July 31st, 2010
Salida is a neat old played out resource extraction economy town. All 2 story buildings. What a boom town this must have been. Slept @ turn out on old Monarch pass road 2 nights ago. Bit of rain that saturated the road to make it slippery & clingy to the tires. Don’t drive in the wet.
Made Salida. Did my wash. Grace called, we met @ Absolute Bike shop. She went off for a road ride and I hung around. I asked Absolute if I could buy a partial fit kit. I was told that in order for a fit to be justified I would be measured and calibrated which is in the full kit price of $275. Nix that idea. Guy dissed my Fizek saddle and maybe so but he lost points big time.
Made Ted’s house for evening after fixing 2 dinners in my van hunkered out of a downpour. bachelor Ted keeps an orderly house. Another shower.
Today Grace’s group of friends are meeting @ 8:30 @ rt 285 & 50 for Monarch Crest ride. We meet them, there are 9 riders, quite a diverse group. An 11 yo boy,a college soph going on his 4th mtn bike ride on a hard tail w/ rim brakes. I am wondering how this will play out.
Finally underway the usual pent up energy spurred the others on. I just marshalled my resources because that is all I can do. Weather forecast called for high probability of heavy rain, perhaps normal for this time of year. We needed to be off the crest b4 1:00. Rain hit us, gentle @ first then mixed in hail and the temp dropped. Everybody had rain jackets but we were still in shorts and short fingered gloves. It got nasty. We hunkered under the firs during a particularly heavey pour but we were all getting chilled & first symptoms of hypothermia were setting in. No choice but to pedal out counting on muscle activity heat. 2 guys passed us in short sleeve shirts, they were in for a tough go, we never saw them again. 14 miles above 10,000′ in the rain and heavy run of we made Spring creek drop in off the crest. Disc brakes are way better than the poor guy’s rim brakes but h2o still weakens discs until the friction dries the rotor. They do work and do eventually stop. As we dropped the rain abated and it got warmer. I stopped for a rider ahead then started again in a loose rock section and grabbed too much front brake and met mother earth hard. Small gash that was covered by patina of mud on my legs. We made the junction w/ the road and Rainbow trail. We had a choice: ride Rainbow for 9 miles in lessening conditions then the hwy back to cars, or just drop down on the road and ride the hwy back. The Rainbow would have warmed us up. Group decision was to take the road out. Downhill w/ speed and no muscle heat. I was affected by cold & wet. On hwy hit 35mph. My bike and me were shimming perhaps because of deep cold. We made it all back wet but warmer and smiling in our accomplishment under full conditions. The 11 yo was stellar. Such a testing experience at such a young age and he made it.
My Turner 5 Spot DW link before the wet:
I drove back to Ted’s as I was hoping for a hot shower and h2o to clean off my bike. Score. Ted was home. My bike has received more abuse on this odyssey than I ever subjected a bike to. Brake pads & drive train parts get toasted.
Tomorrow I have a ride date w/ Bill form Tomechi cycles for Hartman rocks outside Gunnison. Monday Susan, his wife, and 2 friends will be riding Canyon creek back towards Monarch pass. I have 2 rides w/ locals lined up. Canyon is a spectacular ride topping out @ 12,500. Going to be special.
July 29th, 2010
Slept @ paid XG. Checked web forecast which called for 70% heavy rains after 1:00 which is also the XG checkout time.
Got underway just b4 9:00 pedaling up Spring creek on logging road and traveled by receraters that don’t understand their rigs kick up dust that I breathe. Missed sketchy turn off road to cross creek and road another 2.5 miles to a road intersection that still had signs. Got out the map to learn where I was. Shit! another blunder. Consoling factor was it was gradual downhill to creek crossing. As I arrived a group of 4 riders where heading up from their shuttle rig. Joined them for the slog up to drop in on Doctor’s Park ST which ends right back @ XG. Dirt bike damage. Upper part was tough w/ loose rock, dropped into the middle section that was less steep and just flowed like a dirt bike trail. Zoom Zoom. All good things end at the steep nasty drop back to XG. I walked a bit of it last night to know what to expect: paver concrete blocks rebarred into the ground on the switchbacks. Pavers can be slippery even when dry w/ sand sized particles sliding over them. Made it down including the 1 wheel sucker.
Drove back up Spring creek and parked @ a wide spot and walked to stream for spit bath.
Headed into Gunnison for groceries, diesel, beer, & ride info on Canyon trail this side of Monarch. At City Market grocery store the skies opened w/o a whimper and dumped. quit for short while, then dump again finally steady light rain. Found street parking right on Main. Walked across street to Tomichi Cycles to hang out waiting out rain and to learn about ride.
Guy started talking about the ride. I said something about driving around the country riding and he said we met on a ride @ Sedona last Jan. he remembered me and ensuing conversations. I had the deer in the headlights look. His name is Bill and his wife’s name is Susan who went to scholl in Harrisonburg, VA that knows Tim & Thomas from SBC. And my afternoon was spent visiting till my throat gave out and time moved on
I learned that Hell’s Angels are having their yearly conflab here outside Gunnison. Me on my pedal bike. Town shuts down.
Have ride invite for Sun on ride I plan tomorrow if I don’t do it. Got to start early to get off 12,000′ exposude b4 summer lightning hits. Bill invited me for a tour of Hartman Rocks on Monday that will be hard to pass up.
Need to leave town for dinner & sleep spot this side of Monarch Pass.
acid reflux appears to have returned after spicy Philipino meal. On calcium carbonate.
No edit, just a splash and dash to no internet coverage.
July 28th, 2010
Camped last night on Kebler Pass rd where I stayed lst trip. Had view of peaks to west, lightning moved in and improved the scenery. A bit of rain fell. Nodded of after 9:00. Great night’s sleep. Drug my feet leaving in AM to allow rain to evaporate. Sunny day but chilly, perfect for grind of road climb up to ST for trail 401.
I parked @ lower TH and pedaled up the road. Liking the asthma med as I can power pedal and still have some breathing comfort. passed truck w/ UT plates, guy was gearing up to go. he caught me @ the pass and complimented me on my climbing prowess. He is from ST George & knows OTE in Hurricane. From pass the ST climbs almost another 1,000′ before dropping traversing the mountain sides. Trail is non tech. What makes it outstanding are the wild flowers and views down stream. Just gorgeous. Rain forecast didn’t happen but biting black flies took up the slack. Had a horse fly bite thru my glove. Flies were so bad @ parking lot that i drove back into town w/o changing clothes.
Shower @ Hostel and life is back on track.
Walked up Main st again and stopped in @ Big Al’s that is a Turner dealer. Gattis, a wrench id’ed me. he knows Wes from Sycamore Cycles in brevard and wants a Pisgah jersey. Visited awhile. Owner rdies a Spot, gattis is scheming to get one & Loise has one on order. Horray for Turner! Have Formula brake pads.
Gattis gave me a ride idea that is between Gunnison & Monarch Crest. Grace is driving to Kansas City, MO for the night. I meet her different gang Sat at monarch Crest for a ride. These people are not her inner circle gang. This means driving back east for the crest then retracing my path west to UT. Grace is spending about 3 weeks up high conditioning for Leadville.
New ride idea will work. Tomorrow is Doctor park monster road ride for 45 min downhill. Then drive towards Monarch for Fri ride @ White Pine.
Big mountains w/ bare peaks. Still small patches of last winter’s snow. Wild flowers in bloom. Yesterday I lived in the aroma of blooming lupines. Today they were not as smelly noticeable. I saw some Columbine which was the unknown flower I saw @ Winter Park.
Crested Butte is up there, around 9,000′ w/ big mtns around.
Drove over to Taylor River for DR Park ride & stayed in FS XG. Smokey fires.