that the week with my family would be in the MIDDLE of the trip instead of the end...
    Good luck!

    Break a leg!

    Koffee

  9. #9
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Sounds like a fun trip nathank. I am doing a similar trip just through the interior. Getting away from whistler for a few weeks to ride the 'desert' terrain. Wanna try something different than a temperate rain forest or big lift mountain

  10. #10
    DJColorado
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    The front range (foot hills to the peaks of the first mountain range west) is a pretty good bet in May. Some of the highest ski resorts stay open in to June, so that gives you an idea what the conditions at upper altitude might be. A great thing about Colorado is that it doesn't have nearly as long a mud season in the spring as many places do. From mid-April through mid-July I mostly white water kayak because that is when the rivers are at their best. I've had two experiences in the last three years where I put on when the temps were in the sixties and had it snowing and in the thirties when I took off three hours or so later. Like Snowey said, be sure and be prepared for crazy weather.

  11. #11
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMan2K
    Maybe if you drive by where I live, you can check out the Alien Run trail near Aztec, its about 10 miles from me:
    http://content.mtbr.com/pscTrails/U...29_4565crx.aspx
    hey thanks for the info and sounds like a cool trail.

    maybe we could meet up and go for a ride... according to the currend plan that would be some time mid- to end- of May (before Memoral Day as then i'll be in Boulder)
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

  12. #12
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    ok, so i guess what i'm hearing is May/June's an ok time??
    current plan: 4-5 weeks from Denver (hoping for 5 but hard to swing with work) mid May to mid June
    a) weeks 1-2: May 15th-Memorial Day: southern UT/AZ/NM
    b) week 3: Memorial Day week: meet up with the family in Boulder
    c) weeks 4-5: beginning of June: western CO and northern UT

    in addition to LOTS of mountain biking, i'm hoping to visit the following places as potentential relocation spots (it's hard to narrow down the list):
    Boulder, Denver, Fort Colins, Salt Lake City, Tucson, Alberquerque, Flagstaff...

    so any tips on cool places to ride or cities to check out??

    as my plans get closer, maybe i'll see if i can work out to meet up with more BF members for some local singletrails!!

    -nathan

    P.S. the snow here in Europe is REALLY crappy - sucks for snowboarding and skiing... but last weekend we went down to Lake Garda Italy for 3 days of awesome mountain biking: 13,000 vertical feet of climbing (plus one lift for some extra downhill) and awesome technical trails in 3 days - not bad for January!!!
    why drive when you can ride?
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  13. #13
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    ... and so the wait is finally over!!!!!

    tomorrow we fly to Denver and i have 5 WEEKS for mountain biking in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico!!! yes, i said FIVE WEEKS!!!!

    rough plan:
    May 14 arrive in Denver
    May 15-May 30 (2 weeks) --- loop south through Utah, Arizona and maybe New Mexico with definite stops in Moab, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tucson, Durango and maybe northern New Mexico, Phoenix, Fruita...
    May 31-June 4 - 1 week Boulder -- "family" week but still lots of riding in the Boulder area
    June 5-June 17 -- 2 weeks northern loop - definitely Fruita, Crested Butte, maybe Fort Collins, Moab (again)... various sky areas
    June 18 fly back to Munich

    anyhow, if anyone is local and interested in hooking up to show me a few trails, or if anyone else will be in the areas... i'll be attempting to check in here every so often...

    oh yeah, i'll be doing a little of everything from technical XC to Freeride to a little downhill -- taking my 37lb Kona Coiler and i'm not opposed to riding uphill... we're renting a minivan so will have wheels and mostly camping...

    it would be sweet to hook up with some BikeForum riders...

    -nathan
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

  14. #14
    Adios, Mofo J-McKech's Avatar
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    Hey man not to change the subject but when are you coming back to austin? We need to hit up Emma Long now that I have the Surly built up.
    I am Signature-less

  15. #15
    Senior Member Drunken Chicken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathank
    ... and so the wait is finally over!!!!!

    tomorrow we fly to Denver and i have 5 WEEKS for mountain biking in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico!!! yes, i said FIVE WEEKS!!!!

    rough plan:
    May 14 arrive in Denver
    May 15-May 30 (2 weeks) --- loop south through Utah, Arizona and maybe New Mexico with definite stops in Moab, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tucson, Durango and maybe northern New Mexico, Phoenix, Fruita...
    May 31-June 4 - 1 week Boulder -- "family" week but still lots of riding in the Boulder area
    June 5-June 17 -- 2 weeks northern loop - definitely Fruita, Crested Butte, maybe Fort Collins, Moab (again)... various sky areas
    June 18 fly back to Munich

    anyhow, if anyone is local and interested in hooking up to show me a few trails, or if anyone else will be in the areas... i'll be attempting to check in here every so often...

    oh yeah, i'll be doing a little of everything from technical XC to Freeride to a little downhill -- taking my 37lb Kona Coiler and i'm not opposed to riding uphill... we're renting a minivan so will have wheels and mostly camping...

    it would be sweet to hook up with some BikeForum riders...

    -nathan
    Man, sweet! Have fun.
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  16. #16
    Canon fiend MadMan2k's Avatar
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    It'd be cool if you came past my part of the state, then hopefully this couple that I've been MTB'ing with before, and I could ride with you for a bit.

    I'll email them and just see if that would work out alright... it'd be best if it was on a weekend I think, but possibly a weekday afternoon also.

    There are a lot of cool trails nearby, especially in durango (you'd probably like those since there's downhill trails and etc there). There's one in farmington you'd probably like, it's not super technical but it's pretty fast on the way down, and there are some jumps and such.
    I'll sure let you know if it'll work out... unless I can get them to come with me, my parents probably wouldn't let me go by myself though.

    That denver airport is crazy, by the way... eek.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathank
    ... and so the wait is finally over!!!!!

    tomorrow we fly to Denver and i have 5 WEEKS for mountain biking in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico!!! yes, i said FIVE WEEKS!!!!

    rough plan:
    May 14 arrive in Denver
    May 15-May 30 (2 weeks) --- loop south through Utah, Arizona and maybe New Mexico with definite stops in Moab, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tucson, Durango and maybe northern New Mexico, Phoenix, Fruita...
    May 31-June 4 - 1 week Boulder -- "family" week but still lots of riding in the Boulder area
    June 5-June 17 -- 2 weeks northern loop - definitely Fruita, Crested Butte, maybe Fort Collins, Moab (again)... various sky areas
    June 18 fly back to Munich

    anyhow, if anyone is local and interested in hooking up to show me a few trails, or if anyone else will be in the areas... i'll be attempting to check in here every so often...

    oh yeah, i'll be doing a little of everything from technical XC to Freeride to a little downhill -- taking my 37lb Kona Coiler and i'm not opposed to riding uphill... we're renting a minivan so will have wheels and mostly camping...

    it would be sweet to hook up with some BikeForum riders...

    -nathan
    If I were there, I'd totally hook up with you. If you're ever in my neighborhood, you're more than welcome.

    Koffee

  18. #18
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    argh, i'll be out in boulder/denver/ft collins area june 24-27.

    have fun! sounds like a great trip. and boulder wouldn't be such a bad place to relocate, for sure.

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