My vacation website

Crested Butte 2004

September 3rd
Could it be? More biking trips this year? And to all our favorite places. Moab, Fruita, Sun Valley and now, back to Crested Butte again! Now we’re getting even more complicated in the trip planning, in the past it was one start, one destination and one return point. But now, we have people coming from all parts of the country. The trip was possible because I’m now living in Phoenix, AZ and my SUV can hold alot of bikes. Nine, if I get that four bike hitch rack. So here is the plan, I go to California and pick up Eddy and Shanda’s bikes and bring them back to Phoenix. Eddy and Shanda fly to Denver from California on Friday night. Mike and Kevin fly to Denver from Chicago. They would rent a car and drive to Salida, CO on Friday night. I drive from Phoenix to Salida, CO on Friday morning meeting them there at 11pm. For the most part, this part of the trip went as planned. I got to the hotel at 11pm, the Denver riders arrived at 12am.

September 4th
Leaving Salida at 10am, we arrive in Crested Butte at 11:30am. We try to get our rental bikes from the Alpineer, but although we had reservations, they had already rented out our reserved bikes. Fortunately, they had other models that will be ready in an hour. So we leave and try to check in early into our condo. No luck there either so it’s off to town where they have a little street festival. We sit down for lunch and it starts to rain and rain alot. Did I mention it’s only 45 degrees outside? At 2pm we pick up our bikes and check into the condo. The forecast isn’t good, it’s suppose to rain all night. So there goes day one of riding.

September 5th
7am, we wake up and there’s snow on the roofs of the cars. It’s 37 degrees outside and we’re at 8,800 feet. Our plan was to ride Monarch Crest which is at 11,000+ feet. So we get on all our winter gear, the layers, arm & leg warmers, fleece, windbreakers and head up to Monarch Crest. There were at least twenty other bikers in the lot ready to ride. We shuttled one SUV to the end of the ride in Poncha Springs and left the other at the start.

The trail starts with a short climb on doubletrack, then there is a sign in book, a sign and a narrow singletrack signalling the beginning or the Monarch Crest Trail. This trail goes along the Continental Divide and climbs as high as 12,000 feet. The trees are all covered with snow and the ground with frost. This is our first ride in this type of weather. We can see the clouds as they are so low that we’ll eventually be riding in them. At the top all we saw was a big cloud!

We think that due to the weather, we didn’t get the great great views of the mountains. But nevertheless, the views were great, but different that what we expected. The trail was about 10 miles and consisted of mainly easy climbing and a short downhill on single track. The last two miles was downhill doubletrack with alot of jumps. We ended at the Marshall Pass and decided which way to get back to our car at Poncha Springs. We took the easy way back, 8 miles on a dirt road going downhill and then 5 miles by highway. The total ride was 30 miles.

More helmet camera video captures. Monarch Crest Trail

September 6th
Back to the 401 trail again. This will be the third time I’ve ridden it and the third time I’ve videotaped it. How can you go wrong riding this trail? So far, it’s the best trail I’ve ever ridden. We check out of the condo (It’s a short trip) and head for Gothic. We park the rented 4runner at the bottom of the trail and take my 4runner to the top. Today, it’s sunny and about 55 degrees. Certainly a huge change from yesterday. This is the latest in the year I’ve ridden this trail and the for the first time, there was no snow blocking the road. I guess we could have drove all the way to the trailhead. Each year, the trail seems to get shorter. The climb didn’t take long at all and soon we were at the top taking pictures and ready for the downhill. The trail was slightly modified at the top this time. Instead of a long straight climb, there were a series of switchbacks making the climb longer, but less steep.

So here are allot more pictures of the 401 trail.  Almost any picture you take on this trail will look good.  I made sure I got alot of video capture pictures because I noticed that in the past years we never had any pictures of the downhill. That’s because we usually just blast through it without stopping. This picture is my favorite.

More helmet camera video captures of 401 trail

One slight problem in this ride though. When we finished the trail, *someone* left the keys for our shuttle ride in the car at the top of the 401, so instead of driving back to the top to get our car, *someone* had to ride to the top and drive the car back. After that little mishap we headed back to town, did a little shopping, ate at Teocalli Tamale and left Crested Butte.

I headed west towards Durango while the others headed to Denver. The drive west on US-50 to Montrose, CO was beautiful. However, going through Ouray towards Silverton was a bit scary. The scenic drive on US-550 is not so scenic at night with no shoulders or guardrails. I got to Durango at about 9:30pm and the others got to Denver at 11pm.

September 7th
I left Durango at 9am and made it back to Phoenix by 4pm for my softball game. The others caught their early planes and were back home or back to work by noon.

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