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Durango Colorado 2007

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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)

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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.

 

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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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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.

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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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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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  1. SART (Santa Ana River Trail) is an easy ride. It will be busier on weeeknds, so go during the week if you don’t want as much company. The dominant wind is onshore and develops later in the day, so time your ride to travel toward the beach early so you don’t fight the wind getting there and can benefit from the wind on the return trip.Don’t leave your bike unlocked or unattended. Watch for glass and debris near underpasses. Watch for iZombies. Problems with bums and thugs aren’t unheard of, but should only be a concern late in the day. It’s ugly and full of freeway and urban noise. Have fun & ride safe.


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