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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by EnderTheX, Aug 21, 2010.
Unbelievable photos there guys! Would love to do the same ride sometime. Thanks for sharing.
Keep checking, I will be posting the maps and tracks after each day of riding (we are only half way through the first day so far).
While Chris runs for the camera every time I take a pit stop, I'm more interested in getting some landscape shots. This ones for you Chris!
Now it's time to head up the highway and get onto Ophir Pass. I always looked forward to this one because I hear it is not too hard and very scenic.
Here is looking up at the pass, lots of rocks!!! (but the path is relatively smooth) Sorry for the dark picture, there were some rain clouds rolling in!
Love the F800Gs too.
No 640 love :[
Screw you guys
You gotta post your 640 glamor shots so people can drool over it.
I would have to say the F800 is a much more attractive bike
Us F800GS owners gotta stick together.
Ha! Where were you guys all the times I had to help pick up the 800? (does 800 stand for lbs?) ...my back still hurts!
I gots me some 640 love. Post away. Get that yeller thing outta the way! They just look like over priced V Stroms.
Glad you guys are enjoying Colorado. I went to Utah instead. Too many Jeeps in CO, too many f-ing rocks. I bet we didn't go five minutes without passing a Jeep!
So we're on our way up to Ophir.
As oliver mentioned before, we were looking at a book (post a link/picture to/of the book oliver!) which rated trails difficulty for jeeps, I think Ophir was a 3 on a scale of 10. I'm always wanting challenging technical rides, which Ophir was definitely not, however easy trails make for great sight seeing and as i mentioned before, there isn't a trail in colorado that isn't pretty. This would be our first pass on the bikes and we were both excited to say the least.
On this trip I didn't bring a point and shoot camera which i'd normally use for quick snapshots, so I'm leaving those up to the Oman who has the perfect riding snapshot camera. I did bring my big DSLR though, which I planned on using to get some "action" shots and prettier landscapes, though my main focus was on action shots. I didn't get to take as many of these as I would have liked (i think i mentioned oliver's impatience earlier...), but i took more than I thought I would. Again, we're still headed up Ophir here.
Continuing up Ophir pass we brace for our first mountain pass experience. To me the fact that this is the only way into the town of Ophir from the East is a cool feeling. Anyone who wishes to bypass these types of roads must spend hours driving around the mountains. Credit to the resilient people who built and maintain this part of our history and hopefully our future.
We are here!!! This is looking through the pass from East to West.
Some bike pictures are a must as we celebrate our first summit of a true Colorado Mountain Pass, Ophir Pass.
Chris tries to do "something original" for all his pass pictures but it doesn't catch on as we are constantly distracted by the scenery or terrain challenges.
This is looking from the West to East at the top of the pass.
The rocks here lend themselves to pictures well. There are deep reds, greens and browns but my favorite is still the black and white pictures.
Then we start down on the west side of the pass into the valley that cradles Ophir. When we round the first switchback you see in this picture we are greeted by a view that few would deny as spectacular and adventurous.
The road on the west side of Ophir pass leading into the lush valley is still one of my favorites. Here I finally found out if I was scared of riding on the edge of rocky cliffs, I was not.
You can see Chris in the distance on the road.
Here is Chris riding to the switchback that leads to the previous picture (this was taken moments before the picture in the previous post, got out of order).
Here is what the road looks like if you were standing at the spot where Chris is riding in the previous post. The road is angled in a comforting manner and is relatively smooth. This pass seems to get more local traffic than the other passes and it still is the only way to get to Ophir from the East.
Ophir in the distance...
At the top:
Here is Oliver comming down.
Its pretty amazing how alien some of these mountain passes feel once you get up there. Its a wild feeling standing at the top of a pass IN an alien environment overlooking amazingly green valleys that look so welcoming and so far away.
Looking back on the rocky section of the west side of Ophir pass I wonder... how can it get any better than this? We are only at the tip of the iceberg so far.
We head into the forest towards Ophir and run into another dreaded Marmot. It came after us when it saw the fear in our eyes so we had to hurl down the mountain at top speed and didn't get any pictures of the forest trail.
Ophir is a really small town in the middle of nowhere. Seems like a nice place to live if you can telecommute and don't care to be around other humans most of the year.
Then after a boring dirt road that landed us back on the highway we went south towards Bolam Pass.
Bolam was supposed to be a benign 4x4 trail rated at difficulty "2" in the book. We were soon about to realize a discrepancy between what is easy and hard for a 4 wheeled vehicle and a 2 wheeled vehicle. This sign indicated the beginning of a long and rocky climb.
When I saw the condition of the trail and amount of rocks I knew I was in for a wild ride. Twisting the trottle I let the bike roar in first gear ensuring I would have enough power to keep the rear wheel digging into the ground even at low speeds.
I remebered some of the things I had learned about riding rocky paths such as picking a strait line over imbedded rocks is preferable to winding between loose rocks even if it is much more bumpy. Also I concentrated on keeping the bike flowing under my body and allowing it to react to the terrain while keeping my arms and legs flexible in a standing position. This approach worked great as I forced the suspension to finally perform to the limits.
Several times I had to hit larger rocks at speed and I felt the tire compress to the point it felt like the rim made contact. Each time I worried about getting a pinch flat or rim damage that would force us to do roadside repairs. Whenever we stopped I would check the tires hoping they were not losing air pressure. I ran the entire trip at 34 psi front and rear and was very glad I did. I never had any problems with grip on the rocks or soil and didn't feel the need to air down.
I dunno about pushing suspension to the limit... but it was a fun fairly rocky trail.
To start I wasn't very thrilled with the choice to go over Bolam Pass, rated a 2, I figured it'd be a non technical 4 car width snooze of a gravel road. As we started up it was quickly obvious that it was at least typical jeep width, which was a good sign. It wasn't long before we started seeing signs like "steep and curvy next 15 miles"... Just about as soon as it got steep, it got rocky. The rocks weren't too big and just about all of them were solid, so riding wasn't very difficult, but it was stand up, pick your line, float the front wheel, shake some bolts loose, bumpy.
We stopped just at the base of the first hill to take a picture or two, I ran ahead to capture Oliver making his way the initial climb.
Oliver never stopped to wait for me, he kept going... rocking along so to speak I quickly saw why, the rocks and the climb were endless! The trail was a loong steady grade and endless bumps. Once I realized that the "initial" climb wasn't just a short jaunt I got a stupidly huge smile on my face that I couldn't wipe off. Around every corner the fun rocks and the steady grade kept going; I never wanted it to end! It got to the point where I was laughing at how bumpy and how endless this climb felt. I started to get a little concerned about Oliver, as he was still not 100% due to the altitude sickness, but he kept the pace up and his head down the whole way up. I guess the best cure for altitude sickness is on 2 wheels.