Bears, Singletrack, and Pavement

A while back I wrote this on Facebook, “Every year I say I’m going to ride less and do more hiking, fishing or trail running, anything but riding.” So can someone explain why two out of the last three weeks I have ridden over 200 miles, climbed 25,000+, and been in the saddle more than 20 hours? Maybe the shirt I wear that says “I heart the f*ck out of bikes” says it all.

The following week I rode 14 hours.  Part of that 14 was an 8 plus hour mountain bike (MTB) ride around Aspen, Snowmass, and Buttermilk ski resorts.  My 8 hour MTB ride was planned but I didn’t think I’d be out there that long.  I was riding a course which is part of the Colorado Endurance Series.  It was called Pain in the Aspen.  The original route was 52 miles and at least 9000′ of climbing.  My day was a bit longer as I parked away from the actual start.  Why did I choose to ride this?  The simple answer is because someone asked me to.  The longer answer is because 90% of the trails were virgin to me and I wanted to experience them.  I also thought it sounded like a worthy challenge.

 

This is the map and elevation profile of my ride.

This is the map and elevation profile of my ride.

 

Doesn't look terrible but it HURT!

Doesn’t look terrible but it HURT!

 

Amazing riding in the aspens.

Amazing riding in the aspens.

 

Early stages of the ride when I had company.

Early stages of the ride when I had company.

 

The Scatman has a little Captain in him.

The Scatman has a little Captain in him.

 

The Dirt Ribbon.  This little park was so peaceful and felt some secluded.

The Dirt Ribbon. This little park was so peaceful and felt some secluded.

 

My bike got very stuck in some mud.  Can't believe I didn't go over the bars.

My bike got very stuck in some mud. Can’t believe I didn’t go over the bars.

 

Another shot, this time from Sunnyside Trail, over looking Aspen.

Another shot, this time from Sunnyside Trail, over looking Aspen.

 

Further down Sunnyside.  You can see the Aspen Ski Resort in the distance.

Further down Sunnyside. You can see the Aspen Ski Resort in the distance.

 

View from the top of the Rim Trail, looking at Snowmass Resort.  I would ride from the right side of this picture to off the left side.

View from the top of the Rim Trail, looking at Snowmass Resort. I would ride from the right side of this picture to off the left side.

 

Ditch Trail before the Hike-a-bike from hell up Government Trail.

Ditch Trail before the Hike-a-bike from hell up Government Trail.

 

View of the Roaring Fork from Snowmass.

View of the Roaring Fork from Snowmass.

 

After the Sunnyside Trail my riding partner for the day left so I rode the second half of this ride by myself.  As a result I didn’t take many pictures.  I was more inside my own head and concentrated on making it through to the end.  It was extremely hot and I didn’t want to eat so as the day wore on my energy got lower and lower.  At one point I was taking a break on the side of the road and a guy passing by stopped to ask if I was okay.  I must have looked like hell.  I was so hot and was sick of being in the sun.  My ass hurt, my eyes burned and I was cramping.  Despite all this and the option to turn downhill as I sat taking this break, I pushed on.

I’m glad I did because I rode some amazing trails and saw this big guy below having some dinner on a ski run at Buttermilk.  We had a short chat then I rode on.  He ran to the opposite side of the ski run and let me pass.  He was a fine chap.

Bear number two of the year.  Another blondie but this guy had a dark underside.  Never seen a two tone bear before.

Bear number two of the year. Another blondie but this guy had a dark underside. Never seen a two tone bear before.

 

My legs after 11 hours in the woods.

My legs after 11 hours in the woods.  I’m like the bear but only backwards.

 

Salty shirt are the ride.

Salty shirt are the ride.

 

My "I'm tired" look.

My “I’m tired” look.

 

So after such a long hard mountain bike ride the weekend before I decided to take my road bike out.  His name is Edgar, by the way.  Edgar is an amazing machine and begs to be ridden far.  When I left the house around 9:30 am I only had one thought, ride to the old ghost town of Ashcroft.  I had no idea how far it would be or what type of elevation would be involved.

When I got to Ashcroft I saw that I was at mile 44 or so.  Doing the math I figured out I’d be close to another century by the time I got home.  Being that Edgar and I already did one just a few weeks back I decided that 120 miles sounded like a good goal.

I knew it was hot outside but at 5:30 pm and just past the 100 mile mark I saw a bank with one of those electronic signs and it read 93 degrees!  I knew it was hot but being on the bike I didn’t think it was that hot.  I should have known as my water bottles would be as warm as bath water within five minutes of filling them.  I ended up finishing my ride just before 7 pm.  It took me 6:51 to ride the 120 miles.  I was pretty happy with that.

 

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McClain Flat Road. Much warmer than the last time I was here when it was snowing.

 

A bigger version of me.

A bigger version of me.

 

The view going up to the ghost town of Ashcroft.

The view going up to the ghost town of Ashcroft.

 

Scatman

Get out there!

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