Morning Sunshine.Friday evening Craig and I and the hounds headed down towards Salida for some Art dropping off business, camping and riding. We were to meet Emma, Scott and Keenan up on the mesa heading towards Mt. Shavano TH, Craig's brother Randy was there too. The camping on the mesa there is fantastic with a pinion and juniper forest and HUGE views of the mountains and valleys all around. The sky at night provided incredibly bright stars and a very visible Milky Way, our galaxy, yea to very low light pollution! The coyote's howled up a storm the first night, so awesome to hear off in the distance, one of my favorite sounds. We had great weather, not hot, actually quite fall like in many ways. I finally got to ride Monarch Crest with Emma, she had never ridden it and things fell into place kinda last minute for them to come down as well. So while Scott, Keenan and Randy went fishing on the Arkansas, Craig, Emma and I rode 30 odd miles of delicious ST, starting at 12,000' and descending finally back to Poncha Springs.
Emma from on top of Monarch Crest. The trails gains 12,000' in elevation. You really do feel like you're on top of the world.
The ride itself isn't that demanding except for the altitude and its effect on your lungs but the ride itself is not technically challanging except for some sections of Silver Creek but that's all just a blur really cause it's a fast DH. What I noticed is that there are a lot more people riding the Crest trail these days, more than I remember, we past a lot of people including a couple on a tandem MTB, sorry I don't understand that at all but they were having fun and doing well. However I don't think many finish of the ride by doing the last nine miles on Rainbow, I think after riding 20 miles most head down the dirt road to 285, however they don't know what they're missing. But if you're bonked Rainbow will feel punishing. We had a little rain but it passed quickly, we also had 3 flats, 1 for Craig and 2 for me. Too fast over sharp rocks on a smaller tire, next morning I replaced the Maxxis Advantage 2.1 with a Maxxis Minnon 2.4, problem solved. I had also gotten a flat on that Advantage last week riding the trails behind my house, not the right tire for my back wheel, the Minnon is a little slower on climbs but not too terrible.
Goofing around while waiting for our ride at Poncha Springs.It was a great ride and getting to do it with Emma and spending the time with her was super awesome as we don't get to ride nearly as much together these days. We all went out Saturday night in Salida to the Boat House Cantina on the river. Had some tasty food and margs, our friend Eddie joined us after he left Leadville where he had been taking photos of the Leadville 100 riders. Then we all buzzed back to camp for a lovely night under the stars with a pinion fire.
Craig coming in hot on the Colorado Trail.The next day lazily rolled in and we eventually made our way up to the Mt. Shavano TH and rode a section of the Colorado Trail as an out and back, about 20 miles I would guess. Emma took her turn watching Keenan and Scott, Eddie, Craig, Randy and I all enjoyed a day of more ST. This time the ride was much more demanding than the Crest Trail. I was somewhat tired from the day before so the longer, technical climbs hurt more, took more for me to pedal through, some I just walked. My legs never came alive that day but there were some very good DH's to make up for that. We didn't see another soul on that section of trail except for two horses with riders, that's it, I guess everyone was over on the Crest trail. All in all it was a lovely weekend, though a bit hectic and energy consuming, it was great to spend time out with the Youngs and Eddie, very much like ole' times.