August 3, 2018

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.



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