Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cheyenne Mountain Lodge

In 1925, Spencer Penrose built a six mile road to the top of  the northern summit of Cheyenne Mountain. The road ended above "The Horns". The cost was one million dollars to build and it wasn't a big hit with the locals. Nothing like a big zig-zag scar up a pristine mountainside, right?

Upon completion of the road, Penrose constructed a lodge where people could stay and admire the view, breathe the high altitude air and look at his menagerie of animals. It was called the Cheyenne Mountain Lodge or the Honeymoon Lodge. Here is a video:


I heard a rumor that in later years the lodge became a brothel, but I couldn't find any more recent history of it. In the early 1970's, the lodge was bulldozed due to vandalism and the high cost of upkeep and security. Too bad because it would be a really cool place to stay.

Now, it's a really cool place to hike (or hike a bike) and explore. Be warned that it is a no tresspassing area so I can't recommend visiting there. Nor can I give explicit directions on how to get there. I can say that purchasing a Pikes Peak Atlas will be worth the investment.

Here is a cool picture of the lodge:
























In the next picture, look just above where the car is parked. I heard it was a mountain lion cage. Today you can see the gate to the cement enclosure and the bars are still intact.

















Here is Russ walking up those stairs above the mountain lion cage:















Here are some pictures of the old footprint of the lodge. To the east you can see where they bulldozed the walls over the edge of the cliff.






























These old stairs lead to a cool little overlook:
















We had to go and check out the free standing overlook with the huge flag pole:















Here is a cool picture of the Horns from the overlook:















Here are our smiling mugs:















I think Russ found the fountain of youth because we look the same age yet he is a decade older than me!

I shot a quick video from our perch:
video



I made a cool 3D image of our ride route and ride stats:














It was a long day on the bike since the original ride route didn't include the excursion to the top of Cheyenne Mountain. Russ was a great riding companion and never complained about having to carry his bike up a nasty trail 3 hours into the ride (or again, 5 hours into the ride. Ooops). We should all be so lucky to have such a great riding buddy.

I am super lucky because I have several.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekend in Gunnison

My co-worker Scott and his Dad Steve invited me to Gunnison last weekend to stay at the Island Acres Resort and do some sweet mountain bike rides. No-brainer, I was IN!

Here's Scott at Hartman's:

















Here's Steve at Hartman's:

















The plan was to ride in Crested Butte on Saturday with the one and only Dave Moe (Dave Meyer) as our tour guide and then the famous Growler race course at Hartman's Rocks in Gunnison on Sunday.

Here's me and Dave Moe with Mt. Crested Butte in the background:

















I met Dave waaaay back in the dark ages of mountain bike racing. We were dukin' it out at Lory State Park in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was my first Pro race and I was chasing Wade Wilderman with Dave somewhere out ahead of us. We were rippin' through the trees and somehow caught Dave at the start of a big climb. Right about then Wade dropped a chain and I passed him, then Dave who actually cheered me on! That just doesn't happen in bike races. The only other time it happened in my racing career was when I somehow passed another Dave who also lives in Gunnison. They raise some polite and friendly bike racers up there in the high mountain valleys.

The troops were gathered in CB on Saturday morning and we headed up Tony's Trail east of town. This is where we split into two groups: the smart ones who love great trails at an intelligent pace, and...The Others. Dave Moe led The Others.

Here is Scott at the point of group division:

















Dave has some hilarious phrases that he interjects into otherwise normal conversation.

Here are The Others gathered at the top of the first big climb. "That was a real booger-blower"- Dave Moe


















We were waiting for a rider who was beginning to show that he was too intelligent to be riding with The Others. His name will be Kenneth (name has been changed to protect the intelligent). Kenneth has never climbed 10 miles in a row at 10,000' of elevation and he was beginning to suffer. At one point later in the ride, Scott noted that Kenneth was "talking to the dinosaurs".

Here's the Hitman after we made a "left turn, Clyde" onto Deer Creek trail:

















While we waited for Kenneth to stop being so intelligent, I had plenty of time to take some photos. There is no shortage of scenery in CB in the fall:


















































Maybe those were the dinosaurs...

At this point Dave Moe told Kenneth that there were no more big climbs, "honest, Pocohontas". He wasn't lying, but there was plenty more uphill in the form of not so big climbs. At that point in the ride, Kenneth began projectile vomiting in order to flag down a passing vehicle. They carted his now super intelligence-enriched carcass back to CB in a random act of kindness.

Post ride, some of the others gathered at the Brick Oven Pizzeria in Crested Butte for some pizza and beer and to get one last morsel of Dave Moe-isms. Thanks, "Buddy Bear"!

We then headed back to Gunnison for an awesome home-cooked meal, more beers and to gather around the fire pit:

















Sunday, we had yet another home-cooked breakfast and headed out to Hartman's. The Other's group had lost a few to the intelligent group but we couldn't let that deter us. We headed out to do a lap of the now infamous Growler race course.

Here is a sample of the fine trails around Hartman's:


















Did I mention that Dave Moe has a trail or two named after him? He is responsible for about 70% of the awesome trails at Hartman's. He couldn't ride with us on Sunday due to "marital maintenance". :

















The riding was awesome and the groups had a great time, but the shadows were growing longer and we still had to drive home:


















Island Acres Resort is mountain biker friendly, dog friendly and they even have a bike wash:

















If you are extremely lucky, you can enjoy the home cooked goodness from Nancy and Pam as well as the hospitality of Steve and Tim. Thanks for the invite....can I reserve "same time next year"?