Sunday, July 18, 2010

Riding in Durango, part deux.

Part 1 is here.

Yesterday was a leisurely ride through Durango, followed by a motorcycle ride to Ouray.

Up to that point I'd been itching to go find some singletrack to ride on, but I'd been busy doing lots of other stuff. (River rafting, train rides, eating, playing Scrabble...) Finally, two days before we were supposed to leave, I filled the Camelbak and both bottles with water, (shudder) and took off to the trailhead at the base of Animas City Mountain, right next to the campground we pitched our tents in.

Animas City Mountain is a brutal assault on the legs. The first mile is nothing but steep uphill switchbacks, followed by another two and a half miles of steep uphill to the summit, which is about 1,500 feet above the trailhead, according to the map. It doesn't help matters that the trail is very rocky and loose, so it was hard to get any momentum built up or get a rhythm down, and I ended up hike-a-biking a pretty good bit of the way up. The views, however were worth it.

Looking along Main Street, towards downtown Durango, from about a third of the way up.

The Animas River valley from the same spot.

Sailplane! They get towed over the mountain and released to ride the thermals.

This is how rocky the trail was.

I loved the layering of the rocks on the opposite side of the valley, and how you can see the lifting over time.
I was hoping the storm would come closer.

Tri at the top of the mountain!

The storm to the north.

Hidden Valley, from a little further along the top.

Looking westward from the top.I'm not used to seeing mountains everywhere you look from the top of a mountain.


After riding down the backside of the mountain, I consulted my map to see where I wanted to go next. The Colorado trail looked inviting, so I rode to a gas station, bought some Sobe for the bottles, and headed down to the trailhead, 6 miles down the road. I didn't ride too far down the trail, as I didn't want to be out in unfamiliar terrain after dark, but the part I rode on was a great length of trail. Wonderful flow, low technicality, and friendly people out for walks and rides.

The trail itself follows Junction creek, winding along the canyon wall for a few miles, before crossing the creek and scaling the wall on the other side. I turned around at the crossing.

I would have taken more pictures, but I was having fun.

The last day before we left, I went downtown, with the intention of walking back to the campground, to see the sights, and walk into every bike shop I came across. I met some great people, friendly dogs, and even some art:
Outside the Durango City Hall.

This was just cool. Too bad it looks like the tallbike doesn't move regularly.

I was not expecting to see so many bikes in Durango, and certainly not the types of bikes I saw. Lots of classic and vintage bikes, lots of higher quality mountain and road bikes, tons of cruisers, lots of Xtracycles, and only 3 or 4 department store Bicycle Shaped Objects. They were locked up or being ridden everywhere. It was great, and I really enjoyed it there. If it weren't for the mosquitoes, I'd put it on my list of places I'd like to live.
Mileage: cero.

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