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Old 12-11-2012, 02:01 PM   #16
stephenws OP
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Davenport, IA
Oddometer: 58
Thanks so much for all the honest advice and recommendations. I'll spend this winter doing more research on the routes suggested by you guys, and more.

I know I have a lot to learn, and I don't mind some risk. In fact my life has become pretty boring since I stopped climbing and scuba diving. I bought this bike hoping to get a little adventure back into my life. So easy to get caught up in work responsibilities and just the drama of normal life. I'm finding riding to be very addictive and seductive. Can't stop thinking about places to ride and new vistas to see.

May I ask another, simpler question......What time of year would be best to ride around Colorado? I was considering the last two weeks of July.

Again, Thanks to all of you.

Steve
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:41 PM   #17
EnderTheX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenws View Post
Thanks so much for all the honest advice and recommendations. I'll spend this winter doing more research on the routes suggested by you guys, and more.

I know I have a lot to learn, and I don't mind some risk. In fact my life has become pretty boring since I stopped climbing and scuba diving. I bought this bike hoping to get a little adventure back into my life. So easy to get caught up in work responsibilities and just the drama of normal life. I'm finding riding to be very addictive and seductive. Can't stop thinking about places to ride and new vistas to see.

May I ask another, simpler question......What time of year would be best to ride around Colorado? I was considering the last two weeks of July.

Again, Thanks to all of you.

Steve

July is fine, I've done it in June, October and September.

If you are interested, here is complete helmet cam footage of me doing Engineer Pass on my F800GS in June 2011. This is from Animas Forks over towards the Lake City side (I've only done it this way, this allows you to come back over Cinnamon Pass from Lake City). The video ends when it becomes an easy dirt road all the way to Lake City, still scenic though!

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:



If you can do Engineer Pass... you can probably do Cinnamon! Here is helmet cam footage of that

Part 1:


Part 2:
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:12 PM   #18
CafeRacer99
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Here is a link to the ride report I did on the trip my son and I took to CO last summer. We hit Last Dollar road, Ophir, Cinnamon and Engineer passes.

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=826417

The relevant info to your situation is that we both had limited off-road experience and big, heavy bikes. (Mine more so than his.) We had a blast. I didn't think any of what we rode was super hard, although there were some tricky parts. You really need to be comfortable with steep, rocky, downhill switchbacks. Easy, right?

Go ride some dirt on your GSA and see if you like it. Figure out if you can pick up your bike by yourself or not. I can pick up my Tenere, loaded or not. That's a big deal. I don't think I would ride dirt alone if I couldn't. (You've got time to hit the gym and work on your squats and deadlifts, lol.)

When you get to CO next summer it sounds like you have plenty of time to hit easy roads first and work your way up in difficulty as you feel comfortable. Even if you never get to Engineer, you won't run out of fun places to ride.

Oh and read all of EndertheX's CO ride reports. Lot's of great info for planning a CO trip!
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:27 AM   #19
EnderTheX
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Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 View Post
Oh and read all of EndertheX's CO ride reports. Lot's of great info for planning a CO trip!
Thank you for the recommendation but seriously... I have included GPX tracks on both reports and you can find them for Engineer, Cinnamon, Ophir, Clear Lake, Imogene, Black Bear, US Basin, and more...


Also... If you can't pick up your fully loaded bike (with my fully loaded F800GS it's very difficult if it falls at a funny angle), make sure you can take off the gear and then lift the bike by itself. I've had to do this several times since I do a lot of rides alone.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:39 AM   #20
The Cyclops
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I rode up to the pass (the pass had a lot of snow) and rode the area around there and at one point I stopped and thought, "this is the best time I have ever had". I was solo, but very experienced and on an XR650R
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:43 AM   #21
DADODIRT
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Another option would be to rent a dirt bike in Silverton.
Save the GS for the twisties.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:31 PM   #22
redninja
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RMAR Rondezvous in July !!! Silverton !!!

Take a look here:http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=820184
A real fun event, and there will be lots of people to ride with. We went this past summer, and had a blast.Don't panic when you see all the nasty roads in the pictures...there are nicer ones, too....
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:31 AM   #23
MWadv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenws View Post
Thanks so much for all the honest advice and recommendations. I'll spend this winter doing more research on the routes suggested by you guys, and more.

I know I have a lot to learn, and I don't mind some risk. In fact my life has become pretty boring since I stopped climbing and scuba diving. I bought this bike hoping to get a little adventure back into my life. So easy to get caught up in work responsibilities and just the drama of normal life. I'm finding riding to be very addictive and seductive. Can't stop thinking about places to ride and new vistas to see.

May I ask another, simpler question......What time of year would be best to ride around Colorado? I was considering the last two weeks of July.

Again, Thanks to all of you.

Steve
US Weather Records indicate the 3rd and 4th weeks in July are the dryest. But remember there can be a cloud burst of rain in the mountains in late afternoon.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:52 PM   #24
little foot
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I went up from Silverton and although i made it. it would have been better with a smaller bike. The reason for the big bike is i rode it from tulsa Oklahoma.
As for the solo part, it was the best part.


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Old 12-19-2012, 06:02 PM   #25
dman
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Does anyone know, has the road gotten a lot rougher in the past 10-15 years? I ask because I drove over Engineer in a stock SUV with my then-4-and-6 year old kids, and just remember it as a dirt road. I'm sure I never used low range up or down, going from the Ouray side of 550 to Silverton. This was back in 1997. Later on the same trip I went over Poughkeepsie and that was pretty rough.

-dman
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:39 PM   #26
TeneRay
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On Cinnamon. Probably the least nimble adv. bike. I'm also pretty novice when it comes to trails/dirt. Went over Ohpir afterwards. IMO, I would recommend traveling westward over the passes.

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Old 12-19-2012, 07:28 PM   #27
JED
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Don't know if any mentioned it but why not rent a jeep and go over first in the jeep so you can judge for yourself if you want to do the bike. Your not in Iowa anymore!
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:41 PM   #28
KHVol
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Ophir is the best first test, Ouray to Telliride direction. If Ophir was too much , don't try any of the others. After Ophir, Clear Lake isn't too difficult but very scenic. Last Dollar is a ride in the park and maybe should be listed first.
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Old 12-20-2012, 05:37 PM   #29
on2wheels52
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Has been nice reading everyone's report; it taxes my memory a bit to remember how I approached the hill. I believe I started at Lake City and ended in Silverton.
Just down from the summit.



fwiw, my off-road skill is maybe a 3 on a 10 scale. The worst section for me was a few pretty tight switchbacks. But I imagine the shape the road is in can vary from year (and month to month).
I think you should go for it.
Jim
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Old 12-20-2012, 05:57 PM   #30
EnderTheX
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Here is a tip I enjoy giving out because it's something we discovered with much joy.

At certain times of the summer it will rain every day in that area... the trails, however, are quite accessible and there is little lack of traction. Most of the trails are embedded rock and the rain doesn't seem to cause much concern.

Also, the storms only last a few minutes and then disappear... but one day I think we counted taking off and on our rain gear 7 times!!

So if it is wet, don't be afraid to try it!
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