We know, we know. You can almost smell springtime in the air. Little green wisps of grass are peeking through the snow with the announcement of the upcoming riding season. We’ve had a mild winter thus far and it’s easy to want to get out on the trail when the weather reaches 60 degrees in February. However, when you head out to ride the trail, please, please be sure that the trail wants you there. Muddy? Wet? Ice spots? Yes, there are trails that are mostly dry and therefore seem OK to start ripping it up, but rarely does it mean that the full route is ready for prime time. The erosion and damage caused by riding, hiking and equestrian use on muddy trails can result in long-lasting damage. On the other hand, avoiding the mud and going around the wet area leads to trail widening, tearfully apparent on many of our Front Range trails that were once single track. If you are itching to ride (as we all are) take some precaution to be a considerate trail user and wait until the conditions are clear.
Get out the road or cross bike and stay on the pavement, head to the hills and rent a fat bike to ride in the snow or take a trip to Fruita to get in some early season action. There are several resources on the web for trail conditions (Front Range Trail Conditions on Facebook, Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance) but the best bet is to use your own good judgment and save the ride for when the trail is ready. Colorado sunshine will dry up the trails in no time so a little bit of patience will go a long way to preserving the awesome trail system we are blessed to have.