Just past the start of segment 2 I came across the tailings of a quarts quary.  A couple of trees ringed a small flat mound and seemed it would do.

This was the first bit of “total isolation” I experienced on the trail.  The first 6 miles of Waterton Canyon was packed with families. Once on single track I was passing hikers and bikers who were finishing their day trips.  Even as I neared section 2 I passed a couple of bikers who were finishing up the Colorado Trail Race.  Of course at the section 2 trail head I encountered more people. 

But this spot was isolated, except for the occasional airplane flying high overhead.  And was every bit of Colorado that you can imagine.

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While having absolutely nothing to do with mountain biking, the C-470 path is something that I’ve wanted to do for quite a while.  It hooks up with Hiline Canal and from there you can pretty much bike for ever in and around Denver.

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I broke off the path upon arriving at Chatfield Reservoir where I was greeted by rain.  The light mist stayed with me for the day.  While not the most scenic picture, I was stoked finally reach the trailhead.

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The barbed wire is to keep the undesirables out of the Denver water supply station.  The trail is open to all…even the undesirables

So the bike arrived mostly unscathed.   Seems the rear brake rotor got a little bend in it.  The box of course was trashed…which is fine considering I was going to throw it away any how.

As online disscussions indicated, the bike box was an instant target for TSA. 

I received many glances from fellow travelers as I assembeled the bike in the airport.  A few came up and asked me about my trip.

The light rail had stopped for the night (it was going to be tight even without the 1 hour delay) but I did manage to get a direct RTD bus to the tech center.

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   A quick 7 mile ride and I was in the hotel.

Starting a little later than I would like this AM, but not being on a time table it should be of little consequence.

Here we go!

I think the best advice I’ve come across for “planning a trip on the Colorado Trail” is “Don’t plan how many miles you’re going to ride – just ride and enjoy it”. There are too many unknowns that come into play on a ride like this. Weather can delay for hours or days. Fitness (especially coming from sea-level) level is unknown. There are no 4 hour climbs in New England – at least not that climb 2000-3000 feet. So whether the attempt is by miles or hours – either way a plan is just a WAG.

Having said that, I do have a general plan and strategy – albeit a very flexible one. The strategy is basically this: 2 hours riding, 1-2 hours break, 2 hours riding, 1-2 hours break….and *maybe* another 2 hours of riding. I will probably look back at this and laugh at my ignorance.

Here’s the plan:

Sunday (45 Miles)

  • C-470 Bike Trail to Waterton Canyon, Colorado Trail Trailhead. 19 miles, 1.5 hours
  • Segment 1. 17 Miles, 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Segment 2. 10 Miles, 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Camp at Buffalo Creek Access Point
  • Monday (27 Miles)

  • Segment 3. 12 Miles, 3 hours
  • Hwy 285 Detour to Baily. 8 Miles, 1 hour
  • Hwy 285 Detour to Ben Tyler Trail. 6.5 Miles, 1.5 hours
  • Camp just past Ben Tyler Trail Trailhead
  • Tuesday (18 Miles)

  • Hwy 285 Detour to Kenosha Pass. 12 Miles, 3 hours
  • Segment 6 to Jefferson Creek Bridge 6 Miles, 1.5 hours
  • Camp at Jefferson Creek Bridge
  • Wednesday (26 Miles)

  • Segment 6 (continued). 26 Miles, 6.2 hours
  • DRINK BEER – Breckenridge/Dillon Sleep in condo or hotel
  • Thursday (19 Miles)

  • Segment 7. 13 miles, 3 hours
  • Segment 8 to mile 6.2, 1.5 hours
  • Camp (in meadow)
  • Friday (43 Miles)

  • Segment 8 (continued). 19.2 miles, 4.5 hours
  • Segment 9/10 Detour. 23.8 miles, 2.5 hours
  • Camp at Segment 11 Trailhead
  • Saturday (41 Miles)

  • Segment 11. 22 miles, 3.5 hours
  • To Buena Vista. 19 miles, 2 hours
  • DRINK BEER – Sleep in house
  • I boxed up my bike and took it to the airport hoping to get final word as to whether my bike (box) was going to be allowed on the plane or not.

    Turns out everyone goes home before 9pm.  The sign didn’t put my fears to rest….nor did the website…which is somewhat vague regarding bikes.  It seems to come down to “if we feel like it”

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    The dry run was not all for naught.  The big lesson is that

    1. I don’t want lug a 60lbs bike box very far. 
    2. I am going to have to reinforce the hand holds.

    After noting the fine print (80 linear inches is the max cut-off) and then re-measuring (8x55x29 = 92 linear inches) then referencing the web site which states that bikes in large boxes will be “conditionally accepted” I decided to call for clarification.

    SW service rep “Josette from Albuquerque” took the measurements and confided in her supervisors several times and finally came back with “It won’t be a problem”.  

    Something tells me I should check the bike about 4 hours early…..just in case I need to repack….