Things were still looking straightforward at this point - real roads!!
R & R in the mountains – NOT!!!So here we are at the beautiful Roaring Fork Club somewhere between Glenwood Springs and Aspen. Paul and myself are on a much needed break on our way home to San Diego. We have envisioned many hours of lazing on the porch by the river, sipping our coffee and reading the papers. The first day went something like that. Plenty of lounging, a short ride on our mountain bikes on the Rio Grande bike path to get the lay of the land, a game of catch on the immaculate fairway of the 16th hole behind our cabin, capped off with a sumptuous barbeque that evening.
The next morning we decided to continue our relaxed ways and ride up to Aspen through the village of Snowmass for coffee, and then roll back down the valley. Well…… may I just say the next cup of coffee we saw was a cup of decaf that evening at about 7.30pm. Little did we know we were in for the adventure of our trip. All started out with a leisurely ride up toward Snowmass, on a very quiet road with beautiful homes/ranches. I am not sure how it happened but we made a turn up the Capitol Creek road instead of toward Snowmass. It was spectacular and we were just riding along taking it all in.
Eventually we pulled over at the turn to the St Benedicts monastery, and out came our rather dated map. I am going to say that it was all Paul’s fault, since I have given up any responsibility of direction on this ride at least an hour ago. “If you are feeling adventurous we can….this trail…. to this lake… and down the other side of Sopris mountain home.” Never one to turn down a little adventure, and with my brand new dual suspension mountain bike itching to get on some single track, I agreed. I mean we were already and hour and a half into it, had one whole water bottle between us and I even had a few dried cranberries in my back pocket – we were prepared!!!!
Well quiet road turned to dirt road and then finally to single track. We were pretty sure we had it wired. The only hard going was, as we climbed to 10 000ft, and had a fair amount of hike-a-bike sections , but we were in no rush. I am not sure where it all went wrong – but after about 4 hours we ran into a big herd of cows, that would not get out of our way, and ambled on the trail in front of us, mooing incessantly. We finally got around them at an open meadow, but at the same time our trail had turned into a very narrow cow path. It had started to thunder and lightning, and we were no longer sure which way to go. We had refilled our lone bottle at a stream crossing – so stay tuned for the giardhia announcement in a couple of weeks.
There was no going back now. Using the mountain as a guide we headed off on these incredibly technical single track cow trails down a fence line. When the trail ran out, we donned out rain pants (I will be forever indebted to Huddle for his insistence that we carry rain jacket and pants on any ride in the mountains), to prevent being scratched to death, as we gamely bushwhacked our way down into a valley and up the other side. I came so close to just ditching that new bike a few times and hiking out of the situation. About an hour of this, a few barbed wire fences – we finally made it to a dirt driveway. You have no idea how happy we were to see some semblance of a road. We donned our rain jackets (yes, it was now fully raining), and pointed our bikes down the mountain.
We had left just after 10.00am that morning – had an appointment for cocktails at the clubhouse for 5.00pm. We finally pulled up to our cabin at 4.45pm. It had truly been an adventure. Apart from a few lost moments, we had just kept pushing forward – and we both realized that the ‘ride’ was no more than one section of a day, in any given adventure race. We were actually quite thrilled with ourselves. We will make up that cup of coffee, in Aspen tomorrow – and will most certainly be driving there!
We were only 15 minutes late for cocktails!!!