Following on from our Pearl Izumi visit feature, we got the chance to take in some of the local scenery with a mountain bike ride around some of the local trails.
Boulder is famed for many things, chief of which is the inhabitant’s lust for outdoor activities. The town has become a training ground for some of the world’s fastest cyclists, both road and mountain bike. The climate, proximity to the mountains, excellent trails and dozens of top athletes and coaches in town all combine to make it an excellent place to live, work and train.
And visit, as we found out on a trip there recently. After we had been shown all the latest clothing that Pearl Izumi is working on, plus a few sneak bits of 2013 clothing that we can’t tell you about, we were kitted out and trucked out to some nearby trails to be shown why they claim to live in the best place in the world.
With bikes supplied by local firm (and good friends of Pearl Izumi) Yeti, we fiddled with shock pressures, inflated tyres and fitted pedals, and rode into the woods. We only sampled a small bit of the huge trail network the locals ride regularly. Under a half hour drive from the city it’s both easily accessible on the highway and, once there, you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.
We rode trails on Heil Valley Ranch, in Boulder’s foothills. The altitude is a shock to the system; Boulder itself resides at 1,650 metres above sea level. You can easily top well over 2,500 metres in the hills that lye to the edge of the city, with the Rocky Mountains nestling to the west side of town, a constant highlight on the horizon.
As the weather is sunny and dry most of the time, the trails we ride are thickly laid with dust. The singletrack passes through rolling meadows and sparsely treed slope, the trails narrow and weaving with underlying rock exposed at regular intervals. It’s a hard and rough ride, and we’re glad to be on bump-squashing full-susser. There’s some climbing but it’s off the steady type, and the views we are rewarded with upon reaching a vantage point halfway around the 8 mile loop makes all the lung-busting worth it.
I’m often asked where I’d like to live if I could move away from the UK, and Boulder is firmly up there at the very top. After this trip, I really didn’t want to leave and am already planning another visit to further explore the riding on offer.