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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Molas Pass to Durango on the Colorado Trail

A couple weeks ago, Bart and I rode the Colorado Trail from Molas Pass to Durango.  Wow.  It was definitely the coolest bike ride I've done.  It was the full meal deal.  Tight single track. Sprawling and amazing vistas. High elevation.  Rain.  Hail.  Hike-a-bike.  12,000 foot plus mountain passes.  80 miles.  13,000 feet of climbing.  Over 18,000 feet of descent. And to make it epic-er, 25+ miles in the dark with a couple headlamps not meant for biking.

Since I hadn't broken 80 miles on a bike this year, I approached the ride with a bit of trepidation.  But it's something I've always wanted to do, I had a willing partner who is OK on a MTB, and we were in the area, . . . . wait, my bike had just been broken to bits by a Ford F250.  Bart wouldn't let me back out, so he adjusted Rosie's (his wife) bike so that I could ride it.  It turns out that a Scalpel 29er makes a Scalpel 26er feel like a crash machine.  I'm pretty sure that had I been on my Scalpel 26er, I would have crashed 10x more than I actually did (I went over the bars once at about 11:30 pm).

Because we had to break camp and get our families on their way to Durango, we didn't get an early start.  6:30 would have been ideal.  Instead it was more like 11ish.  But we weren't too concerned.  We conservatively projected an 8 to 10 hr finish.  At about 8 to 10 hrs into the ride we still had at least 40 miles to go.  We came to a point where we could bail, but we just rode past it.  The trail was a lot more technical and challenging than I expected.  And the darkness made it even tougher.  Fortunately, the last 25 miles of the ride dropped 6000 feet.  We finished in just under 14 hrs total.  It was after midnight.

Looking toward the Needles and Chicago Basin

Bart would stop, I would catch up.  Then he would get ahead.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

After 2500 feet of climbing . . . 

We topped out at some pass (forgot the name).  It rained and hailed for a while, but not too bad.

Bart was chomping at the bit to "shred" something.  And he did.  This was a long descent, which meant that we'd be climbing again soon.

Climbing out of Cascade Canyon.  
 
The Lizard Head and Uncompahgre in the distance.  

Topping out on another long climb.  Forgot the name of this pass too.

See those mountains clear back there . . . yes, waaay back there.  That's where we had ridden from.

Descending again.

The La Plata range in sight. 

Rosie's bike on the Indian Ridge Trail.

Hike a bike section at 12,500 feet.  approaching Kennebec Pass.

And then it got dark. 



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