Black Hole Marathon

Wonder if claustrophobia would take over before I could finish this one?

The Black Hole Marathon

Sunset Rides

Sunset rides rock!





Not All Failures End Without Triumph


Some adventures could be considered a lesson in, "its not about the miles ridden but the places you go that few have ever been and the friends you have who are willing to indulge you in the routes you seek to to discover."


It all began with a race born to be the toughest race in the world and has died in the ashes of the legend, that is Montezuma's Revenge. In 24 hours racers would ride a potential 240 miles, climb 10 times over the Continental Divide, gain 37,000 in accumulated vertical feet, and climb a 14er; all at elevations between 10,000 and 14,000 ft. Fuggin hard, I think so.


No one officially finished the entire 240 miles but to be considered a finisher of the race you had to climb(hike) Grays Peak from Ruby Gulch and descend(hike) into Horseshoe Basin, all along with your bike and wheels strapped to your back, after having 100 + miles in your legs. Ruby Gulch is the least used route to climb the infamous Grays Peak(14,270 ft) and perhaps the toughest. Like I said nothing about this race was easy so why take the easy way to Grays Peak.


This all leads to my route for this past weekend. My original intent was to ride up Ruby Gulch from Peru Creek and Chihuahua Gulch and then strap my bike to my back at the end of the trail(a little over 12,000 ft) and climb Grays Peak following the route the Montezuma's Revenge racers took. From there I intended to ride/hike my bike to Argentine Pass on the Continental Divide Trail some 3 miles from Grays and some thousand feet lower and from there descend the Argentine Pass trail to Horseshoe Basin and Peru Creek, making the route my own.


I knew Grays Peak was gonna be a hard push from the end of Ruby Gulch, what I didn't know was what the terrain was like on the CDT from Grays to Argentine Pass other then the fact that there were a few couple hundred feet climbs along with about a thousand feet of elevation loss in-between the two.


I knew my route was going to be stupid hard and maybe even undo-able in the time I had allowed myself since I had promised the lovely Missus Goat I would be home by early afternoon. So when it came down to inviting friends, I really didn't because I knew most of them would balk at the thought of hike a biking the southwest ridge of Grays Peak and even bailing on the route halfway through only to get a few miles of riding in for the day. Good ole Guacamole though, learned of my adventure and asked to come along saying he just wanted to be outdoors, it didn't really matter doing what.


We met at 5am and made the drive to Montezuma, getting on bike a little before 7am after getting lost for a bit finding the trail-head. Once on the bike we climbed Peru Creek and after a few miles turned onto the slightly technical Chihuahua Gulch. A few miles of beautiful scenery brought us to Ruby Gulch. Ruby Gulch is unmarked and the entrance is basically a creek-bed making it a tough find if you don't know what your looking for. The 1st mile or so of Ruby Gulch is a well bedded double-track and after a few miles it disappear into indistinct two track up to 12,000 ft and an abandoned cabin and mine where it peters out.


It was here that we exchanged our biking shoes for hiking shoes and strapped our bikes to our Camelbaks and started a due north hike up Grays Peak's southwest ridge. Immediately we recognized why the Montezuma's Revenge racers used framed packs to carry their bikes as our bikes presented an enormous load for which the Camelbaks were not designed for. This was causing the shoulder straps to bite into our shoulders and the chest strap to squeeze our chest making breathing even more difficult then it was at this elevation.


We hiked though and began a slow switchback up to the ridge. At some point Guacamole and myself separated, me taking the more north easterly route while he took the southwest. In the end he chose better route. While he hiked up Galapagos turtle sized boulders I got into a loose scree field that sifted and moved with every step, once making me slide 2 ft down the steep slope. Guacamole topped the ridge a good 10-15 minutes before I did and when I finally did, I dropped my pack and promptly dropped in a heap, just over 13,000 ft.


We sat there for a while staring at Grays Peak sitting somewhere around 1200 ft above our heads and at least 2 miles away. I think we had both given up making its summit with our bikes but we both considered leaving our bikes and hoofing it up to the top and coming back for our bikes. I asked Guacamole for the time. 11:30 am. If we were to make the summit which we figured would take at least another hour if not more I would be breaking my promise to my wife of an early afternoon arrival home. A little disappointed with myself, I suggested to Guacamole to hike back down and possibly ride up Lenawee if we had time and then shoot back to the car by 1pm.


We hiked back down Guacamole's route for ascending the southwest ridge and as soon as we hit grassy tundra off the big ass turtle sized boulders I announced I was riding. Guacamole looked at me skeptically but I was not taking another step with that damned bike strapped to my back even if it meant letting it pull me down the hill.


Once I had my wheels back on, I stepped over the bike and realized it was to steep to ride even trying to "switchback" the slope. So I took the next logical approach and went hiking straight down the slope using the rear brake of the bike to help control my hiking slide. I finally made it to a point that while still steep, was ridable and looked back up to see Guacamole far up the slope above me. I got on and rode to just above the Ruby Gulch Cabin and waited for Guacamole to catch up.


After bombing down Ruby Gulch to Chihuahua Gulch and Chihuahua Gulch to Peru Creek Road we picked up the Lenawee Trail. We rode/hiked up Lenawee Trail about a half mile or so and reached a trail to some dilapidated cabins and sat there quietly enjoying the serenity of the area. Finally we got back up, trekked another 1/4 mile or so to 11,000 ft and I declared I was done. Guacamole it seemed was done to, just not wanting to be the first to admit it.


We turned around bombed down Lenawee and Peru Creek and called our adventurous day done. We didn't complete what we set out to do but the day was definitely full of its perks and it was an adventure that has pulled us into thinking about frame packs and the possibilities of an adventure for another day that just may include the same route, just this time, one we aim to complete.


The Canadian Bacon Cometh

goat epic

Photo shamelessly stolen from the Canadian Bacon's worded site

Sea Level locked, the Big Ring comes in less then two weeks to Colorado to Suffer. Pushing some silly single gear set up way harder then he should but hey, who am I to tell a dude who calls himself the Big Ring that the gear he has chosen will make a mockery of him and destroy his legs on the 1st day of alpine riding. Even Dicky has chosen a 23 tooth for Breck Epic, Ringer.

Craig at Tour de Goat 2

My 1st rule is no wigs nor underwear exposure, tho Bad Andy seems to be enjoying the hand to his backside.

The Big Ring is a weird dude. I have no idea how his captain(Big Ring is a cop back in Ottawa, eh!) puts up with his antics, all I can figure is his "force" resembles that of the "Academy".

Anywhoo, be sure to tune in and see how the Big Ring does. I'm sure Colorado will be a lighter hearted place after this fello puts his stamp on it and of course there will be plenty of photo takin of the Big Ring in his trapeze outfits and such.

Craig getting ready for a Circus Act

Searle Pass, Kokomo Pass, Ptarmigan Pass

This past weekends ride just proves to me what I have always thought; the East Coast can produce some bad ass riders. My good friend Beefcake along with his fiance, Cissy and his Dad came to Breckenridge this past weekend after two weeks in the RV exploring Glacier National Park and the West. Beefcake was celebrating a fresh win in the Clydesdale Class of the Wilderness 101 while Cissy, took 6th place in Woman's Elite.


Beefcake called earlier in the week to see if I wanted to meet and ride. Always wanting to ride and more importantly always wanting to see a good friend I thought of a route that I heard of, ridden part of, and have always wanted to complete; Searle Pass, Kokomo Pass, Ptarmigan Pass.


Sunday we met, chatted a bit and I learned that Beefcake and Cissy had ridden the Peaks Trail and the Miners Creek portion of the Colorado Trail over to Copper Mtn and back on Saturday. I've yet to ride Miners yet myself, but I have heard it was a beast of a ride and Beefcake and Cissy confirmed this saying they hike a biked for about an hour and a half after reaching a certain point on Miners.


Knowing Beefcake and Cissy would be needing a chiller pace after Saturday's adventure gave me opportunity to ride ahead, snap some pics and hop right back on for the ride up to Searle Pass.


Just before we hit Searle Pass we ran into a lone hiker who was through hiking the entire Colorado Trail and we later realized was a speedy goat and then a group of about 14 hikers coming up from Janet's Cabin. Not wanting to get caught in the herd we made a hard push for Searle Pass and beyond.



This was my own 1st time beyond Searle Pass and as Colorado high alpine singletrack always does, it wowed beyond words so we just rode on in awe.



Beefcake and Cissy taking a moment to enjoy 12,000 + feet


a few miles of contouring singletrack led us to a short hike a bike and a fast steep descent down to Kokomo Pass



Cissy and Beefcake at Kokomo Pass


Its been two years since I've seen or ridden with Beefcake. At that time he could kick my ass in endurance and climbing but I always had him on the descents. Back then he was riding a Steve Potts Ti 26er hardtail and was a fast fella but one who couldn't hold my wheel. Now the student has become the master, Beefcake is now riding a full suspension 29er and has mastered the art of descending with a deadly proficiency. It took everything I had to hold his wheel and a few times I just had to let him go.


At the bottom of descent and many fist pumps and giggling fits later of the awesomeness of the descent we ran into a good ol fashioned east coast style waterfall. Hidden off the trail just far enough that it might be easy to miss but close enough to be heard, we found it easily and enjoyed the cooling waters for a few minutes.


Then it came...the climb up Resolution Road. The bottom few miles were a steady 3-6 percent and I started to wonder where so many claimed this climb was like having your teeth pulled in so many ways. A group of 4 wheelers saw us and invited us over to their camp for water and then proceeded to tell us how steep it got. I still laughed it off, though a little more nervously and when we finally hit that wall, I hit the wall. Beefcake and Cissy started to pull away and all of the sudden I had then urge to walk. Seeing these two, who live at 1800 ft above sea level at most, climb away while I walked chipped away at my will but true to the name of the road my resolution held fast and I did a steady ride and walk, ride and walk all the way to Ptarmigan Pass.


From Ptarmigan Pass we descended to Wilder Gulch and descended to the bike path near Vail Pass and continued on to Copper Mtn.


Off to Centennial Cone


Nothing big of late, though there has been 3 local rides this past week. Last weekend I camped with the girls and on Sunday we cruised over to Eldora to watch the Mad Scientist participate in his 1st triathlon ever.


Only notable ride this week was that of Centennial Cone last night with the TITs crew.

Centennial Cone

We started in Clear Creek Canyon on the Mayhem Gulch trail and got in a nice little lollipop looping the top.

some doubletrack, still fun to ride

Double track

An old farm stead graces the top meadow


but that all quickly gives way to singletrack and the real fun of the night


Rick on his Team Yo Eddy Fat Chance, complete with a Fat Chance Fork

Rick and the Fat Chance

Meet Funrover..Dude is the linebacker of mountain biking but I've seen this snowcat pull moves in the techy that I can only dream about. Somehow he does it all with the skill and grace of a squirrel while keeping us all on our toes waiting to see what he is gonna pull next.


One last shot before the trail just became to good to stop for more pictures before darkness fell.


The Monarch Crest


Perhaps one of the most dangerously overrated trails(besides Zippety Do Dah in Fuita) in the Country has to be the Monarch Crest. I'm saying this as a discouragement to all of you reading this, so that when I come back with the Big Ring in September, we can have it all to our merry selves.

As the Locals, Jerry and his wife told me as I was sitting in their "shuttle vehicle" making our way up to Monarch Pass, "its a touring trail but the hammerheads can go fast and they and the tourist, don't really get along. Its a good thing I was in touring mode but our group really didn't get passed by any hammers either. I think everyone who was above treeline just enjoyed the scenery, the buddies who were along, and the great singletrack that made it all possible.

Lubes crushed it all day as usual on his singlespeed


The Mad Scientist, Bad Andy and Jerry, along with some tourists behind getting their taste of, "above treeline"


100 percent ridable above treeline singletrack. It awe inspiring and fantastic!


The Mad Scientist is getting strong these days!


Jerry, our local tour guide for the day. Being the guy who usually is route finder and leader, I'll have to admit, it was kinda nice to sit back and let someone else play Pre K Teacher for the day


Who says Goats don't have style?


Just before we hit tree line again, we saw the ominous presence of dark grey clouds looming in the near distance


But looking back north, the skies still held strong and blue


Thunderstorms are always a constant threat at this elevation and the area has been hit hard the past few days. Keen Woo shows the art of riding through chocolate milk, not around it


a few miles later and we cross Marshall Pass and continue on the "Crest", a few miles south of Marshall Pass and we see lightening, hear thunder and the rain starts to fall, is he Yoda or Yogurt?


It was here that we bared witness to a hunched backed bigfoot


Mike the Giant goes boom with a mighty splash, so big that I wished I would've had a surfboard to ride the waves he made


A very wet Silver Creek


That had some very tasty bits of technical goodness


and it ended with a trail that wanted to be a creek that wanted to be a trail


at the end of the day, we ate at the Silver Horse's Ass as Jerry calls, and good eats it was!