Daily mileage: 140 miles
Overall average: 10mph
Woke up this morning at 6:30 am and started typing on yesterdays ride report. Jeff woke up as I was putting the finishing touches on it and we went out on the town to grab some breakfast. The town of Lake City is a very nice place. Theres a small town feel and it doesn’t have the touristy feel of Silverton.
Hey you're dog right. I like your coat. Tibetan Terrier...cool dog.
We happened upon a coffee shop and I got a cinnamon roll and a coffee. We ran into a couple of guys, Mitch and Dave, on KTM 950 Super Enduros who were taking the labor day weekend to travel around Colorado for riding and camping. I would later run into them again up on Olphir Pass.
After breakfast, Jeff decided to head back to Taylor Park, since he was already about 150 miles from his basecamp. I continue on to Cinnamon Pass. Today was all about savoring the ride, shooting the shit and breathing the scenery. That’s why my overall average is a measly 10pmh.
Cinnamon Pass was really good. It was challenging enough to make it feel like an adventure for sure. A quarter of the ways up, I see a KTM 950 Adventure parked on even ground contemplating the decision to go up. I pull up and introduce myself. Tom, the rider, was packed with full luggage and wasn’t sure if he wanted to go up on such a heavy bike, so I offered to ride behind him and he dropped it, I could help him lift it. Seemed like a shame for a brother to make it so far up and not go all the way. He did make it up all the way without my help, and thanked me at the top. No problem, Tom, you da man.
Up on Cinnamon pass, taking portraits, Mark and Chad, on 300XCW and XR600R, stopped to talk. They were looking to tear up on single track and had a trail map. Throughout the day, I would see many dirtbike on the trail and that made me feel warm and fuzzy. I also saw many Jeeps and 4x4s, at point there would be a Jeep traffic jam. I went down once on a steep downhill trying to get around a 4x4 going uphill on a narrow track. The rocks were so loose, there was no traction. I would go down once more when the rear broke loose on a fine grit downhill corner – again very low speed. For the steepdowns, you have to be geared low, and to be sure to use both brakes -- the front, 1 finger light. The rear only won’t cut it, but I’m sure most of you know it.
The landscape of course was just too much to take in. Everywhere there was something for your eyes to devour.
The going was slow for the most part because sometimes I was in jeep traffic, but mostly because I was stopping so much. I didn’t mind as my plan was to get close enough to the passes yesterday evening so that I could take my sweet time today. That strategy paid off.
After getting down California Pass, I would go up and down Olphir Pass which was like a landscape from Mars as I traverse a whole mountain side of rocks. Tre cool.
I ran into Mitch and Dave again. They were looking for a campsite and asked about the other side of the pass. They a case of beer and were fully loaded down and it was the end of the day, so Dave really wasn’t in the mood to go it. They went back the other direction to look for something idyllic next to a creek.
I continued on in hopes of making it to Monticello. The next big off road section was the Black Mesa Trail. It was a windy uphill that reminded me a lot of the mountain rides in PA I did. At the top of the mountain, I approached a closed road, so I had to backtrack 1 mile. I eventually found an ATV trail that took me the long way around “dark” side of the mountain. At this point it was around 6:30 so the woods were getting dark and spooky. Especially under my dark tinted goggles. While I was rerouting on the ATV trail, I was praying that there were no downed trees in front of the path as the trail was a narrow double track that tighter than the woods roads I’ve been on usually. Since there were rock ledges just overhead, I was also praying no mountain lion would jump me… you see, I’m a paranoid dude.
Anyway, after what seemed like eternity, I make it out of the ATV onto the main trail and down the mountain I go to highway. At this point it was 7:00 and for a second, I thought about continuing on and pushing but there were campgrounds along that road, so I explored a couple and was able to find an available site.
As I pull into my site, a group of campers hail me down and ask me about my ride. Turns out they were a trailriding family, 3 brothers and a father. They asked if I was game to come along the next day, but I felt mentally ill prepared for a day of crazy single track, so I respectfully declined.
After setting up my campsite, I head over and meet the Judds. Not the country music sensations, but a Mormon family out to do their business on the gnarly single track trails of Colorado. They had an insider who was local and knew all the good spots. Over a delicious meal they graciously prepared me, we talked about work, the trip, new york, missionary work, and dirtbiking. The three brothers, Malcolm, Tyson and Breck were all really blown away, I was riding cross country on a 250. Their Dad was a stoic guy who didn’t speak a great deal, but when doing so, was essential. He was a joker as well though, poking fun at Malcolm for his anxiety on the next days ride. Malcolm was the oldest and running his own business in Wedding photography. Breck and Tyson were still in college and very competitive with other when riding. It was interesting to find that Malcolm spoke Korean and Breck spoke Mandarin Chinese.
After a full belly, good conversation and a warm fire. I was off to bed. Another awesome day in the great outdoors.