Finally got around to stitching a few of the panoramic images together I attempted to capture. The ArcSoft tool I use struggled with a couple of the panoramas. I had to reduce the number of stitched images to get the silly tool to converge. Click on the images here, set to full size, then pan around. Hopefully it gives you just an inkling of what is like to be in such big open spaces. The coolest thing about some of these rides is I went hours without seeing or hearing another human being. Some folks don't like to be isolated like this. I find it to be a superb reset once in a while. The three images here were composed above 12,000ft elevation.
I tallied up the rides. In six days, I rode 27.1 hours, 215.6 miles and climbed 29,400 feet. Not a huge amount of climbing, but when you factor in it was mostly very technical, some hike-a-bike and in thin air, it was easily equivalent to twice that much vertical on road at sea level. Per day on average I rode 4.5 hours, 36 miles with 4900ft of climbing. I have never done 27 hours of fairly intense riding in six days before.
I'd have to say this Colorado trip was my best cycling trip of all time. The weather was perfect, which is highly unusual for this time of year. Despite huge volume, nothing in my body broke. It is not uncommon during periods of big volume to get some knee or hip tweakiness. I had none of it. I experienced zero flats or mechincals too. Maybe that has something to do with my obsesive attention to maintenance details. I ran low 20's pressure most of the time, including down some pretty gnarly descents. By Monday, just two days after my last full day in Durango, my legs already felt snappy. Perhaps rich oxygen content at sea level had something to do with that. I feared I would need a whole week to recover from my vacation. Tuesday and Wednesday this week were uber hard intensity days. I felt well primed for it. Weight is near a two year low too, hitting 160 lbs (72.5kg) on the scale this morning. I ate as much as I could in Colorado, twice a day, for a week and lost weight. Gotta love riding.
From Jura Knob, looking north along the Colorado Trail
From Trail 918, looking east
From Calico Trail, looking east, Calico Peak on left, Horse Creek basin center