Monday, July 25, 2011

Tour de Colorado Part II - Buena Vista through Gunnison

Leaving the Hot Springs the next morning after breakfast, I was totally recharged. Looking back on it now, the worst of the trip was already behind me. With all the traffic and bullshit between Fairplay-Salida-Buena Vista it was still feeling like the front range. I had now vowed to take as many dirt/back roads as possible and traveling west out of BV I was finally by myself in the mountains (which was the whole point). Here's a few photos of my second mountain pass. Cottonwood Pass (12,200ft) west of BV down around Taylor Reservoir, down Taylor Canyon and into Gunnison. It was paved on the east side and dirt road on the west side. This is when I realized dirt road riding was the best.

During my trip I came across a lot of falling rock. I tried to build my karma and stopped at each one to move the rocks from the road.

The start of the climb.

It's starting to get snowy as I climb towards the top. The next two photos are hard to see, but they are of the switchback road near the top of the pass. There are trucks on the road in both photos to give perspective, but are nearly too small to make out. Big climb.

Surrounded by snow walls. So nice. As I was biking, I would reach out with my right hand and make snowballs to throw down the mountain.

Peak'd out.

Next I got to descend down this windy dirt road for hours through empty national forest. So wonderful and fun. At one point it got so chattery that my sleeping bag and tent came flying off and were bouncing down the road behind me.

Taylor Reservoir

They were actually releasing water out of the Taylor Dam into the river when I went by. BTW it was a really fast and balls-out downhill from this point on. Crazy.

Photos of the Taylor Canyon descent


There are 2 rock climbers in this photo.

I ended up pedaling out to Hartman Rocks to camp. Some of Gunnisons best mountain biking is here. It wasn't the first time I pedaled my loaded rig up single track (Flatirons Crossings). I rode a ways up and around the trails and set my tent up back behind some trees. A great place to camp, but out of all the towns I visited, Gunnison had the WORST mosquito problem. I had to wear a hoodie and pants and sweated my balls off while I set up camp and cooked dinner. Those little fuckers where still trying to bite through my hoodie.

This is the only photo of my tent set up. If you look way off in the background you can see the lights of Gunnison approximately 5 miles away.

Pulling out of Gunny, I was into a good rhythm of the road and was looking forward to heading farther west, literally not knowing one of my best days on the road was right around the corner...

Zness out.

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