Hopefully while this is going on back home:
I'll be enjoying this on Sunday:
I have several new routes planned for next week. First up is an extended Monarch Crest ride. I've always ridden this as a loop, grinding up US-50 to pick up the divide, and then finishing in Poncha Springs. Since I will have shuttle service this trip (my lovely wife), I will cash in some of my vertical credits and get a lift to 12,000ft to begin my ride. That will leave me with lots of extra energy to stay on the Rainbow Trail across US-285, climbing 2000ft, before dropping down to the newly constructed Little Rainbow Trail. Despite a 4000+ foot net drop, there will still be considerable climbing along the route.
Another new ride I will attempt is a Black Bear/Ophir Pass loop. This ride will start on US-550, climb up to Black Bear Pass above 12,000ft, then drop down into Telluride on the famous jeep road switchbacks. The route continues by climbing up to Deep Creek Trail, bombs down to Galloping Goose Trail, over to Ophir Pass Rd, another jeep trail that climbs crazy high. This will probably be the capstone ride of my trip. I fear that I'll be too wrecked by the time I get to this ride that I'll be unable to finish it.
Both of these rides will be unsupported. Other than Telluride early in the second ride, there are no food stops along the way. I will take iodine with me in case I have to treat stream water. These rides could easily take over six hours.
There's plenty of new stuff to explore around Durango. I'd like to hit Phil's World, now up to 28 miles of super flowy singletrack without too much elevation change. Maybe spend an afternoon tubing with Cathy and mom down the Animas River through town if the flow is ok.
Should be able to get out of here ok on Saturday before Irene arrives, if our plane doesn't have to come in from some place further down the eastern seaboard.