Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pedaling Steamboat Springs to Denver to catch a ride to Tour Divide - Day 2

     A good nights sleep and an uneventful night, I was about to crawl out of the tent when I heard something that sounded like hooves and the rustling of branches. A moose was in camp moving about slowly. The woman at the desk had said they are used to campers but I've met more than one angry moose in my day and wasn't going to risk an encounter. I sat in the tent quietly and waited until it sounded a bit further away, only then poking my head out to see a bull making it's way off into the willows. I immediately looked at my spokes... phew... no bike damage, the moose had sauntered through camp gracefully and not touched a thing.
     I was excited for the days ride, it would take me higher in elevation than I had been before on a bicycle. I live at 8,000' and am no stranger to riding in the high country, but Trail Ridge Road and it's 12,183' high point had me wondering what it was going to feel like pedaling a 45 lb bike uphill while slowly starting to asphyxiate. The one thing I knew is that this would take me higher than the highest point on my upcoming Tour Divide, so if I passed this test, I probably wasn't going to have any problems with elevation during the race.
     I packed up camp hastily and charged up my cell phone while in the process. Once I had everything back on the bike I departed the camping platform and headed over to the campground office to get some supplies. Upon entry the same woman that was at the desk the night before greeted me and asked me if I had seen the moose walking around by my camp. "Yes" I replied, and proceeded to recount the happenings of the morning. She then rang me up for a coffee, a few candy bars, some nutritional goodies, and some Gatorade. I thanked her for the nights stay, gulped down the coffee and headed out towards Rocky Mountain National Park.
     Almost immediately upon leaving the campground and rejoining the main road I came upon the sign I had seen the day before.

     It was only about another half mile until I came to the official entry and stopped for the obligatory bike shot.

Rocky Mountain National Park

     Pedaling onward, the mountains I was going to have to breach this day to get to the eastern slope of the front range were growing larger. I came to the National Park entry gate and paid my 10$ bicycle fee happily while gaping up at the mountains on a gorgeous morning. Soon after getting through, Trail Ridge Road officially began. I was psyched.

Trail Ridge Road

     Slowly rising across the flats the road went until finally it started the meat of it's climb. After going through just a few switchbacks I scared up a couple moose, they crashed off into the woods quickly and I kept riding, ever upward. I was watching my Garmin eTrex 30's elevation plot, knowing that I had about 3,500' of climbing ahead. The grade was manageable and steady, I was starting to hit a cadence that I felt would spin me up and over the high point.
     While winding my way up through the pine forests I was elated, "finally under way," I kept thinking to myself. There are few things more exhilerating to me than riding a bike in the mountains on a beautiful day with no other commitments to distract the mind. Puffing at a steady rate, I continued my pedaling mantra and smiled looking out at the powerful views through the trees. Up and up I went.
     I was feeling darn good and gaining elevation quickly, thinking to myself, "this isn't as hard as I thought it would be." Snow patches were starting to give way to snow pack, and after about 40 minutes I came to what would be my first Continental Divide crossing of the trip. Milner Pass. Milner Pass passes at 10,759', so it's not nearly the top of Trail Ridge Road. I took a quick picture and kept heading upward.

Milner Pass, yes, my bike is facing the wrong way in the picture. I was eastbound.
      The terrain was changing to alpine tundra as I approached Medicine Bow Curve. The high alpine views were commanding, as they should be from 11,640'!

The view from Medicine Bow Curve, RMNP
      One more good push after Medicine Bow Curve and I came to the Alpine Visitors Center. Now at 11,796' above sea level the weather was starting to have a mind of it's own. Above the visitors center was gathering a dark cloud  and the temperatures were dropping rapidly from cool, to downright cold. I stopped and hopped in for a coffee and a bike picture at the visitors center sign.

     When you are that high up, it seems like the weather moves very quickly, and although the dark cloud was still threatening when I finished my coffee, I continued onward and upward. Winding it's way through the high alpine tundra the panorama of views were almost like those from an airplane. The edge of the big dark cloud is visible in this next shot:

View from Trail Ridge Road at first curve past the Alpine Visitors Center

     Almost at the high point now the views continued to be amazing:

      And finally I reached the high point of Trail Ridge Road at 12,183':

The high point of Trail Ridge Road at 12,183'
      Passing a few other road riders headed in the other direction I made my way through the few ups and downs before the big descent and finally...Wahoo! I let gravity take hold and was in Estes Park almost before I knew it. One interesting moment on the descent was when I saw another bikepacker on his way up the hill... I don't know who this guy was but I swear it looked exactly like Matthew Lee, I did a double take, the bikepacker gave me the hi sign and I whizzed on by(upon further research Matthew was nowhere near RMNP at that time so it obviously was not him, I guess my mind was just Tour Divide crazy and I was seeing pieces of it everywhere). Once in Estes Park I stopped for an espresso and recharged my cell phone for a bit. I was getting ready for the next leg which would take me down the Peak-to-Peak scenic byway.
      The byway climbs out of Estes Park on one of the sketchier roads I've ever been on. Rubble strewn about the pavement, cars whizzing by coming out of blind corners with no regard for safety. I was happy to get out of the more trafficked section coming out of Estes Park and on to more remote stretches with less cars. That being said, the ride was quite nice once away from the population center and I moved along steadily, stopping a few times to enjoy views of Longs Peak and other attractions.
      Getting ready to stop for the night I came in to a tiny blip on the map called Ward, CO.. I pulled in to the only business that looked open, the Millsite Inn, and there was a pizza sign out front... oh how I hoped I'd be able to score a pizza before trying to find some place to camp for the night... No such luck, upon bellying up to the bar for a soda they informed me that they weren't making pizza this night. Shucks! I slammed down a couple of sodas, chatted with the bartender who was very personable and told of some of the local history and inquired about any place up the road to camp. She told me of a locals spot not to far down the road and to look for a gated road that supposedly had a platform to set a tent up not too far off the highway. I thanked her and started rolling. In the twilight I must have missed the supposedly obvious gated road and just kept pedaling for a while until I found a dirt jug-handle pull-off next to the highway somewhere between Ward and Nederland. I set up my tent behind a dirt pile in the pull-off to deter any curiosity from people on the highway and crawled inside. As I was falling asleep I had the thought that I hoped no-one would come whizzing through the jug-handle that night at highway speeds and take me out. Traffic seemed infrequent I told myself as I drifted off to sleep thinking of what may await me in the weeks to come on Tour Divide. This was the end of day 2 pedaling to Denver.

Didn't catch the Day 1 post? Here's a link to it.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Arizona Trail, here I come.

     The Arizona Trail Race 750. It's been on my mind since before I toed the line for the Tour Divide.
     The desert. It's the place on earth I'm least familiar with.
     The challenge. To fight my mind, body, fears, and preconceptions and make it to Utah.
     Am I nervous? Definitely.

     April 3rd on Trackleaders.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pedaling Steamboat Springs to Denver to catch a ride to Tour Divide - Day 1

     June 4th, 2014. The day I woke up, packed the last of my things, and left for my eventual arrival in Banff, AB for the start of this years Tour Divide.
     After getting the last of my things together I said my goodbyes and started pedaling up RCR16 towards Lynx Pass. It was a beautiful day and I was finally under way. The adventure I had trained for for two years, finally going to be realized. Starting my ride from just south of Steamboat Springs, I was headed to Denver to catch a ride to the Grand Depart in Banff with Leslie Handy, Andrew Schuhmann, and Jefe Branham. A three day tour down to the front range that would be a final shakedown for my gear and finalization that my legs were feeling good.
     As I climbed the dirt road towards Lynx Pass I was all smiles, so happy to finally be pedaling with a purpose other than training. I kept going through my gear list in my mind, thinking "did I remember my...[insert item from the list here]." After going through the seemingly endless list I ascertained that I had only forgotten my whistle that I wear around my neck. I could replace that easily... I'm happily under way.
     Lynx Pass was an almost daily ride for me, the climb is right out of my driveway, as I got over the top of it this day I stopped for a quick photo opportunity and some liquids.

Lynx Pass on a beautiful day.
     Pressing onward I descended off of Lynx Pass to HWY134, a ride of just a few miles, the dirt road straight as an arrow until it's eventual intersection with asphalt. I took a left on the asphalt at the intersection of HWY134 and headed towards Gore Pass, leaving this part of the GDMBR that I had spent so many long hours training on until I would return, finally riding in the Tour Divide.
  Winding as it climbs to Gore Pass over a few miles HWY134 is a highway like any other, tires whirring on the pavement I smacked my pedals hard. In a short amount of time I gained to the top of the pass, stopping once again to chronicle my adventure and shoot a few photos for myself and those following at home. Named after Sir St. George Gore, Gore Pass is a historic and mostly forgotten pass that was once guided by Jim Bridger. The placard in the photo below tells the full story.

Gore Pass historic placard.

     I, of course, also had to take the obligatory bike shot at the "Gore Pass" sign.

Gore Pass - 9524' above sea level.

     The east side of Gore Pass is a long, fast downhill, I pushed off on the asphalt and in seconds was zipping along with the wind in my hair. Quickly making my way towards the intersection of HWY40 and arrival in Kremmling. On many of my training rides I had made my way through Kremmling and always like to stop at Big Shooter Coffee when I'm in town. Sean, the owner, is a very accomplished cyclist who is fun to visit with and they always have great breakfast burritos and a nice shot of espresso waiting.
   After spilling out into the valley on HWY134 I swung a right on HWY40, this would take me the last few miles in to town. As I passed by the familiar "Welcome to Kremmling" sign I couldn't wait to get to the coffee shop and have a nice espresso. Kremmling, CO is billed as "Sportsman's Paradise" which I would dare-say it is. The number of Pronghorn I see in this area is unreal.

      I arrived at Big Shooter Coffee, went in, had a quick talk with Sean while I was drinking my espresso and told him I'd see him in a few weeks as I headed south in the event I had trained so hard for. He wished me luck and I headed out.
     Back on HWY 40 eastbound I made my way across the wide and beautiful valley, HWY40 through this section of the state is part of the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway. To the south within sight was RCR33 as it wound it's way towards the Williams Fork reservoir, a section of the GDMBR that I had not pre-ridden. As I pedaled past I pondered what it was like up in that area, and hoped I'd have the resolve to make it this far in the race and find out.

Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway sign on US HWY40
     The blue sky smiled down on me as I made my way towards Hot Sulphur Springs, a few clouds moving through the sky and me, a small dot moving steadily overland. I noted in my mind that this was one of the few times I had seen a near wind-less valley here. Usually the wind howls in the afternoon in these parts, rising up the Colorado River through Gore Canyon it belches out into the valley and whips it's way east. I didn't mind not having the tailwind, I was just happy to not have a headwind. As I neared Hot Sulphur Springs I entered Byers Canyon, a relatively insignificant canyon historically, it forms a beautiful gateway coming in to Hot Sulphur Springs from the west.

Byers Canyon just west of Hot Sulphur Springs, CO on HWY40
     After winding my way upwards through Byers Canyon I entered Hot Sulphur Springs, my espresso from Kremmling was wearing off and I looked around for some place to get a soda. I remembered there was a cafe` in town from the last time I drove through headed to Winter Park to ski the winter before, whether it would be open I had no idea.

Entering Hot Sulphur Springs
Entering Hot Sulphur Springs

     Just as I entered town I saw the sign for the cafe` I had remembered, "The Glory Hole." I pulled in to the parking lot, dismounted, and leaned my bike against the side of the rather eccentric old building, clamoring inside. A very nice lady(who's name I'm sorry to say I forget) emerged from the kitchen and informed me of a couple things they were out of on the menu. I told her I was just riding through and simply wanted a cold soda before heading onward. She served me up a cold one and chatted me up for a few moments while I sat and enjoyed the effervescence of carbonation and sweet taste of high fructose corn syrup on my tongue. After lingering a few minutes I emptied my soda and bid farewell to my hostess. "On to Granby!" I said as I made my way out the door.
     It was mid-afternoon now and I was making good time, with thoughts of things past and things yet-to-come dancing in my head I pedaled my way further, Granby, CO getting ever closer. My aspirations for the day were to reach the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, Granby would be the logical resupply for the night so I went into town to get some food. As I entered Granby I was enticed by a small bike shop on the left, "Full Circle Cyclery". I stopped in and looked at a couple of Borealis carbon fat bikes while having a nice conversation with the owner and telling him a bit about where I came from and where I was headed. After our conversation I had him ring me up for a Presta-to-Schroeder adapter and he gave me a Full Circle Cyclery sticker. I asked directions to the Mad Munchies Sub Shop I had seen a sign for on the way in to town, he explained how to get there and I left to grab a couple of sub sandwiches for dinner and breakfast.
    As I walked out of Mad Munchies Sub Shop after madly munching a sub I chuckled at the name and stuffed a second sub and some chips into my backpack. Time to roll on towards Rocky Mountain National Park. On the way out of Granby I stopped at a gas station and re-stocked on energy food and hydration needs for the next days ride not knowing whether some of the small and extremely seasonal vacation towns ahead would have any stores open this early in the season. The road out of Granby starts to creep uphill, making it's way towards the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park. On it's way up it passes along the shores of Lake Granby giving way to the beginnings of spectacular views of RMNP in the distance, a pleasure to pedal past.

Lake Granby with the snowy peaks of RMNP in the background.

     After making my way past Lake Granby and passing a few scattered seasonal restaurants and motels I eventually came to Grand Lake. Grand Lake is another stunningly beautiful lake at the foot of RMNP. I took a short detour in to the town proper to see if I could get the skinny on camping for the night. I was nearing RMNP. The town was all but shut down, too early in the season for most businesses to be operating. I made my way down the main street watching for Wi-Fi reception on my phone and found some free internet to poach near a local restaurant that had a public hot spot. With the lack of open businesses and relatively few people wandering the streets I felt like I was sitting in an old ghost town. I charged my phone at an outlet I found outside the restaurant and pecked at my phone uploading some pictures from the day for family and friends to see. I asked a couple of the locals on the street about camping and they mentioned there was a camping area just a mile or so up the road before the entrance to RMNP. I thanked them for the info and started off to find it.

     Within about fifteen minutes I pulled past the Elk Creek Campground, as described it was right at the border of RMNP. I rode a block past the campground and got a picture of the sign and headed back to get a campsite.

Entering Rocky Mountain National Park
     When I checked in to the Elk Creek Campground the woman tending the counter was very accommodating, she gave me a remote tent site like I had asked for and explained to me that they have been seeing Moose in the area I'd be camping in quite often lately. I noted that, grabbed a soda and a candy bar to enjoy while setting up camp and proceeded to my site. A decent site amongst the willows, definitely seemed like a likely place to see some moose. I lazily set up my tent as dusk arrived and sipped on an Izze sparkling fruit beverage. As I crawled in the tent to go to sleep for the night I looked at my bike laying next to the tent, thought of the moose, and just hoped if they wandered in to camp in the night they wouldn't step in my spokes... Thinking of the wonderful day I had, the ground I had covered and wondering what the next day would bring, I drifted off into a deep slumber. To be continued...

If interested in seeing the actual route taken, the Strava activity is available here.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Winter is just around the corner.

     While this summer was a very wet summer on the divide, all of the wet weather did give way to a beautiful autumn and Indian Summer here in Clark/Steamboat Springs which I published some photos of in my earlier post. In recent weeks there have been a few spats of wintery weather which have made for a few mornings of waking up to about a half-inch of snow in the yard but usually it burns off by afternoon. This week the weather snapped into a wintery pattern that felt a bit more resolute, dumping a couple inches of snow even at valley levels with highs in the low fourty's(Fahrenheit) during the day for a few days straight. While this wasn't the first time this year my tires have touched snow, it's the first time I'm noticing north facing slopes and shady areas holding snow and shady dirt roads becoming packed into ice ruts. Yesterday the temperatures were to soar into the low 50's, so I took off for a ride that would end up being sloppy, but a ton of fun.
 I rode out of the driveway as the late morning started to warm up, turned a right and started to descend Willow Creek Pass. While my tires whirred below me I was thinking about where I should go ride this day. As the bottom of the pass approached I started pedaling at high cadence, it felt good to get the legs spinning. A couple miles later I arrived at the Clark Store and went inside to get some fuel for the day.
 After paying for my goods and exchanging pleasantries with some of the staff I headed out of the store, packed up my backpack and started rolling out of the parking lot headed south. "Hmm," I thought, "where should I go ride?" In the end I decided to take a route I've taken quite a few times before, it leaves asphalt about a quarter-mile south of the Clark Store on RCR60(aka Greenville Rd.) and begins to climb. Gradually getting steeper as it goes RCR60 eventually becomes FR471. This day the climb got to the point of having to dismount and push in a few spots, the grade combined with packed icy road had my back tire spinning.

     After climbing about 1400 vertical feet through beautiful aspen groves and pine forest RCR471 tops out at a gorgeous overlook that looks towards the Zirkel Wilderness and the Continental Divide. This is my usual spot when riding this route to stop for the first time and refuel so I slugged down a few gulps of green Gatorade and ate a Rice Crispy Treat while taking in the view.

     The dirt road descent from this point is playful and fun, lots of rock hopping to be had. This day I had to approach it with a bit more caution as the shady spots were holding some snow, slush, and ice covered puddles. As I descended a couple of hunters on ATV's whizzed by going the other way and smiled and waved. Everyone was out enjoying the beautiful day in their own way, and loving it.
    At the bottom of the descent I quickly split off left to FR468, a more primitive 2-track. No one had been down it. Snow covered with a couple of inches I was leaving the first tracks. It was a good feeling to know I was only one who ventured back here so far on this day.

     Riding at a steady but slow pace I was taking it all in, seeing animal tracks in the snow as I passed by otherwise undisturbed aspen groves. I stopped a couple of times just to breathe deep, smile big and chuckle to myself while thinking... "gosh I love it here!".
     FR468 degrades after a while and becomes more technical, predominated by huge 4-wheeler mud holes and man-eater ruts, which are now filled with puddles covered by ice and snow. I had to hop off and push through a few sections that have some of the bigger holes. I was delighted, this was exactly the kind of day I wanted on the bike, something a little different than the usual, and no one around.

     FR468 eventually rejoins FR441 and I swing left, headed downhill. As I hit the junction of FR440 I started feeling my steering go squirrelly, I looked down to see if the road surface had gotten softer. Nope. But I did have a half deflated front tire...
    Not 15 minutes earlier plowing through slush and snow with my usual Maxxis IKON 2.2 I had been thinking that it may be time to change out the front tire for something a little beefier with more aggressive lugs(I was getting some deflection that was affecting my control with the 2.2 in snow/slush). Specifically a Maxxis Ardent 2.4 I had sitting at home came to mind. So... I saw the tubeless flat as more of a blessing, now I had an excuse to swap the tire when I got home!
     I pumped the tire back up and got it to pop on the bead, leaving just a slow bubbling bead leak. I hadn't added any Stan's to the tire for quite some time so I'm sure it was simply out of Stan's sealant and all the moisture I had been running it through had loosened or dissolved part of the seal on the bead. With a slow intermittent hiss audible I started rolling downhill again, the road rolls it's way down to Seedhouse Road going past the South Fork trailhead on it's way. Just before Seedhouse Road FR 470 crosses the Elk River at a beautiful spot.

     I swung a left on the paved Seedhouse Road and made my way back on a slow leak, stopping back at the Clark Store to grab some dinner to take home and then riding my way back up Willow Creek Pass.
     What a great time I had playing in the mud and snow this day, it made me feel so alive and served as a gentle reminder that winter is just around the corner.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fish Creek Reservoir, a local treat.

     On August 30th, 2014, I started up Spring Creek Trail on a ride before work. After the trail terminated at Dry Lake I had a bit of extra time so I kept going up on Buffalo Pass Road. I got just past the second gate area and ran out of time. Having to turn around to go to work on a near cloudless day was torture. I knew I had the next two days off and decided I needed to finish what I started, so, the next morning I strapped on the bike bags for the first time since Tour Divide and started up Buffalo Pass Road for a quick out-and-back over-nighter.
     I rode out of town after having coffee and gathering up supplies, across the flats of Strawberry Park and swung a right on Buffalo Pass Road. The road soon turned to dirt and I started to ascend, after making it through a few curves in the upwardly mobile road I saw a familiar vehicle parked on the side of the road, my good buddy Harry digging around in the back of his 4-wheel-drive van. Right then a 1954 Jeep pulled up, a couple more friends of mine, and then a motocross bike comes ripping up to us, yet another good friend. Everyone was headed up Buffalo Pass for an afternoon barbeque at Summit Lake. After some socializing on the side of the road and me fending off offers for a motorized ride to the top of the pass, the eclectic group of vehicles sprung into action and began screaming up Buffalo Pass Road looking like a bunch of odd super heroes with our unique powers to get to the top. I, on my touring bike, was not the favorite to get to the top first.
     After a few thousand feet of climbing I got to Summit Lake and joined the festivities, immediately greeted as I rolled in with an expected "what took you so long?" comment from the motorists. We all laughed and I parked my bike and grabbed a bratwurst that was offered to me. "This bratwurst was worth the climb!" I mumbled as I finished it. After some socializing we all wanted to kick back by the water and went down to the shore to relax and look out at Summit Lake, a beautiful spot.
     A couple hours later I saw the sun getting low enough that I needed to get moving to finish my ride and find some free camping for the night. I bid farewell to my friends and rolled off towards Fish Creek Reservoir, which I had a tip from local bike shop owner Chris Johns had some great riding near it and some great free camping. He couldn't have been more correct. I descended the road from Summit Lake to Fish Creek Reservoir, went past the National Forest campground and found a phenomenal spot to camp for free right at the foot of the reservoir. Kickass! I dropped camp and had some dinner, a couple of roast beef sandwiches I had gotten at Backcountry Deli in Steamboat before I left. Right about the time I was getting relaxed after dinner the sun started setting and I got to watch one heck of a show, colors changing by the moment as the sun dropped behind the reservoir.
     As I lay in my tent, the temperature rapidly dropping now that the sun was away I kept thinking about Tour Divide, how lucky I was to have had that experience, and how much I love this sport called bikepacking.
     I awoke the next morning, crawled out of my tent and looked over the reservoir, what a beautiful place. I proceeded to pack up my camp as lazily as a man can while being driven by mosquitos and got all my gear situated back on the bike without getting eaten alive. I wanted to go past a gate I had run into at the end of the road the night before and see if I could get out to the dam before returning to town.
     It wasn't long before I had achieved my goal and got to the dam and a beautiful view looking out over Steamboat Springs. What a great way to start my morning. I then back-tracked the route I had traveled the day before and made my way back down the pass to the coffee house I'm writing this blog entry from.
     The downhill on Buffalo Pass Road was fast and furious and I felt my touring bike flow kicking in, handling the heavy bike brings out a different style of riding for me, and makes dirt roads a joy to downhill, flowing through rocks, pot holes, and washboard relatively peacefully and quietly. I had the big grin going and could think of nothing but how lucky I am to be able to do this, literally right in my back yard for a quick overnight trip. I can't wait to get up Buffalo Pass again and start exploring the multitude of roads and trails up there. So remember all you Steamboaters, bikepacking paradise is right in your back yard, and you can ride to it from town.

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 at the foot of Fish Creek Reservoir
My Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 at the foot of Fish Creek Reservoir.

Sunset at Fish Creek Reservoir
Sunset at Fish Creek Reservoir from camp.

View from Fish Creek Falls Reservoir dam
My rig and a great view from Fish Creek Reservoir dam.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

North Routt in the fall, what a pleasure.

 For those of you who know me you know I recently relocated from South Routt County to North Routt County. For about the last month and a half I've had the pleasure of exploring the Clark/Hahn's Peak area as my free time has permitted and have been absolutely loving the riding. Colorful locals, named single-tracks, unnamed single-tracks, ATV/OHV chunk trails, MOTO trails, Jeep tracks, dirt roads, peaks, valleys, lakes... they all come together to form a little known slice of heaven between Steamboat Springs and the Wyoming border and form some of the ribs of the Continental Divide. The best part being that it's now all accessible right out of my driveway!
     Now, here's the cherry on the sundae... I also moved in just as autumn was arriving, and North Routt is renowned for it's autumnal display. It's been a while since I posted so I figured rather than doing individual ride write-ups ad-nauseum I'd opt to get things going again with a photo collage overview of this fall's riding in and around North Routt County. Hope you enjoy the eye-candy. I know I did while riding it!

Hahn's Peak Lake
Hahn's Peak Lake

Willow Creek Pass

Sand Mountain from RCR62
A snow capped Hahn's Peak in the distance from RCR62

Steamboat Lake/Sand Mountain backdrop from FR410 above Hahn's Peak Village

Pedaling through beautiful Aspen groves on FR490.A on Hahn's Peak

The Zirkels in the distance from FR490.A on Hahn's Peak

Colorful display on FR403 just east of Clark, CO

A magnificent display looking towards the Zirkel Wilderness from FR468

More colorful Aspen groves on FR 468

Another nice display on FR468

Unnamed singletracks to explore through golden fields.

A snow capped Farwell Mountain from Pearl Lake. I had summited Farwell on my bike just a few days before the snow hit.
My trusty steed at Hahn's Peak Lake.

Zirkels in the distance from FR411 on Hahn's Peak

Steamboat Lake from Hahn's Peak

Majestic views on a gorgeous fall day from FR 411 on Hahn's Peak

More majestic views on a gorgeous fall day from FR 411 on Hahn's Peak

The foot side of Sleeping Giant(Elk Mountain) can be seen in the distance in the center of the photo, taken from the summit of Beryl Mountain next to Hahn's Peak.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Poking around at the edge of the Flat Tops

Well, it's fairly early spring here in the greater Steamboat Springs area which makes it time to start assessing the rideability one of my favorite places to do some gravel grinding, the Flat Tops Wilderness. With peaks and parks that extend up over 12,000 feet of altitude I had no doubts that I would be stopped at certain points due to snow pack but alas, one must try. Here are a few shots from a 62 mile ride that took me up every dirt road that accesses the Flat Tops between Oak Creek and Yampa.

Rio Blanco County Road 8, The road to Dunckley Pass
Entering Rio Blanco County climbing towards Dunckley Pass
Just before the end of winter maintenance on the road up to Dunckley Pass
Just a few miles up the road is closed still in early spring

Descending back down to the valley from the road closure
For anyone interested in more detail on this ride the full details are available here.