2015 Sufferfest Colorado Trip

IMG_7508

This past weekend I joined some good friends on a yearly gathering for high elevation mountain biking in Crested Butte and surrounding areas. The trip is jokingly named Sufferfest because of the long climbs at high elevation, normally between 9,000 feet and 12,000 feet. The rides get bigger as the trip goes on ending in the Kenosha to Breckenridge ride which covers about 5,000 feet of climbing in just over 30 miles. We spend four days riding famous trails over the holiday weekend. Spending time with great people, lots of climbing, lots of technical fun descents, and the beauty of Colorado.

My freshly reassembled Ibis HD3 out of the bike bag ready to hit some Colorado trails

IMG_7358

Day One, Dr. Park Trail – Garmin Data

The climb to the top of Dr. Park starts on a dirt road evolving into double track, and lastly single track. The creek crossing at about the half way point is cold from the melting snow but such a great aspect of the ride for me, it’s just part of the experience.

IMG_7359 IMG_7360 IMG_7363 IMG_7372

The descent of Dr. Park starts with some technical rocks, moving on to a flow and pump section that begs for you to let go of any brakes and feel the wind in your face. The last section of the down is more arid and has larger rocks. There are some great switchbacks to drop you the last few hundred feet of the ride.

IMG_7373 IMG_7376 IMG_7378

Day Two, Hartman Rocks Trail – Garmin Data

The Hartman Rocks trail was a day of change to ride dry trail as Crested Butte had a lot of rainfall on day one. The terrain was exposed to the sky, full of smaller climbs and descents, usually with exposed large rock structures.

IMG_7390 IMG_7393 IMG_7409 IMG_7410 IMG_7412 IMG_7415 IMG_7416

Day Three, Monarch Crest Trail – Garmin Data

Riding Monarch Crest is a big day. The ride starts above 11,000 feet elevation climbs up from there. This ride beat me up last year, and I was nervous about it going into this trip. This year there were clouds on the mountain that we climbed up and through. It was a pretty neat experience.

IMG_7440 IMG_7445 IMG_7481

As the day went on the sky’s cleared and we were treated to the great views that Monarch has to offer. The trail’s climbs, descents, and views make it an all time favorite which I was able to enjoy this year without bonking. To be fair, we did bail out before the Rainbows section this year.

IMG_7485 IMG_7486 IMG_7487 IMG_7491 IMG_7494

In between all of these great rides were good times spent around a campfire or eating at a local restaurant. At night, we were often treated to endless stars.

IMG_7504 MJ5L5306

Day Four, Kenosha To Breckenridge Trail – Garmin Data

The big ride, this one had me nervous. We cross three mountain passes climbing almost 5,000 feet over the course of the 32 mile ride. The first pass we climb is Georgia Pass, a 12,000 foot peak. The climb is filled to the brim with rocks and roots making every foot of the climb work. You get above tree line at around 11,300 feet on this ride, a rewarding experience.

IMG_7510 IMG_7512 IMG_7513 IMG_7516 IMG_7521

The descent on the backside of Georgia Pass is filled with technical rock sections and switchbacks.

IMG_7524

The second climb is steep and mean, but once crested, the hardest parts of the ride were conquered. I was in a happy place once I started down the second descent. I knew I was going to finish the ride, and my goal for the trip, to ride every mile.

IMG_7525 IMG_7529 IMG_7531

The ride ends with a handful of tight switchbacks arriving in Breckenridge. Last year when I watched friends from the sideline make that final descent, I had big aspirations of being able to finish the ride in the future. This year, I did. I ended the weekend with 12,500 feet climbed at high elevation. Every switchback of the last descent felt like a victory lap of personal accomplishment. I was in a happy, but tired place.

IMG_7534

And with that last switchback, the trip was over. Bikes packed, planes boarded, and headed back to Illinois as I type this. Colorado is a special place and I feel privileged to have experienced a small piece of it with such good people. Another great cycling trip transitioned from great times to great memories.

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

Today On A Bike

2014-09-24 17.11.48-2The fall is always a weird time for me and cycling. I am usually a little burnt out from the MTB and road season that started back in January. After racing the Chequamegon fat 40 a few weeks ago, I’ve spent less time on a bike in an effort to not burn myself out. Today’s cross practice was a lot of fun and re-energized me a bit for the season!

2014-09-24 17.30.14 2014-09-24 17.48.07

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

2014 Sufferfest Colorado Trip

Crested Butte Paradise Valley PinkThis past weekend I joined some great friends for a Colorado mountain bike trip. We spent time in Crested Butte and other surrounding areas. The trip was filled with high mountain rides, great company, and beautiful views. The climbs were long and the descents a combination of awesome and challenging!

Reno Flag Bear Deadman Trail – Garmin Data
2014-08-29 12.08.51-3 2014-08-29 13.51.13 2014-08-29 14.43.39Taking a break we meet a local.
2014-08-29 13.57.56-2 2014-08-29 15.02.26 2014-08-29 14.49.30 2014-08-29 16.07.52Our Condo in Crested Butte was great!
2014-08-30 07.45.08Dr. Park Trail – Garmin Data
This year I rode all the way from the bottom to the top. The climb starts on tarmac, turns into a dirt road, then double track, and lastly single track.
2014-08-30 11.14.19This creek crossing is where we started riding up last year after taking a shuttle. It was really cool to be there again.
2014-08-30 11.35.45 2014-08-30 12.31.49 After the climb to the top you transverse through some woods until the decent starts.
2014-08-30 13.25.44 2014-08-30 13.42.11The last section of Dr. Park is more arid and filled with fun switchbacks and tech.
2014-08-30 14.06.07 2014-08-30 14.12.06After riding that night I joined a friend to take some pictures in the mountains. The first and last picture of this post come from setups like this.
2014-08-30 19.48.12Monarch Crest Trail – Garmin Data
The Monarch Crest ride was amazing and brutal. The ride starts at over 11,000 feet of elevation and was just under 30 miles and 3,300 feet of climbing. The ride was filled with riding above the treeline and technical descents. I found new meaning to the word bonking on this ride.
2014-08-31 11.02.56 2014-08-31 10.57.50 2014-08-31 11.00.08The views were stunning!
2014-08-31 11.11.23 2014-08-31 11.26.49The descents were really fun!
2014-08-31 12.30.11-4I found myself in trouble during a quick wiggle during a fast section and I donated a touch of blood to Colorado.
2014-08-31 13.21.41Kenosha To Georgia Pass – Garmin Data
This was the last and biggest ride of the trip. I took a bail out after descending Georgia Pass. The climb up to Georgia Pass was the biggest climb I’ve ever done and the descent was the most technical and hardest trail I’ve ever seen.

We grabbed lunch on the top of a rock half way up to Georgia Pass.
2014-09-01 11.10.30The view from Georgia Pass was vast and impressive!
2014-09-01 12.35.47The descent (at least the parts I didn’t walk) were great!
2014-09-01 11.57.39-4 2014-09-01 03.50.05-3The trip was tough and really enjoyable! I can’t wait to go back to Colorado!
Crested Butte Paradise Valley Purple

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

2013 PSI-clocross Cyclocross Race

IMG_1527This past weekend I joined the Bloomington Cycle & Fitness Racing Team at the eighth race of the 2013 Chicago Cross Cup series. The sun was shinning but the weather was still colder than the previous weeks race.

The course was 2.2 miles of hard. Hard. The race had a great mix of elements including off camber turns, singletrack, “Heckle Hill”, long straights, and technical turns. This was my first week racing in the cat 3 race after a mid-week cat up. I had a great time, and thought the racing was a little more business as usual with less chaos, but also a lot harder competition. I ended the day in 37th out of 58. I’ve got work to do :)

The images can be used for personal use (with credit given), but no professional or commercial usage without prior consent.

READ MORE & FULL GALLERY >>

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

2013 Campton Cyclocross Race

IMG_0263This past weekend I joined the Bloomington Cycle & Fitness Racing Team at the seventh race of the 2013 Chicago Cross Cup series. The weather was sunny and somewhat warm for most of the day. The course was a mix of long straights, wooded singletrack, and off camber muddy turns to enjoy while racing.

There was a large group of tents and hecklers around one of the muddy sections. The mud was a factor early in the day. It provided an abundance of entertainment for the hecklers, but by the time I raced in the Cat 4’s, it was negotiable. In my race, I had a good start and won the hole-shot for the first time this season. I finished 10th for the second time this Chicago Cross season. I’ve continued to enjoy my first cyclocross season and look forward to more racing, mud, heckling, and smiles.

The images can be used for personal use (with credit given), but no professional or commercial usage without prior consent.

IMG_0108 IMG_0256 IMG_0289 IMG_0267 IMG_0276 IMG_0129 IMG_0187 IMG_0202 IMG_0233 IMG_0118

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!