With a home cooked meal in me, a great night’s sleep, and having enjoyed time with my family (sister Kathy, brother in law Jeff, brother Chips, sister in law Lynn, niece Samantha, and nephew Michael) I was able to convince Jeff to do Section 11 with me. Without the weight of my luggage the riding was much more enjoyable.
Jeff did the first 12 miles with me
The bike handled a bit more spirited without all the weight
It was some of the best single track (roller coaster smooth) of the trip
With plenty of great views
I left Jeff with the truck at mile 12 and continued to finish the rest of the segment.
It was great riding. At one point I heard a thrashing sound…looked back and saw the tail of a bear running down the side of the mountain. This gave me a huge adrenaline boost and rode fast to make the distance between us as great as possible.
In these trees a bear lurks….
The trail finished up with a 781ft drop in 1.5 miles. Here’s a video of it:
My phone charge cables broke in Breck, and as such had limited juice left for pictures and tracking. Which was sad because going up to and over Searle and Kokomo Pass was fantastic. The ride down was a bit sketchy…but not as bad as coming off of 10-Mile.
I passed this neat 11 foot waterfall, and as I did Chrissy, a CT racer caught up with me. I had a 3 mile and 1/2 hour head start on her…and she had done in 2 days what I had done in 6. Her first day had been 90 miles.
We rode together for a bit. She stopped for lunch while I kept going for Tennessee Pass. She caught up with me at the top. She (thankfully) goated me into doing the next two miles of trail. I stopped to shuffle my water from my secondary store to my camel-pack. I thanked her for letting me ride with her and wished her good luck on her Time Trial.
With rain and cold keeping over the area, highway 24 was not the zooming downhill I was expecting. I limped into leadville and fiqured I had done enough. There was no way for me to get to BV in time to see my brother in the AM, so I called my sister and she picked me up.
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.
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
Looking ahead to the top of the ridge
Boulder field above timberline
Top of the 10 mile range
Copper Mountain ski area can be seen below
Dealing with altitude sickness…staying in Breck for one more day.
Well…okay..so it’s not exactly roughing it
Wow what a long day. 29 miles of crazy single track – 35 miles total, climbs peaking out above timberline at 11,900 ft
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.
Then for a finalley, razer thin trail to the trail head.
I am so blown….
At 9800ft the altitude was making it difficult to sleep. The site was well used. Several racers past by after dark and another early this morning. The meadow overlooks Park County.
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.
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
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.
It was a happy moment when I saw the sign confirming the achievment.