Pinos Creek Road, Del Norte Colorado – Rollerski adventure route review

 

Pinos Creek road was on the bucket list for me to attempt to rollerski after I drove it last summer on the way to the gravel roads and hiking trails that are beyond it. The first 11.5 miles or so are paved, after which a precarious gravel road continues on for many more miles, peaking out at over 10,000 feet of elevation. That area has become my own private “altitude training” for people who live at altitude. It is challenging, but not contains routes with rolling hills – not just up on the way out and down on the way back like many hiking trails. The views are incredible, and the vastness of the wilderness is overwhelming – it is pretty rare to see any people up there. I did find out from the assistant cross country and track coach that this area is used by Adams State for the mid-week medium long runs for the same reason I use it (it is a noticeable difference when you come back down to the valley, especially after maybe staying overnight in a tent and running again the next morning).

The purpose of this training day, however, was to see what skiing the road was like. I knew it was pretty much uphill on the way out, with a few rollers in the middle, and downhill on the way back. I was more curious to see if the amount of downhill would be unsafe for skis.

It turned out to be a little bit disappointing, actually. The pavement looks great, and there aren’t any cracks, but it isn’t very smooth. It would be fine for road biking, most definitely, but you feel it in your feet on rollerskis. If you were rocking the V2 aero off road skate skis, it would be wonderful, but I’ve moved on to my trusty pursuit rollerskis and the wheels aren’t as good at handling rougher roads. It didn’t prevent me from doing 2 hours of skiing, but it definitely was noticeable.

The route itself was about 22 miles and contained 1,200 feet of climbing. There were no points in the route where I was even concerned at all about speed on the descent. In fact, likely due to the rough nature of the roads, I actually had to double pole on the way down to maintain speed. Going up, I was able to V2 the whole way if I so desired, and I didn’t switch to a V1. I feel like my V1 technique on snow is pretty good and I don’t really want to mess it up on rollerskis, so if I can, I just always V2, even when it requires more effort….it’s probably good training, right?

Another concern, as far as safety goes, is the presence of traffic. I think I had a total of 4 or 5 cars go by me the whole time, and at least one of them was a farmer who saw me twice. No one is driving over 45mph at any place on this road, and most people were more in the 25-35mph range, due to the curves. There are curves in the road, but none of them, except for the last mile, are blind – you can see cars coming from a long ways away and move over to the other lane if you want.

The route has gorgeous views, rivers, trees, sweet ranch houses and private little cabins, and a few …interesting….architectural features…we will just leave it at that (the most interesting one – a sort of space age house with what look like shark teeth the size of a go kart sticking out of the roof, is within the first couple of miles, so you don’t have to go far to take that in.)

Overall, this is a pretty good route if you are looking for some climbing that doesn’t include any traffic and with which you can safely descend (so if you are training by yourself and can’t get picked up at the top). It would also be a great bike ride for people trying to get their “climbing legs” underneath them before they hit up nearby wolf creek pass, where cars are much more present.

Published by rsederquist

My name is Ryan Sederquist.  I am a man of many passions and dreams, and this website is the outlet for many of them. I am currently teaching 5th grade remotely in the Adams12 school district in Colorado. I have been an elementary music teacher in Alamosa, Colorado, as well as a 7-12 band director at Lake County High School in Leadville, Colorado. I am also in the final, final stages of acquiring my M.S. in Exercise Science from Adams State University. In 2018-2019, we spent a year in Presque Isle, Maine as I coached the UMPI Nordic ski team. I currently live in Leadville, Colorado with my wife Christie, a special education teacher, and our border collie-German shepherd mix, Ajee. Even though it is not my full-time job, ever since I was a child, I had the desire to do one of three things professionally - pro sports, writing about pro sports, or being a radio talk show host. This website is where I pretend to do the latter two, and when I'm out pretending to do the former, I listen to podcasts, think about topics, and pursue my wild dream of someday, at some event, in either running, biking, or skiing, wearing a team USA uniform. This website contains articles, podcasts, pictures, and journal entries that have to do with my passion and involvement in endurance sports. Our flagship project is the Seder Skier Podcast, which talks mostly about nordic skiing and attempts to interview influential individuals in the ski world. I also rant about the Big 4 sports, with a lean towards Minnesota teams (Vikings, Twins, Twolves, and MN Distance Running). I sometimes try to write Sports Illustrated like 'feature' articles about athletes as well. In addition to a focus on sports, you will find the occasional article or show that discusses the intersection of theology and society ...which is ...obviously everywhere. We place these in our Skieologians podcast. The heading at the top of my homepage reads, "Search for Truth. Play with purpose. Strive for success." It is the underlying theme for my coaching philosophy, which can be downloaded from this site. Basically, I'm always looking to search for the truth in my pursuit of knowledge, whether that is knowledge regarding the best methods for waxing skis, training a quarter miler, or defending my Christian apologetic. Searching implies a dedicated pursuit for knowledge, and that is what I'm about and what this site is about, even if it is simply for providing viewers with an accurate description of a product. Play with purpose has to do with living out our passions because they are fun. I ski because its fun. I play music and teach young kids because there is joy in it. This blog is about celebrating the joy and fun that inherently exists in the pursuit of excellence and in the activities themselves. Finally, strive for success is built on the principle that true success is the realization that we gave 100% effort to become the best that we could possible be. It requires 100% in preparation, competition, reflection, mental effort, etc. If something is worth doing, I believe it is worth doing with that level of effort. Someday, I hope to race the Visma Classics - the entire season, wear a Team USA singlet, and have a job that involves writing or talking about sports or theology all day. If you know of any body I can reach out to to help me accomplish these goals, please email me at sederquistrd@grizzlies.adams.edu

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