Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back in the saddle

Yesterday I was supposed to do another long day at altitude. I was a bit iffy on if I could do it because it's taking me a bit to get settled again after being allowed to come back home after they lifted the evacuations. I had a route in my head that started in Bailey so I figured I go over and see how things went.

I parked right at the edge of town where the course hits 285. The Rustic Bar is also right there and it's a great place if you're ever in the area and want some grub or a cold beer. I started up 285 and included the small section of fire road that gets us off the zany highway for a brief reprieve from the idiots buzzing by. I giggled as I ticked off the miles and noticed all of the spots where I had to stop pedaling last year and lay down in the grave right on the shoulder from exhaustion. I bet I counted 9 spots where I didn't even bother to throw down a jacket. Two hours later, I was at the top of Kenosha Pass. Even though I was on the singlespeed it really didn't seem all that bad. I don't know what the fuss about.

Then I was on trail again. I had not ridden this section of the CT since 2009 and had forgotten how great it is. This is one of my favorite sections of the CT. It's got it all. Super techy rocks and roots, pines, flowy singletrack through crazy Aspens, some nice downhill, killer views, and wild flowers. Pretty quickly you come out to a fire road and cross it and begin the climb up Georgia Pass. It took me an hour to make it to the top of the Pass from 285 and I walked more than I remember in the past. Once at the top, my plan was to tag the summit of Baldy Mountain at 13,600' but weather looked sketchy so I decided not to. I wanted to take a different trail down and I found one that took me over the ridge to the north and dropped 5 miles back to a campground that was off that same fire road I mentioned earlier. For some reason, I had it in my head on the way up that I woud ride to the next "bowl" to the north and take a fire road that would put me on the Bailey side of Kenosha Pass. As soon as I hit the fire road I knew I was off and was going to now have to make the 4 mile climb up the other side of Kenosha Pass. I was a bit bummed at first but then thought the extra climb isn't gonna hurt me in the long run.

Soon I was doing the singlespeed tuck back into Shawnee and then Grant. Ah Grant. There's not much in Grant but there is a small yellow motel guarded by a mini-Collie and owned by a guy named Don. In addition to owning the motel, Don is the proud owner of a small shack out front that doubles as a mini liquor store. I stopped there because I was already at the 7 hour mark and said that if I didn't stop for ice cream in Jefferson that I would check on Don in Grant. I grabbed a cold one and chatted with him for a bit while watching the river flow by. Then I took off, made it back to my car an loaded up.

I took a lot of pictures on this ride. This is most of them. Towards the end of the ride I kinda hit the wall a bit and had to break out the big guns. Mostly, Mike and Ikes get me through the long days but once in a while I look to the Pistachios (in the shell). I can stand the bag up in my gas tank and reach in and get a handful and go to town. I find that cracking the shells and spitting them out helps pass the time. Once in a while I can spit a shell out and hit the top of the front tire and kick it up. Chicks dig it. Only problem is that once I start...I don't stop until they're all gone. Anyways, the pic of the PVC pipe in the ditch was marked as a waterline. I thought I was hallucinating. Upside down can of stain somehow attached to the contraption and all.

Get out and ride.

kenosha day from Chris Neumann on Vimeo.

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