CO: Breckenridge - Tour de HAB

I was on the road out of Crested Butte by 5a. The temps were hovering in the low 40's, a very welcomed change. Daybreak came as I neared the Monarch Crest. I kept a keen eye peeled for the Colorado Trail crossing...found it!! It was near here that my 2017 Colorado Trail Race turned for the better. I dropped down into Poncha Springs and recalled a new Field Operations Center had opened for the Colorado Trail. There was a giant CT logo on the side of the building asking for a photo. A quick google search and I saw I was only a few blocks away.
Larger than life CT logo.

The CT Foundation chose this location for its proximity to the large amount of upcoming trail projects.
The sun was now casting its rays across the Arkansas Valley illuminating the Collegiate Peaks. It was quite the sight to start the day. I had to pull over to soak it all in.
A cluster of 14ers, but which peaks?

Here they are!!

The Chalk Cliffs dominate the south facing region of Mt. Princeton.
Eventually I made my way to Breckenridge where I found Jeff & Nancy getting prepped for a pre-race taper ride. Joe wasn't too far away, but we learned that he had his own issues to take care of after discovering his carbon rim on his race bike melted in his car's exhaust!! Gah!! Luckily, he came prepared with an extra set of wheels.

Since I was the short-stay guest at the condo, I needed to find a place to park and it was very limited in town for overnight stays. I managed to find a lot about 2 miles away for $5 per night. Not the most convenient, but it worked.

Jeff, Nancy & I finally rolled out onto some random route Jeff put together. It came with the standard disclaimers: 'Not sure what we'll get, but it should be good and these trails over here are a hoot'.
We crossed through town, then began climbing on steady forest roads.

A few miles later we found singletrack!!

The views began to open up to the south & west.

Great overview of Breckenridge ski area and the Tenmile Range.

Here are the same pics, stretched out and labeled.

The Colorado Trail comes up behind Peak 8, cresting near Peak 6.

I wanted to be up there, but my legs/lungs objected.

'I thought this was supposed to be easy?'
Jeff had routed us 'around the mountain', seemed logical that the climbing may be easier if you stretch out the routing. Wrong!! The trail was also open to motos, it wasn't torn to crap by them, but we did have to pay attention as a few parties did come along. The trail was full of mud puddles, lots of loose rock, steep grades and general sucking. I was in full on HAB mode and having CTR pangs for the better part of an hour!! I kept thinking that Jeff was finally paying me back for some of my route choices over the years...

Sweet section of trail.

Naturally, the photo doesn't convey steepness. I was pushing a lot through here.


Finally topping out.
Jeff swore the route would get easier...and downhill as we approached some familiar terrain. For once, he was right!!
Nancy railing the berms on Side Door.

Let 'er rip!!

The elusive Jeffro smile!!

This could be on a brochure cover.

I think my sled has more miles left.

A very fast exit on Side Door.
Nancy peeled off when we crossed the next dirt road, she was ready for race day. Jeff & I wanted to find more flow trails.
Dredge piles!!

'I came, I saw, I rode' or something like that.

Look closely, there may be some sick air happening.
We debated about riding this, not sure why.

We made a proper ride decision to check out B-Line. Lots of optional wood features.

Some with drops.

Some skinnier than others. Yes, it had started to rain right when we began riding on the slickest terrain.

Jeff showing how it's done, pay no attention to the dab!!
Options abound.

I doubt you'll see us on any upcoming North Shore video, but it was a fun trail!!

We rode up Moonstone to sample the other popular flow trail.

I had heard about Barney Flow and was glad we could give it a whirl.

There were some features, but we both agreed we enjoyed B-Line much more. Should've done a second lap on that.

Rolling back through town to finish things off.
Even though the first half of the ride was chock full of HAB and a bit more strenuous than I had hoped, it was a cool ride. Perhaps with better conditioning I'd enjoy it more. The second half of the ride was a blast and I'd ride all of those trails again. Thanks for putting that one together, Jeff.



CO: Crested Butte - Locals Tour

The calendar flipped to August and I was still searching for some high country relief from the heat. It had been excessively hot here after the latest batch of storms fizzled out. My friends, Jeff & Nancy, were headed to Breckenridge for the Breck Epic. Nancy was going to race and they offered a place to crash if I wanted. Of course I did. Before arriving there, I'd make a stop in Crested Butte to see some other friends, Beth & Neil.
Yeah, it's time to get outta Dodge.
The air temp was closer to 112º, but what's 5º when it's that hot outside?? Barely two hours later I was cresting the Mogollon Rim under a light rain...
Yep, still in AZ. It's really not difficult to find relief here.
I made my way towards Durango, where I found my trusty free camping location and crashed out for the night.

I rolled into town the next morning, not quite as early as I had hoped, to grab some coffee & a bite. My hope was to knock out a short ride in the high country near Silverton on my way to CB, but the weather had other ideas. Welcome back to Colorado!! I tried again near Ridgway, but again the rain began to fall. Oh, well, I guess I'll continue on to CB.
Overcast skies dropping down into Ouray.
I finally arrived in Crested Butte early in the afternoon. The rain was still falling when I pulled up to Beth's place. I thought she may want to wait it out for a bit, I know I wouldn't have minded. But she was all set to roll and didn't blink at the thought of a wet ride. I guess we desert rats gets a little spoiled when it comes to wet riding. I finished getting ready, donned my rain jacket and we were off on the paved bikepath to meet Neil.
Mt. Crested Butte under soggy skies.
By the time we reached Neil's the rain had stopped and signs of clearing appeared. I reminded these two elevation acclimated powerhouses that I'd need a bunch of breaks during the ride. Easy pace or not, one thing is certain, you're going to do some climbing here. There isn't much in the way of flat space, it's either up or down. So, up we went.
And just like that: Blue skies & sunshine!!

The climb was a really nice grade, it was more the elevation that got to me.

Trail hazard!!

We wound through a thick stand of Aspens nearing our high point.

I think Neil is going to miss these views, he's moving to Minnesota soon.

I think if Beth relaxed a bit, she'd have more fun!!!  

Standard view in these parts.

One of the few trails I had actually heard of. It was still open too as it gets ready for its seasonal closure.

Sure glad I didn't miss this!! Photo by Neil.

The horses didn't care much about our passing.

Sweeping views of the ski resort.

Almost to the final downhill...

...after a little bit of hike-a-bike!! At least for me. Photo by Neil.

More Aspen shredding.

These mountains are going to miss you!! Come back often.

One final rip out to the dirt road back to town.
Beth was having too much fun on the last downhill and punctured her tire, not once, but twice!! Snake bite!! A couple of tire plugs later and we were off.

Beautiful scene coming back into the mountain village.

I think the final 5 miles of our route were downhill, not a bad way to finish.
It was now late in the afternoon and I took Beth's offer to stay for dinner and crash at her place before heading to Breckenridge. I didn't want to arrive late and wake Jeff & Nancy, so I'd set my alarm and hit the road early the next day.

Beth and Neil's wife, Lindsay, were hosting a ladies bikepacking 101 type of ride the following day. A few of the ladies stopped by for last minute gear prep & route chatter. The excitement was high and by all accounts they had a great two day ride through the mountains.

It was a fantastic day sampling some of the CB goods. Thanks for the tour, Beth & Neil, it was great sharing some trail miles with you. Best of luck on the move north, Neil & Lindsay, Arizona is always available if you need to thaw out. Thanks again to Beth & Sean for the generous hospitality and allowing me to spend the night before hitting the road.