There are many trail systems accessible from town. I had a modest loop planned for just such a contingency. We'd climb up to Fort Lewis College, wrap around to Horse Gulch, ride over Telegraph Pass, then cut through town over to the Test Tracks trail system, now called Overend Mountain Park.
Overnight rain left the trails perfectly tacky, taking the dust down. My legs immediately rebeled on the rim drive climb. We stare at these switchbacks from our hotel balcony. They look so sweet, but hurt so bad on tired legs. Up on the college mesa, we ripped along the rim with morning rush hour buzz way below us. Riding conditions were perfect.
Animas valley from the rim
Riding along the rim
Dave failed to clean Telegraph Pass (on two attempts, he-he)
The descent from Telegraph Pass on Crites Connect and Carbon Junction is a blast. This was my second time riding here, first for Dave and Isaac. It would have been great to go much deeper into Horse Gulch, but the skies would surely have opened up on us if we did. I suspect the clay based soil would quickly render bikes inoperable in rain.
Bombing down Carbon Junction trail
We crossed part of town and headed into Test Tracks. I've never ridden in this area. I didn't know how the trails flowed. I simply linked bits of GPS tracks to make an interesting route much in the same way a geneticist stitches DNA together to engineer new tomatoes. I had no idea what phenotype my GPX DNA would produce.
Dave pretty much cartwheeled over backwards and slid on his
back down these rocks. Cuts on hand.
Climbing in Test Tracks
We finished the ride with 24.4mi in about 2:33 riding time. There were ominous clouds around the high peaks, but nothing in town. The rain didn't come until 2pm.
This gave us some time to bum around town, pick up some gifts for spouses, and check out the local bike shops. While we were admiring all the vintage bikes at Mountain Bike Specialists, Ned Overend and Greg Herbold walked in. We managed to snag HB for a photo while Ned snuck away to a meeting downstairs. A great shop, essentially a museum of bikes and jerseys from world champions going back to the 1980's.
Isaac talking with HB. This shop is essentially a MTB Hall of Fame.