Sunday, January 15, 2017

San Juan 2016 Tour Day 5


Just yesterday, it had seemed that my ride was over. We had contemplated me thumbing a ride back to Durango or getting a ride to Telluride (the former seemed easier IMHO) before fixing the bike. We took our new friends to pizza as a way of saying thanks before riding back up to the Colorado Trail. Lee briefly had mentioned the idea of continuing to Durango (remember our car was parked at Durango Resorts, where we had originally planned to end there today, on Day 5). When Lee mentioned it again this morning, I decided that I had been given a second chance to see more singletrack on the Colorado Trail....so we decided to ride the rest of the CT to Durango and let Scott leave us for his car (Hardrock 100 was in a few days and he needed to work that event).




Scott prepped to leave us and gave me all his food. 




Scott bombing off the Colorado Trail to head back to his car at Durango Resorts


The rest of the day, we did a combo of riding, eating and drinking coffee/tea. Frankly, we enjoyed the view to its fullest. I will let the pictures do the talking here. 




















Shower time!


We stopped a little early before getting to Durango for our last night out. Since our car was about the road on the highway, Lee and I were not really in a hurry to get back to the city.


The next morning we finished the few miles back to Durango and went to a diner to eat a big breakfast! 

Durango Diner


Route info:

Coming...check back later.

San Juan 2016 Tour Day 4



The next morning on the Galloping Goose we slowly got up and made coffee/breakfast before starting to ride.



The Galloping Goose connects Telluride to Lizard Head Pass. The path follows an old narrow-gauge rail line, which was built beginning in 1890 to help haul precious metals from these high mountains. To scale the 10,200-foot-high pass between Durango and Telluride, railroad crews blasted ledges into cliffs, built winding loops, and constructed dozens of trestles (we slept next to one of them).  But it didn't last long; the economic depression of 1893 sent the company into receivership.


Trout Lake Road


The big unknown was solved as we neared Lizard Head. We met a local at the Groundhog Stock TH that mentioned our route had been closed due to some heavily moto usage. In fact, the Forest Service had opened up a forum for locals to express their opinion about the trail. The plan was to see if Calico was still closed when we got there.




Then disaster happened...my bolt from bearing from my rear shock broke. It looks like I would have to walk out to the road.

While coming up with a plan, Lee was tinkering with different items that we had and came up with the best option... jamming a tent stake into the bushing.

And it worked!

The sharp side of the tent stake would be a problem so we took turns trying to bend it. After about 45 minutes of tinkering, the bike was ready to go. The plan was to bail to Rico.



 Lizard Head in the background





In Rico, we met the mountain biker that had told about Calico early in the day. He was a super nice guy and we troubled him for information about anyone in town that might have extra bolts. He name a few people and then offered to drive me back to Telluride. I was hesitant to take that offer when another group of mountain bikers zoomed by us. We all chatted before Skip decided that he might have the tools necessary to fix the bike. After about 10 minutes and a few beers, Skip found an old Pivot bolt that was the exact same size! On top of that, Lee and I had all the tools we need to tap out the tent stake! After a few minutes, Lee (who really knew what he was doing) took control and delicately tapped out the tent stake.

After about 1.5 hours, we were back on our way to the Colorado Trail (but not before a stop at the hot spring and general store)!


We kept saying that we were going to stop as the sun was setting but there was no flat ground. Finally, after about 2 hours of saying "let's camp here" we made it to the ridgeline and camped next to the Colorado Trail.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

San Juan 2016 Tour Day 3


The greenery, the waterfalls, the snow....if you have followed this blog enough, you know that I am love my native state of Arizona; yet, every year when I go to Colorado, my mind is blown away. If you live here in CO, I assume you have the same moment when you venture out here into the wild. Waking up to it will never get old.




Tent-less Scott



We started pedaling over to some "singletrack" that Scott found on the map that would lead us off Bear Pass Road.






The singletrack looked promising!





A *little* HAB? Yes please!






We passed a weather station on the top of a saddle and continued on riding 50% of the time, pushing the bike the other 50%.











Lunch time!

 

And another false summit. I thought this was going to be the top but we still need about 1500 feet elevation to climb.





We stumbled on this old, mining cabin as we neared Ptarmigan Lake. The next section turned from 50/50 to 100% hike-a-bike. This lasted a good hour or so of HAB. But hey, if you are going to push your bike, this is the area that you want to be pushing it. We said that numerous times. It is a "pick your poison" route with both clockwise and counter clockwise having its advantages/disadvantages. It would be interesting for people that have ridden from Telluride to Imogene to chime in about its difficulty and HAB scale.











Time to ride!









Ptarmigan Lake



The route had two options to get to the pass: head down to the cabin (shown above at right) or swing around to the left (shown above at left, peak in background). Guess which one we decided?




The snow level looked easier if we went higher, so we chose to "ride" to the left of the lake.



Get it!






Not a bad, late afternoon view of Telluride from above the pass, no jeeps.









Last section of HAB!











We stopped for a late lunch at this shelter. We also watched some skiers head down one of the east facing sides. It was incredible to see them skin up the mountain only to launch off and down in less than a few seconds. Mountain bikers do a similar feat, although we can tend to take a little longer on the way up...or at least we did today.


Would I recommend this route for anyone else? If you do not like HAB, stay away from this part of the route.


Now the fun part, we bombed down to Imogene Pass....


....passing the flowers...



....and mines.




Bear Pass



...stopping to take a shower...
before eating at the Brown Dog! Beeeeeer and pizzaaaaaaaaaaa!



After loading up on food and supplies (my fuel was gone) we rolled out on the Galloping Goose to get out of town. Telluride was very, very busy because Pearl Jam was coming to town the next day. 



We set up the tents that night (trying to escape the mosquitos) and took another bath in a nearby creek.

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