Sometimes I just need a no-brainer. Especially when my dome feels like a sponge that’s been rung out and the dingy brown soup is dripping all over my feet. Sometimes, I don’t want to think about trail finding, making the right turn, busting out a map, following a gps… I simply want to throw my leg over a bike. Click in to my pedals. Ride aimlessly while my sponge dries out and regains its shape.
This is the perfect trail system for mindless miles of stokey-faced fun. I had just ridden at Red Mesa, which forced me to concentrate and pay attention to my geographic setting, so as not to get lost, or break myself, or my bike. This was the exact opposite. Alien Run, and its sister, the Outer Limits Trail, are splendid examples of prime singletrack built by riders – for riders – much in the same vein as Phil’ s World in nearby Cortez, CO. In fact, the sign at the TH brazenly states that hikers yield to bikes. Yup. Next thing you notice, is that the trail is directional. No choice but to ride it counter-clockwise. No worries of cross traffic. Point your bike and just let ‘er rip. Just how good is the dirt here? Locals who live in Durango make the 45 minute drive across the border just to ride here.
As usual, I rode my Niner rigid SS– perfect for this stacked loop. Unless you’re a local, just out for a quickie… I highly suggest you ride both trails, and complete the full loop. Alien Run is buff, smooth, and fast – about 8 miles. At roughly the half-way point you reach Outer Limits which tacks on another 8ish miles. It’s a little more techy, with rocks, shale, and some slickrock – punchier climbs and brake grabbing descents – making for a completely different experience. The two trails give you a great variety of xc terrain. All in all it’s about 16 miles and 1,400′ climbing. I just zoned out, listened to the voices in my head, and rode my bike into peaceful oblivion. Who came up with these trail names? What happened to the band Alien Ant Farm? Anyhoo…
The only turnoff is the feeling of not being that remote and that big brother is watching. Quite often you hear the hum of drilling machinery and pass different work sites throughout the ride. There are a lot of fences, too. I kept waiting for Daniel Day Lewis to pop out and scold me like his character did in There Will Be Blood. Luckily, that never happened. Just me, myself, and I – riding in a zombie-like bliss as I shed away the work week, and readied myself for a couple nights in Durango.
Speaking of Durango, post-ride I stopped for a bite and beer at Serious Texas BBQ – A SKA Brewing Mexican Logger complimented my pulled pork burrito and hot links taco perfectly! Life is good.