Some years back I rediscovered the passion for the epic ride. So much so that I made them the focus of my training, racing & free time. If you want my attention you better be on two wheels. Oddly enough, in all the years I lived, trained and raced in Durango most of my riding was done solo. Durango has got a quiver of strong riders, yet it always seemed to me that if it wasn't labeled by USCF, NORBA, or collegiate racing it just didn't make the radar. This applies to my HealthFX teammates - we'd get together maybe once/summer for a longish ride, but not epic by my standards.
Imagine my surprise at the evolving riding inclinations of Miles
Since I've left Durango, they've been having fun for long periods in the back country. They are fast too. They finished 1-2 at the Durango 100, a race that always involves 10+ hours of riding, 18k' climbing, nosebleed elevation and monsoons. A couple days ago Miles shot me an email of a description of their ride from Molas pass to town on the Colorado Trail, along with 40+ pics. His excitement for the experience was obvious; not only does it come through his words, but pics as well. There were some places he had to take 3-4 pics, trying to capture the moment he was experiencing at the time.
His account is just too good not to share with the world. I haven't asked permission, but he knows where good stuff he sends me is likely to end up :) Fellas, great ride & story. Maybe you should start thinking about this for next year?
All his pics are here.
We had an epic adventure yesterday while attempting to ride Molas Pass to Durango in one day!
We started at 5:00 am (up at 3:30am) from the top of Molas Pass. We proceeded to ride with lights until the sun came up around 6:30 am. The reason for leaving so early was because we knew the ride was going to take 12-13 hours and we wanted to get home before dark.
Everything was going as planned; we met the girls (Kricket and Sue) at hotel draw where we took on more calories and water(about 5 hours in). The girls did an amazing job and it was good to see them. After a short 30 minute rest we were back in the saddle ( a little reluctant because of the building thunderstorms).
About an hour after we departed the girls we were at a junction that was our last "escape" route off the colorado trail (Corral Draw). This route would have put us into the Hermosa drainage and we could of been home in 3 hours. However that was not the "goal" and would have left us feelings of disappointment. At this junction we ran into a solo hiker who was 2 days from finishing the entire (Denver to Durango) Colorado trail. This guy was hiking with a small 10lb pack and had been averaging 24 miles a day (walking), incredible!!
We stopped here for a while and contemplated pulling the plug because of the dark clouds looming over us. We were concerned because at this point we still had a large section of trail to do that was above tree line, very exposed and across some unbelievably hard terrain (Indian Ridge 13,000 feet). Needless to say we decided to continue on!!
Our pace was good and we continued to make good time all the while the thunder/lighting was getting closer. As we approached "Indian Ridge" the rain started to fall and the lightning got way too close. We knew we needed to stay warm and dry so we stopped, got off the bikes and made a "lean to" shelter under some trees (real mountain man shit!!). We used logs and pine branches to water proof the structure, sat inside and built a fire. Now the rain/thunder/lightning was on top of us but we felt secure in the hut and knew if we waited it out the storm would pass and we could continue on.
1 hour went by and we started making alternative plans to get the hell out! We knew that we could go back the way we came and come out and descend down "bear creek" drainage which would put us at Rico (halfway between Dolores and Telluride). However, if we did that we would have to call somebody to pick us up and that is about an hour and 15 from Durango. The girls had
already sacrificed their entire day and we didn't want them to have to come pick us up.
2 hours went by and finally the storms subsided and we had our window to summit the ridge and get down via Kennebec pass into Durango.
Waiting was a very wise decision and once we got on top of the ridge the clouds, light and fresh hail that looked like snow made the huddling in the shelter worth the wait. We made it over the ridge and into Durango with an official time of 13.5 hours including the 2 hours of waiting in the "lean to".