Set the stage, I’m two weeks into one of the hardest classes I’ve taken to date (which happened to be Spanish 101). I’m already at minimum, 5 hrs into studying and memorizing an ungodly amount of Spanish words, when my mind starts wondering…. This crazy idea pops into my head (normally big life changing things happen when I have crazy ideas) that seemed like the perfect fit. Taking 30 minutes off my daily 7 hr Spanish study session, I planned out an epic 5+ day mountain and road biking excursion! Btw, ended up rocking a solid B on my accelerated Spanish course, not knowing a lick of Spanish starting on day one. Word of advice, don’t take a 4 week, 4 day a week for 4 hr Spanish class in the summer session if you don’t know any Spanish. When the teacher said you’d spend 2 hrs for every hour of class, she wasn’t joking.
I ended up traveling for 7 days across 5 states, traveling for 5-6 hrs each day and riding at least 2-4hrs at each city. It would start and end in Tucson but span over 2k miles of driving, peaking at 14k feet and encompass just about every epic trail and trail system the west of the Mississippi. All packed and ready to headed out I set off with a car loaded with 3 bikes (2 mtb and road bike) all my food and camping for at least 7 days. The only concrete plans when leaving were Grand Junction at some point in the trip to pre-ride the Epic Rides Grand Junction Offroad Course. Outside of that I was winging it. Coming into each city I had no plans or even sleeping arrangement made. I tried to camp as much as possible but showers were needed a few days. Remember, all of this was done solo which is what I wanted.
Day 1: Tucson Road Ride and Flagstaff (WET ride down Shutlz, 2nd time this has happened to me), drove onto Moab, found an awesome camping stop (seen below) in the pitch dark. Set up my tent for the 1st time ever with an empty stomach and car headlights
Day 2: Moab Slickrock and Outbike trails and onto Grand Junction
Day 3: Pre-Road Grand Junction Course and decided while on the interstate Denver was my next destination, only after researching did I realize it was only 4.5 hrs away. The drive to Denver was awesome, driving on interstate i70 through the rookies should be done by everyone at some point, it’s even better in an Audi 🙂 Spent 2 hrs researching a good hotel to stay in, ended up picking on that was right on the start of a bike path
Day 4: 40 + mile road ride on bikepaths in Denver to clear my sore legs, didn’t even get to touch the surface of the riding in Denver. Weather was perfect! Coming from the hot Tucson temps, it maxed out at 65 degree on the ride. Next destination was set for Crested Butte, knew it was time for some “real” Colorado epicness. Needed to escape the city though after being in smaller citys for so long. I set out of Crested Butte. The drive out was almost better then the riding in Denver, seeing the changing weather and Colorado landscape is just breathtaking. Too bad it gets so damn cold in the winter.
Day 5: Crested Butte, CO, came into down before dark, drove down a random forest road to come up on the most epic camping stop to date. Rode in the morning a few trails I had researched before leaving, they were so epic! Crested Butte is in another world too. The riding was so good I bacon’ed up after my 1st ride and went for another epic MTB ride. This would end up being the highlighted trail of the trip. Epic Jeep road climbing that never stopped, with the most amazing downhill that seems to never stop.
Day 6: Durango, CO , decided to not camp this day, ended up riding the Colorado Trail out to the high point and back. I WILL be going back to Durango, what an awesome town and trails! The road leading into Durango was just unreal. 5 hrs in the car seemed like nothing having to white knuckle the mountain passes. I’m a confident driver but seeing no guard rail and huge warnings for 25MPH speed limit put me in my place. Still made good time and passed 100’s of cars, Audi loved the high altitude and cold temps. Feeling the need to get back home, I headed for Flag after my Durango ride.
Day 7: Flagstaff, AZ Wanted to try out my luck at Shutz Pass again. My legs were feeling sore from all the high altitude riding but I was at *only* 7k feet in Flag. An early morning Dunkin Donut trip and I was out on the trail. I finally got a clean run up Shutlz, with no hikers and no rain! I had Colorado legs too and Pr’d and KOM’ed like a boss. Might be something to all these elite athletes trailing at altitude….
Some of my best highlights of the trip.
In Moab I rode the classic Slickrock trail. Bar none, this was the most taxing ride out of everything I did on the trip. Holy cow does the slickrock have traction! Never would I have thought you could make it up some of those steep inclines. Low and behold, after chatting with some locals, they actually don’t head straight up but make their own switchbacks. Geez, wish I would have known that before hand so it didn’t seem so damn hard! The view’s their were epic!
The Audi with all 3 bikes ontop and only a single driver. Went places a lowered Audi shouldn’t go!
Didn’t see a single other rider going UP to the ski lift point, I wonder why 🙂
Low and behold, I rode the start of the Big Mountain Enduro crested Butte challenge. Did the up and down on my little 27.5 hardtail! Rode nearly everything!