Sunrise Ride

The last couple days in Park City have felt like fall. Yesterday morning started off with a literal bang as thunder boomed over the ridgeline so we postponed our plans for a sunrise ride. Today we were out the before sunup and had the trails to ourselves.   After yesterday’s rain and snow, the trails were smooth, tacky, and fast.


I’ve wanted to ride Mt Elbert, the tallest of Colorado’s 14ers, all summer and finally went for it today.  Beginning at Half Moon, the first few miles of trail are mostly climbing but with a few downhill sections to keep it fun.  From Lilly Ponds the climbing really gets going with a 4000′ uphill to the 14,433′ summit.  I wasn’t able to pedal much of that climb and pushed my bike more than I care to remember.

Here’s me on top of Mt Elbert with CO’s second highest peak in the background.

It was all rideable going down but rocky, lose and with plenty of hairpin turns.  Dodging loose toaster-sized rocks, it’s clear that the trail isn’t groomed for biking. I managed to stay upright the entire way but my hands needed a few shake-outs when my braking fingers started feeling crampy.  The riding was fun in a keep-your-speed-in-check, techy way but the slog up was enough to dissuade me from wanting to repeat it soon.

I happened to cross paths with a coworker on top and she volunteered to snap a photo as I started down. The lakes are 5200′ below.

Five years out, I still miss living a short pedal from Bike Doc.

Summer Solstace Slog

Allison and I woke up on longest day of the year in Crested Butte and decided to celebrate the day with a long ride. We pedaled up Washington gulch to the top of the 403 trail then began a technical descent that soon turned to a technial hike-a-bike through deep snow and over many trees felled by winter storms. Eventually we were back on dry ground for a few miles of dangerously fast singletrack followed by a steep trail section that took us skittering down onto the Schofield Pass road.

Against the advice of a fellow cyclist we pedaled up the road grade to the bottom of the 401 hill climb, where he’d turned around on account of snow the day before. What ensued was something of a suffer-fest as we handed bikes over piles of overlapping downed trees and slipped and slid up mushy snow in our skate shoes.

About 5000′ of climbing into the day, we were poised on top of one of the most glorious singletrack downhills known to mankind. We raced down the winding trails, which were extra fast on account of the wildflowers not yet being high enough to hide the next dip or swoop in the trail. Raising seatposts back up, we climbed up to the top of the second half of the trail but caught our breath as we headed downhill again.

More than two hours of dragging bikes through snow left us feeling more depleted than I’d hoped and linking up with Deer Creek trail seemed unrealistic, so we hopped on Snodgrass for a mellow but flowy four miles back around to Washington gulch. We counted down the time to camp during the last climb; I was totally fixated on the True Blonde Dubbel waiting for us in the cooler. And it was there chilled, and waiting for us.