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I'm a consulting geologist for a small company in the Denver area. I study problems related to active tectonics, using geomorphology, structural geology and remote sensing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


My body is a little sore. My arms are deeply scratched and my legs bruised. I've been exploring trails out in the Indian Peaks and Roosevelt national forest areas recently, with varying success... some trails are almost impossible to ride and others look more like the world-class singletrack that Colorado is known for. "School-Bus" approaches the latter... it's a medium grade (1000 vertical feet in ~3 miles) singletrack that winds across the sheltered slopes of Tennessee Mountain. The conditions include everything from tight aspen clutches with sandy hardpack to open pine forests with squishy loam and roots under tread. The climb out is not a killer, but definitely a grind; the real payoff is coming back down. The first time I rode it I wanted my full face helmet, the second time I rode it (yesterday) I brought my full-face, and all my body-armor. The descent is basically limited by your skill - or your fear - but the trails really allow for full-out speed, and the only thing you have to do is be prepared to thread a few tight spots. Even wearing full arm and leg guards it's a little sketchy, since nothing will ruin your day faster than clipping a tree with your handlebars at 30mph, pads or no. I came close yesterday, catching a full-grown pine tree with my arm. It didn't knock me over (or even slow me down) but I did get rashed through my arm-guard, a reminder that full armor doesn't make you invincible.

It's worth the risk though; trails like schoolbus demand one's full attention when going all out, and it's one of the few things that can get me to stop thinking about work... the forest blurs and everything in the periphery just disappears; only the twists and squeezes of the path ahead are left.


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