I took the Surly out for its first voyage, a trip up to Gold Hill. Gold Hill is a old mining town up in the hills, I have only been there on my old mountain bike because its only accessible by dirt road. However, the Surly is not constrained to the pavement, so I decided to see if I could get there.
I had heard that the road to Gold Hill (up Four Mile Canyon) was the steepest county road in the lower 48 states, but having ridden it, I would disagree. It is definitely steep, I was in my lowest gear working hard for some of the climb, but I've got a compact double 34x50, which is not particularly low gearing, and I was fine. It was a great ride, I only saw a handful of cars the entire time. It was a pretty exciting ride up though, mainly because it started snowing a little bit!
My primary motivation for going to Gold Hill was to visit the general store there, as it has the most delicious pie I had ever had! Unfortunately, when I got there they only had pecan pie, so I had a cheese and pesto croissant and a cup of coffee, both were delicious. I also met two mountain bikers at the general store, probably a few years older than me, who were semi-pros. I got some good tips on places to ride and I'm excited to try a few new routes.
I really like the Surly, it climbs amazingly well. I'm not fully comfortable going really fast on decents on a dirt road, but that will hopefully come with some more practice. My advice to all of you is get a cross bike! It feels great on the road and performs well in the dirt.
Here are some glamor shots of the ride:
This is the route, I went clockwise:
This is looking back down Four Mile Canyon, the hill you see in the background is where Boulder Canyon Road is:
Where Four Mile Canyon turns to dirt:
An old truck in Gold Hill:
Just outside Gold Hill looking at the Front Range. To the far right is Left Hand Canyon going up to Ward:
Coming down Sunshine Canyon. You can barely see Boulder in the distance: