Riding between summer and winter
SOUTHPARK – In other parts of the country, Sept. 28 still qualifies as summer. And since we were on our mountain bikes, it might as well have been the Fourth of July.
From the top of Georgia Pass, just a few miles east of Breckenridge, I swear I could see all the way into summer. Nevermind all the patches of yellow scattered across Southpark. Nevermind the snow sitting on Grays Peak on the autumn equinox.
Monstrous bike rides are the best way to slide the warmer months of the year under a carpet of snow.
And such was our case on the last Sunday in September, when I joined the Arapahoe Warriors Cycling Club for a group ride from Kenosha Pass to Breckenridge.
It didn’t matter that there were four hours of car shuttling involved. On one of the most amazing stretches of singletrack I’ve seen, all that mattered was riding our bikes for six hours, somewhere between summer and winter.
Breathing was that much harder coming up the Jefferson Trail, following a series of switchbacks up 3,000 vertical feet from Deadman Gulch.
Each switchback proved to be its own challenge. I manhandled a 15-pound camera bag all the way to our lunch stop, but once we got to treeline, we were distracted on each pedal stroke by everything we could see.
And we could see a lot.
The trail wrapped up the southern flank of Glacier Mountain, and, as we approached the pass, Mount Guyot grew bigger and bigger in front of us.
To the south was all of Southpark – in all of its Comedy Central glory – panned out before us.
We could see all the way across the broad Platte River drainage to the Puma Hills, which were blazing yellow and orange.
We spent nearly an hour just taking it all in, as we pulled out bananas and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chowed.
A Thane-Wright-approved sandwich wound up in my hands. I trusted it to get me back to Breckenridge because Wright’s dietary standards are apparently good enough for a win in Montezuma’s Revenge this summer.
But it’s the fall, right?
When we finally got rolling again, it was at a much faster speed, as we flew down the other side of the pass back to the dredge on Tiger Road.
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at email@example.com.
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