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Old 08-19-2011, 11:02 AM   #1
trackhead OP
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Utards:Colorado Single Track

I spent the last couple months trying to map a four day, 700-800 mile loop in western Colorado, trying to include as much single track as possible. The goal was to do all the mapping without any beta from locals, trying to keep the experience as pure as possible by limiting excessive information about every rock, stump, and bump along the way. Just map the route based off of the Colorado MVUM maps and go do it. That said, planning a route through unknown terrain with excessive single track, loaded bikes, and hoping to complete 200 miles a day of it, is sort of a crack pipe idea. We did our best, and rode most of our route, but we definitely got our asses kicked in the best kind of way.

I'm not including names of every trail, mostly because I either don't know the names, or don't remember them. I'm also not going to post a GPX file or give out any beta. This isn't my home state, and I'd rather leave it nameless out of respect for locals.

Outside of Grand Junction, climbing up a billion switchbacks to the top of the mesa. Recent rains made for perfect traction and no dust.


The flowers were in bloom.


Off of the gravel roads and on to endless ATV tracks.


Apparently it had just dumped rain, making for really wet, swamp like conditions that would persist for most of the day.




Late morning the cloud deck lowered.


One of a billion river crossings.


It seemed more like Minnesota with the "land of 10,000 lakes", than Colorado.






We left the rocky terrain and entered the slick as snot black mud, with Andre taking his first of a thousand crashes.


Twisty ATV tracks through the aspens. If it was dry, it would have been amazingly fast, but muddy, we took our time.


I sucked water in my bike on this crossing, so Andre and Jason turned their motors off and walked them across to avoid sucking water in.








This was funky about Colorado, cinder blocks embedded in the trail to prevent excessive erosion. We saw these all over on our 4 day ride.






Andre got a little carried away with the throttle hand, flying by me hooting and hollering, then paid the piper.


More later..................

trackhead screwed with this post 08-19-2011 at 11:08 AM
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:53 PM   #2
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As always Trackhead, you have mad route-finding skillz. Do we get to see pictures of you drinking cold soup from the can again?
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Old 08-19-2011, 03:39 PM   #3
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Mud sucks!

You just photoshopped yourselves into CO tourist propaganda... I don't believe a lick of it. I'd not have survived 10 feet of mud, and i want to see pics of what your feet look like after soaking all day (that'd kill any foot fetish lurkers thrill, maybe you could start a rehab program for them)
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Old 08-19-2011, 04:52 PM   #4
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The trip was unbelievable. Derek doesn't do it justice in the first paragraph. He routed a trip from Grand Junction and back that was a ton of single track, some ATV route, and some levels of dirt road and minimal slab for about 800 miles. We were up at dawn and usually parked into camp by 8:30 or so to catch the sunset. Our campsites were unreal and high elevation. We were mostly in high areas as high as about 12,800 if I remember correctly, then eventually dropped down to Gateway for about 100 degrees to get back to Grand Junction. The trip was unreal. All balls I felt like and 100% dedication to the moto and doing it hard.... I can't wait to see some more of the pics.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:13 PM   #5
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Up ahead the trail went in to the woods and we realized our $25 Colorado OHV fee was well spent. Forest service crews had just cleaned up hundreds of deadfall trees that would have otherwise made the route impassable.


Jason going deep.


Andre follows.


First good view of the mountains near Crested Butte.


We stopped in Marble for some refreshments.


Then continued on a VERY popular route into Crested Butte. It was scenic, but rocky as hell. We started to wonder why all the traffic was going the opposite direction as us.




We stopped here and watched two guys walking down the road. They had parked their 640's at the bottom of it and were "scoping" the line, moving rocks, trying to get psyched to ride up it. I kinda chuckled as I rode past them, enjoying my little/nimble 450 and the lack of extra shit loaded onto it. It was rocky and techy, but not bad and fun in a rodeo kind of way. I'm sure many here know this spot.


Looking back down the canyon we road up.




As we got closer to Crested Butte, all the vehicles disappeared. I guess this is why.............


We made it over the snowbank with a modest amount of effort.




Jason and I have big tanks, Andre has 3.5, so we sold him a liter of fuel for $20 trail side, the going rate for carrying that shit all day.


We stopped ever so briefly in Crested Butte. Not my kind of place, too expensive, too much like a mountain Moab. Yuck! We got grub and booze, loaded it in to our packs and raced the hell outta town for the comfort of the hills.


The sun was low, the riding was excellent.


We had tons of water, eggs, steaks, sausages, potatoes, and other stuff loaded up as we rode up modestly techy single track to find a place to camp.


The ambiance was amazing.




View from camp for night one.


Preparing the feast.


We ate most of this for dinner, and saved some for breakfast.


A good way to wind down.


Andre showing off his home made meat fork.


That's a wrap for day one. 180 miles or so. Limited single track, but a ton of fun, slow, first and second gear ATV track. Bikes running well, looking forward to tomorrow.......which would prove to be one of the hardest days any of us had ever done.

trackhead screwed with this post 08-19-2011 at 05:23 PM
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:29 PM   #6
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I'm beginning to like this RR very much.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:36 PM   #7
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These are some fine pics! Looks like heaven...Love the sunset shots..and that Jack looks SO delicious...arrgh
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Old 08-19-2011, 06:23 PM   #8
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Such a great trip, pushing it and being out for 12-14 hour days riding all different types of terrain is mind blowing. It is up there as one of the harder efforts I've put out in any sport, endurance mountain biking, ski touring, etc. As Andre pointed out Derek did a perfect job of navigating and keeping us on our route. Considering how hard we pushed ourselves everyone in the group stayed super composed and we helped each other through the tech sections. The KTM's ran great, we were blessed with no flats, only a couple minor mechanicals, and lots of battle scars. Can't wait for fall and the chance to get out and do this again in some different terrain.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:44 PM   #9
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Day Two:

We were up, fed, and riding as the sun crested the ridge. The first 100 yards were flowy single track, then it instantly got really steep, narrow, and a bit challenging first thing in the morning. I'm not sure if the riding was that hard today or not, or if it was just because we maybe drank too much booze the night before hanging out at 11,800ft. Booze and high elevation aren't always the best combo, but we're adults, so...........

Morning view from camp.


Fun, narrow single track through copious wild flowers, with the rising sun blinding you.




Not as steep as it looks, blah, blah. You know the routine.


First real challenging climb of the day. Steep, loose, and a couple ledges. Here's Jtrue packing it in, first thing in the morning. How's that big tank feeling right about now?


Required photo.




Check out the moon behind them. What a great morning.


Off the edge of the world.


Just before this we had a fun section of hike-a-bike. Pretty exhausting little section.


Andre, lost in a sea of green.


Andre giving his skid plate a work out after getting some much needed water from a creek below here.


Another big, loose climb. Jtrue flaming out.




After a long while we got to the ridge top and had some smooth sailing with mind boggling views. After the rude awakening this morning, it was a big motivation boost to finally ride some easy single track.










A brief rest at the pass to take in the views, then descend a bit.




Andre, just before eating a face full of dirt. We were all riding like shit this morning.


At the pass, another brief break, then a long, technical descent.


Again, the views were hard to comprehend.




Andre is 6' 6" tall, so sections like this hike-a-bike are pretty easy for him.


Really, I get to ride my moto here?


There's a KTM in there somewhere.


This is the trail, right down the damn river bed. I about fell over laughing when we came to this section.


It took us 4 hours or so to ride 20 miles, no doubt a huge factor was our debauchery from the night before. But either way, it was pretty sustained, challenging riding, but SUPER scenic and fun. We still had a goal of another 150+ miles for the day, but the day was already half gone. After that, we were a little beat and skipped a short single track section and opted to slab down a beautiful canyon to get lunch for a recharge for what we be harder riding ahead.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhead View Post
We stopped here and watched two guys walking down the road. They had parked their 640's at the bottom of it and were "scoping" the line, moving rocks, trying to get psyched to ride up it. I kinda chuckled as I rode past them, enjoying my little/nimble 450 and the lack of extra shit loaded onto it. It was rocky and techy, but not bad and fun in a rodeo kind of way. I'm sure many here know this spot.
Nice job boys! Is that the Devils Punch Bowl? Gnarly? I am headed that way in a two weeks on my F800GS... am i gonna get slayed?
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Nice job boys! Is that the Devils Punch Bowl? Gnarly? I am headed that way in a two weeks on my F800GS... am i gonna get slayed?
Strap the 250 on the back rack for this section...
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSH View Post
Nice job boys! Is that the Devils Punch Bowl? Gnarly? I am headed that way in a two weeks on my F800GS... am i gonna get slayed?
Not sure what this area is called.


It's a fun rodeo on a 450. Just commit to it and stay on the throttle, you'll be fine.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:45 AM   #13
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Day Two continued:

Refreshed with cold, caffeinated beverages and greasy food, we rolled out of town and hit some fast, fun prairie roads headed for Pitkin.

Climbing out of the valley with the mountains of Crested Butte behind us.




Soon after this we came to a dead end in our route and had to re-route through Gunnison.




We made it to Pitkin, then climbed out of town on a really fast Jeep road.


A short steep section to reach the pass.


Once again, the scenery was mind blowing.


Over the pass, then down just a bit before hitting more single track.


The rest was over, time to start climbing more horrendously rocky and steep single track. But first, a little smooth stuff.


Game on.


Jason back flipped his bike and taco'd his body right here. A little bruising, but otherwise fine. I couldn't help but to laugh my ass off.


Onward and upward.


Another nice smooth section.


A rest for water and food before the switchbacks from hell.


Carnage. Steep, loose, rocky. Really hard to make forward progress. Combine that with having ridden all damn day, "touring bikes", big tanks, and it made for some funny stuff.

Me, eating granite.


Jason and I making a slow and tedious ascent.


Above the switchbacks with the final climb to the top.


Jaws dropping location.








It took about 20-30 minutes to travel maybe 3/4 mile. Time to take another break.


Now for the descent.


Scenic and narrow.




Finally, some fast and flowy single track. We all got a second wind here and rode what seemed to be like a dangerously fast pace. 2-3rd gear, airing off of little whoops, banking corners, yelling and screaming.




It rained a bit to keep the dust down, but not make it muddy.


Got outta the woods, then the sky opened up on us.


More later...............
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:21 AM   #14
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We pulled into a small town, but the diner was closed, so we made our own gourmet food in the parking lot. The timing was perfect, as we needed to wait for the thunderstorms to pass anyway.


Mmmmmm, pasta and ghetto sauce. No need to carry bulky pots and pans when Gatorade bottles work for everything from extra gas, to food bowls.


It was getting late, and we had about another hour of riding time before dark, so we loaded a ton of food/water into our packs and tried to make it as far as possible on the next part of the route. It was to be something like 80+ miles of single track and more dirt before seeing another town, so we rode with full tanks, a lot of heavy water, and food for the night and all of the next day. We climbed some slab up a scenic pass, then got on some smooth single track.






The clouds cleared up and the sun poked through, making for amazing light. Jason and Andre were out ahead because I couldn't ride more than 10ft without stopping to take photos.








Once in a lifetime conditions.






We stopped on a broad, flat ridge with a few trees for shelter and called it a day.


My campsite was nice and cozy, burrowed in these bushes/trees at around 11,500ft.


Watching the sun set was next up.




A little fire and whiskey before bed. A great ending to my second best day ever on a moto.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:09 AM   #15
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I finally put together some of my photos so I'm going to post a couple too...


First was that my old buddy Greg Gardener (Greg@RME) and his awesome wife Katherine, who live in Fruita, put us up on Sunday night when we rolled in. He works for Union Pacific and had to be up at 4:30 but was tolerant of us rolling in at 11PM the night before. He has a pretty sweet totally build DR650, WR450, and a Wee Strom that we were oogling over while taking little nips of Maker's already making night one pretty good...

This is at dawn the following morning:


Greg, I peeked in your fridge that morning looking for some creamer... Making me proud man!
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