There’s been a sense of urgency in the air around here in terms of fall riding. The past several falls could be characterized as full-on Indian Summers with outrageous aspen colors and late first-snows finally shutting down the trails. This year has been different with weekly storms moving through depositing the white stuff on the high trails on a regular basis.
There’s been a disturbing trend of mountain bikers in the area gleefully celebrating the early winter with their fat bikes. I don’t care how much fun it is to go careening down a hill on snow, ending in a face-plant in fresh white fluff, it doesn’t hold a candle to actual mountain biking. On dirt. And rocks. In the warmth. Winter is plenty long, there’s no reason to celebrate it coming early. In my (always humble) opinion, anyways.
Yet again, I digress.
When I first started being able to ride again, Scott and I made a list of rides we wanted to do in the area before we migrated south for the winter. Silver Creek. Agate. Canyon Creek. Cottonwood. CT from Buena Vista to Princeton. CT from Blanks to Princeton. CDT. Texas Ridge. All 2-4 (or 5/6) hour rides. Many of them high, but we’ve been ticking them off, ride by ride.
But with each storm, we hold our breath. Was that it?
We woke up the morning after the storm to relatively frigid temperatures. 30 degrees with a high temperature forecasted to be mid-50’s. We opted to stay low, to tick off another of my favorite Colorado Trail sections.
One of the problems with riding around here when in ‘recovery’ mode is the lack of loop-age off the Colorado Trail. Under Normal-Ez riding circumstances, I really wouldn’t think much of riding from home up to Blanks cabin, riding the CT all the way to the Cliffs of Insanity, and then cruising back on side roads. 70 miles? No problem. But we’re not quite up to normal operations. Yet. The 8-10 hour ride range is still a little out of reach. And anyhow, it was cold out.
So we had to make do, going so far as to ride an out-and-back to explore the aspen grove that we could see from town.
It’s been fun to spend the summer riding all the different sections of the Colorado Trail that I’d only ridden on while racing. This section I’ve raced over five times, three during Vapor Trails in the middle of the night, and twice during the CTR early in the morning, loaded down with food for the long stretch to Silverton.
Riding it with fresh-ish legs gave me a whole new appreciation of how hard the Vapor/CTR really are. The 15-mile stretch of trail ridden in both directions certifiably made me hurt. Especially the uphill parts. I like the downhill parts.
But the aspens were beautiful. The air crisp. And the ridings not over yet.