White Ranch Loop
Ran the White Ranch Loop today. This is an excellent loop just outside of Golden that provides a substantial amount of climbing on semi-technical single track. There is an extensive network of trails in the White Ranch open space, allowing one to come up with a wide variety of loops, out-and-backs, or other variations. However, running the outer loop of the trail network allows one to get in the best views, biggest vertical, and enjoy all that the open space has to offer. I ran the loop counter-clockwise, so that I was coming down Mustang and Belcher Hill. The loop is 14.3 miles, with 3,424' of gain. I ran it in 2:32 today - in the snow and rain.
I really enjoyed this loop, and found it to be an excellent training run. I like that it is a bit longer then many of the usual 8-10 mile trails found in the Boulder/Golden area, it has a good amount of vertical (more then Green), and sees little traffic when compared to other trails. Also, because the loop has several good climbs and descents, it forces one to switch back and forth between their climbing legs and their descending legs, something that I believe is really beneficial.
The loop goes: Belcher Hill Trail - Longhorn - Rawhide - Belcher Hill - Mustang - Belcher Hill. It would be interesting to see what kind of times people could put in on this loop. If the trails were all dry and not snow covered, there are some sections where one can really crank, and I don't doubt that someone could come close to the 2 hour mark - I'm sure I could get under 2:15 on a good day.