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.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Canyon of the Ancients

One last treat that JJB let us in on was Canyon of the Ancients, just to the west of Cortez. It wasn't on our radar, but he brought it up and we trusted his advice in that it was a cool place to ride. Neither of us had heard about it or knew anything about and it was kinda thrown into the schedule the day before, but that's how I like to roll. Take your opportunities when they come, and rolling with a local is a great way to see the trails. A little faith, some knowledgeable friends, and some pedal power should easily make for a good day on the bike. Or for this day, a good second ride on a good bike day.

After getting some lunch in town at Sol Pizzeria, we headed out County Rd. G westward to CotA. Once there, we geared up for our last Colorado ride until we had to head back to the Valley. My legs were a bit tired, as I was, but I had the motivation to carry on, just to see some more new trail. Once I was back home, it was going to be miles and miles of stuff I've known for a few years now. New dirt, new turns, new climbs is the stuff that keeps me on my bike. That discovery, that fresh adventure, that experience that lets you know that you're alive and living, kicking that meatbag you call a body around Earth and taking in as much as you can before Time lassos your feet and drags you down. On the bike, I go up. Keep those feet moving!

The trail starts on a slickrock slab. Lots of ruins to see here that are snug up to the cliffs. Some remains date back to 1,500BC. The Anasazi people used it more recently.  You can ride right up to some of the structures. The BLM manages this land rather than the Forest Service, so it seems a bit more lax. Just stay on the trail!
We'd hang a right and follow Sand Canyon trail out for about four miles before turning around and taking on the East Rock Creek Trail. The further out on Sand Canyon you go, the more primitive it gets. I hear it ends in a steep hike-a-bike to get to the top. Not much fun so we'd pass today. We still had to drive home!

Our fearless and gracious guide led us out.

This guy doesn't mind riding all day. This ride would prove to be super cool just for the setting. The riding wasn't bad at all either!

Lots of nice naturally weathered rock formations to be found along the canyon.

A little granary for storing your grains.

Looks like a gigantic oven! Probably another granary, I'm guessing. Not much of a home there, really, considering some of the other structures.
You could ride pretty close up to the history. Every turn seemed to have something that was built hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. Photo by John's camera, JJB on the button.

We come to a ledge, Shilling ponders the depths of our journey.

Again, the Voodoos play nice together. No mech issues all weekend. Hell, only one flat! I've made enough derailler sacrifices over the years, I'm due!

A window! I'm guessing someone lived there at one point.

This one has a loft. I be rent was a bitch for that amenity.
There's a little hole over there.....

Why not build a home in there! You can barely see it, but there's a structure in there. The cool thing is that water runs over the top of the mesa and you can collect it as it drips down on the inside. Not a bad deal.

Any cove seems to get some attention.

This will be nice, with some evening shade.
I must be flying in this pic. My bandana is tussled! Photo by John.

Heading back to the East Rock Creek Trail.
The East Rock loop wastes no time in getting interesting.

JJB making his was across the shelf.

The whole loop was great. This is heading back to the south, towards the slickrock ending. The contrasting colors tickled my eyeballs.

The slickrock at the end was a fun way to wind down a sweet day of riding. 32 miles of new trail is and A+ day on the bike. Photo by John.
We all had some fun kicking around out there. We only needed about another 4 miles to get 100 miles for the weekend, and we briefly wondered if we could ride in enough circles to get us there. Nah, lets head home. It was already 5pm and we were looking at seven hours in the car!

Sweet traction for the SSer's.

Local boy does good, wins beer! Porter from Carver Brewing in Durango. Thanks for the tours JJB! I'll have to do you better than ol' PMP next time your're in town. You've raised the bar!

We had celebratory beverages, then we started our way home. We were already a good ways west on County Rd. G, so we kept heading that way into Utah, which gave us the fortunate opportunity to go through Monument Valley on the way home. And to see this horse.

John was doing the driving, so I got to play taking photos. While this one is from my camera, I got to play with the big boy camera, since John let me take some shots with his DSLR.
Heading down into Mexican Hat, Utah, driving the DSLR. It was niiiiiiiiiiice.

I caught the hat through the driver's side window. "Lean back, man, lean back!" That camera was a blast to play with. Not bad for a shot at 75 mph! There's Mexican Hat namesake.

We had just crossed the San Juan River. That wheel might only produce a little drag..

Monuments come into view!
And the shot everyone has seen somewhere.


2D shot of the route.

There wasn't a lot of climbing or much flow, but it was worth is for scenery and ambiance. The riding was a bit techy too, here and there. Not a place to fly through, but rather see the sights and enjoy some history. We weren't the first ones here.

This ride was almost 12 miles, with 1,200ft of climbing. Add that to Phil's World and we have another 30+ mile day. Our weekend total was 96 miles with about 12k of vertical attained. The knee behaved and took it all smiling. Had some small soreness, but nothing to worry about. I do need a granny though, just to keep it functioning for a longer period of time before it implodes again. Bye-bye 1x9, oh how I have loved you, but I grow old.
The whole trip was stellar. Our routes worked really well, we didn't rush anywhere, didn't get lost, kept ourselves well fed, rode some great new singletrack and had the weather play in our favor all weekend. The JJB tour special was a great cherry on top, seeing some stuff that not to many people ride out and see. The Telegraph ride was great for it's local vibe and accessibility. The CT rocked for it's long climb and descent. Phil's World had the flow and banked turns that I rarely see anywhere and CotA was an archaeological surprise with great views, some ancient culture and good singletrack. I'd do it all again, but we still have Hermosa Creek, The Jones/Dutch Loop, Animas Mt, Twin Buttes, Star Wars, Molas Pass, Silverton to Durango bikepack.......ah, I love lists. Thanks for riding with me for the weekend Mr. Shillingsworth! Great idea!

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