Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bike Packing the Plateau

I finally had a chance to ride up on the Uncompagrhe Plateau this past weekend.  I was headed over to do some training for work at the  Delta Tech College and wanted to incorporate an over nighter bike pack trip into the mix. TR was up for it as well. It was not what I expected. I really did not know what to expect to be honest. The trails are rocky and rooty. Yeah there are lots of dirt roads to tie it all together for a hundy but it has some real nice singletrack to shred. I was of work at 7am on Friday morning and I beat feet straight to Montrose to crash a few hours at TR's casa before we set out on our adventure. I squeezed in a few hours of sleep and we started pedaling at 1pm. Fritz, a local Montrose biker was to join in as well. He is an experienced bikepacker and climber dude. The more the merrier.

The three of us pedaled out from TR's casa all on full rigid 29ers with TR and I running our single speeds with a 32x20 setup. Fritz was on a geared setup. I wasn't sure if it was a good gear to go with but it turned out to be good enough. That is, if you think "good" is pedaling/hiking a 40+ pound bike 10,000 feet in 93 miles. While I was sleeping TR picked up some burritos to pack in with us for dinner and I soon had the alcohol stove heating up our dinner. The alcohol stove did a great job heating our food as well as the water for coffee and grits I had packed in. And light weight to boot, but I think I will purchase a titanium pot to cut some weight. We hung out eating dinner and made a fire and I was pretty tired with only the three hours of sleep after working a 12 hour shift. I think I was beyond tired and TR and I stayed up until 11pm or so before we crashed. During the night as I slept I would wake up once in awhile and hear this rustling noise under my ground tarp near my head. I thought maybe a grub or some rodent was stirring about. It turned out to be a salamander that I found the next morning while packing my stuff up. Odd for sure especially at almost 10k and in alpine terrain. Whatever.

We finally got rolling about 9am on Saturday after making some coffee and grits. Yum. I was in no real hurry as I was tired. We still had about 50ish miles to tackle with the heavy bikes. Great CTR training in my book which I will tackle next year. The time off is on the books. We rode some epic singletrack all wet from the previous days rains. A bit sketchy at times with the extra weight while negotiating the rocks and roots. And with a front rigid fork the roots were very techy to ride at times. We rode Dry Creek, Aspen, Buck, Little Red, Clear Creek, Dented Door and Spring Creek. Truly great stuff. We didn't see any other bikers and not even a moto. Some hunters is all.

If you never have ridden up on the Uncompaghre Plateau get up there and ride. You will not be disappointed.

TR mapped out this route with detail and  we hope to incorporate into the Colorado Endurance series. 93.5 miles and just over 10,000 feet of climbing. GPS track as well if anybody wants to ride the same route. Just give me a holler. It took us 11 hours total to pedal it. No bad with the heavy bikes.

TR on Clear Creek

Little Red

On Rim Trail

Camping time

TR descending

Pedal pedal

Fritz on the descent

Fritz and TR filtering water.

Fritz and TR

TR and myself

Naked Lady Tree

Time to get after it.

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