A place to share words and pics. Mostly bikes, but my photog eye does wander.

Bikes let the good times roll. In solitude or with friends. For a half hour or 8 hours. Pedals become the gears that turn the earth as the sun seems to track their motion, day after day. Miles become food, and you're hungry. The bike stops being a vehicle, or toy, or transportation and becomes an extension of will, allowing you to journey beyond the pain of self into the realm of almighty, joyous nature, she that feeds our souls. Pedal yourself into the maw of creation. Pedal yourself silly.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Durango a Go Go

Health and ability. I have these this year, my legs have been churning dirt since January and the Force has been with them. Strong, fierce, and worthy of road trips! After a chat with my trusty riding pal Shillingsworth, we decided we needed to explore beyond our normal borders of Arizona and celebrate my mobility and ability with a bikepack in Durango! However, we found that the snow pack was still at about 10k, and we'd be at about 12k for the route we were looking at. Not be be deterred, we settled on picking some day rides around Durango, with the certainty of riding some Colorado Trail.

We'd leave Thursday evening from the Valley of the Eternal Ball of Fire and be ready to ride Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Plenty of time to get some good, green miles in. We arrived at about 2am on Thursday and caught a few Z's in an old quarry we could use for camping that we found on freecampsites.net. Budget minded is the general theme of the trip. A short five hours snooze in the car and we were headed into Durango...still not too sure what to ride, even though we had a good three or four options for the day after searching some really good sites such as Trails2000, Singletracks, DuranGO Outdoors, Spokejunkies and soliciting local info on MTBR. We of course started with food and headed over to Bread for some morning snacks. Had a good coffee and blueberry muffin to stuff my face with then it was quickly back to our route for the day - and aha! just next to us was San Juan Bicycles. Surely they have a map. And they did, and it was righteous. We couldn't go wrong with our map from singletackmapping.com. It showed common loops, HaB spots and most importantly, breweries.

We decided on the Telegraph/Horse Gulch area for the first day of dirt since it was close and had plenty of miles to keep us occupied for the day. After dropping some gear at the house we were staying at, we rode from there to the trailhead.

And we were off. And it was hot. And there was not a lot of oxygen. And w were having a blast. A little acclimation and we'll be just fine. At least we travel with sunsleeves. Blue sky and almost 90 degrees for the day. I thought we left the heat!

Yeah, it was a bit warm to start, probably about 10am after we got situated.

We took a little loop around Mike's and Cuchillo to get started, warm the legs up before going over Telegraph.

It was like riding inside a crayon.

Mountains, with snow. Just seeing snow make desert dwellers 10% cooler.
Look at that! Colorado Mountains! I felt so good to be out there, fully put together well enough to ride all day, to experience the glory of Nature and breath clean air. That air, so precious. Photo by Schillingsworth.

The system had maps all around so it wasn't too hard to get lost. There were no "You are here" markers, so keep track.

Yellowbrick Road to Sidewinder. Cool little loop and it gets you to Cowboy.

Cowboy is that kinda shallow, pavement smooth singletrack that undulates under you bike at about 20 mph. I was a grin machine. Photo by Schillingsworth.

Cowboy took us to the South Rim Trail. Along the way we were treated with some civilization. The glorious 160 continues east below us.

I felt...like someone was watching me.....

We dropped off the mesa by way of Carbon Junction and made our way diligently to our lunch spot which was found on our new, trusty map - Ska Brewing. Excellent. It had been a pretty good 20 miles already.

A local was happy for our arrival and offered to take a snap for us. Sure!

There are many around these parts.

The feat of engineering this piece is! Quite interesting.

We arrive and it is good. I grabbed myself a Mexican Logger. Nice, tasty mid ride treat. They had pizza for grub, so I ordered one up.

This pit stop Schilling approved.

Done with lunch and heading back to Telegraph by way of the Animas River Trail (a paved cruise) we spot another AZonan, floating down the river! Pretty synchronous to randomly catch each other - a minute either way and we wouldn't have known! Oh, the mysteries of life! U2metoo is floating in the far yellow kayak.

We also find a BMX track. One lap please! Photo by Schillingsworth.
Look at that air time! That's both wheels at the same time! Yeah!
Here's the baddest shredder of the day. She was ready to go! Hope you have a life full of bikes little one!

The river seemed to be at perfect flow levels as everyone was out playing in it. These standing paddle boards looked pretty cool.

This tandem kayak attacked pretty head on. Makes for good action. It was still warm. I wanted a kayak to play in!
We were't done quite yet for the day, so we opted for a Skyline to Raider Ridge loop. I think I counted about 23 switchbacks to the top. I was looking forward to this. And what a treat it was!

The trail was again packed solid, which made the climbing "easy". I was on a 1x9 and I could sit through most of the climb, but I wasn't too happy about it. Here I started having a change of feelings on a granny gear. I knew I needed one with the non-optimal knee, but it had to become a reality soon!

Wee keep going up and up. 600 vertical feet to the top!

The switchbacks were so perfect. No loose crap so spin you out or ledges to huff over or spiny plants to fall into. I turned my machine on and motored the whole way up. Excellent climb, if you're looking for a non techy ascent anyway. Photo by Schillingsworth.
Finally, the top! Great views of Durango.

I was quite please with the riding for the day. Photo by Schillingsworth.

Animas Mountain sits on the east side of town, which has it's on little climb of its own. For next time.
Raider Ridge then turns into a HaBfest. Start walking buddy. It was large boulder move after another, with high consequence for error or bail.

Some parts were rideable, but after baking my melon in the sun all day and approaching hour eight, I walked this too. Just a little bit of exposure.

Can you walk the walk?

Here's the totality of our day. We started from the west, rode the stuff in the middle then all the ridgeline to the southeast. Ska was in the square, then we headed back to Raider Ridge to the northwest. Decent first day route.

2D action.

We managed 34 miles and about 4k of climbing. Not too bad.

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