Doctor Park

Name of a ride, not of health care facility.

Last night’s forecast for Doctor Park called for a better than 50% chance of rain perhaps snow. Out plan was to leave Gunnison at 9 to ride or at worst turn around and ride down here. Drive was about 30 mins so there was little investment in case we experienced shitty weather.

About my propane dwindling supply: I ran the furnace on low enough to be snug under my doubled over down blanket. It never got cold enough to see my breath. I burned the stove for breakfast then heated water for dishes. A short drive got me to the napa store that sells propane. Guy hooked the nozzle on and turned on the pump. The pump gauge rapidly increased all the way to shut off at 5.6 gallons which is the 80% capacity that causes feedback to the pump to stop filling me. Skin of my teeth as an expression.

Back at Bill and Susan’s I made the 9AM roll out 2 mins late. We loaded into their Sprinter stopping to pick up Matt who works for them. Snow had fallen well above us and further up canyon. Skies were of low dark clouds. We had a wide open sucker hole. 9 miles solid pedaling brought us to the dry foot management of crossing Spring Creek. We shucked our shoes and socks then waded across immersed in maybe not ice cold but getting close water. My feet have avoided walking barefoot which conditioned me to wince on pointed rocks. This time I just whimpered because of the cold.

Spring creek barefoot crossing 10/2

Then a grinder of a 4X4 road climb. Younger riders don’t know what us older riders feel but will learn when they get to my age. I walked several steep pieces. Snow flake to tell us its here and perhaps its buddies might join.

more grinder uphill

Patches of aspen went from recently turning gold to bare trees. Aspen leaves don’t hang around for long. Just bare trunks and shadows for branches.

aspen leaves already blown off

The road dead into a nasty muddy rooty slimy jeep trail nasty part of the ride. Trail breaks out into open alpine meadow for a traverse above the downhill. I remembered for previous ride the dirt bike whoops which caused me no concern today. Trail pitched down steeply over lots of micro decision makers. Add in wetness caused slipperiness. Sharp end of the rope as climbers say. I have not sung the praises for awhile of this Turner RFX that I have selected the build configuration. Diaz suspension tuning RUNT was wonderful. Heads up attention. Matt rides a fully rigid 29 mid fat bike. I followed him a ways being influenced by his moves which were not what I wanted to do, I backed off a ways to eliminate emulation. The nasty opened up to maybe the Miracle Mile(?) of fast aspen tree cover.

The pause before the drop. Bill, Matt, Susan

Next came the decent on decomposed granite with broken lines to pick out. Better choice at times was ride the rocks. I remembered what it was about from my previous ride. Today was 18.8 miles climbing 2611′, 9 miles was on initial road climb. Decent was 6.76 miles dropping 2575′, put that on your brake rotors. elevation was 8,220 to 10,924′.

Never rained on us enough to put on rain jacket. Short drive back to town. I drove off for a shower. Rain started falling then continued into the night. we got the goods while the gettin was good. Forecast is for sunny and in 60s. Tomorrow a shop will look at my dropper which needs help getting back up. I hope just service is required at shop level. Sat at High Alpine brew pub bar again. engaged 2 guys into conversation. Connecting with others is important which I keep working at. Sitting at the bar, doing wash in a laundromat, showering not at somebody’s house( which is greatly appreciated). Immerse myself in public.

Back in Bill and Susan’s driveway with a full tank of heat, listening to XM radio. Life.

Back in 2008 I rode Doctor Park by myself without a smart phone. I forgot about the steep rocky first part. I rode past the creek crossing as I declared it too deep and flowing to be the trail. Miles uphill later I finally convinced myself that the map was right and I was wrong.

I will pass on Crested Butte trails as they have new snow, that’s what I am telling myself. My body is not happy with the higher elevations. Acclamation has to be occurring, I just know the uphills are taxing and particular nastys are the short punches uphill after coasting downhill. I do what I can push my body to do.

So off to bed.