Starting Elevation: 1,817 meters
Max Elevation: 2,054 meters
Distance: 49.0 km
Elevation Gain: 1,061 meters
Growing up riding on the Front Range of Colorado, we always wished there was a connector trail between Heil Ranch and Hall Ranch outside of Lyons. About 6 years ago the connector (Picture Rock) was finally built. Since then I've wanted to ride them together as one ride, and we've tried a couple times, but been shut down by extreme heat and the all too usual mechanical failures.
Yesterday I decided to give it another go. I've been back from sea level for 4 days now and got in one short ride the day before; before that I have not been on my bike in 6 months. Needless to say, these factors made this ride much more punishing than it needed to be - downright painful in fact. This was probably the first time in my life that I've been so tired that I have actually considered walking my bike downhill. That being said, it feels good to finally check it off the list!
I got off to a slow start when I arrived at the Heil Ranch trailhead without my backpack.
The chundery climb up Heil Ranch:
Done with the slow and loose rocks of Heil and onto the Picture Rock connector trail:
Even smoother lower on Picture Rock:
In the middle of Hall Ranch's rock garden; one of the best segments of trail in Colorado:
Through the rock garden:
Looking east for the top of Hall:
Looking west from the top of Hall at Meeker and Longs Peak:
Back at the top of Picture Rock, beginning to wonder if I'm going to make it...
Finally done with the last climb and getting back into the smoother part of the descent on Heil:
Elevation (meters) vs. Distance (km):
Glad to have this one checked off - but waiting a couple more days and bringing more food would have made it less destructive to my soul. Hall Ranch is one of my all time favorite rides, and Picture Rock is fun, but if I never ride the non-technical yet jarring and loose rocks of Heil Ranch again I won't regret it.