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Crested Butte 2011

This was our 10th Anniversary trip. I can’t believe we’ve been doing a July mountain biking trip for 10 years now. We are still finding new and better trails to ride every year in Crested Butte.

This year our new trails were Doctor’s Park and the 409 and a half trail. Both were excellent downhills.

Here is the video.

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Crested Butte 2010

Need I say more about Crested Butte?  No pictures to post from this trip.  Most of us have gone video while on the trails.

Trails in the video: 401 trail, Deadman Reno Flagman Bear, Strand Hill, Teocalli Ridge, Snodgrass

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Breckenridge Colorado 2009

breckenridge title

I hadn’t been to Breckenridge since 1997.  Back then we must have been poor because we squeezed 8 people into a studio condo at the Beaver Run Resort.  I seem to remember that it was about $260 a night.  We wanted a ski-in/ski-out place!  Allot has changed in 12 years.  This time we rented a 3600 sf house with 6 bedrooms and plenty of beds for everyone.

Day 1

The trip didn’t start out very well.  We had a choice at the rental counter between a Ford F150 or a Nissan Titan.  We chose the F150 because we didn’t care but we when got to it, the inside smelled like smoke.  So we asked for the Nissan.  About 1 hour into our drive this weird light comes on in the dash.  We weren’t sure what it was but we guessed that it was a tire pressure light.  It also started to rain and all of our luggage was in the pickup bed.  So we pulled over at a gas station to put a tarp over the luggage.  Eddy bought a tire pressure gauge and found out that one of our tires was at 12 PSI.  The tire must have had stiff sidewalls or been run flat because you couldn’t tell from looking at the tire that it was flat.   We hoped it was a faulty tire gauge, but then we heard the hiss of air escaping and it was confirmed that we had a flat.

Luckily, there was a Big O Tires less than 100 ft away from the gas station.  They informed us that our tire was unrepairable and put on the spare tire.  They didn’t charge us for the work and also wrote us a letter to give the rental company. Props to Big O Tires.  From the airport to Breckenridge took us 5 hours.

Our house was located on Ski Hill Road just passed the Peak 8 lifts.  The house was in a great location because it was near the Peaks Trailhead and it was uphill from town.  Some people had trouble sleeping the first night due to the altitude.  It can be quite a change to go from 500 ft above sea level to over 9,600 feet.

Day 2

We went to town and picked up our awesome Santa Cruz Blur LT rental bikes.  The first day we decided to do an easy ride and do a short out and back on the Peaks Trail.  The was the acclimation ride and it felt pretty tough.  It was a gradual climb but the trail had many roots and rock gardens making it more difficult.  After the Peaks Trail a few of us took some singletrack down to town and rode the Flume trails.  This consisted of the Lower, Upper and Middle Flume with Mike’s Trail in the middle.  The Flume trails were sort of fun and easy.  We got lost on the Middle Flume and ended up in an unknown subdivision when it began to rain.  We called the house for an “extraction” and John picked us up along highway 9.

Early this year I became a reseller for the Go Pro Helmet Camera.  Helmet camera technology is making leaps and bounds each year.  This year I supplied 3 helmet cameras so we have multiple videos of each ride.  By the end of the 5 days we had over 30 gigs of video which equates to 15 hours of riding time.  One thing I noticed is that there was much less picture taking and allot more video making.

Day 3

The guys decided to ride down to town and do the flume trails.  Mark and I decided to stay at the house so we could bring the car to the Flume trailhead later.  When the guys left the house it began raining.  We thought that the rain would pass but it kept coming down harder and harder.  While Mark and I were in the nice dry house, the rest of the guys were riding in the pouring rain.   The guys finally called when they got to town, I drove down and picked them up.

A few hours later the rain had stopped and Mark and I were itching to ride since we didn’t go earlier.  We rode down to town and decided to hit the Colorado Trail from Tiger Road.  The book that we bought had described this portion of downhill as a can’t miss 3 mile downhill.  You can watch the video and decide.  The video doesn’t show the impossible switchbacks and the end of the trail.  I think that’s what killed it for us.

Day 3, the plan was the same as Day 2.  Ride from town, to the flume trails and I would drive the car to meet them at the trailhead.  I ended up being late because I had to wait for the rental management lady to leave.  She was trying to fix our internet which was slower than 800 baud modems.  She kept telling us that internet is slow in the mountains.  Yeah right.  We are less than 1000 feet away from a 5 star resort.

We got alot of riding in on this day.  We did the Flumes to Mike’s Trail to Tom’s Baby to Discovery Ridge to the Colorado Trail.

Day 4

We bought lift tickets and rode the Peak 8 lift.  We spent the day descending on Breckenridge’s downhill trails.  These trails aren’t very difficult but our hands were all sore from braking and downhilling so much.  We rode the Game Trail, Dwight’s, Pioneer, Swinger Switchback and Frosty’s Challenge.  Mark had a record 3 flats on this day.  His first flat occurred as we were waiting for the ski lift.  Then he got 2 simultaneous flats on Frosty’s Challenge.  I think if we kept a tally on flat tires for the last 8 years Mark would be the clear winner.

Day 5

On the last day of riding we decided to ride the Peaks trail from Breckenridge to Frisco.  I should mention that Mike saw a black bear a few days ago on the trail.  But he was riding alone and didn’t have a camera so I don’t know if we should believe him.  We expected alot more climbing on this trail but the big climb never came.  The downhill portion heading into Frisco was very good.  It was fast and semi-technical, but not too technical that you had to slow down.  The ride was about 9 miles and we completed it in less than 2 hours.  We rode back to Breckenridge and ordered pizza on the way.

We had dinner at Mi Casa which got mixed reviews by the group.  Then it was t-shirt shopping time to get the traditional tourist shirt and back to the house for the last time.

Day 6

The next morning everyone left fairly early and I caught my flight back to Arizona where it was 110 degrees when I stepped off the plane.

Another annual mountain biking trip is in the books.

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Crested Butte 2001 (Revisited)

During our 2009 Breckenridge Mountain Biking trip we were talking about our first trip to Colorado like they were the good ole’ days.  It has been 8 years since we took our first journey out west to the mountain biking mecca.  Our talk wasn’t about how great the trip was, it was about how our trips have changed since 2001.

So I dug out the old photo album… and that was one of the top five things that have changed since the 2001 Crested Butte Mountain Biking Trip.

Photographic Memories – In 2001 I had my Canon EOS 35mm film camera.  I remember taking 6 rolls of film during the trip.  That’s 144 photos!  I had to pay extra to get my photos scanned and put on CD.  We did not have any video recorders.  In 2009, we had 4 Digital SLR’s and 3 helmet cameras.  Our trips slowly changed from photographic memories to massive videos of our biking trip.  We had over 30 gigs of biking video (15 hours) in the 2009 trip.

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Accommodations – In 2001 we set up 2 large tents at Lake Irwin.  We took the tents that our parents had from the early 1980’s. We took showers by warming up a bag of water in the sun and hanging it on a tree.  JJ bathed old school style with a heated pot and a pan.  We also paid for showers at hostels and coin operated showers.  Then came Eddy, Shanda and Kevin who wanted regular accommodations so we began with a small condo.  Then came the luxury homes.  In 8 years we went from ghetto tents to luxury homes.  Check out the ghetto tents!!  Notice the rock tie downs as the plastic yellow stakes don’t penetrate Colorado rock.

ghetto tents

Bikes – I’ll let the pictures do the talking…  Hardtails with 1″ travel on the front.  How did we ride those trails??

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Skillz – We have gotten so much better at both climbing and descending.  Look at that difficult streaming crossing below!  I can’t believe we walked it. LOLskillz

One thing that hasn’t changed in the past 8 years for sure is the amount of fun we have every time we go.

whofarted

(I think someone farted)

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Sun Valley 2008

This year we decided to go back to Sun Valley.  We had a great time on the trails back in 2004 and were eager to get back and ride our favorite trails.  Half of us were flying and half were driving.  My flight was from Phoenix to Salt Lake City to Hailey, ID.

I only had 20 minutes to make my connection flight at the Salt Lake City airport and it happened to be super far walk from terminal to terminal.  I made it to my flight with just a few minutes to spare.  My brother and Rico did not.  Luckily flights from SLC to Hailey are like city buses, there was another flight in 15 minutes!  I don’t know how they can afford to have that many flights a day.  When I got on the plane there were only 6 other people on the plane.

After a short hour flight I was landing in Hailey, Idaho.  The Hailey airport is a very small airport with a very small staff.  My first site was the groundswoman pushing the ladder towards the door.  The same person unloaded the baggage and brought it to the terminal.  Inside later, the same person was checking in people for flights.  She has many jobs!

My luggage didn’t make it on my flight, but luckily it came on the flight 15 minutes later, along with Rico and Kevin.  We got our rental cars and drove to Ketchum.

July 13th

For our first ride we went with the good ole Chocolate Gulch Trail.  Since none of us were really in shape this year, this was our warm up ride.  The helmet camera was back in full force. Hard to believe how the world was before Youtube but this sites finally getting an upgrade to streaming video and cool photo albums.

album:sv2008/chocolategulch

Chocolate Gulch Video (click below to play) (right click here to download hi-res version)

July 14th

We did a new trail on day two. This trail was called Little Basin and was up by Stanley. As you can see from the pictures and video, there were many creek crossings. This was a pretty decent trail with not alot of climbing. I honestly don’t remember that much about this trail even after watching the video.

In case you are wondering, its the Garmin Edge 305 that is tracking our rides and giving us these great maps and elevation profiles.  I highly recommend it.

album:/sv2008/littlebasin

July 15th
On day 3 we rode the Imperial Gulch trail.  The trail has changed since we rode it back in 2004. There used to be bulldozed road at the top of this trail, but it’s totally gone now. It’s still a great trail to ride because you get great views of the rolling hills, decent singletrack and a great downhill to finish it off. You will get to see the new backwards view helment camera on this trail.

album: sv2008/imperialgulc

July 16th

After 3 days of riding we were either going to have a rest day or do an easy ride.  We chose to do Corral Creek since it didn’t look that tough and we could shuttle it. We decided to park one car in a parking lot near the new Sun Valley Gun Club and then drive up to the top of the trail. It really wasn’t the top of the trail, it was just a convenient starting point. We parked at and old corral (probably why the trail is called corral creek) about 2 miles in from the main road. We rode this trail twice and have video of the helmet camera pointed forward and backwards. The first time we rode it we shot past our car and ended up near the gun club. We had to backtrack through the open meadow to get back to our cars.

album: sv2008/corralcreek

Corral Creek Video (click below to play) (right click here to download hi-res version)

July 17th

Today is when we go back to one of our favorite rides in the US, Fisher Creek.  Wildfires burnt down most of the vegetation along this trail which made the trail look totally different than 4 years ago.  Again, we did the one hour smooth climb on the access road. Then a short steep uphill and we were at the top of Fisher Creek. As you can see from the photos, all the trees had been burnt. Instead of green foliage along the sides of the trail, you could see the whole hill and trail below you.

album: http:/sv2008/fishercreek

Sun Valley Compilation Video

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Orange County Adventure Race 2008

Eddy and I decided to enter the 1st ever Orange County Adventure Race since it was only 15 minutes away from Eddy’s house.  As usual, we never train or prepare for these things.  We figure that we are in such awesome shape that these races are nothing!   This race consists of 1 mile of paddling, 5-6 miles of mountain biking and a 3-4 mile run.

So as usual, the night before we are running around trying to find an inflatable boat and some life vests.

The race started with a 1 mile run to three checkpoints.  At each checkpoint we had to pick up some parts that would be used to make our boat paddles.  Once back at the staging area, we put together the paddles with tie wraps and duct tape and pumped up the boat.

The boating part would have been easy if, we could paddle straight and we knew where we were going.

When we hopped into the lake we counted about 40 boats in front of us so we figured we were in the middle of the pack.  When we exited the lake we only counted 15 or so boats behind us.

The next activity was a short obstacle course and a 6′ wall to hop over.  Then it was off to the mountain biking section.  The biking section was fairly easy it was half on dirt and half on pavement.  We really couldn’t catch or pull ahead of any bikers because it was mainly flat.

Lastly the running section came.  We usually call this, the walking section.  I think we lost probably another 10 places here with our very slow jog rate.

Our final result was 2:45 which put us around 29th place out of 40 or so 2 person teams.

 

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Biking the Sunrise Trail in Scottsdale, Arizona

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I found some trails about 5 miles from my house.  They have nice elevation changes so they should give me a decent workout.  I haven’t been on the bike since my Park City trip in early August so I need to get back in shape.

I parked at the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead to get to the Sunrise trail from the west.  Here is a link to a map of the trail. I brought my Garmin to map the trail.  I wanted to get to the peak which is a 1,100 foot gain and about 2.5 miles.  As you can see from the Google Earth map I didn’t make it.  The finger points to the peak.

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I was so close, only about 1/2 mile.  But it was 92 degrees outside and I didn’t want to push it.
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This picture below shows the switchbacks leading up to the crest that I stopped at.  It was 1.8 miles from the trailhead to this point.  It took me 47 minutes and many many rests to make it there.
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This picture is looking back down at my turnaround point.  I was ready for a nice long downhill.
lostdogwashtraildownhill.jpg

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Park City Utah 2007

pcsign.jpgDuring a short weekend trip to Salt Lake City I had time to get in a quick biking trip in Park City.  I had rented a compact from Enterprise but all they had was a Chevy Aveo and a Dodge Neon.  I didn’t really like any of these cars.  They didn’t really have any good cars available.  They literally only had about 20 cars there.  I ended up getting a Hyundai Sante Fe SUV for $7 more a day (This is important for later).

Park City is located only 30 minutes away from Salt Lake City. It is also considered a great place to mountain bike.  Since I had a day free I decided to rent a bike, get a lift ticket and see how its trails are.

There was an art festival on Main street so many streets was blocked off.  They were also charging parking in the free lots today.  So I drove around and found an empty parking lot that happen to belong to the Park City Mountain Resort (This is important for later too).  Once I got out of the car I quickly realized that I didn’t know where I was so I called Rico to get directions to Main street.  It was a 1 mile uphill walk to the bike rental store.

I got a half day rental and bought a one use lift ticket for $11.  There is a lift that starts right on main street.  This must be really nice in the winter during ski season because you can be shopping or eating at a restaurant and walk down the street and hop on a lift.

I rented a GT I-Drive 4.0.  The first thing I noticed was that it was alot heavier than my old 2002 Gary Fisher Sugar 3+.  Since I have been used to renting nicer bikes, this one just felt crappy.  Plus it had flat pedals.  I wasn’t too comfortable on it going downhill since I’m used to my feet being glued onto the pedals.

I rode up the lift and decided to ride the Mid-mountain Trail.  About 1.5 hours into the ride my derailleur broke.  It just snapped into two pieces.  I didn’t hit a rock or anything.  Luckily, I was on a trail that was 90% downhill so I coasted down the closest trail.  This is where things went well for me.  I happened to be parked at the parking lot where this trail exited.  Also, if I had rented the compact car I wouldn’t have been able to fit the bike in the car, so getting the SUV and parking so far away worked out beautifully.

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Broken Derailleur

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I walked into the bike shop with the derailleur in hand.  The guy apologized and said that they’ve been having problems with the I-Drives.  He gave me a full refund on the rental and I was on my way.  With the money refunded I went and got a souvenir shirt and went to see “The Bourne Ultimatium.”  It was a good day.

Nice singletrack pictures

parkcity.jpg parkcitytrail.jpg

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parkcitysingletrack-sm.jpg

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Durango Colorado 2007

durango2007.jpg

Since we have been to all the other Mecca’s of mountain biking in the U.S. we decided to visit the remaining one on our list.  We’ve been to Crested Butte not once, twice, three, four or even five but six times! We went to Sun Valley and Ketchum in 2004.  We’ve been to Moab, Utah three times also.  Durango, Colorado is often referred as the Mecca of mountain biking and it was only a matter of time until we made a trip to grace its sweet singletrack.

So instead of visiting Crested Butte for a seventh time, we made Durango our destination this year.  We all had different departure points.  The guys from Chicago started their 22 hour journey at 9pm CST on Friday.  I left Scottsdale, AZ at 8am on Sunday morning.  Kevin left O’Hare at 12pm, Eddy and Shanda left Orange County, CA at 12pm Saturday.  Due to our awesome planning and coordination, we all arrived at our Durango house within 20 minutes of each other.

June 30th

I left Scottsdale at 8:30am with my two dogs.  This is the first trip that they’ve come on.  The owner of the home was kind enough to allow my dogs to come along.  Driving with the dogs required me to stop every few hours.  You never know when they have to go.  Shiprock, NM probably gets its name because its a barren desert with rock outcroppings that look like sunken ships.  This year, I snapped a few pics while my dogs were doing their business.

Feels like the middle of nowhere. Somewhere on the 491 in New Mexico (Used to be Highway 666)

shiprock.jpg

8 hours and 498 miles later I arrived in Durango at 5:30pm.  Every year, we keep upgrading our lodging.  This is a far cry from our ghetto camping days.  We rented a great home on 35 acres in Durango. Check out the home below!

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July 1st

salebarntrail.jpgThe whole western U.S. was experiencing a heat wave this week.  The temperature was in the high 90’s but at least it was dry.  For our first ride, we chose to ride Sale Barn and South Rim.  This was a short 7.5 mile loop that is just south of town.  It was a great starter ride to warm up and get used to the elevation and temperature.  We did the South Rim to Big Canyon to Cowboy Loop.  It was pretty much rolling terrain and singletrack.  The Sale Barn trail was a nice downhill from the South Rim.  

July 2nd

The Hermosa Creek Trail is why we came here.  A 21 mile downhill ride, it was going to be the best ride of the trip.  The beauty of this trail was that we were going to shuttle it.  We were going to drive ourselves to the top of the trail and cruise 20 miles downhill to the bottom where Shanda was going to pick us up and drive us back to the top.  That was until we got near the top and we saw a road closed sign.  We drove past the sign and saw some construction machines on the road and had to turn back.

hermosa-creek-elevation.jpgNow what?  Let’s just ride up, let’s do the out and back.  So our day of downhilling became a day of climbing.  Our goal was to make it to the Salt Creek Bridge, that was about 12 miles in from the bottom.  We made it up a difficult 9 miles,  just another 4 and we would have reached our goal.  But then Rex wanted to turn back.  So we all did.  Turns out, alot of us wanted to turn back… Rex just happened to be the only person to actually say it.  We’re glad he did because I don’t think many of us could have made it an additional 4 miles up and a 4 miles down.

 

markhermosa.jpg  

Eddy brought his new Garmin Edge 305 on the trip.  This little device is great because it maps everything we do.  It tells us how fast we climb, how much we rest, where we are and exactly how much we’ve climbed.  This little device is what is allowing you to see these great maps and graphs.  Garmin Edge + Google Maps = Awesome trail maps. 

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hermosacreektrail1.jpg rexhermosa.jpg eddyhermosa.jpg

July 3rd

Semi Rest Day.  Many of us were bonked from the Hermosa Creek ride.  Eddy, Shanda and Mike went to ride the College loop which is located on a plateau around town.  Kevin and I rode the Ridge trail late in the PM.  But this was a very relaxed day or doing nothing, except eating.

July 4th

The trail for today was the Colorado Trail.  This is also considered a great trail in the Durango area.  We took the standard route from the trail head to Gudy’s Rest to the Colorado Loop counter-clockwise.  Below is the GPS Google Earth map of our route and its elevation change.

colorado-trail-google-earth.JPG colorado-trail-elevation.JPG

This is the view from Gudy’s Rest which was the most scenic spot on our trip.

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This trail had two great downhills.  The first one is from Gudy’s Rest down to the trail head and the second is going down the Dry Fork Trail.  I’m sure you can see where the downhills were on the elevation map above.

As we were riding on the trail two rider’s passed us going the other way.  We are about 90% sure that one of the rider’s was Ned Overend which is only fitting since he’s from Durango.  Eddy should have caught him to get his book autographed.

I think we had the most flats ever for one trail.  I believe there were a total of 5 flat tires on this day.  Other than that, it was a very good riding day.

 

July 5th

treasuremtsign.jpgThe last day of riding.  The forecast was 30% chance of rain.  Early in the morning I read about a trail called Treasure Mountain.  It was just 9 miles east on highway 160 and sounded like a real nice trail.  Well turns out I read it wrong and the trail is 9 miles east of Pagosa Springs which is 60 miles east of Durango.  Well, we decided to make the one hour trek east and try out this trail.  We exited highway 160 on County Road 667 and drove a bumpy 7 miles to the trailhead.

The book was right, this was some tight singletrack.  It looked like it was 6″ wide on some parts.  This is an out and back trail and is 5 miles uphill and 5 miles downhill.  I believe that there was a waterfall to see at the top.  However at the 2.5 mile point the skys got dark and we could hear rumbling in the distance.  A slow drizzle started and we decided to turn back.  The 2.5 miles of downhill was very fast.  This was a smooth trail with not too many turns.  There was a patch of deep rutty horse tracks which we all seemed to just glide over to our amazement.  My brakes were squealing and it didn’t help when I went thru puddles.  I’m the only one running the old skool V-brakes on my ancient 2002 Gary Fisher Sugar 3+.  The drizzle turned into rain and then into a downpour and then into hail.  Luckily we got back to the cars before it really came down.  I think we set a record for the fastest mounting of 9 bikes onto their racks.

 

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jjjohntreaure.jpg marktreasure.jpg rainrain.jpg

July 6th

Today was our traditional Friday morning breakfast.  We went to the Brickhouse Cafe in town and had a huge breakfast.  The Chicago crew was leaving town to begin their 22 hour journey back home.  The rest of us were staying until Saturday.  We booked a whitewater rafting trip on the Lower Animas river at 3pm.  This short 2 hour trip was only $25 and a great introduction to whitewater rafting for people who’ve never gone.  Unfortunately at around 2pm the skys turned grey and the rain came again.  The temperature dropped from 80 down to 55 degrees, so rafting wouldn’t have really been any fun.  So, we did the next best thing… we went to see Transformers.  What mountain biking trip wouldn’t be complete without a movie!

After the movie we went to East by Southwest, which was the first Sushi restaurant in Durango in 2002.  While the food was very good, I can’t understand how a place open since 2002 has such poor service timing.  Our waitress told us that they have a hot kitchen (cooked stuff) and a cold kitchen (uncooked) and that they are on their own schedules and therefore the food doesn’t come out at the same time. She told us this right after we ordered, as if to warn us of the service to come.

So here’s the timeline of our food.  After we ordered, I got my “hand grenade”, a shrimp scallop rice appetizer in 10 minutes, then came the pot stickers about 5 minutes later, then came the warm foods (chicken teriyaki, tempura) at the 30 minute mark, then came the sashimi at the 45 minute make, finally the rolls at the 1 hour mark! 

July 7th

We left the house at 12pm.  I had my 8 hour drive home and the others their 6 hour total flights.  This trip went by so fast.  As usual, it’s a shame we only do this once a year.

Another sign picture

Which way

Wrong way

The ledge

Paul on Colorado Trail

Gudy’s Rest rest

Treasure mountain

JJ at Gudy

The brothers riding

Neo with sock bandages

Resting on the deck

Maggie at sunset

Farewell breakfast group shot

SUV 1

SUV 2

Sale Barn Trail

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Crested Butte 2006

July 1

For the first time I decide to buy a plane ticket and fly into Colorado. With gas prices around $3.00 a gallon it was actually cheaper to fly than to make the 13 hour drive in my SUV. I flew in on Friday night and stayed with Lisa Friday night. Eddy and Shanda flew into Denver also, they got in at around 1pm on Saturday and rented a Durango. Mike, Mark, JJ and John drove from Chicago and we all met for lunch in Denver at 2:30pm. After lunch it was a quick 4 hour drive to Crested Butte.After many years of camping, we decided to ditch that and go with a luxurious townhome this time. Eddy got a sweet deal on a 4br 4ba townhome rental for the week. We had plenty of room and even a 2 car garage to store all the bikes and the cars!

July 2

Unfortunately the forecast for the entire week was rain. It was 30-40% everyday, but it was forecasted for late afternoons. Our first trail for the trip was the 401. In our past years, the 401 was considered a hard trail for us, even when we parked halfway up and shuttled, but now we actually think that its an easy trail. As usual we woke up late so we didn’t start riding until about 1pm. The think the dark clouds and lightning should have told us that we didn’t have alot of time to finish the trail. At least we knew to bring our cold weather clothes this time.

The 401 uphill has been slightly changed since the last time we rode it. The singletrack climb is not as steep as it was before. When we got to the top the clouds really rolled in. After about 5 minutes into our descent it started to rain and hail hard. Unfortunately, we were at the being stages of the downhill which is an exposed slope on the mountain. There were not many trees for cover. Eddy, Shanda and I stopped on the trail hoping to wait out the hail. The video below is just a quick clip of the hail right as we stopped for a second. The rest of the guys went further down the trail. After about 5 minutes it didn’t look as if the hail was going to subside so we got on our bikes and began to ride downhill again.

Further down the trail we found JJ and John huddled under a big pine tree so we got off our bikes and jumped under it also. As we were under the tree two hikers who we had past at the top were coming down the hill. They did not have any cold weather gear with them. They only had they biking jersey and shorts. Actually these girls were on bikes when we past them at the top. They had ditched their bikes at the top and were running down the trail. The stopped for a little while under the tree too. We gave them our arm warmers and a fleece vest. The rain was definitely not going to stop and we weren’t getting any warmer so we made the decision to ride the trail down to the end.

The trail was unexpectedly easy and very fun when wet. The ground was not soaked as the trail was hard packed. Portions of the trail were like riding downstream in a small river as the water channeled from the slopes down the trail. When we got to the bottom of the trail there were some campers who had started a campfire. They said that they had been warming up hikers and bikers all afternoon. They also had 2 cars with the heater running at full blast.

July 3

40% rain forecasted again today! Our original plan was to wake up early and try to ride Teocalli Ridge before it started raining. Of course, we never wake up early and after getting to the trailhead late we made the decision to ride Strand Hill instead. Strand Hill is a short trail which has a decent climb to the top and then a great downhill. This is a very short trail which some of the guys had done a few years ago so we knew there was little chance of us getting rained on. We rode Strand Hill and got back to the townhome around 1pm. The clouds rolled in and there was a minor rain shower. Around 5pm the sun began to peek out again and we put on our cold weather gear and headed out to ride Snodgrass. Wow, two whole trails in one day. We’re hardcore now.

July 4

Again, more rain forecasted so that means no long trail today. The Upper upper loop trailhead happens to begin about 300 feet from our townhome. The plan today was to ride this trail and then do Strand Hill and then ride back to town and back to the townhome. I think this is a first for us. We’ve never rode from our place and actually connected two trails together! We’re almost like locals… except we only can only connect short wussy trails! After completing Strand Hill for the second day in a row we rode back to town on the main road. Since it was the 4th of July, the town of Crested Butte had a big party on the main street. It was like a very mini Taste of Chicago. We stopped by and had lunch, listened to the music and people watched. In all the years that we’ve been coming here, we’ve never been in town on the 4th. I think that’s because we’re always out on the trails. I think the population in town tripled just for the day.

July 5

Ok rain for 4 days in a row is just too much. We decided to make the 3 hour drive to Fruita. It was unexpectedly cool for mid-summer and there was only a 20% chance of rain. When we got to Fruita, we drove to the last main parking lot at the Bookcliffs section. The first trail we rode was Kessel Run. This is a twisting, turning, slightly downhill trail which is really fun and tiring.

I didn’t have my helmet camera for this trip, but you can see a video from 2003 that includes all the trails I’m about to mention. After completing Kessel Run we proceeded to Chutes & Ladders. I did this trail with Paul in 2003. This trail had alot of steep climbs and steep drops, hence why it’s called Chutes & Ladders. The pictures we got from this trail were great. Once we got out of the hilly portion of the trail, we came to a Y-intersection. The reason I mention this is because the nice sign said “Chutes & Ladders” going right and “Vegetarian Trail” going left. I knew that when I did this trail in 2003 that we went left.But how could this brand new sign be wrong? So we went right and went down Vegetarian which in my opinion was not as good. What’s odd is that according to the sign at the parking lot we did ride Chutes. After getting home I checked my trail book and many internet trail maps and they all said we rode Vegetarian.

Anyway, it was sort of an disappointment based on my memories. It was getting late since we still had to drive back to Crested Butte so we had time for one more trail. I suggested Joe’s Ridge, cause who comes to Fruita and then doesn’t ride Joe’s Ridge. Someone, I won’t say who, was afraid of it because of its drop offs on either side. But worse case is that you roll down the hill doing somersaults! So, some of us rode Joe’s Ridge and connected up with the end of Kessel Run. This completed our Fruita experience for this trip. I know we’ll definitely be back!

July 6

On the final day of riding we decided to try the Green Lake Trail. This is a short trail that goes up to Green Lake. It was suppose to be a tough climb and a fun downhill. We decided to shorted the climb by driving up to a portion of it. We found out that the road leading up there is a private road and that we couldn’t park our car there. So we ended up riding downhill from that point as Eddy drove the car back into town. Turns out that the switchbacks on the lower half of the trail were so tight that we had to get off and walk every one. Not a fun downhill. Since we were in town, we decided to ride Lower Loop as an easy relaxing cap for our trip.

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