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:

http://vimeo.com/14907677


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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Riding with the "Hit Man"

Last Saturday was the last ride for my Kermit Green Niner. It was developing some hairline cracks at the seat tube/seat stay junction. Of course Niner warranteed it but only after proof that the old one was destroyed. Talk about adding insult to injury:


Since I work at a bike shop, all it took was a quick call to our Giant Bikes rep and presto, my new bike appeared! It's a  2010 Giant Trance X2. Of course, I have modified it to fit my needs:


Now I am re-learning how to ride 26" wheels and on top of that, learning how to ride with 5" of suspension travel front and rear. Ummmm, yeah. It's cool.

That brings us to yesterday's ride. The Bagel was down and out so I called the one other guy who was ready to ride anywhere at the drop of a hat. Don "The Hitman" Hull:


Why is Don called the "Hit Man"? Well, when he first started coming into the shop, nobody knew exactly where he got the money to buy all those fancy bike parts so someone suggested he was a hit man. Later, we found out he may be in the import/export business which fits the hit man profile. He imports bullets into people and exports them into the ground! All unfounded rumors....or are they?

I have been wanting to ride the Ring the Peak trail from the Catamount Reservoir to Horsethief Park all year and with the forecast in the Springs being around 90 degreees, the time to head up to 10,000' is NOW.

Don and I parked at the Edlowe Road trailhead and immediately jumped on some sweet single-track. We then joined the Ring the Peak trail and headed South. My planned turn-around point was Horsethief Park at the remains of an old cabin:

                                       

Any time of day is a good time to eat:


On the way back to Catamount, we veered off of the Ring the Peak trail and rode a little known section of trail called "Magic Carpet Ride". I'd tell you where it is but then Don may have to come see you...


You won't believe it but I actually had my GoPro camera and made yet another video. Weird, huh?
This will give you an idea of how awesome the trails are wayyyy up in hills of Colorado:

Mountain bike trails around Pikes Peak from Alan Keeffe on Vimeo.