RR: Daddy's Death March

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Mattb, Jun 18, 2003.

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  1. Mattb

    Mattb Guest

    On Sunday I got to take the whole day and go riding for Father's Day (my first as a dad). I was
    planning on heading up to Crested Butte, but my fellow riders had to bail. I figured I'd just go
    solo, but had one more idea. I called up a friend I haven't ridden with in a while to see if he
    wanted to go. He was already going to do an exploratory ride East of town in an area I don't know
    well. Sounded like a good chance to get it know it better, so I bagged the Butte and Headed East
    with Dave and his girlfriend Carolyn. Dave makes maps. Damn good ones. He rides with a GPS and takes
    that data and overlays it on topo maps and satellite images. He has a giant HP plotter he uses to
    print them. The end result is some really nice imagery. He's the author of the current best Hartman
    Rocks map and is working on his next MTB mapping project for the area between Gunnison and the
    Continental Divide. We drive out to an old dirt pass and head up a few miles, consulting the map and
    GPS as we go. Dave parks the car near an old corral and we get ready and start up a jeep trail.
    We're looking for the Tank 7 trail, named for an old water tank associated with the now gone
    railroad that once came through here. We climbed some switchbacks in the hot sun for a while,
    stopping to look at the GPS every so often. Dave says "It should be over there" pointing to a
    thicket of trees with no detectable trail. We look around and decide we had come up the wrong
    drainage and turn around and head back down to where we began. We try another trail that climbs up
    to the old railroad grade. It's pretty overgrown and doesn't look like it gets any human traffic. We
    turn off the grade into the hillside, climb some more, and it eventually peters out. Again we turn
    around and start over. We've just traveled 6.5 Miles, climbed 850 Ft. in about an hour and are still
    trying to find the route and are about 100 Yards from the car. Finally, we get on the real RR grade
    next to a creek and start making a little progress. We pass the foundation of an old water tank next
    to the grade. Must be Tank 7. Continuing on we cross some old RR bridges and wade across the creek
    where the bridges had fallen. A couple more miles and we hit a real trail with a sign - it's the
    Tank 7 trail. It touches the road here and we realized we started in the wrong place and could have
    saved a lot of time and effort if we had parked here. Oh, well. At least we found
    it.The climbing begins immediately with steep switchbacks on loose dirt. We can ride sections
    between the turns, but the switchbacks and not ridable going up (maybe not even down, they are
    steep and very loose). The mosquitoes are swarming around me, biting my elbows and the backs of
    my knees. I had put on repellant earlier, but the sweat and creek crossings must have washed it
    off. Too bad I left the rest in the car. Every so often the trail flattens out and we can cruise
    in the middle ring for a bit. We saw a lot of Elk on several occasions. I also saw a family of
    otters or something like that. Marmot-sized but longer and fast. A big pair and four smaller ones
    following. Cool. Most of the climbing is granny gear slogging through big rocks or hike-a-bike.
    We cross the creek more times than I could keep track of and get pretty muddy. The mosquitoes
    continue to drain my blood. They seem to prefer me to the others, which Dave thanks me for. We
    stop periodically to have a snack, check the map and GPS before it died. The climbing continues
    up to about 11,000'. That's about 3000' in five Miles. The view from the top is beautiful. The
    trees open up and we find ourselves on the Continental
    Divide. There's a little breeze and this keeps the bugs at bay for a few minutes. After some
    confusion we find a trail sign indicating our turn off for the downhill on the Big Bend
    trail. The trail is not visible in the open park and we go from post to carin to post for a
    while until we find the beaten track and get on our bikes again. The downhill is not unlike
    the uphill. Steep and rough. Really rough. I'm glad I have some suspension, but I'm jealous
    of the 7" Dave has on his Stinky Primo. How he manages to get that thing up the hills is
    beyond me. It weighs about 45 Lbs. There are also a few great, fast sections of trail that I
    try to savor, but they end pretty quickly. We loose our route a couple more times on the
    descent and climb some more to get back on track. Near the bottom we have to cross some
    fences and I almost fall during a particularly tricky crossing. Could have been nasty on
    that barbed wire with a leg on each side. I crashed once when a fast DH suddenly turned into
    deep, powdery dirt and my front wheel got away from me. Now I'm covered in the dust that
    stuck to my muddy, sweaty body. Finally we see the car and find our way across a flooded
    pasture to it. We rode from 11:30 until 5:30 and only went about 20 Miles. This was one of
    the hardest 20 Miles I've done. A fun adventure but I don't think I'll be back to this route
    anytime soon. The Misses had dinner waiting when I get home. A big ol' steak. A great end to
    a fun adventure. I would have slept very soundly if it wasn't for all the mosquito bites and
    my sore shoulder from the wreck.

    --

    Matt

    "Gravity. It's not just a good idea, it's the law!"
     
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  2. "MattB" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]... <snip>
    > --
    >
    > Matt
    >
    > "Gravity. It's not just a good idea, it's the law!"
    >
    >
    >

    Great RR Matt. I had a similar adventure (though we were not route scouting) 2 weekends ago. I'm
    hoping to get up to your area in the next few weeks, maybe I can get the big guy to come down from
    Fruita and get a few rides in.
    --
    Craig Brossman, Durango Colorado (remove .nospam. if replying)
     
  3. Mattb

    Mattb Guest

    "Craig Brossman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "MattB" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]... <snip>
    > > --
    > >
    > > Matt
    > >
    > > "Gravity. It's not just a good idea, it's the law!"
    > >
    > >
    > >
    >
    > Great RR Matt. I had a similar adventure (though we were not route
    scouting)
    > 2 weekends ago. I'm hoping to get up to your area in the next few weeks, maybe I can get
    the
    > big guy to come down from Fruita and get a few rides in.
    > --
    > Craig Brossman, Durango Colorado (remove .nospam. if replying)
    >
    >

    Thanks. Let me know when you're coming. I'll line up some good stuff.

    Matt
     
  4. Sorni

    Sorni Guest

    "MattB" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > On Sunday I got to take the whole day and go riding for Father's Day
    (my
    > first as a dad). I was planning on heading up to Crested Butte, but my fellow riders had to bail.
    > I figured I'd just go solo, but had one more idea. I called up a friend I haven't ridden with in a
    > while to see if he wanted to go. He was already going to do an exploratory ride East of town
    in
    > an area I don't know well. Sounded like a good chance to get it know it better, so I bagged the
    > Butte and Headed East with Dave and his girlfriend Carolyn. Dave makes maps. Damn good ones. He
    > rides with a GPS and takes that
    data
    > and overlays it on topo maps and satellite images. He has a giant HP
    plotter
    > he uses to print them. The end result is some really nice imagery. He's
    the
    > author of the current best Hartman Rocks map and is working on his next
    MTB
    > mapping project for the area between Gunnison and the Continental Divide.

    {Major Snippage At Your Service}

    Between your friend Dave and my friend Bill Porter (MTB Bill), somebody's gonna get lost for good
    one of these years!

    Bill "geeks'll kill ya, I tells ya" S.

    (PS: Nice writeup; happy scratching :)
     
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