Saturday, August 31, 2013

07_2013 Crested Butte - Camping and Riding

A week after the Courage Classic, we loaded up the Great White and headed to Crested Butte. I can't believe it'd been two years since we were there. Our goal was just to relax, see flowers (it is the wild flower capital of CO), and mountain bike ride. 
We arrived and camped at the campground (Cement Creek Campground) in South Crested Butte we had a couple of years before. We felt fortunate to find a nice spot on such a popular weekend. We hopped on the bikes and rode a ways up the road (Cement Creek Road) to Dead Man's Gulch, then zipped back to camp.
The next morning, we did some bigger rides. I rode up to the Reno divide on the dual track. This ride was about, I dunno 10 miles each way. At the top, I stopped and ate lunch looking at the Maroon Bells that I could see. Lovely!   It was quite steep in sections and a good challenge. I was pleased I made it!
Dave opted for a bigger route that started on the section to the Reno divide that I did. He continued on to Flag Creek, then Bear Creek, then Deadman's Gulch. It was a big ride. And steep. And hard. And fun.  Exactly the sort of thing he likes.
He enjoyed a lot of beautiful views. Doesn't this lovely single track look fun? Unfortunately he (nor I) could stop and rest on our rides as the Black Flies were heinous! They were like the worst workout coach ever - "GET UP AND GET MOVING!!!!"
That single track looked far more fun than some of the parts of his ride that were destroyed from motorcyclists abusing the track. Look at the depth of that rut.
The 29er was awesome.
He is heading down that track and up and over the far ridge. Big day.
Near the end, he came to this section. I can't imagine how but he rode his bike over that log! Gah!
By the time he arrived home, I was off on my bike going into town for a few things from the store. Could have lived without them, but it's a nice ride to I opted to go. I got back and we all started enjoying the evening. 
Day two we rode into Crested Butte proper from Cement Creek. While riding down the highway, we were passed by Julie and Quinn who stopped. It was HOT! We rendezvoused above the ski area (steep getting there!) and the guys took off for some big gnarly ride. They pointed to some track and told me it was easy. Off I went. They were on crack! It was awful! I turned around grumbling at them. Learned later they didn't realize I was pointing to a particular route that I thought I was supposed to go on. I didn't know the route they thought I should take was 'over there.' :/  
They rode from Schofield Pass to the full 401 trail. This involved going up Schoefield at 10,700' then climb on nice steep single track to 11,300', then begin the long descending traverse that the 401 is famous for. Many flowers and many sections with incredible views! It does require one's full attention in several spots. Gah!
The second part of the 401 is not nearly as crowded, but still offers challenging and beautiful riding with several difficult climbs to keep one's legs burning. Then they came back down to town.

While riding, it looked like they may get rained on, but it didn't happen.
Great views!
Great views all around!  They came back to Crested Butte and we all had lunch at a local pizza place. It was lovely. Dave and I hopped on our bikes to head back to Crested Butte South.

Worst. Headwinds. Ever.

Then it started raining.

Not. Fun.

Happily Julie and Quinn drove up when I was about 7 miles shy of camp. I leaped into their truck practically before they asked if I wanted a ride! I think this made for about a 22 mile day for me. When we caught up to Dave, he had only about 4 miles to go to complete is 56 mile total ride. He opted to ride in the rain. :/

That night it rained and rained and rained. We finally packed up in the rain and headed home. In spite of the few headwinds and rain, it was a great weekend!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

07_20_2013 Courage Classic - Copper, Colorado

Dave and I headed to Copper Colorado in mid-July to participate in the Courage Classic. This is a fund-raising road ride to benefit sick children at Children's Hospital.  It's a beautiful setting.  The ride was a three day ride, though the best day was day one: The Copper Triangle. This leaves from Copper, goes over Freemont Pass, then Tennessee Pass, then Battle Mtn, then finally Vail Pass. The triangle is 80 miles total with 5k or 6k in elevation gain (I've already forgotten).  

This first photo is of the top of Freemont Pass. Dave took it when he arrived. Nice environment to be riding in for sure!

The forecast was marginal. We'd already accepted the fact that we'd be riding in the cold rain for quite a bit of the tour. Happily though, the forecast was wrong! There was not so much as a hit of rain our entire time there!  Unhappily, the afternoons were broiling hot! Riding Vail in the sun and heat was a "treat" (not). :)

Being the faster rider, Dave hit the passes earlier than I did. We kept in touch with a few text messages during the day which was fun.  He didn't get a photo at the top of Freemont - I managed to.  Then I wandered over in the huge crowd of riders and ran into the message marker board...
Pretty fun to see Dave's message for me!
You can see (first photo) that Dave got a summit photo on Tennessee. You can see how close I got to the same sign when I topped out - so many riders! 

Neither of us have photos on Battle Mtn (no one stopped!), the lunch area, or Vail. Suffice it to say it was pretty, it was hot, and it was a great ride!
Day two was shorter (50? miles) and meandered around Lake Dillion and places south of Copper. It was nice, and it was mostly on bike trails. This was fun, but there were just too darn many riders on the trails (plus marathon of delirious over-heated over-work women staggering around).  Not really safe. We kicked back and just enjoyed the ride versus trying to power through and get done. 
At one rest area, there were some cut out kids we couldn't resist harassing. :)
Dave give little Joey a push. :)
Forgot the name of this location, but it is over Lake Dillon I believe. It's a good grade getting to the top and a fun zoom back down. We ended up at a high school where I stayed on the Bike Tour of Co two years ago. This was the lunch destination.
Lunch was amazing. Fajitas, fruit, candy, and more food than 10x the people would need. It was a nice (but hot) venue to enjoy lunch, look at other riding wear, and chill. We were really close to Copper so there wasn't much riding left to be done.
The lunch venue.  I did eventually take my helmet off for eating. I felt pretty confident I wouldn't take a nose dive then.
And off we go back to the resort!
We shared the condo with several other people - all of whom were new to us except Karla and Thom. Karla arranged the entire thing and it was awesome!  I look forward to our team members to gather again next year and do the ride again!
A view of Copper Mtn - where we stayed and where the rides started and finished.  Very nice. And the hot tub was welcome at the end of the day!
Our team - American Racing - gathered on Sunday evening for team photos.  Here we are waiting for everyone. Then we headed out to Breckenridge for a delicious dinner provided by our sponsor. Yum!
My favorite team. :)
There was some fun to be had in the Copper Mtn Village. We found it. :)
This was taken at dinner in Breckenridge. Beautiful venue. We had such an amazing time. I can't wait to do it again next year!!