Brush Mountain Lodge, Co. – Inspiration Point, Co. ; 191km distance, 2,800m climbing, 11hrs 00mins moving time.
I’ll admit I was a bit later to bed than was ideal. I blame Kirsten, and getting my clothes clean, and the hospitality, and the beer…and some whiskey. Ok, I blame myself, but damn it felt good to unwind and feel like an actual human for a few hours. We woke late, stumbled around eating burritos and drinking coffee before getting a posed shot for Kirsten. Dave Stowe had been up and moving, I’d not see him again which was a pity. Wouldn’t get to return his sunglasses for a third time.
We knew today was going to be a day of two parts. Hilly but interspaced with some fast flat riding. We were about to get back into the first populated areas we’d seen since Northern Montana and we planned to abuse it a little. The first climb was a great warm up and by the time we hit the top at 3,000m it was all the way down over 1,000m of descending on some fast burly technical trails. I loved it, probably rode too fast, but it was worth it. I knew what was coming as it was one of the few trails I’d ridden on the whole route. The morning was frankly ace. The three of us were having a good time riding together, talking shit and we were moving well. Good times.
After the descent followed a short bit of flat and boring riding on interstate to Steamboat where we’d all planned to get some work done at Orange Peel bikes, fuel up and then continue on together for the day. The shop did take a bit longer to get all our bikes done, but it was done, and we got to have some pizza. Or in Baileys case a whole 16 inch pizza. Myself and Justin we’re happy with our 14 inch ones. Hell I even took some slices with me. I can’t complain about the time we dropped there, I even got to have a sleep on the bench for a while before we rolled out. Just as Jackie rolled in. Quick chat, then we moved on down the road. Well, bike path.
I’d ridden most of this section for the next few days a few years ago. Lots of nice ski towns. Lots of time to waste if you want to. We were smart and pushed on before the next off road section of the day. Off into the heat bowl that is Radium Springs.
There is no real nice way to put this – I don’t like Radium. Aside from a pretty sketchy descent – read very sketchy, i nearly took a tumble over a cliff edge, and pretty shaken by that – it’s not the sort of place you want to go into during the day. It was hot as we dropped in at 8pm, excruciatingly so with no wind and a shit load of flies and moqsuitoes. I was pretty shaken by the end of the descent and needed to get myself back together mentally – I felt bad on most descents for the next few days as well.
We climbed out on a trail that was not much better until we met a main road. We soon realised we were not going to make the campsite that we’d hoped. We were already at quite a height and there were storms brewing. Early bed – early rise. So we stopped at a layby and bivied with a view of Inspiration Point – which at the time wasn’t that inspiring.