by Brian Maslach
Alpine mountain bike rides are one of my favorite things. There's nothing like riding a narrow single track above tree line. Thankfully, I live in an area where there are more high-country trails than I can ride over the course of a summer. This year I've been making a point do as many as possible.
Here are a few glimpses into some of my recent rides.
Though not super high by Colorado standards, this route can be banged out after an afternoon shift at the Enduro Bites kitchen and has a nice view of Pikes Peak through the Waldo Canyon burn area. After a 30-40 minute dirt road climb to get warmed up, it's rowdy descent back to civilization.
No summer is complete without at least one visit to the Doctor. Doctor Park is a fun mix of rough and rocky with smooth and flowy trails. I like to add on Doctor Park Bonus (pictured here) when time allows.
If you know these signs, you know what's next - the steep climb up 401 before one of the most iconic mountain bike descents in the USA. It's amazing how quickly the arduous climb is forgotten once the trails point downhill.
Trail 403 is one of my favorites in the Crested Butte area. It's high, fast, and steep. It also has a fitting scenic rest area as you transition between the up and down. Check your brake pads before embarking on this one.
This was my first time riding the 409/409.5 loop. Lush green hillsides and buff single track on the climb. The descent (not pictured) is so rowdy and fast that I don't recall much else about it. It's shocking how quickly you lose all the elevation you worked so hard to gain. Good times!
The Wheeler / Miner's Creek / Peaks Loop starting and ending in Breckenridge is deceptively hard for the mileage. Crossing two single track passes above 12,000 feet on the Ten Mile Range will do that. Wear comfortable walking shoes as you'll likely do some hiking on the Miner's Creek climb. If you don't spend much time in Colorado you might be surprised to see there still are patches of snow up high.
Mt. Baldy (13,682 ft.) is like an old friend watching over Breck. I ride and ski on his shoulders regularly, but it never gets any less spectacular.
Lenawee had been on my 'to do' list for the past few years. Coordinating ride partners and suitable weather had kept me from tackling this beast, so did it solo recently. I'm still wondering why I didn't do this sooner. The climb to the top of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area was tougher than expected, but the views and descent were well worth it.
The Monarch Crest isn't as popular with out-of-state tourists as some other areas, but that's fine by me. There are a number of amazing trails off the Crest, but on this day we did the classic Silver Creek / Rainbow Trail combo. We had a fast moving group and didn't get trail pics, although we did meet this marmot and his friends while snacking on Enduro Bites and getting a pic of our new Nano CBD Drops. This was an amazing ride and we followed it up with libations at Elevation Beer Company. More days like this, please.
I hope you enjoy these pictures. I need to start figuring where I'm going to get my high-elevation single track fix this weekend!