Once into Copper the trail becomes much more manageable.  Still, with a weighted down bike and tired legs there is a lot of pushing going on.

I would love to come back and do the Copper to Tennessee Pass trail again on day I’m hammer’n rather than Bike Packing.  I camped out at 10,480 ft…thankfully the altitude sickness was not nearly as bad, and I was able to sleep.

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The only bad side to camping in the area is that you can hear the traffic of I-70.   I saw not one person after reaching the 10-mile range and climbing up to my campsite.  But once I took my pack off I found that the site already had a backpacking couple and several bike packers began investigating the area immedately behind me.  For a while I thought the campsite was going to turn into a hostel.

When leaving Breckenridge to Copper Mountain you have 2 choices.  14(ish) miles up and over the 10 mile range topping off at 12,495ft, or a gentler approach via a paved bike path .. also about 14 miles. 

I took the up and over path of the Colorado Trail…next time I’ll go around.  Not so much because it’s so hard to do, but because other than scenery, there is no downhill reward.  The trail is just too rough.

looking back at Breck

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Looking ahead to the top of the ridge

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Boulder field above timberline

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Top of the 10 mile range

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Copper Mountain ski area can be seen below

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Wow what a long day.  29 miles of crazy single track – 35 miles total, climbs peaking out above timberline at 11,900 ft

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followed by a full hour of screaming down hill to 9800 ft only to climb for another couple of hours back to 11,100 ft, and then plumeting to Breackenridge in some of the fastest singletrack I have ever been on. 

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Then for a finalley, razer thin trail to the trail head.

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I am so blown….

With 285 behind me it was time to head to the next camp site.  Despite the issue with the chain, I was only 6 miles from my scheduled itenary.  On the way I passed by some really interesting tee-pees.

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Just as I was contemplating taking refuse in one of the tee-pees, the trees opened up and I was greeted with a view of South Park

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I reached mile 3.1 of segment 5…and I was done.  The next 3 miles would have to be tacked on to tomorrow.

This section I have been dreading ever since I started planning the trip.   Bike Packers have 2 options when finishing segment 3.  Either a 70 mile detour through mostly fire roads, or 30 miles through Bailey and up US-285.

The traffic is very heavy and in some spots there is virtually no shoulder.  Plus the climb is huge.  Bailey sits 7700ft and the top of the pass is at 10,000ft.

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It was a happy moment when I saw the sign confirming the achievment.

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Stopped at the Cut Throat Cafe…locals asked about my experience…next thing I know the entire clientele is rallying and flagging down anyone with a chain tool.  Dude with a downhill bike happened to be cruising by, he comes into the cafe and looks at me…”are you the one who needs rescuing?”  Three of us get the bike back to working order.  The tool owner says “I would feel more comfortable if you just took the tool with you..”  I gave him $40 for it.

I Love Colorado