Zen On Dirt

Back on the Colorado road

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There’s nothing quite like Colorado in the summer time. No, I take that back. There’s nothing quite like being on the road. In Colorado. In the summertime.

Winter Park is great. It really is. We get a roof over our head. A comfortable bed. Easy access to the Front Range for Adulting. Plenty of day trips straight from the door. Reliable Internet. Beauty in every direction.

But I’m not very good at staying still. I’m pretty much the worst.

Sarah and I had been trying to set up a play-date for weeks when we finally got ahold of each other. In the words of Semi-Rad.com, it was time to make plans, not resolutions. Something big, but not epic. Beautiful, but not excessively popular. On dirt. On bikes. Plus, it had to be somewhere where Scott could go play on his own, because I had no intention on going right back to Winter Park.

After much debate, we settled on the Copper Dirty Triangle. Copper Mountain -> Colorado Trail over Searle and Kokomo Pass -> Camp Hale -> Ptarmigan Pass -> Vail Pass -> Bike path down to Copper Mountain. Scott would go either work or push his bike up a 14er. (I’ll give you one guess which option he chose)

The Colorado Trail from Copper to Camp Hale is one of my favorite sections. First, you climb trail IMG_2688

Up past the trees. Up past Janet’s Cabin.

At Searle Pass, the resident marmots seemed to have gone to sleep for the year. We overheard someone someone telling their riding partner ‘It just traverses from here. It’s not really worth going past the pass.’


It just traverses from here. Nothing to see. Nothing to do.


There are no views. No pieces of amazing trail.


We joked that we too, should have turned back at the pass.


But we knew better.


Over Kokomo, down the trail. Past the waterfall to Camp Hale. Then a long road climb up, which was steeper than I remembered, and a quick little jaunt back to Vail Pass and down the bike path. Beer and chips capped the ride off before heading over the pass to Leadville to meet Scott. He’d chosen the ‘ride the bike up a 14er option.’

We camped just outside of town and said our goodbyes in the morning. Resolutions made for future plans.

Scott and I opted for a morning at the coffee shop before committing to Mt Sherman, another 14er in the area. I might ride, I hedged. I may just walk.

It took one look at the trail snaking up the side of a scree field to solidify my decision. I’ll wait for you a the top if you wait for me at the bottom. 

I put running shoes on and started up.


I watched Scott push/pedal his way up. Not once did I say, ‘Gosh, I wish I had my bike.’


The wind turned me around near the top, but it had died down by the time I retraced my steps to Scott. Up we go again.


The summit was downright pleasant and only a few stupid-strong gusts of wind hit us on the way down. Scott rode. I walked. We were both as happy as could be.

In town, we finally got pizza at Mountain Pies after being turned away the day prior due to a line out the door. We made camp up Half Moon Creek, planning a lazy day in the morning.

Our bottles froze overnight, making for a brisk morning of getting ready and riding. Easy ride, we decided, then on to warmer climates. We don’t do cold.

The section of Colorado Trail from Half Moon campground at the base of Elbert to Twin Lakes is some of the most spectacular trail in the state in terms of Whee! Fun!-ness.


While the leaves weren’t quite in their prime yet, we weren’t going to complain.


We even ran into an old friend from my collegiate days of racing. She’d just ridden Mt. Elbert and was still bundled up from the long descent. She’d also just finished touring the CT, and I’d been meaning to get in touch with her to see how it was. Somehow, giving someone some FaceBook ‘likes’ just isn’t the same. So it was good to run into each other face-to-face, even if it was only for 5 minutes. We made some resolutions to ride when she moved back to CO. Hopefully the resolution turns into concrete plans.

We made it back in just over three hours. Easy ride…standard procedure.

On to Buena Vista for dinner with Kep, and further south to the Heart of Colorado, Salida! We set up camp in the dark and passed out fast. When the sun came up the next morning, we woke to this:


The road. I love being on the road.


One thought on “Back on the Colorado road

  1. This is fantastic! I really want to ride the CDT!

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