Sunday, September 12, 2010

Monarch Crest Trail

Here are some stats for those who are into numbers:

Distance: 53.6 miles round trip.
Climbing elevation: 10321'.
Ride time: 5:01
Time spent climbing: 1:39
Time spent descending: 1:00(!)


I've always wanted to ride the Crest trail with a full-suspension bike and the forecast was unbelievable so I called the Bagel and the next thing you know we were slogging up Monarch pass on the way to the Crest.

If you have trouble loading these mini-videos, here is a link to the condensed version:

At the top of Monarch Pass, we stopped for a quick snack and to top off the water before heading up the short climb to the entrance to the Crest Trail.

Once you are on the Crest trail, you are at or near timberline (11000') for quite some time.

 The trail has a variety of terrain from hardpack with embedded rocks to loose, rutted trail and even some scree.

One of my favorite sections of trail is the one right before the end of the Crest. It's easy to go too fast and crash...but I didn't because I am old and wise.

Here is the end of the Crest right before a fun jeep road descent to the top of Marshall Pass.

From the top of Marshall Pass, we jumped on to the Colorado Trail for a while until we hit the Silver Creek trail. It starts out pretty rough and many people get flats there. There are some smoother sections as well.

After Silver Creek, you actually ride down the creek for a minute, then the Rainbow Trail appears. We saw many people blow right by the trailhead which is too bad because it is some of the best single-track anywhere.

The Rainbow Trail has many left turns followed by sharp climbs and then you get to the final descent which is another of my favorites.

At the end of the Rainbow Trail, you end up on Poncha pass.

All that's left is the descent down Poncha Pass. Watch how close this truck tries to get to us. I believe he violated the 3 foot law by about 2-1/2 feet. Nice.

We were both pretty tired all day but still rode at a respectable pace. I'd like to thank Hammer Nutrition for inventing Endurolytes. They saved me from cramping up two hours into the adventure and continued to save me for the rest of the ride. I highly recommend them.

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