A West Texas Winter

Nov 28, 2014
by Devon Balet  
As Old Man Winter begins to set a strong hold on my home state of Colorado, I have been needing to adjust to the cold weather again. Growing up in Colorado, snow and winter was always a major part of my life. The past few years however, I have been following the nice temps and weather to continue riding my bike year round. This past January three friends and I traveled to West Texas to see what the riding had to offer. After 12 days and far too much driving we got a great insight into the people, culture, food and mountain biking in West Texas.

Rolling from Tucson to El Paso via the big white creeper van fully stocked with Honey Stinger waffles Salted Carmel Gu whiskey and a full Kuat Rack.
  Rolling from Tucson to El Paso via the big white creeper van fully stocked with Honey Stinger waffles, Salted Carmel Gu, whiskey and a full Kuat Rack.

Our first morning in El Paso was crisp producing some perfect golden light.
  Our first morning in El Paso was crisp, producing some perfect golden light.

Dejay finds the smooth line through the forest of Sotol.
  Dejay finds the smooth line through the forest of Sotol.

Next time you are in El Paso pick up the free local GeoBetty map and you ll find this capture of Josh on the back cover. GeoBetty is a great local organization help progress the cycling in El Paso.
  Next time you are in El Paso, pick up the free local GeoBetty map and you'll find this capture of Josh on the back cover. GeoBetty is a great local organization helping to progress the cycling in El Paso.

The street art of downtown El Paso is awesome leaving plenty of photo opportunities.
  The street art of downtown El Paso is awesome, leaving plenty of photo opportunities.

The Segundo Barrio section of El Paso is full of culture and amazing murals.
  The Segundo Barrio section of El Paso is full of culture and amazing murals.

El Paso being the sixth biggest city in Texas has one of the biggest State Parks in the middle of the city. The Franklin Mountains nearly split El Paso in two offering endless miles of trails right in the city.
  El Paso being the sixth biggest city in Texas has one of the biggest State Parks in the middle of the city. The Franklin Mountains nearly split El Paso in two offering endless miles of trails, right in the city.

The last bit of light beams through as the sun sets behind Mount Cristo Rey which is just across the boarder from El Paso.
  The last bit of light beams through as the sun sets behind Mount Cristo Rey, which is just across the boarder from El Paso.

This section of trail is a rare buff trail in El Paso. Even though the Franklin Mountains State Park sits entirely in the city limits it is still some of the roughest riding I have ever experienced.
  This section of trail is a rare buff trail in El Paso. Even though the Franklin Mountains State Park sits entirely in the city limits, it is still some of the roughest riding I have ever experienced.

A round of beers and cheers after another successful shoot in El Paso.
  A round of beers and cheers after another successful shoot in El Paso.

The El Paso Puzzler is an annual bike race winding it s way through Franklin Mountains State Park. The fifty mile race is considered one of the hardest endurance races in Texas. Here Dejay Birtch feels the rough riding a fully rigid single speed. You know it is a rough descent because my arm warmers won t stay up -Birtch
  The El Paso Puzzler is an annual bike race winding its way through Franklin Mountains State Park. The fifty mile race is considered one of the hardest endurance races in Texas. Here Dejay Birtch feels the rough riding a fully rigid single speed. "You know it is a rough descent because my arm warmers won't stay up!" -Birtch

One of the most spectacular sunrises of my life that began with this.
  One of the most spectacular sunrises of my life that began with this.

Our first and only sunrise in For Davis and it was amazing to say the least.
  Our first and only sunrise in Fort Davis and it was amazing to say the least.

Even though the trails are limited in Fort Davis State Park the potential is HUGE
  Even though the trails are limited in Fort Davis State Park the potential is HUGE!

Our crew takes a brief break near an abandoned milk truck.
  Our crew takes a brief break near an abandoned milk truck.

Erosion is serious business in the desert. Flash flooding can change the landscape in a matter of minutes. Major drainage veins make for fun trail feature opportunities.
  Erosion is serious business in the desert. Flash flooding can change the landscape in a matter of minutes. Major drainage veins make for fun trail feature opportunities.

After nearly two weeks of photos videos and book deliveries our last days in Terlingua were hard to get the motivation up. Thankfully our last day was much like our first very productive
  After nearly two weeks of photos, videos and book deliveries our last days in Terlingua were hard to get the motivation up. Thankfully our last day was much like our first, very productive!

Our trip to West Texas left nearly our entire group with a nasty cold leaving you drained of energy. The last sunrise of our trip was very energizing for our moral.
  Our trip to West Texas left nearly our entire group with a nasty cold, leaving you drained of energy. The last sunrise of our trip was very energizing for our moral.

There are some secret trails hidden just on the edge of Terlingua you just have to go hunting
  There are some secret trails hidden just on the edge of Terlingua, you just have to go hunting!

Nothing like a cold beer after a never ending slow climb.
  Nothing like a cold beer after a never ending slow climb.

The endless ridges of Big Bend State Park just outside of Terlingua Texas.
  The endless ridges of Big Bend State Park just outside of Terlingua, Texas.

Even though it was January the temps called for a sleeveless t.
  Even though it was January the temps called for a sleeveless T.

And that is a wrap on our trip to West Texas Dejay Birtch rides out into the fading sun of Big Bend State Park.
  And that is a wrap on our trip to West Texas! Dejay Birtch rides out into the fading sun of Big Bend State Park.

Our West Texas crew Chris Reichel Devon Balet Dejay Birtch and Josh Smith.
  Our West Texas crew; Chris Reichel, Devon Balet, Dejay Birtch and Josh Smith.

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76 Comments

  • + 44
 I would think that most trails are rough when you're on a rigid singlespeed.
  • + 5
 He must be a masochist.
  • + 0
 Wow rigid SS on pinkbikeSmile If the bike is setup right a rigid mtb can ride great in rough conditions. Looks like a great trip and nice pictures and video.
  • + 12
 "Set up right" ,what does that mean?
  • + 15
 Tires inflated?
  • + 4
 Refreshing to see great pictures and a good story accompany "average" bikes.
  • + 2
 From what I saw of those trails in their video, I'd rather have a super efficient rigid than my 6" AM rig. I've seen guys killing it on rigids.

Awesome video, guys. And the photography is stunning. Keep up the good work.
  • + 2
 I love my "Rigid 29'er SS" My HT 26" hasn't gotten much love since I converted that bike to rigid.
  • + 1
 rideonjon a well set up rigid for this ride would for me personally have Chromoly frame, carbon bar and fork, 2.4 Ardent EXOs running about 19 psi frt and 20 psi rear. geared to preference 32/20.
  • + 1
 Rigid? Really? Why?
  • + 1
 Why not! It's making me a better rider, I pick better lines. However on some good descents it kinda scares the shit out of me lol. I got the bike down from 30# to 22.7# by swapping the fork, cranks, bars, and seatpost all to carbon.
  • + 33
 As a proud native of Colorado, I'd like to take this opportunity to say... Fuck Texas
  • + 10
 As one that lives in Texas, raised in California, temporarily lived in Oregon, Arizona and CO, I somewhat agree with this statement. All soils are different. But that damn humidity from central/east Texas just isnt desirable. But I have yet to find a place without some sort of unique beauty.
  • + 3
 Then why do all of you CA and CO people move here? If you're going, Austin is the only place worth checking out and riding. Although it's much more crowded now thanks to y'all.
  • + 3
 Tyler state park is a great place to ride. All the yuppy ass Austinites from CA and CO go there all the time and leave there litter everywhere.
  • - 7
flag DirtnapMcGillicuddy (Nov 28, 2014 at 14:26) (Below Threshold)
 Nobody asked you. so fuck you.
  • + 2
 Colorado is Texas' winter playground.
  • + 1
 Dallas has better and more trails. Move there instead.
  • - 37
flag willclh (Nov 28, 2014 at 14:52) (Below Threshold)
 therage43, as a proud texan, I say fuck you. Nobody asked for your stupid pathetic tree hugging save the world bullshit opinion. Go fuck your husband you fag and buy some more food from the farmers market you obscene queer. So yeah, fuck you, cunt bag. Come down and fight me you little piece of self entitled shit. Im a proud and native texan, and you can go fuck yourself, right in your three inch diameter asshole.
  • + 20
 Comment of the year goes to this guy.
  • + 3
 Co and CA residents moving TO Texas? I think it's quite the other way around... either way - had a great time riding DH shuttles in Durango over the weekend.
  • + 40
 As a proud native of Earth, I'd like to take this opportunity to say... Fuck Hatred based on Imaginary Lines in the Dirt and the Self Worth Derived from Such. I've traveled much of this Earth and I find that, no matter what side of the Imaginary Line in the Dirt you stand on, you will find hatred or kindness depending on what you sow.
  • + 1
 Ya many fleeing from ca and states like ca in search for more freedom, liberty, especially if your an entrepreneur. But, many if em want bring their ca ways with em. Ie, Austin.
  • + 4
 Jerryhazard, it is quite true that Texas, especially the Austin area, is experiencing a major influx of people from all over the nation. Unfortunately the folks from more liberal and higher cost living areas are swooping in and trying to change the place to better suit their idea of what Texas should be. Native Texans don't like this because their free lifestyle, great job market, and low cost of living are being destroyed by people who think they have a better formula for success. Having lived in Texas for many years I tend to agree with what the natives are saying, many changes are not happening for the better. What all this has to do with mountain biking and having fun on a vacation I have no idea. There are certainly a large number of Texans who vacation to the western states every year to mountain bike themselves.
  • + 7
 @therage43...What did Texas ever do to you to elicit such a comment. All that negativity is not healthy son! I've been visiting Colorado for years meeting cool folks, riding great trails, and dumping thousands of my hard earned Texas dollars into the economy there. Besides, such a bold statement may piss off more than a couple of people here, @willclh being the first, and was my knee-jerk reaction too...
  • + 2
 Finally! Someone made me laugh right out loud on this thread. Smile
  • + 2
 Acohoon;

I don't doubt what you say, regarding Austin, but people that live in Colorado and New Mexico say similar things about Californians; Texans, not so much. Personally, I moved from Ohio almost a decade ago, landed in ABQ, then moved to Durango, CO. A few years ago I got married, and we moved back to ABQ, because (and I loathe this saying, but it really holds true here) "it is what it is". You come to Albuquerque and accept it for it's character and everything that makes it that way. People that can get by like that, really like it here. The ones that don't, are usually the squeaky wheels that are not very happy. (speaking generally). So I can relate to what you say about Austin for sure. I move somewhere because I enjoy the differences compared to where I came from, ya know?

Either way, I'm just fanning flames and having fun with the topic. I'm not harboring any ill will towards whoever, just want to ride and have a blast...
  • + 2
 And those Texan Roughrider dudes, are all cool cats too. I know they've come around ABQ before and made some friends. People are too touchy Smile
  • + 8
 Fuck Colorado...too many fucking Texans there.
  • + 5
 I live in Dallas, if your a cross country nut case and don't like downhill or any type of descending....then dallas is for you...but honestly Texan are scared of a little rain and wet trails....it blows my mind...If you have a choice...STAY AWAY FROM TEXAS!!!
  • + 1
 Ha ha ha ha @jerryhazard you're so right about ABQ. It's really just about accepting things no matter where you are. I grew up with a deep hatred of Texas and it turned out to be the whole state of NM was just jealous they had money. Fighting over territory is like saying the inflection in your voice is superior. It's pointless. There's good and bad to be had everywhere.
  • + 15
 You all sound like assholes
  • + 6
 Those trails are actually pretty awesome. Super rocky and technical some good speed and if you link them up right you can have a ton of fun. We are MOUNTAIN biking and El Paso has the end of the Fuking Rockies so don't be hatin
  • + 2
 I've ridden all over the west and love to ride in El Paso. It's not Sedona or Moab or Anglefire or even Durango, but the trails are rocky and punchy and a ton of sharp sketchy pointing things trying to stab you in the arm/leg/eye. I always look forward to riding in El Paso! But if you go there, be sure to bring the most expensive carbon fiber full suspension trail whip you can't afford, because the riders there ain't playin! They are kind and helpful but they are more fancy than ANY other town I've ever ridden in!
  • + 4
 I started my riding in El Paso. There are aome pretty fun trails, but endless potential. My forearms and legs always looked like I had been ambushed by a herd of cats. Over a year after I moved back home I pulled a 2 inch cactus needle from my thigh. It had finally worked its way back to the surface.
  • + 1
 This is where I started. I used to live right up against the mountain. I never knew trails without tons of babies heads existed. I never knew trails were smooth until I moved to New Mexico. Also, the mountains are quite literally the only nice thing about El Paso, avoid everything else.
  • + 5
 I'm a native Californian but I've always had a soft spot for the Texas frontier. Looks like a beautiful place to ride. "Clap clap clap clap! "
  • + 7
 Great photoshooting. Every shot is perfectly composed.
  • + 1
 Agreed. Good editing as well!
  • + 6
 All my ex's live in Texas.
  • + 3
 That's why I hang my hat in Tennessee
  • + 2
 This is great. I'm on my annual trip to West Texas from CO and I comtemplated bringing my bike. We're an hour from Ft. Davis and I've always wondered if they had hidden trails. I grew up hiking up the Ft. Davis mts and know most of the land out there is privately owned, so I figured good singletrack would be tough to find. Glad someone did. I'm sure there's some real potential. Hopefully, MTB can expand out there!
  • + 2
 There is a tiny bit right above the fort.. maybe 8-10 miles worth. But the terrain has a ton of potential and the town officials would love to have more trail dug there. All they really need is a couple motivated trail builders
  • + 0
 Great. Next year I'll bring the bike. Thanks!
  • + 1
 there is also a fun little trail system in Alpine at Sul Ross and of course Terlingua trails further south
  • + 1
 Good deal. I may check out the Alpine trails as I have a buddy that lives out there.
  • + 5
 As a man who's last name is Birch, I'm thankful that my last name isn't Birtch
  • + 4
 Not a Texas native, but in Austin we ride year round... Nothing wrong with that
  • + 2
 I ride year round too, but here in VA I can't feel my hands after my winter rides... small sacrifice for the fun factor though!
  • + 1
 It's around 55° farenheight today in northern Utah. The high altitude trails are snowed in, but otherwise it's all rideable.
  • + 1
 Unfortunately here in the Blue Ridge Mountains the higher altitudes, just hills compared to what you have in Utah nothing over 3,300 feet, got snowed in as well! I think for the most part it has melted off by now though.... around the mid 30's here though!
  • + 1
 Yeah the north east is having a cold wet one again. I am not sure if I'll ever move back.
  • + 2
 It would be a wise choice not to, I am always thinking about moving back out west. I like it so much out there!
  • + 4
 Any place with mountains is good for me.
  • + 4
 I think cycling is the only thing I could ever see myself doing in Texas!
  • + 5
 ...it's pretty fun for beer drinking, too.
  • + 1
 Maybe bicycles will phase out the horses down there. It could reduce methane emissions by a small amount!
  • + 2
 I could see you getting your ass kicked in Texas. Smile
  • + 4
 Haha, funny thing is I used to work on ranches in Colorado and Wyoming. SO I think I'm allowed to make horse jokes! And honestly I would love to go there! Just haven't had the opportunity yet!
  • + 2
 The only thing i hate about Texas is people that live there and /or are from there can't complete a sentence without including the word Texas.
  • + 1
 Yeah!! El Paso! I'm obligated to comment because of my username. I've actually never ridden back home, too many plants that want to stab you.
  • + 0
 You guys missed Las Cruces, trails in LC are 10 times better than here in El Paso. Great story none the less, but next time check out LC. I would be glad to show you the stuff.
  • + 1
 Funny you should mention that @DerrickDel looking at going back and including Las Cruces
  • + 1
 nice.............骑得是XC 但是骑出了AM的味道 屌....... 哎。。天朝现在看PB要翻墙喽..................
  • + 2
 Good ole George Dubya Bush rides a trek in Texas. Keep an eye out for him on the trails.
  • + 4
 Sweet. Go Dirty!
  • + 2
 It does look like a beautiful place to ride, no doubt about that, and that is the most important thing!
  • + 1
 u guys suck! Smile its cold here already 25....... but i don't miss riding in the 90s
  • + 1
 Why would anyone go to Texas when northern New Mexico has great weather and REAL trails.
  • + 2
 We live in AZ and ride NM quite a bit. Why not just go one more state over and ride new dirt?
  • + 0
 Every time we flush our toilets in Colorado where do you think it goes ? West Texas
  • - 1
 many desert areas I'd rather go than west texas, giant shithole wasteland lol
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