Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Finally loving ashpalt

Remembering why I love living in Crested Butte isn't so difficult I'd say...

With a left-foot that was still nagging me, I took advantage of loads of free time after work for anther bike ride. I'd already commuted the 3 miles to work in the cold, and was ready for some warm weather and a longer ride. After realizing that it was just barely too chilly to be showing off my pasty-white legs in shorts this afternoon, the front tire was pointed south and I was heading for Crested Butte South. CB South is about 9 miles south of CB proper, and I figured a good distance that would make up for my missed 7 mile run. A few clouds in the sky and a view dominated by Mt Whetstone took over:

The 9 miles came pretty quickly as I'm getting used to riding a bike again, and getting in better shape as well. Soon enough I had gone 9 miles and turned east on Cement Creek Road.

The road goes thru a little valley carved by Cement Creek and the asphalt is quickly replaced with DRY dirt. I couldn't believe my eyes when I didn't see mud, and then remembered that for whatever reason, CB south is always drier, despite the fact that the elevation is the same as CB. After winding on this sidehill section, the view finally opened up and flattened out a tiny:

I'd never been this far on the road before, and was really blown away by those cliffs.

The road gradually got really washboardy, some potholes, but still fun. I only saw 3 cars and enjoyed the solitude out under the trees. Riding on this dirt road confirmed that I want to do lots of these on my Utah Loop next month. After somewhere between 3 and 5 miles, I reached the end of the maintained section. I had started feeling like the road would be melted out forever ,but alas that ain't the case. Snow started again so all of the 'slednecks' could have their fun.

I'd had my fun and it was time to turn around. But not before trying to ride on the snow a bit. I made it further than I had expected before losing all speed and coming to a halt. Maybe next winter I'll get some fat tires to float on the snow.
Views were sweet going back downhill into CB South. Looking back into the massive Slate River Valley where CB proper rests. Flattop Mesa is up on the left:

Finally, and sadly, the dirt ended and pavement returned. The pavement was fast though, and soon enough I was nearing the Highway again to head north. Still lots of snow on the ground, and damn is that valley awesome!

Still had 9 miles to go with really tired quads and a crappy headwind. Sweet views of Crested Butte kept me going, no problem:

A few hours later I rode the 3 final miles up to my apt on the mtn to fading sunlight. That made the grand total for the day 30 miles. Without a doubt this is the furthest I have ever ridden on a bike, and it was all for the joy of it all. Next time I'll get the timing down better and leave earlier since I had forgotten how dark the valley gets, and quick. Until then, the lighting around Gothic was good enough

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