Crested Butte
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7/1-5/04

Mountain biking Crested Butte has been on the "to do" list for some time now, what better time to go then on a long 4th of July weekend?! I drove up to Cottonwood Pass Thursday night and met Eric, Megan, and Jen. We hung out at camp and headed the rest of the way to Crested Butte Friday morning to meet more folks at the Oh-Be-Joyfulcrested butte01.jpg (104282 bytes) campground off of Slate River Road. The weather was great and it was a cool and very popular camp area despite the river crossing! I wanted to ride right away so I headed to Teocalli Ridge, which so many people suggested. It was definitely an epic ride, about 7miles of steep uphill before a rippin' and high pucker factor 3mile downhill with a couple great overlooks and fields of wildflowers all around! Certainly some spots that I had to walk up and down. A great way to start the biking in Crusty Butte. Took under 2hrs and had 2000ft elevation gain.
Back at the campground for a bit before meeting Peggy and Guy in town who were driving up separately but werecrested butte05.jpg (104300 bytes) going to arrive about the same time. Some dinner, beers, and laughs into the night when a very full and extremely bright moon popped up! We had talked about doing a night ride and we discussed the options, finally deciding on biking about 6miles to town to visit the bars. Mostly single track got us there instead of the road and first stop was The Eldo. I had been there before and knew it was a cool bar, especially with a slogan that says "A Sunny Place for Shady People". Peggy, Eric, Guy, and I got there just after 11:30pm and started slugging down bottles of Bud and Tuaca Bombs. After a few there we hit the dive bar "Talk of the Town" across the street for more Buds, Tuaca Bombs, and bubble-hockey. We closed them down and on the ride back Guy and I had the fabulous idea to bike to Aspen for breakfast! We were pretty liquored up and went on the theory that with enough Tuaca and testosterone anything can be done! With only 32oz of Gatorade, some trail mix, and a couple Gu's (plus an old pack of crackers and cheese we found along the way) we started biking towards Pearl Pass by the light of the moon. It was a great ride on mostly double track with a total of 6 creek crossing where we had to stop, take off shoes and socks, walk through, then put shoes and socks back on each time. This got kinda old, especially since the water was just above freezing. We missed the turn off for Pearl Pass and were heading up Taylor Pass (we didn't know this at the time since we didn't have a map), got slightly off track and did some bush-whacking before back-tracking and getting on more single track. At this point it was just starting to get light and we were really pooped. Not wanting to give up we pressed on and barely drug our asses up to Star Pass at around 12,400ft. It was 7am and we were totally out of gas so we napped for about 15mins in which Guy just about froze to the ground! We gave up on the Aspen idea and started back down the way we came. It was awesome single track for well over an hour! Back in town we grabbed some much needed breakfast before getting back to camp 12hrs after we left for the bar.
Sunday we were planning (key word...planning) on doing a ride in the morning then again in the afternoon. This was until we heard there was a town parade for the 4th of July. Jokingly we said it would be cool to sneak Guy's crested butte02.jpg (106629 bytes) leopard-painted van into it! We rounded a corner and a cop started giving us directions to the end of the parade! Easy, we didn't even have to sneak in. Guy drove while Peggy and I sat on bikes up on the roof rack. A bottle of beer got dropped from the roof and bounced on the ground in front of a cop, luckily he just turned around after he saw it didn't break. Whew. Rumor had it there was a giant water war at the end so we stashed everything inside and Peggy and I carried an umbrella on the roof. Eric, Megan and the other justcrested butte08.jpg (159036 bytes) about fell over laughing when they saw us and Guy's van driving down the street in the parade! There were tons of people on the streets and way more people then could possibly live in Crested Butte alone. At the end water balloons started flying from all directions as well as buckets of water and super-soakers! Our efforts to block the water with the umbrella was useless, and Guy even managed to crested butte11.jpg (118418 bytes) get a couple 5 gallon buckets dumped right into his lap while driving! Soaking wet we parked and made our way to the bar with our new friends in the pink truck from the farm. Several beers, laughs, and slices of pizza later we decided it was time to ride the 401 Trail! Supposedly the best trail in Crested Butte. With a nice buzz the 5miles of uphill double track to Schofield Pass wasn't real fun, but boy were we in for a treat with 9miles of great single track on the way! The trail was thin and extremely fast! Several water crossings and turns later we were at the end of the 14.5mile loop with huge grins on! No doubt it is an epic trail with fantastic views along the way. And riding it at 6pm avoided all of the crowds!
Some quick dinner back at camp and we were back on the bikes riding to The Eldo once again to meet up with the rest of the crew and check out the band Momma's Cookin' that was having a CD release party that night. Definitely not as packed as Friday night, but the beer was just as good and the band was outstanding! They really jammed towards the end which got the feet moving and the sweat pouring! We even ran into the happy guy from the gas station and some of the people we met earlier that day at the parade. A great time once again, before the drunken single trackcrested butte03.jpg (110426 bytes) bike ride back to camp.
With already close to 100 new miles on the bike and four close to sleepless nights of camping, it was time to get one more ride in Monday before heading back home! Some locals said that Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadman's was a "must do" trail, so Guy and I headed there. Yeah we were pooped and should've just driven home, but ya know how it goes! 6miles of double track to the top of Reno Divide followed by crested butte04.jpg (118125 bytes) 14miles of single track was amazing. It was all rideable and went up and down/in and out of 3 valleys. The views were gorgeous and the trails were fast! We were really dragging by the end but it was all worth it, especially for the 2miles, 32 switchbacks, and 1500ft vertical lose at the end of the trail!
Definitely an amazing weekend in Crusty Butt with great camping, lots of laughs, good friends, good booze, and about 3,000-4,000ft of elevation gain each day while biking about 120miles. I think I'll be heading there for 4th of July from now on!

 

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