Max came to town (we’re talking last Thursday, I’m a little behind with this blogging business) to try to acclimate for a few days before starting the CTR. We tossed around some ride ideas with him that evening for a Friday ride. We’d initially settled on a shuttle monkey ride of Engineer, because really, Engineer was the best descent we’d found thus far, and with a shuttle, it only entailed a 40 minute, 1,000 foot climb and then beautiful flowers and an endless descent. Plus, it goes up to nearly 12,000 feet, perfect for Max coming from 2,500 foot Tucson. And I had a 90 minute, relatively easy ride on the training plan.
But in the morning, I hemmed and hawed. Maybe we should do Animas Mountain instead, or Test Tracks, or Horse Gulch? I really didn’t feel like loading bikes into the car and driving, *gasp* 30 minutes to the top of Coal Bank Pass. Scott very firmly told me that we should go do Engineer. When you have guests in town, you show them the real goods, not just the fake goods.
Yes, you can still see the cars in the parking lot.
So we went. Max fell over on the first rock on the trail and bent his derailleur, the first of many adventures/mishaps that he had during his 48 hours in Durango, which included taco’d wheels, broken springs in derailleurs, and a host of other hilarious events. Well, at least it was hilarious to me watching from the outside. He handled it all with an incredible amount of grace and calm (and then went on to absolutely CRUSH the race).
So we rode. Max rode into the back of Scott’s wheel three times, which I guess is a record low. We did at “10 minute out-and-back” (Scott’s idea) where Engineer intersects the Pass Trail that turned into a 30 minute out-and-back to show Max the magic flower meadow (Scott: There’s a lot more climbing here than I remember) and then proceeded down Engineer Trail, for what I’m pretty sure is my 17th time down it this summer. I could do it 48 more times and I still wouldn’t get bored of it.
Dry dirt turned into hero dirt turned into wet dirt turned into mud by the time we hit the meadow at the bottom. I took one look at my muddy legs, muddy shorts, and muddy bike, and knew that there was no way we’d ever hitch a ride to the top. I’ll pick up any reasonably safe looking hitchhiker, but I wouldn’t have picked myself up. So we sent Max down to the bottom of the pass and Scott and I pedaled the five miles up to the car.
I looked at my watch when we got to the top. Three hours and change.
It’s a good thing the rules of regular life don’t apply to D-town life. D-town rules state: Downhills don’t count in ride time, nor does retrieving shuttle vehicles. When the opportunity to ride more arises, always say yes. And never, ever, pass up a chance to ride Engineer trail.
Dunno. Maybe the rules of D-town should apply to real life.