The mid-morning drive up the valley was just stunning with the sun really bringing out the contrast between the dark green ponderosa pines & the bright yellow-green of the deciduous trees lining the valley above the fast flowing river.
We climbed up to over 3100m/10000ft to get over Lizard Head Pass & then down to Telluride. I didn't know too much about the town, except it was once a big mining town & is now a big ski resort/mountain town (sounds vaguely familiar).
Apparently their winter is holding on a bit, with two feet of snow a fortnight ago - but today was a stunner & I was excited to learn there are bike trails at the top of the (free) gondola that runs up to another little town (Mountain Village - possibly the least imaginative name in Colorado, what a shocker) & most of the ski lifts.
|My bike got its first ride on a gondola - been on plenty of chairlifts. That's Telluride down there.|
The drive back down the valley was just as pretty & I was riding by four o'clock. With four loops to choose from, I went for the longest & hardest option - to make sure I got my money's (not that I had to pay anything) worth. The riding was mostly at 2300m around a mesa top in more pine forest - it was nice to be riding in trees again. I'm not sure there was anything advanced about this intermediate-advanced level trail & the trail obviously wasn't as well designed as yesterday's ride at Phil's World. Since when is routing the trail down the middle of a creek a valid trailbuilding option? Occasionally there was a little bit of interest, but mostly it was pretty hohum - the surface was often rutted out by bike tires or six-inch deep horse hoof holes. Still, I got a fair bit of climbing in & time on the bike is time on the bike - I may be getting a little fitter as I did the first loop (2-4 hours) in 1.40 then went on to the adjoining beginner loop, hoping for some views of the mountains - but was disappointed. The highlight was the beautiful grassy meadows, different summer flowers, the very loud croaking of frogs & seeing some eagles gliding around - fantastic. After over 100 km of mostly singletrack riding in three days, I might have a day off the bike tomorrow as we go to Four Corners & Monument Valley.