It’s December 11th, 2014 in southern Chaffee County. Ten days until the shortest day of the year and most people aren’t thinking about mountain biking. This is the Banana Belt however, and while skiers and riders at Monarch Mountain, just 20 miles west, are enjoying slopes full of snow, the trails around Salida and Buena Vista are basking in sun and dryness. Take the Rainbow Trail for instance. Just down the road from Salida off of CR 101 is a loop that takes a bit over an hour. Park at the USFS boundary, ride up the dirt road, head west on the Rainbow Trail to the junction of the new Columbine Trail, and blast back down to your rig. As of today, the trail is mostly dry with passable sections of snow/ice, and several downfalls to negotiate. Hurry though; this is one of the first trails to be closed by snow.