On Saturday, my motorcycle riding pals Don and Todd invited me to ride motos in Eastern Colorado at the Pawnee National Grasslands. Pawnee is about an hour drive east of where we all live. Living along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, I get to the mountains a lot. I'll admit I don't travel east much - particularly for recreation - but the grasslands are really interesting and worth the drive.
The last time I was at Pawnee was about six years ago when I went with my uncle on a cattle drive. (No kidding.) But...that's another story.
On Saturday, the weather was predicted to be in the low 50s and minimal wind. Translated: Get out and enjoy this weather, it won't last long. There is a big cold front approaching and then you will be wearing everything you own to walk three feet outside the back door.
My buddies took me trials motorcycle riding. For those of you that don't know, a motorcycle trials bike has no seat. Yes, you stand the entire time. The really good moto-trials riders do amazing tricks on the motos, just like trials riders with a bicycle.
Look Mom, no seat!
Below is a photo of the crew in the parking lot at Pawnee. (Left to Right: Andy Yount, Roy Gatesman, Amy LaTendresse, Roy Gatesman, Don Lorenzen, Todd Singiser and inside the grey truck out of sight is Craig Singiser.
Behind the parking area it looks like flat grasslands go forever, up to the buttes in the background; but that's not true. About 200 yards behind the parking lot is a canyon where motorcycles are allowed between October and April. It's a great place to practice riding skills.
In addition to the main canyon, there are several small canyons or gullies feeding into the main canyon. Don (aka All-Great and Knowing Master Moto Coach) had me ride into one of the small gullies. I really struggled at the beginning because it was narrow, there are banked sides, large/medium/small rocks littered the main trail, and the trail was really tight and snaking. There were lots of turns, including turns that were greater than 90 degrees and in some cases, one turn came shortly after another. As much as it freaked me out in the beginning, for me, it was the best part of the ride. The skills I was acquiring here transfer to the mountain bike. This one section helped me gain the much-needed right-hand turning and balance I seek on the mountain. Got to go back and do more of this.
I'm so glad we did this on Saturday. This morning (Monday) my backyard thermometer said -6 degrees. Denver is at -9 you can see on the lower right corner below. With wind chill added, it gets much, much colder. Temps with wind chill are on the main map. I live between Ft. Collins and Denver (-29 and -36 respectively), so we were between Ft. Collins and Denver temps - maybe -30. Dang it's cold...