Trips For Sale Vehicles Cycling

20070712 2040 MST - Durango or BUST!
It's the end of day one and boy was it a doozie. I think i'm going to be riding the road bike tomorrow...but that's the end of the story, how exactly did I come to that decision. Well, let me tell you.

The trip started by getting out of work early, but still not getting on the road until after midnight yesterday, er... early this morning. I had no nap, so I wasn't even able to make it to Flag without falling asleep. I drove just far enough so that the temp in the car was low enough for sleeping. I think it ended up being a little north of verde vally, this was 2am-ish. Waking up at around 5:30 and realizing I wanted to be halfway there by now got me going again. I rolled into Flag to get gas and some caf-feind. From there it was pretty smooth sailing. I rolled into Durango around noon, just in time for the afternoon hailstorm. Yes, hail. This is a word that doesn't exist in the Phoenix valley, but nonetheless, it still happened. An hour later, the sky looked microsoft. So I hit up an LBS for some info and product. Confirmed there was some free camping to be had and picked up a Durango trail guide.

From here, it was off to the trailhead. I hit up Hermosa Creek, since this was one of the primo trails we missed on the Morango trip, i thought it would be a great place to start. The camping was is right at the trailhead, what could be better than that?

The first thing. Campsites are bollucks. I can't believe the amount of people here in the middle of the week with their RV's. why aren't they in an RV Park where they belong. Anyway, I set up in one of the few remaining spots. By now it was around 4:30, good thing this time of year there's a lot of day. So I prepped for a ride. Not sure exactly what I wanted to do, I wandered towards that trailmap, and it happens that there's a group of guys heading out for a Thursday Night ride. So I inquire if I can join the train and all is well. I'm thinking this could be great.

So the dude that leads, James, he's fast. Really damn fast. I inquire to his racing status. "Are you a semi pro?". No he replies, just a lowly expert. I think 'wow' and we continue waiting for the rest of the group to catch up. So we end up going towards dutch creek from Hermosa instead of decending down, we climb more, but that's fine, this is a turn and burn afterall. The trail is a hair dry in places, but otherwise in fine shape. There's creek crossings and roots and rocks, all the things that make riding here great. I'm doing my damnedest to keep on james' wheel, but he rides away at will, I'm in no mans land between him and the others. This is fine, I can enjoy the scenery while pushing maximum oxygen debt in peace.

After about an hour and a half out, we turn it around and do a little decending. Here's where things take a turn. We've come down more than halfway and are hitting a creek crossing. Mind you, I had no difficulty cleaning this cross on the way out, but for some reason, I decided it would be better to take a different line on the way back. So this new line, it looked great, didn't see too many big rocks or branches to throw me off. Visualize if you will, this is about a 10' crossing and it's not even close to hub deep. Since we're decending I'm carrying a bit more speed. The line I crossed on the way up took the inside and required slowing to make it through the rocks, the new line I see is on the outside, I think, "Sweet, I'll rock right through this up the other side." All went well for the first 80% of this, at 81%, it felt like my wheel dropped deeper or hit a rock and stopped my bike. Now if you ride, many of you know when your bike stops unexpectedly, normally, you don't. This case was no exception. The laws of physics simply had to be obeyed and I was sent ass over teakettle. I've been in this situation enough times to do the special vault over the bars and land on the feet, ala your favorite feline type characters, but I was late this time, I managed to get vaulted over the bars, but went hands first into the creek. This is where the pain started. I nailed the large muscle that's right under the thumb. At first it was ok, but minutes later attempting to shift and hang on to the bar became excruciating. Needless to say, I did make it back in order to forever immortalize this moment in a blog entry. A little ice, a little beer, it should be fine in a couple of days. Nothing broke as far as I can tell.

So a while later I'm inspecting the bike for cleanliness. My bike hasn't seen a creek in a long time, and mud, HA! I suddenly realize I've a rather significant dent in my driveside chainstay. There's no crack or anything to indicate catastrophic problems, but I'm now that much closer to getting a new bike. So that's it, no moral, no exciting ending, I'm now sitting here drinking beer and writing this and soon will be sleeping. Here's to wet shoes, wet gloves, muddy drivetrains and sweet new trails to ride. Let's hope day 2 goes better. Cheers.

20070714 1445 MST - 52.8 MPH
Day 3... what happened to Day 2? Well, I guess trying to stay up all night and only getting a few hours sleep, then riding 2+ hours makes me a tired little boy, so I slept in yesterday til around 10ish, got breakfast in me and cleaned up, then the thunderstorms decided to roll in. I think this is fine as well, storms will last an hour or two and I'll get out for an afternoon ride, all will be well. So, the weather had other plans, rain lasted all afternoon, by three I was tired of reading and took a nap, by the time I awoke the storm was just beginning to subside and it felt to late to go out. I wasn't sorely dissapointed since my hand is still a little sore from the crash. So Day 2 consisted of reading a Stephen King novel, Lisey's Story, I'll hold opinions on it 'til I'm finished.

Now, where was I...that's right, Day 3. I got an earlier start this morning to make sure and beat the afternoon storms. The hand still isn't quite there with the whole jostling and shifting required of it when riding off road. So this is where I'm glad I brought the road bike. I headed down the hill and parked as soon as I could after the pavement started. A quick mile and a half descent put me out on 550, and I started riding north. North is usually up on maps, in this case, north was most definitely up, as in elevation gain. I put it out of my head to make it to Silverton, that would have been an 80 mile day easy, which with 2 more weeks of riding ahead, I didn't want to do. So I figure an easy out and back. There's traffic, but even from the highway, the scenery here is A+. I'm hitting 20 miles out and there's been a lot of climbing. I'm on the verge of turning around even, but then I see the sign, Coal Bank Pass, 5 miles. So of course I have to do it. This next five miles is excrutiating. I'm still using an 11-23 cassette with a 39 chainring on the front, so it's a little rough when the grade gets about 7%. I'm chugging at 9 mph for a mile or so, then it just gets steeper. 8mph, 7, 6. I spend the remaining 4 miles somewhere between 6-8 mph, really gruelling when you're turning about 50 rpm for almost 30 minutes. Seeing the pass was a huge relief. I spent a few minutes there refueling turned around and started passing cars.

It's funny, but no matter how tired I am, when the path leads downhill, I forget the legs have been cashed. The first car I went around was doing about 45. Then it was behind a truck pulling a trailer. I managed to go by him just short of 50 mph. There were limited curves on this section, so on the steepest, straightest part, I pushed it up for a top speed of 52.8. Not too bad, but it's even more fun at 60. Other than a couple of false flats and rollers, it was mostly downhill back to CR203 where I needed to turn and ascend back to where I'm parked. Before I started, I thought, meh, a little over a mile to climb back to the big deal. Well, after 48.5 miles and almost 3 hours in the saddle, let's just say, don't end your ride with a climb. So that's day 3, 3 hours 16.6 mph average speed and just a hair over 50 miles. There was just enough time to get some lunch, ice and make it back to camp before the storm hit. Ever experience hail in July? Come to Durango. Beer me.

20070715 1830ish MST - Hermosa as a loop OR Talking with H-ball
As recorded the next day since the laptop battery died. So Day 4, this day is entitled, 'What did we learn'. The answer is of course, nothing, we learned absolutely nothing since yesterday. Today was another long ride. I was starting from camp at Lower Hermosa, planning to ride it all the way to the end of the singletrack and cut over on a westbound singletrack (that I can no longer remember the name of) then cut down on Pinkerton-Flagstaff back, then end the ride down Dutch or Jones Creek to camp. So I headed out about 11:30. It was a good descent down to the creek from the lower trailhead. After crossing the creek the trail rolled for the next 10 miles or so until there was a split in the trail. The sign said Hermosa, so I figured it was just a spur. I continued north, this would turn out to be a bad decision. This was ATV trail from this point and after a while I was under the impression that I missed the turn to go west. It was a dillema, since there was now no good way to get back to camp. I had a choice of riding FR to the Pinkerton TH, then have several hard ascents before descending to camp, or riding all the way to 550 and taking the road back, then climbing back up to camp. The lesser of two evils is still evil. Although the taking road back was mostly downhill, it was still 20+ miles, and the 4 mile climb at the end was a beotch. Checking the clock rolling back into camp, 4pm. I was out there for over 4 hours...and climbed at the end. When will I learn... Oh yeah, did I mention I met Greg Herbold at the bar last night?

20070716 - A hostel and the 2 dwarves
Today was a transfer day. Driving to Crested Butte from Durango. Not much to say, the scenery is nice between Silverton and Ouray. After that it was pretty much countryside until getting within 50 miles of CB. Today ended up being a nice rest day. Checked out the town, checked out the trails to ride, checked out a place to stay, oh yeah, the only place to stay was the hostel...that's right, I said hostel. This is the claimed, "nicest hostel in america"; and it was pretty nice. It's a lot like a dorm room with key cards. This dorm room happened to have 3 bunks, for a total of 6 beds. I didn't realize there wasn't air con, it was hot in that room. It must have been 80. I may have been able to fall asleep if it wasn't for snorey. That's the name of dude #1 in the room. He snored. Even with ear plugs, it woke me up. I was just starting to fall asleep near midnight when hackey came in. Hacky is dude #2. At first I thought Hacky was just being that way to wake up Snorey so he wouldn't snore anymore, but after a few hours of it, I realized, this guy has a problem. So I gave reading downstairs a chance. It was cooler and quieter. After cooling down and hoping both snorey and hacky had become sleepy (as in sound asleepy) I went back to the room. Nuts to me, but snorey and Hacky were still snoring and hacking just as much as before. Earplugs in, but no good. So Day 5 ends with myself wide awake listening to snoring and hacking...snoring and hacking....snoring and hacking....

20070717 - Snodgrass and the Upper's
Day 6. Snodgrass in the AM. Upper, Upper Upper, reverse back on Upper Upper to Todds in the PM. Today was the first day of riding in CB. Snodgrass was a little bit of a trail. Climbing at the beginning, but roll-y poll-y pretty much all the way back. A few hour break for lunch, beer, a little browsing in what said was the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame/Mueseum....let me tell you about this place, don't even waste your time going in the door. I've seen more interesting products in a thrift store on Apache in Tempe. Let me tell ya, they were saving pliers and crappie jigs in their boxes for posterity. Last time I looked, stuff like tools and fishing equipment from the 1800's wasn't worth very much...I somehow think the crap they have under glass isn't going to be worth much either.

So as we're prepping to roll for the PM ride, clouds are rolling in and thunderheads are...well thundering. Phil craps out on the ride. What a putz. Bob and I hit the trail from the condo. Did I mention that the crew is nice enough to let me crash on the floor in the condo. That's right, no more snorey, hacky or otherwise. Anyhoo, Upper is nice from Mt CB, it's rolling and descending most of the way to UpperUpper. It just happens that UpperUpper climbs almost all the way to it's end before dropping down quickly at the end. We ended up going to the end, turning about face, and retracing our tracks to Todds, then descending to the road. Lucky the heavens didn't open up and pour upon our heads, we hit the road and made the last miles back to the condo and food/beer. Oh yeah, guess what, we had to end the day with a climb. Wha!
20070718 - Loop the 401
Day 7. If Norman Rockwell painted moutain biking, he would paint the 401 trail. This is the quintessential mountain biking trail. We did this as a loop from Mt Crested Butte. Starting the ride out Gothic road is mostly descending for the first few miles. Once past the town of Gothic, it started kicking up, and up...and up all the way to Schofield Pass at 10700'. This was the 'start' of the singletrack. This climbed up beyond 11000' to an amazing view, see the pics. There's not much more to say about this one except you should come out here and do this ride just for the experience and the views. We ended up with just short of 3 hours and 28 miles as the loop. If you shuttled to the top, it's a pretty short day to climb and descent back down to Gothic. The climb back from Gothic to Mt CB wasn't that bad and will descend back to town. DOIT!

20070719 1721 MST - Riding a wet Deer...Creek
Day 8. Another big day riding Deer Creek trail as a loop. We began by riding up to Upper and descending down to bush creek road on Whetstone. We continued riding out of town on Bush Creek towards Deer Creek trail. Once beyond where Upper Upper comes out, it starts to climb on gravel road. After this it forks towards Deer Creek on doubletrack, and for fun climbs a little more and a little steeper. Once on the singletrack, it climbs more, and yet even steeper. This was a tough, very tough climb to what our understating map said was the 'top of the first steep climb'. If someone can make this climb in the middle ring without stopping, kudos, you get a cookie. Once to the top, we had thunderclouds rolling in. This wasn't good. It managed to hold off for quite a while. Certain sections had gotten rain prior to our arrival, so the trail and vegetation were quite wet. Wet rocks and roots aren't something I'm used to anymore since living in the desert. This 10 mile chunk of singletrack goodness would have been much better as it rolled around the backside of Mt Crested Butte if it had been dry. The last 3 miles or so of the singletrack was bad-gunky, rainy nastyness. In spite of the wet, muddy, rainy trail, it was still a pretty good. In my crazy opinion, the fun factor would have matched 401 if it had been dry. The climb was harder, but the singletrack descents were schweet. All in all, 26 miles, a little over 3 hours. I'm ready for tomorrow.

20070720 - Sleeping in, and Formula 409
Day 9. Rainy, very rainy. Almost called the entire day, but Bob and fam decided to go to Gunnison to ride Hartman Rocks. I opted for a day in front of the TV. Afternoon came and it seemed to dry up a little. Let's go out and get an easy hour and a half. Ok, trail 409 looks good. Phil joined us for this one. Whew, this trail climbed and leveled out, and climbed and leveled, and climbed and finally topped out. This took us straight down a chunk of Doubletop trail. This was steep, V rutted and straight down the hill. To the point where it become hard to maintain braking.

20070721 - Take a Strand
Day 10. Starting to get sick. I woke up this morning with that feeling in the back of my throat that says I'll be full on feverish in the next day or so. I shuttled Bob and family to Schofield Pass to ride 401. After that was some sitting around, chicken and rice soup and a Tylonol Cold nighttime. I slept for under an hour, and didn't feel much better after getting up. Guess it's time for a ride then. Today would be Strand Hill. This is a sweet chunk of singletrack. We rode up Strand Hill Road to Strand Hill trail. Once on top, the trail flowed well through the trees with moderate ups and downs. After finishing the loop, a look at the sky made the decision to do more easy. The oncoming storm chased us off the hill and back to the car just in time to miss the rain.

20070722 - Reno - Flag - Bear - Deadman
2:30, 20 miles, 3400' climbing. This one beats 401. Last day in CB. I don't think I've ever picked a favorite ride before, but this one is definitely one of the best pieces of trail I've ever ridden.

20070723 - On to Telluride
Still sick. Although it's migrated almost entirely from my throat to my nose now. Saw Bob and family off this morning. They will be heading back to Wisconsin. I decided to keep the plan and headed to Telluride. Aside from some construction outside of town, it was a pretty smooth trip, just a couple hours from CB. Ha! I thought CB was small. This town is even smaller. I got here with just enough time to get the layout of the city and a campsite at Telluride town park. Kind of a family type place to bring the RV, but there are 'primative' campsites available away from most of the annoyances. So the tent got setup just as afternoon storms rolled in. Oh, and how they rolled. Pea size hail came down for about a half hour, and the rain has continued now for about 2 hours or so. I planned on taking the day off, but was hoping the rain would stay away to get to know the town better and relax properly at the campsite. Now I'm relegated to huddling under my tarp, sitting in the tent or in the car. Not too much fun, but it gave me time to record some thoughts. Yay! That's about all the excitement for today.

20070724 - All good things...
Woke up this morning still feeling flat and storm clouds on the horizon. I think this was an omen telling me to bugger out. It was a good run with the crew from 'Sconi. Telluride will have to wait for another day. With camp packed up, I made for home.