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Old 03-08-2010, 07:25 PM   #1
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Geek's Guide to Colorado.

Good Day eh?

Sitting atop Mount Bross at 14,172ft.
261 feet shy of the highest point in Coloardo!



Geek's Guide to Colorado

I moved to Colorado almost 4 years ago now.
Before I moved here I had visited Colorado twice in my life.
Both times I was left wanting more.

The scale of Colorado is overwhelming. When visiting, no matter what I did I knew there was "better stuff" I was missing (and I was right!). I wish I had access to some "insider knowledge" way back then. If I knew then what I know now, I would have completely changed what I did during those brief vacations.

Now all these years later, I think I might find myself in a bit of a unique position. I've been here long enough to be able to recommend and detail some exceptional riding, but I've not been here so long that I've grown "used to" some of the stuff the locals often over look and that visitors to Colorado would enjoy (and I still get dizzy when up where there is no oxygen ). Sure there are lots of folks around here that know Colorado better than I do, but I've gotten to know enough good stuff that I think it could really be of use to ADVers who are looking to visit.

I'm going to aim this ongoing ride report to my fellow ADVers who do NOT know Colorado but are looking to visit. If you live here, this likely won't be of interest (and you'll have seen many of my photos already in various Rockies Regional Ride Reports). I will be sharing this report with friends and family who live far away and some of them may be young so I'll try and keep language in check as well.

I'm going to spend the next few weeks building this "guide ride report" which will include photos from my past explorations in Colorado, tips on places to go and ride in Colorado (often from a flat-lander's point of view), and upcoming ride reports appended as I explore new parts of The Rocky Mountain State this upcoming ride season.

Hopefully it'll help some of my ADV brethren plan their summer vacations this year and lead you to some of the places that make me go "Wow!" every time I visit them.


cheers,
Edward



The view of Telluride Colorado from Black Bear Pass.
This image has personal significance to me (not to mention it being part of one of Colorado's most spectacular rides!)..



...more to come...

Geek screwed with this post 09-27-2010 at 03:21 PM
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:31 PM   #2
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Some samples of things to come...


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Old 03-08-2010, 07:40 PM   #3
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Nice work Geek! That area of Colorado is my favorite!

Looking forward to the next installment!
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:43 PM   #4
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...and let me mention up front I'm afraid of heights. So often when I rate a ride's difficulty it'll have nothing to do with how difficult the ride was and everything to do with how many times I pooped my pants

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Old 03-08-2010, 09:10 PM   #5
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Fantastic so far!!! Looking forward to more.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:26 PM   #6
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Another Mile-high-er checkin' in.

Teach us something Geek.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:33 PM   #7
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Old 03-10-2010, 01:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geek
...Hopefully it'll help some of my ADV brethren plan their summer vacations this year and lead you to some of the places that make me go "Wow!" every time I visit them.


cheers,
Edward

WOW is right! Thanks for all this info and the sights! I've been out there many times and CO always leaves me wanting to stay. I'll agree with you that good fitness can help with being able to cope with higher altitude.

I'll be spending a couple days riding trails late May... lower elevation stuff (like 6500' - 8500') starting with the Rampart Rng trails... and again in July. Are your trips usually day-trips ending back home or do you stage a truck/trailer and camper somewhere?

Thanks again!
Eddie
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:13 AM   #9
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I am assuming that the department of tourism grant application was accepted.


Good work Ed. I am looking forward to seeing new stuff from north of I-70 and west of the Front Range.
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:31 AM   #10
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Very Cool!!!!!

Like Hayduke says, "Colorado Sucks"
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:24 AM   #11
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Great RR.. I'm in. We have camped all over CO. (Did Alpine Loop last yr in a Tacoma.. )
Have camped at Hawns Peak, Ouray, Salida (O'Haver Lake) Rocky Mtn, Crested Butte, and above CO Springs (can't remember the name of the lake..)
Looking for new places in CO to see..
Thanks for posting!
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:04 AM   #12
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Three things

1) The report is good, right up to the point that you pinpointed the location of Taylor Park. Please knock that sh*t off...

2) A quick lesson is alititude induced pulminary edema: When I still lived out of state (23+ years ago) we organized a ski trip to Steamboat. One member of our party caught a "cold" after we'd been in state for a couple days. He spent one day in the Boat on the slopes but generally felt like crap. The final 3 days were spent in bed. As we returned home, we stopped in Colo Spgs. He was so weak he could barely walk and we decided, much to his opposition, to take him to the local EmergiCare. Without telling us much of anything, they immediately whisked him into an ambulance and took him to the ICU at Memorial Hospital. Once the dust settled, the doc said "Good thing you didn't try to make it home, he wouldn't have made it". Yea, wouldn't have made it as in "died enroute" . If you feel bad, don't try to tough it out, it could cost you your life.

3) It's dry here. 10% RH isn't unheard of. Drink more water than you think you need because you rarely sweat here. The liquid just vanishes from your body via evaporation and dehydration will contribute to PE.

... carry on..
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earth
Are your trips usually day-trips ending back home or do you stage a truck/trailer and camper somewhere?
I'm a "put my tent on my bike and go" type person, although we do load up the trailer to go out to Moab and the like (my girlfriend's bike doesn't have the legs of my 610 or 950).

I'll start to detail time lines when I post specific routes.
From here in the Boulder area we often leave early morning and ride places like Summit County and are home that night.

Or we'll do an over night if riding Aspen/Crested Butte type stuff...

Or we'll load up the dirtbags and take off for 9 days at a time (my favorite)

...more to come
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:25 AM   #14
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Merfman reminded me of something I meant to post and forgot


Hydration! Hydration! Hydration!


all my buddies keep insisting this is NOT proper hydration


Colorado is DRY.
Not like Utah where the beer sucks.. but meaning very low humidity

Despite what you'd think with our "epic powder", afternoon thunderstorms, etc.. it really is DRY here. If you are from the east it is a downright desert here.

There is a reason the snow here is so powdery and fluffy.. its dry! Its nothing like the snow in Canada or upstate New York, etc. It is so dry here we can literally get a foot of snow and two days later be wearing shorts & t-shirt (no-exaggeration - its one of the reasons I moved here ).

EVERY time you stop your bike when riding in Colorado.. drink some water.
Wear a camel back and drink constantly while you ride.
Sure it sucks cuz we're getting old and have to pee too much to begin with.. but do it anyway.

When I first moved here people told me this constantly and I didn't give it nearly enough attention. They were right. Day two of a ride I would be wiped and then I'd realize it was because I didn't drink nearly enough the first day and I was dehydrated.

If you are doing a multiday trip here and you forget to force yourself to drink water the first day you are going to cost yourself a lot of energy later on.

The dryness sucks the moisture right through your skin... it doesn't matter if you are hot or not.

Do yourself a favor and drink several liters a day while you are here. Force yourself to drink a full liter of water right when you first wake up each morning (I do every day as soon as I wake up.. I did this morning too ).

Your body and energy levels will thank you

Geek screwed with this post 03-10-2010 at 10:22 PM
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:00 AM   #15
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Climate!


I've been standing in the sun when the wind picked up and started blowing snow off the peak above me and it was snowing on me without a cloud in the sky while I stood in the summer sunshine

"Layers and Flexability".

Many places I've lived have the motto "Don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes".
In Colorado I think it should be "Don't like the weather, ride 5 miles".

When you visit Colorado you are likely going to ride a lot of Passes. Passes are the fun stuff because they are ways up and over mountains instead of going around mountains. Due to this you end up with huge altitude changes not to mention specific micro-climates generated by the mountains themselves.

General rule: The temperature will drop 4 degrees every 1000 feet you climb. That said, when in the mountains it can change a lot more severely than that just by rounding a corner.

Keep in mind that weather elsewhere can effect you. We crossed this creek one morning and it was about a foot deep (and the mountain range above us was receiving rain). 4 hours later when we got back to this creek it was nearly 3 feet deep


Be ready for anything:
The first time I was on California Pass in 2007 it was sunny and beautiful the entire time.
In 2009 I was in freezing cold and wet the entire time I went over California.
In 2008 I was going over California Pass sweating my butt off in a cloudless sunny sky... went around a bend and ran into a vicious hail storm (above tree line no where to hide I got pounded with marble size hail) started to descend and got soaked by torrential rain and then popped into a valley where the sun was out and steam was coming off my gear. All this in 20 minutes of riding (and dropping from 12,930 feet to ~10k feet).
All three trips were in August.



You need to be dressed flexibly. You can literally go from 90+ degrees to into the 40s or 30s in a matter of hours (and back to 90 again!).


General Rules:


You'll be hot down low.
You'll be cool up high.
You'll get soaked for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

The other rule they try to drum into us around here:

MAKE SURE YOU ARE BACK BELOW TREELINE BY NOON.

Why? Because when the afternoon thunderstorms roll in, you are going to be the best lightening rod above tree line and get your arse fried.

Every summer we have reports of people hit by lightening and sometimes there isn't a cloud in the sky where they are (the storm could be behind a peak next to you and you wouldn't know it.. but the lightening can still use you as a grounding rod ).

Sure that seems to be a "do as I say not as I do" rule with me... but the times I have been above treeline when thunderstorms have rolled in they have been genuinely terrifying/dangerous. The feeling of every hair standing up on your body is not a feeling you'll soon forget (or a feeling I recommend you try for).

One time @ 14K feet Ironbrewer and I were watching the thunder and lightening form below us... that was a freaky situation to be looking down on lightening .

Not good



I can't count the number of times I've been on a mountain and watched a storm roll up the mountain at me (at a speed far faster than I could go).. I'll see if I can dig up some video I have later.

So long story short:

Wear layers
Have a water proof outer layer
Get below tree line before noon if you can.


p.s. when I do road rides I use electrics and it is a great solution. Turn up the temperature as you climb, turn it back down as you descend. I don't tend to wear my electrics off road though.. too bulky and they don't breath well enough.

p.s.s. Plan on every/any night camping getting into the 30s (of course depending on how high you camp.. but be ready). Make sure you have a sleeping bag capable of keeping you warm. The desert climate usually means the temperature drops dramatically after dark


sure it is sunny where I am.. but those clouds in the distance means I have no business going above treeline right now

Geek screwed with this post 03-10-2010 at 08:53 AM
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