GOCO’s Chris Yuan-Farrell, open space coordinator and new dad, has been an avid mountain biker for nearly two decades. Get Chris’s insights into some of Colorado’s top spots for biking and which questions to ask yourself before committing to a ride.
Q: How long have you mountain biked and what drew you to it?
Chris Yuan-Farrell: I’ve been riding since I was 12, so for almost 2 decades. I grew up in Colorado Springs, which is conveniently nestled in the Front Range foothills. When I finally saved enough money to buy my first mountain bike I was finally able to join my friends who had been riding for years. It didn’t take much to get me hooked. I challenge any 12-year-old with a curiosity about mountain biking to ride Captain Jacks or the Chutes in Cheyenne Canyon and not get addicted to the sport.
Q: How many GOCO-funded places have you biked?
CY-F: Probably more than I know. I still come across trailhead signs displaying our logo that I had no idea GOCO funded. I’d actually like to create a guide for GOCO-funded mountain bike locations. It’s amazing how many places GOCO has invested in that draw thousands of riders annually.
Q: What are some of your favorite spots for biking and why?
CY-F: Any of the following places in Colorado should be on a mountain biker’s bucket list: Fruita, Salida, Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge, Durango, Gunnison, Crested Butte, Eagle, Aspen/Carbondale/Glenwood Springs, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Pine (Buffalo Creek), and Winter Park. There are also the International Mountain Bike Association’s recommendations that are sanctioned as “epic,” including Buffalo Creek, Monarch Crest, Fruita, and Durango. I’m partial to the Front Range because these are the trails I grew up riding and still ride today. They all offer unique experiences for riders of varying ability. And of course, every serious mountain biker needs to make it to Moab at least once in their lifetime. There are so many variables that come into play when deciding on a ride. First, are you looking for a short ride or long one? Is it summer or spring or fall? Are you looking for technical ascents/descents or fast, flow sections to rail? These questions will help you select the right spot.
Q: Do you road bike at all or stick to mountain biking?
CY-F: I do “road bike” occasionally although I don’t own lycra shorts or a “road bike” per se. My dedicated road bike is actually a single-speed mountain bike that I can throw slick tires on for longer distance riding. And I’ve commuted to work on my bike more often than not over the last 10 years.
Q: What do you like most about working at GOCO and why?
CY-F: I love that we’re tasked with acting upon the will of the people who enacted the GOCO amendment. We invest in places that local communities truly care about. I think people come to Colorado to explore the very landscapes and recreational opportunities that GOCO invests in. The best part of our work is seeing people using the places and amenities GOCO has helped to fund, and discovering new places GOCO has helped support. I just learned that GOCO invested in the elementary school playground a block from my house!