We got some Dick, fo sho. It rained like crazy all day long on Sat and the forecast for Sunday looked about the same. Sun was starting to poke thru the clouds whilst were loaded up vehicles at the bike shop, though, so spirits were in good shape. We got pedalling right around 10:15 this am. Leaving from the Peaceful Valley CG heading south on Sourdough always guarantees a stiff climb out of the gate. No warm up at all. Today did not dissapoint. We made it up the climb and continued south on Sourdough all the way to Brainard Lake Rd. The climb out of the South St Vrain Drainage up to Brainard Rd is long and tough.
From Brainard Rd, we rode up the non technical but ever disheartening Left Hand Road up to Left Hand Reservoir. Beauty, Clark. Not only is LH Res a beautiful sight, but it also allowed us to pop out of the trees for a view. Always good to get a fix on what the weather is doing. It had been raining on and off for a few hours at this point, but no torrential downpours. Thunder was in the distance and the rain was light. No rainjacket yet and we could still see the divide. That's a good sign.
We retraced our steps down the road just a bit and hooked into the Little Raven freeride trail. Little Raven was constructed many, many moons ago by the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) as a ski trail. Great in the winter, but it was barely traversible in the summers until BMA stepped in. They rerouted the bad sections, and added some wooden skinnies over a handful of bogs. While not what we think of when we think "freeride" this was the first project of its kind in the Boulder Ranger District of the USFS. The project accomplished 2 things. 1) we got a sweet trail out of the deal and 2)it introduced the term "freeride" to the USFS and created the association with man made, wooden structures. Things move slow in the USFS and we are gaining some ground!
Next up was the infamous South St Vrain Trail. The westernmost section of this trail goes thru the Indian Peaks Wilderness for about 1/2 mile. In another act of stewardship, BMA is in the process of rerouting the trail about 200 yards to the south so that we can legally ride it. Until then, though, we are good to go. SSV is a beast, especially when ridden in it's entirety from top to bottom. It's definitlely got some techy bits.
Fortunately, we rode with a crew that made it all look easy.
SSV dumped us out on the Peak to Peak highway. What to do now? More climbing, of course. We rode back up/west on Beaver Res Rd up to and past Beaver Res for the days last off road climb. Coney Creek Rd. The map shows that it's only a 6 or 800 foot elevation gain, over 4 miles. What it does not show, however, is all of the freaking little pebble rocks, baby heads and things that otherwise make your ass hurt after 5 hours in the saddle! It isn't easy, especially this late in the day. It does have it's saving graces, though.
At the top, near the wilderness boundary, there is some deep water. We all took the bridge ride/hike around but not Doug. Dirty Doug wanted some cleansing in the 29er tire deep water.
From there, it's a short but sweet descent to Middle St Vrain Rd and the Buchanan Pass junction.
Finally! Buchanan Pass. We were already pretty tired at this point. We had passed the 6.5 hour mark.
BP has a really cool scree field that you get to cross.
And finally at the bottom! We made it. Never did have to don my rainjacket either. I put the arm warmers on (it was chilly) but that's it. The weather gods smiled upon us once again.
Lucky for us, the beer gods smiled, too :)
All in all, we were about 7.5 hours car door to car door. 30.6 miles and 3800' of climbing. Not bad. We'll have to find another route to top that. Probably won't be able to top the rocks, though.