Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My own Breck epic- day 3 and 4

On day 3 in Breck we listened to the rain come down most of the night and by morning it wasn't looking much better with a cold drizzle falling off and on. There appeared to be some fresh snow on a few peaks as well. With the day essentially shot for riding, we decided to head over to the Coors Brewery in Golden for a tour. After stalling and repeated stops and starts we finally headed out late morning for the hour drive over. Lunch was the first order of business with some pretty decent Chinese at a great price. I think it was the cheapest meal we ate all week. After lunch, it was on to the tour.

Here's the only time during the week that I really needed my ID (and wanted it as well). My sob story didn't do much to convince the seemingly sympathetic gal at the check in desk and I was denied the wrist band that allows for 3 tasty beverages upon completion of the tour. We grabbed our electronic tour guides and quickly wandered our way through the halls of the brewery before we were finally dumped out into the sampling area. I sipped my root beer as the rest of our crew took turns downing a couple brews. Luckily one kind soul didn't want all of his sampling and scored me 1 free drink, so all was not lost.

After the brewery, we decided to hike around downtown Golden for a bit and check out the various bike shops. We wandered into 3 shops and only 1 gave off a friendly vibe as we pondered the various goods they were showcasing. We headed back to Breck and found our way to Empire Burger for some seriously good grub at dinner time. Being Taylor's birthday we weren't quite done at that point and headed out to see if we could kill some time in various drinking establishments. The first bar was your basic hole in the wall and after some creepy vibes from an overly friendly drunk, I was glad we headed out. The second bar had a much better scene with a lot of younger people doing the beer pong thing as we looked on. I even managed to score a few games of pool to blow the dust off my skills. By that time, we needed to wind down the evening in hopes of hitting it hard on our last day with Andy playing tour guide.

We met Andy at the gondola parking lot at the prescribed time. It was chilly out and we weren't quite sure what the day had in store for us with regards to weather, saddle time, or routing so we were all pretty much loaded for bear at that point.

Friday morning dawned bright and chilly.
The first route we were taking would have us hitting the Colorado trail until it met up with Peaks trail where we'd downhill back into Frisco. The nice thing about Colorado is that even when its in the 40's in the morning, you can turn up hill at any given time and build a lot of heat quickly. Sure enough, Andy routed us straight up as we headed towards Peaks trail. We started out in the rolling meadows and pine needle single tracks.
Meadow riding at the start:
As per our typical mode of riding, the higher we got, the rockier it got. Pretty soon, Andy and I were mostly off the front and grunting up a few power climbs littered with rocks. I was feeling good and upped the tempo just slightly riding off the front. We regrouped a few times along the climb. I stopped at the top of this rock garden feeling pretty good about cleaning it to snap a few shots of the guys grunting their way through.
Rock garden action:
Enjoying the climb:
Once to the top of the mountain, we connected back into the downhill section of Peaks trail where the rider had attempted to kill me on day 1. Knowing the trail a bit better this time, we all gained some speed on the descent and had a blast as we flew down the trail. Even the steps were no surprise this time and led to some serious grins all around as we hit Frisco. Our choices were pretty open at this point, but we could see that some weather would soon be upon us.
We opted to hit the paved trail around Dillon Reservoir and into Keystone so Andy could show us some of his home base stomping grounds in the form of the Red Trail. The paved trail was pretty cool with going across the dam and getting some good views of the reservoir.
Going across the dam:
As we worked our way through Keystone and started up the Red Trail, we were met by the most biker's we'd seen all week (other than on paved trails). It was some type of junket for bike mags that appeared to be sponsored by Giant as they were all riding some full suspension variant of Giant. All told there were 20 some riders headed down as we were coming up. We hit some pretty sweet spots along here including some great sidehilling action that was good for a pucker factor.
Alas, the weather wasn't going to hold forever and we started to get rained on. We made a pit stop in the cover of some pines and broke out our rain gear along with some food.
Rain break #1:
From here, we continued on up the hill which was now a bit more slick with the rain having soaked the trail. At least it was still ridable and we weren't tearing things up which wouldn't have been the case here in Iowa. We continued up and the rain let up on us as we hit some spots pretty similar to our climbs on the Burro trail with sections of nothing but rock punctuated with flatter sections of dirt and rock. We finally started hitting rain again and the decision was made to head back down as it looked like it was going to be set in for a while.
Posing somewhere along the trail:
As we started our downhill, the rain picked up to a pretty steady downpour. I quickly noted that the cheaper raincoat I'd decided to bring today did not have waterproof sleeves and my arms were soon soaked and shivering. Now we had what I can only describe as one of the most unforgettable moments of the whole trip. The rain was pouring on us and we were descending like a group of madmen down the mountainside. The rain was running down the center of the trail in the exact line that we most wanted to take. We rode the rain line and hoped that there were no hidden rocks, sticks, or other nasties waiting to throw us headlong into the woods. My adrenaline level soared as we went further and further down before we were finally spit out on the trail in one piece. We did come across one guy just after the downhill that needed a bit of help as he was on his 2nd flat repair of the day.
Helping out:
By this point, we were all a bit on the muddy side and getting pretty cold so we opted off the dirt and onto the road descent the rest of the way to Highway 9. We hit some pretty fast speeds as we wound our way down the tarmac and towards the paved trail back to Breck. Once we hit the trail and knew we were closing in on home, it was time to smile again.
Muddy but happy:

We found our way back to town and started the packing process. The bikes were coated with a nice layer of grime and grit so we hosed them down before loading them up for the trip home.

Ready for a bath:

We rounded up all our gear and got it loaded up for the long drive home. Taylor, Kyle and I were headed out that afternoon while Chuck and Kurt opted to stay overnight before heading back. We all made our way over to Empire burger for some additional refueling before hitting the road. One long ass drive and we were back in the 515 about the time the sun was dawning on a new day. I had an unforgettable time and it was made all the better sharing it with some great friends. Thanks guys!

1 comment:

Brian said...

Nice write up of what sounds like a great trip.