Thursday, July 30, 2009


Better late than never! I have heard people say this about thank you cards, birthday presents, showing up for work, and menstrual cycles. I am now applying this to Blogging.

2 Weeks ago Bit and I loaded up a borrowed Subaru Forrester (thanks Mom) with camping equipment, dogs, food, books on CD and 1 bike for a week in the high country of good ol Colorado.
Got up Early on July 8th and drove till night fall to reach Crested Butte. Our friends Sean, Kelly and Seamus Burns had secured a sweet little campsite up Slate River Road Gulch in National Forest right next to a raging mountain stream. Within 24 hours our little spot in the woods became a full on refugee camp of temporarily dislocated Midwesterners. Andre, Jeanie and Erin Dory joined us as well Sean's friend James Alexander and Kelly's friends Amy and Kristin. For the next 5 days we enjoyed wonderful camp meals, with picturesque day hikes. Several days the guys weaseled some sweet single track rides in.

The first day we joined the Burns Clan for a short jaunt up Oh-Be-Joyful enjoying the views of several waterfalls and tons of wild flowers

Bit and Kelly happy not to be in the Midwest

The next day the whole crew headed to the Snodgrass Trail. The guys rode out and back on their mountain bikes grabbed the cars then drove around to pick up the ladies at the end of the trail. We ended the day in the town eating delicious pizza at the Secret Stash.

Day 3 Bit and I took the mutts up Gothic Gulch and did a day hike up one of the canyons that became a bush whack and was probably the worst hike of the trip despite. A majority of the trail was double track open only to hikers with mediocre views, bummer! That evening I rallied for a ride after the afternoon showers had passed. Sean, Andre, James and I arrived at the 401 trail around 6:00 pm and it started to sprinkle. Because of the weather we decided to ride up the trail as far as rain or time would allow then turn around and ride back. the standard route is to ride up Gothic road to Schofield Pass then climb a mile of single track for 7 miles of descent. We ended up making it about 7 miles up the trail with lots of gorgeous single track and unrelenting climbs. Sean and I were duking it out with the uphill grades on our single speeds and did surprisingly well. The descent was fast and flowey. By far the best trail I have ever ridden, and with a great group of friends. And yes the rain did let up.

The following day we all went up to trail 403 hiked up to the high point to enjoy the views and take some photos.

Afterwards Bit and I took a lift up Mt Crested Butte then hiked the summit trail to the top for great views of the Maroon Bells and surrounding mountains.

From the summit looking North

We went into town so Bit could get take a nice hot shower at the lodge the Dory's had just checked into. James and I snuck out for a quick spin on the lower and upper loop trails just outside of town, enjoying the nice rolling single track.

The following day we packed up and headed to Telluride for 2 days. We camped at the city park, which paled in comparison to our Crested Butte campsite, and got several hikes in that left from town. All the hiking was steep with exquisite views. The first afternoon we did a 3 mile round trip hike with 1600 ft of elevation gain.

The view was worth it!

Our final day we hiked up to Bear Creek Falls then headed back to the front range.

Our last day I took the dogs on 2 steep short trail runs/hikes to wear them out for the drive home.

It worked! Well!

That evening we stayed with Aaron and Becky Broyles at their newly purchased home outside of Evergreen. They have a cute house with great views, in a secluded yet accessible location. It was a perfect end to our trip, hanging out with some friends that we hadn't seen for quite some time, before making the drive across the plains.

Had a great time, and are already talking about going back next year.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blinglespeed Makeover

Here lies the my rigid fork!

For the last 2 years I have been riding my only mountain bike rigid as a diamond in an ice storm. I had been toying with the idea of getting a front suspension fork for some time. And just recently broke down (i.e. broke the bank account) and bought a Fox Float 29er. It rides smooth, having had it's maiden voyage at Landahl last week on 20 miles of unrelenting singletrack. Goodbye old friend. Pics of the installed fork to come.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Chiggers-16, Jesse-0

Last Wednesday Jeremy, Jim Lassiter and myself left KC around 6 p.m. and made the short drive down to HCR for a day of climbing. We arrived at the Ranch just before midnight, meeting up with now professional photographer Andy Chasteen.

Thursday morning came to life with very cool temps and mildly overcast skies. We hooved it up to the east side to avoid the morning sun, and let Jer work Supersoul Sureshot. We had a great time warming up on long moderates while the air became heavier. Jer finally roped up for the main event while Andy found a nearby perch to capture some images. We moved down the bluff hitting several routes in the Far East. By late morning the high temp of 82 degrees had been reached and the humidity was becoming oppressive. The sun remained hidden, and despite the thickness in the air we all commented on how nice the weather was considering it was July in Arkansas. Every once in a while a breeze would kick up for 15 secs and it felt like someone had just turned an air conditioner full blast at your body. We eventually made our way back to Jer's project which he sent with mucho style and several grunts. We rounded out the day of climbing at the roman wall and then made our way back to the cabin.

By 2 p.m we were sitting on the front porch of the cabin sipping frozen Bud Light Lime's. Usually I am not a big Budweiser fan, but ice cold/partially frozen buds sure hit the spot. We chatted with Andy for an hour before hitting the road. 25 hours round trip saw us back home in KC, getting to bed at a reasonable hour.

Friday morning I came into work super early as a favor for a coworker. I clocked in at 0530 and by 0600 I started to notice I was itching just about everywhere. Little red bumbs covered my legs and other unmentionables. All that perfect weather distracted me from the fact that summer climbing in Arkansas still involves millions and millions of bugs. Four days later and I am still itching like mad. Next time I am coming armed with bug spray to even the score.