Mountain Biking in Colorado

Last week I spent 6 days mountain biking in Colorado with Jason. We stayed in 4 different hotels, drove a rental Dodge Charger somewhere in the neighborhood of 850 miles, and had a blast riding some of the best mountain bike trails in the country. I rode a rental Yeti ASR 5 Carbon and Jason was on a Yeti Big Top.

  • ~22 Hours of riding
  • 164.71 Miles
  • 29,154 ft of climbing
  • 11,991 ft max elevation
  • 55F low temperature, 104F high temperature

Monarch Crest, Salida

GPS Trace | Photos | Trail Info

Not a bad way to start the trip. We met up with Paul F and two of his friends to shuttle cars to the start and ride back to town. I had a few mechanical problems with my bike that we pretty quickly worked out, and we spent the day cruising at high altitude enjoying the scenery and getting aclimated. Paul and friends were pretty quick, but we didn't keep them waiting. Amica's Pizza afterwards in Salida was delicious.

Bear Creek + Methodist Mountain + Rainbow, Salida

GPS Trace | Photos | Trail Info

Day 2 was just Jason and I. We did a long fire road climb from Salida to 'Rainbow' which was pretty nice. We were feeling pretty good so instead of taking a right turn back to town where we planned to, we continued onward into the unknown, knowing that Rainbow connected up with our exit point from Monarch Crest. This turned into a 1.5 mile walk up a 1500ft hill which took quite some time and while the downhill on the other side was kindof nice, it definitely wasn't worth it. We both ran out of water, and once we got back down to the road the sky opened up on us and we took shelter under an awning on a random house on the side of the road to wait for the storm to pass. This was not a day either of us want to do again, but it was good to get the walking and dealing with the rain out of the way. Afterwards, we drove to Crested Butte and had a late dinner of wings and beer at Secret Stash which lived up to their reputation.

Trail 401, Crested Butte

GPS Trace | Photos | Trail Info

The 'superstar' trail as far as views go, 401 was goregous. We climbed up a gravel road to the start, passing by Emerald Lake and climbing over huge snowbanks. Once we crested the top of the mountain, we were treated to miles and miles of flowly downhill singletrack cut through fields of wildflowers. This was a 'short' 'easy' day so we didn't put in too many miles or work to hard, but words don't do the views justice so make sure to look at these photos. Massive numbers of flies at some points seemed particular attracted to getting stuck inside helmets, so there aren't quite as many photos as I would have liked because the only way to keep the flies off was to keep moving.

Edge Loop, Fruita

GPS Trace | Photos | Trail Info

Our IMBA Epic ride of the trip, Edge Loop is a long road climb tieing together fast flowly singletrack, super technical downhill jeep roads, a wash thats only dry and open 6 months out of the year, and great views. This was a hot one with a high of 104F, but due to super low humidity it felt a lot better than any summer mountain bike ride in the north Georgia mountains. We saw lots of rabbits and lizards, as well as gas wells and a pumping facility on the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. This isn't a ride that I'd do again 'just for fun' but it was definitely worth doing once.

18 Road, Fruita

GPS Trace | Photos | Trail Info

From the same trailhead as Edge Loop, the 18 Road network is a great set of super-fast XC runs. Some cut through desert plains, others down ridgelines with steep dropoffs on either side. We rode several loops, each time climbing slowly from the parking lot, picking a trail to decend, and loving the descent. A few of the trails had super steep downhill sections that gave me the same kind of exhilaration as the first drop on a roller coaster. Highly recommended, and what most people think of when mountain biking and Fruita are mentioned together.

Colorado Trail Kenosha to Breckenridge, Frisco

GPS Trace | Photos | Trail Info

To finish off the trip, we met up with Paul F again, this time in downtown Breckenridge, and shuttled cars to Kenosha Pass. This was never ending climbs followed by the most fun I've ever had going downhill on a mountain bike. Everything from smooth banked turns to super technical high-speed rock gardens interspersed between tight switchbacks. There's helmetcam video of this from Paul that should make it's way online sometime in the next week or two.

After 2009's Mountain Biking in Santa Fe, NM and 2010's Road Biking in Portland, OR, this was a pretty great 3rd annual bike trip. More time riding, more places, and minimal sunburn and flesh wounds. Next year will probably be another mountain bike trip, maybe British Columbia?

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