Saturday, September 8, 2012

Heading West

That time of year again to hit the Colorado high country. DaveP, IsaacSM and I are heading to Salida for two days and Durango for four days for off-road riding. Besides the must-do Monarch Crest loop, I have several other tentative high country routes planned - likely way more vertical and miles in a week than what my body is capable of. Spirit is willing, and we'll find out just how weak the body is.

Here's one sample, a loop that will be mostly new to me. It starts near Silverton.  It follows one of the highest segments of the Colorado Trail between 12,000 and 13,000 feet. Some of the rollers up top will likely involve hike-a-bike due to lack of air. Almost the whole loop is above treeline. This portion of the CT is "threatened" by wilderness designation, so the days may be numbered that cyclists can ride it.

Silverton up to Stony Pass, CT to Cataract Lake, Pole Creek
down, then Stony Pass Rd back up and over the divide.

We'll need a near flawless weather forecast day to ride this loop, as this is the most exposed piece of the CT with no quick bail-outs off the ridge if lightning starts. Forecast for next week looks like the summer monsoons are still lingering on. We'll no doubt have a few nice days and will have to play it by ear which days we do the high loops.

There is also a great deal of low-country riding in southwest Colorado too. There's Phil's World near Cortez, and numerous trail systems accessible right from downtown in Durango. We'll be hitting at least one of these areas. If it's raining in the mountains, good bet we can head south an hour to Farmington, NM, to ride the Glades and Alien trail. Very much like Fruita for readers familiar with that destination.

Bikes arrived a few days ago (only $49 via FedEx ground with no insurance!). Non-stop flights on Southwest are always nice too. If all goes well, 24hrs from now we'll go out for a little test ride in Salida to make sure bikes are ready for a big day on Monday.  Hopefully I can get a few anti-social blocks of time to put a few posts up.

Six riding days. Will this fit in one checked bag plus small
backpack? We'll find out shortly.


rick is! said...

cool. have fun!

Rami said...

What are the bicycle box dimensions that it only cost you $49 via FedEx ground? For a Thule box (47x31x11) it is about $150.

Hill Junkie said...

Rami - Two things to keep bike shipping costs low. First and most important is box size. Adding up the length, width and height dimensions, the box must be 88" or less to avoid oversize charges. Go 1" over, as with your Thule box, price goes up by 100-200%. Occasionally, we get an overzealous shipper that pads the dimensions a bit, and I have to plead with them to remeasure. Dave and I use Trico Sport Ironcase boxes, which measure out at exactly 88" if the bikes are carefully packed so boxes close all the way.

The other think that keeps cost low is getting a FedEx account. It costs nothing yet saves you 20% or more in shipping costs. I travel enough with bike and ship other things I sell that it it makes sense to have an account. We just shipped our bikes back. Mine and Isaac's bikes were only $48.