Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tour de Colorado Part V: Crested Butte to Carbondale

I left Crested Butte up and over Kebler Pass through the large aspen forest on a crisp bright morning. It was another spectacular ride. The best part about it was that going this direction it was much easier and mostly a morning of descending. Just easy breezy, coasting alone down the dirt road through the aspen forest for hours. Wonderful.

At the bottom of Kebler it was time to start climbing McClure Pass (8755ft) and then through Redstone to Carbondale. The climb up McClure was a grind. I really just knocked it out. Also, the view from the top was not that amazing. That being said, the descent was SICK! I had the road to myself and now that I had some experience on my fully loaded rig, this was the road that I actually went the fastest on. I would just lean that heavy-ass bike over into the turns and let 'er rip. There weren't a lot of cars so I could use the entire lane and the canyon was amazing with giant vertical walls and lots of raging rapids and waterfalls.

My bike is in this photo

Coke ovens! (I bet the "Coke" goes right on a "Rail" straight to downtown Aspen!....)

The Crystal River was RAGING. Some sections were the biggest fastest moving rapids I've ever seen in my life....

... that didn't stop this animal from boating it. This was the coolest thing I had seen in awhile. As this guy risked it all boating through these rapids I coasted along side the guardrail for nearly half an hour and just glided along beside him. I was cheering and laughing as he negotiated the nastiest sections of the river. So epic.

You can still see the kayaker in this photo

Cattle punchin at the base of Mt. Sopris next to the bike path. One of my favorite photos from the trip.

My buddy George met me at the City Limits with a beer and rode me into town. His fiancee Rachel had an amazing meal waiting for me and plenty of drinks. They even had a bed for me. We sat on their back patio on a beautiful evening under Mt. Sopris and had one of the best (and biggest) meals I've ever eaten. I got a bed, a meal, a shower, and some time with great friends. Honestly, this was better than stopping at my own home.

George managed to get me an awesome 29er and take me out for an evening of mountain biking the next day. It had been awhile since I'd mountain biked and I was really itching for the chance. We rode the trails at Basalt Mountain. The 29er was so light compared to my touring rig, I just felt like I was floating. I would compare it to wearing 40lbs weights around each ankle for 3 weeks and then taking them off and running a mile. It was so much goddamn fun! Thanks for e'rythang George!


Light as a feather. Beer, tube, and some water.

Told George if he could ride to the other side, I'd give him $20.

I left Carbondale the next morning with all my clean clothes, a full stomach, a shower, and a great mountain bike ride all behind me. I was ready to get back to the road, but they sure made Carbondale a tough place to leave. I still had 4 more days of riding to make it to Steamboat in time for the 4th of July Rodeo.....

1 comment: