My vacation website

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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