Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Needed a bit of a break Tuesday, so I headed over to Phil's World near Cortez, CO. This riding destination has been growing in size steadily over the years. I figured it was time to check it out. There is not a lot of elevation change here, maybe a few hundred feet min to max. It also stays below 7000ft, so there was air to breath.
It was a shame to waste a pristine day on a low country ride. There was nary a cloud in sight. My stupid alarm didn't go off (again), and my legs were a tad wrecked from Monday's ride. A late start with wrecked legs on a high country ride would be risky deal with monsoons still in gear. The women planned to hike the Animas City Mountain trail in the morning, then we'd all tube the Animas River in the afternoon.
I would never have found the Phil's World trail head if I hadn't seen the sun reflecting off windshields out in the desert. Quite a few riders were out. I had a partial GPS track to follow and a new printed map from Big Loop Maps that showed recent additions. The cool thing about Phil's World is it can be ridden as one, big continuous loop without repeating anything.
I quickly realized I was in for a treat. The trail alternated between techy mesa rim riding and super buff roller coaster. It seemed around every corner there was an opportunity to get air. Huge air, sometimes. I wore a perma-grin riding here. Take what you like best from Tucson's Fantasy Island, Fruita's Bookcliffs and Gunnison's Hartman Rocks, roll them into one giant doobie, that is Phil's World. I think I had the most fun riding here than any place else. I rode the entire trail system, a continuous loop of nearly 30 miles in 3.2 hours.
I finished riding by 1pm and headed back to Durango to meet the women. The Animas River was up a bit due to recent rain. This was good and bad. It was good, as the flow was just sufficient for tubing without dragging butt too much on rocks. It was bad in that it clouded the water up. The air temperature was in the upper 80's, a hot day. We picked up rental tubes from Southwest Whitewater Rafting and put in at 32nd street. We thought about going down just to the high school around 25th street and walking back to the car.
The tubing was pretty good actually. Others were out. The water temp was a bit of a shock at first, but the tubes keep you mostly above the water. I brought my older camera along in double Ziploc bags. It was quite entertaining watching Cathy navigate rapids through some of the boulder fields. The cold water served as a nice ice bath for battered legs. I had trouble kicking though. My hamstrings wanted to cramp up.
We floated all the way down to 15th street, supposedly 3 miles of river. Southwest Whitewater is right there, so we returned the tubes. Durango runs a free trolley service. We hopped on the trolley to catch a ride back to the car.
On a previous trip to Durango, I discovered a serious meat lovers joint called Serious Texas BBQ. My mom is big on meat, so I took her and Cathy there for dinner. Think Gauchos in Manchester quality, but order your meal where you walk in and then sit at open air tables to eat it. We'll have to see how I fare on Wednesday's ride after protein loadin. Time to get high in Durango. Hope to ride a long section of the Colorado Trail at around 11,000ft that I haven't ridden yet.