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Day 1 - Irvine, CA to Flagstaff, AZ

Saturday, June 28th

Our two week road trip to Colroado began before daylight. Ryan drove over in his Toyota Tacoma at 4AM sharp--the rear suspension already sagging from the camping equipment and bike gear loaded up the night before--and we proceeded to stuff more camp boxes, duffle bags, coolers, and the bikes, until hitting the road at 4:50 AM en route to Flagstaff.

With a little over three hours sleep each, we pulled up to our first trailhead, Sunset Trail on Mt. Elden, at 12:30 PM (elevation 7,000ft). After lunch we set out to ride up the gradual dirt fireroad to the towers on the top of the mountain.

I hadn't been riding for over a week due to a knee injury, so we took it easy all the way up to the towers, climbing to 9,000 feet. Initially, we were worried about riding at elevation, since we're used to riding at sea level at breathing the dense air, but the elevation change was hardly noticable.

Then the fun began. Sunset trail is a beautiful Flagstaff single track trail that winds counter clockwise around Mt. Elden. The first mile traverses the ridgeline, providing a panoramic view of the valley below. A few miles in the trail switches between dusty but fun, pick-your-line technical sections with small boulders, and fast, smooth flowing hardpack. After winding through meadows of ferns and pine trees we followed the Shultz Creek along a dusty but fun trail back to the truck.

The total ride time was just 2.5 hours, and the distance a short 16.5 miles.

After our ride we showered up and at our hotel and headed to the Altitudes restaurant and bar in downtown for some great food and beer (highly recommended, lots of good choices on tap). Later we began our futile quest for ice cream--it seems this mountain town doesn't know what a Golden Spoon or Yogurt land looks like. Ryan's theory is that selling ice cream isn't much good for most of the year considering Flag's high elevation. After an hour of scouring the town we found a DQ, and with that ended Day #1.

Riding a gradual fire road to the stop of Mt. Elden. Ride started at 7,000ft.

A butterfly decides to check out Ryan's shiny UK-made Hope skewers and hub.

Flagstaff from the top of Mt. Elden at just over 9,000 ft.

Riding down Sunset Trail

A technical section takes ryan out and he sumos a 2 ft sappling.

It looks like the sappling won the first round.

Sunset/Shultz trail

Day 2 - On the Road - The Grand Canyon & Four Corners

Sunday, June 29th

We visited the GC today en route to Durango. Blew by 4 corners, hung a U-turn, snapped two quick shots and jumped back in the truck to race to camp before dusk.

Our camp site at Lake Mancos State Park.

Day 3 - Durango, Colorado

Monday, June 30th

Route: Colorado Trail to Dry Fork to Hoffmans Connector to Colorado Trail

16.5mi, 2.5hr

Day 4 - Durango, Colorado

Jones Creek to Pinkerton to Dutch to Hermosa Creek

Tuesday, July 1st

19 miles. Tough ride all the way up to 10,000 ft elevation before bombing Dutch trail. 4.5hrs

Sorry but I don't have time to write any descriptions at this point...maybe later...7/3/08.

Ryan = the Fajita monster.

Day 5 - On the Road to Crested Butte, Colorado

Wednesday, July 2nd

We went rafting down the Lower Anamis River in Durango before driving through Silverton (a beautiful mountain town) to Ouray, Gunnisson, Almont, and finally our camp at Spring Creek just south east of Crested Butte.

Sorry no pics of the rafting--the camera doesn't like water.

Arrived to camp at 10 PM. Unpacked and crashed at midnight.

Day 6 - Crested Butte, Colorado

Lower Loop & Upper Loop

Thursday, July 3rd

Ryan was on Camera duty today but conveniently left the camera in the truck. Lots of beautiful scenery though! Wild flowers were everywhere. No problem, we'll have more photos tomorrow.

17 miles of too-easy in-town riding. The riding wasn't very challenging--even at 8600ft.

Our camp at Spring Creek.

Somebody is missing a tent...

Video of me jumping in the ice cold Taylor river.

Day 7 - Crested Butte, Colorado

The Deathmarch - Rosebud, Cement Creek, Deadman's Switchbacks, Forest Road Climb, Flag Trail, Bear Creek, to Deadman

Thursday, July 4th

Climbing to 11,000ft peaks 3X, dehydration, getting lost, mechanicals, flat tires, motorcycles, beavers, and oh did I mention, dehydration. What a long 34 miles. That river water sure did make my dry mouth taste good at mile 28, but those trips to the bathroom the next three days weren't so good.

Pedal time: 6.5 hours. Ride time: 8 hours.

OMG! Beavers! They're everywhere...damn that river!

Start of the trailhead. Our latitude 40 map incorrectly labeled this 744.12 when in fact it is 744.1C. It took us about 5 miles of riding on fire road to figure this one out.

Rosebud trail

Climbing Rosebud Trail.

The trail was very rocky and loose.

Meadows from Cement Trail.

Climbing the fireroad after bombing down the deadman switchbacks.

View from 11,000ft.

Cement Creek Valley

Flag Trail

Ryan cruising down Bear Trail



Ryan bombing Deadman's Trail through a creek crossing.

I've never seen him happier about water.

Dehydration will make you do weird things.

Day 8 & 9 - Crested Butte, Colorado

Weekend Off

Saturday-Sunday, July 5-6rd

Day 10 - Kenosha Pass, Colorado

Another Day at the Office - Colorado Trail (East Section)

Monday, July 7th

I was woken up today at 5 AM to the sound of rain. Drip, pelt, drop went the rain onto and into my cotton sleeping bag.

The weather had been so fair for the last four days that I had decided to sleep in the open without a tent and gaze at the stars, listening to the creek, and thinking of my beautiful girlfriend back home :). The stars in the mountains of Colorado are unlike anything I've ever seen before--brighter in shine and higher in number. Now I know why observatories are built high in the clear sky of the mountains and far away from the glare of city lights.

A bit disoriented, I stumbled in the dark to the mammoth pine tree on the door steep of our camp to rest for another half hour before being woken again by the rain, this time sprinkling and evading the large branches of the pine.

It seemed we had overstayed our welcome in Crested Butte. The campground, packed full two days before, had been deserted yesterday. Perhaps everyone knew a storm was brewing, or perhaps being Monday everyone had to be back in the office.

We were on the road by 6:45 AM en route to our next base camp, Kenosha Pass. Kenosha Pass is unique in that it lies at just over 10,000 ft, nearly 1,500 ft higher than Crested Butte and 3,000 ft higher than Durango.

It rained almost the entire 4 hours and 200 miles it took us to reach the pass, and the storm seemed ominous. After Monarch Pass we headed through South Park to arrive at West Kenosha Campground. We quickly set up camp and set out on our ride.

Today we rode a short segment just east of Kenosha Pass on the Colorado trail. The trail was fast and tacky, running through aspen forests and open meadows.

Kenosha Pass gave us a taste of its weather as well. When we first set out the temperature was in the low 50s, then it climbed in just a half hour to a comfortable 75 or 80F, and we finished the ride with rain and hail. Ryan and I were both glad we finally got to test out our water proof jackets!

Aspen trees

View of South Park

Day 11 - Kenosha Pass, Colorado

An Epic Day for Sea-goers: Colorado Trail to Georgia Pass to Jefferson Trail

Tuesday, July 8th

No Colorado mountain biking trip would be complete without riding to a mountain pass, so today we planned a long, high-elevation ride to Georgia Pass at just under 12,000ft.

Riding from camp, we hit the trail at a lazy 8:30 after a huge breakfast and packing all of our cold weather gear. Luckily, the weather cleared for us today, and we got on the trail with the temperature in the low 60s.

To say riding to the top of the pass was extremely difficult is an understatement. Upon reaching 12K we found ourselves stopping every 100-200 feet to catch our breath. Since breathing out of your nose would soon lead to suffocation, we gasped for air, cool dry and low in oxygen. Everytime I stopped to catch my breath, my heart rate would be racing at 170+ BPM.

The weather at the pass was a bit chilly and a storm was brewing so we didn't stick around for long.

Day 12 - Denver, Colorado

A Day Off

Wednesday, July 9th

Today we're taking a day off and heading to Fort Collins to visit the Fat Tire Brewery.

Afterwards we pedaled 20 miles around town and Colorado State University.

Day 13 - Kokomo Pass

Thursday, July 10th

Welcome to Leadville (elevation 10,000 ft)

Our last ride was Kokomo Pass, just north of Leadville, CO. The ride started at 9,300 ft and climbed up 12,065 ft. Ride time was 2 long hours going up and 30 short minutes going down.

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