Final reflections from Howie,
Well we rode our last trail and now we are heading back to
The first 11 trips we went to particular destinations and would ride there for a few weeks and often explored some nearby areas and National Parks. While doing these trips we commented on more than one occasion how great it would be to get a 5th wheel RV and then be able to go to a lot of different destinations while we were out west. We knew we could drop off the RV at a campground and then use the tow vehicle to get us to the trail heads. Well I’m not getting any younger so in 2007 I decided to stop dreaming about it and actually went out and got the truck and 5th wheel toy hauler. The garage in the toy hauler allowed us to put in a bunk bed as well as bring along an outfitter tent, cots, mattresses etc. as well as store additional bikes, tools and supplies. So we were ready to go and could accommodate up to 12 people at a campsite. Since 2007 we have had our 3 best trips with each of them lasting about 7 weeks. We keep learning new things and continue to work on doing things better. This year was probably our best trip.
This summer our goal was to visit some areas we knew from previous experience had some outstanding rides (
Top 5 rides we repeated from previous trips (“CT” stands for Colorado Trail)
Monarch Crest/CT/Silver Creek/Rainbow (between Poncha Springs and
401/Snodgrass (Crested Butte area) this is a fun ride linking these trails together
Mid Mountain/Wasatch Crest (
Top 3 New Rides
CT Hotel Draw to Junction Creek (near
Biggest Death March Ride
Roaring Judy/Cement Mountain/Deadmans Gulch/Doctors Park near
Tie between Ehchilada/Porcupine (1rst picture) and Kokopelli (Marys, Horsethief, Lions, Troy Moore Fun 2nd picture) The Vernal UT desert riding was fun but it is not in the same league as these 2 rides.
Chicken Enchilada at Montana Ale Works (thanks Eric…that was great!)
Best Bicycle Shop
Absolute Bike Salida CO….outstanding inventory and service
Top 2 Tails for tread
Mid Mountain (
Funniest Sounding Trail Names
“More Hoes” and “ (More Pimps” in the McCoy trailhead system near
Not having my son David and nephew Alex make it out to ride this summer. We had a great time with them the past few years. But this summer they decided to take some classes at PSU…jeez where are their priorities? And where does David get this from? Hope you guys can make it out next summer. We really missed your humor.
Person that made us laugh the most
Without a doubt…Scott Samplin…looking forward to riding more with you buddy. In the first picture he is sticking his leg out when we begin our downhill. The second picture is him just goofing around.
Best Nickname “Tall Horse” given to Dave Pontzer (pictured below) by Scott Samplin after seeing 6’4’’
Dave on top of his new XL 29er… a pretty imposing sight! We used to and still call him "Pooh Bear"
and we won't go into how he got that nickname. But whatever you call him...the boy can ride!
Best Alpine Lakes
Without a doubt Crested Butte particularly on the 401 trail. Some of them were over your head.
Second place CT Molas Pass heading southwest on the trail
Best Aspen Groves
In addition to the aspen groves there were excellent groves on Snodgrass (Crested Butte), Deercreek (Crested Butte), and Mid-Mountain (Park City)
Most Heinous Hike-a-Bike
Roaring Judy to
“Best” Dressed Riders
“Tall Horse” and Terri showing up with matching jerseys two days in a row….and did it intentionally…awe wasn’t that cute. At least it was better than the “belly shirts” he used to wear out on the trail. And look at the size of that belly in that picture…it looks like he is about 6 months pregnant.
Top 3 Gritty Performances
1) Ted Hackman on Hotel Draw to Bolam Ted is from the
First picture is Ted early in the ride followed by the second picture of him later in the ride
1) Yoda on Hotel Draw to Junction Creek. The first 20 miles was a suffer-fest for him but he kept going. Then he got his 2nd wind on the next twenty miles into Junction Creek. (I didn’t take a picture of him suffering…a rare moment of compassion)
2) Terri Rudy (pictured below)….she did great on all her rides and has less than a year of experience. To be able to do those rides, particularly the Monarch Crest ride, was truly remarkable. What’s even more remarkable is that she can put up with “Tall Horse”
Curly Lake (Near
St Elmo Tin Cup (Near
CT just north of
401 (Crested Butte) I love this place. I’ve probably done this ride 10 times and I never get tired of it.
Largest Snow Field crossing
St Elmo Tin Cup (Near
Longest Ride in Mileage
CT Hotel Draw to Junction Creek at 40 miles and 99% singletrack
Hermosa Creek (Near
Bear Trail in the
Wasatch Crest going north
I didn’t include any pictures because I was having too much fun riding them!
Most Exposure (“Oh no...I better not fall here!!)
Porcupine Rim (only if you do something stupid and don’t control your speed)
Kokopelli (Marys Loop)…it probably is no coincidence that one of Kevin’s favorite songs is “Close to the Edge” by Yes
In the words of John Lennon “I get by with a little help from my friends”…well in my case I need a lot of help and some great friends pitched in to help out that I would like to thank.
Scott Samplin….advice on photography
Yoda helping pull up my bike on rocky ledges
Eric and Kevin taking care of my bike..... “stay away from the tools Howie”
Kevin driving the truck so my back won’t bother me and helping out with the RV
All of the dedicated volunteers that work to keep the trails open and in good shape. In particular I would like to thank the good people in the Colorado Trails foundation.
My wife Joanne for being a good sport and letting me take these trips
Although there is a certain sense of sadness that the trip is over I am very grateful to have such a great opportunity to do this trip. We had great weather, rode some outstanding trails, and saw some spectacular scenery and were able to share the experiences with some great folks. This was the first time both Eric and Yoda were able to join us out west and it was great to be able to ride with them. Both of them were a tremendous help on and off the trail.. One of my greatest experiences on this trip was to see their expressions of awe and joy when they were blown away by seeing some incredible vista or some pure alpine lake. Those experiences are truly priceless and will be remembered for the rest of their lives. Even though this is my 14th trip I still feel the same way when I come upon such beauty displayed in God’s creation. It is truly awesome to see Him reveal his power, beauty, and majesty in things like crashing waterfalls, spectacular vistas, beautiful wildflowers, rushing rivers, pristine alpine lakes, and high alpine tundra meadows. I feel thankful and humbled to have the privilege of being able to see His handiwork and share it with such good folks. I hope our blog encourages you to get out and explore some of these beautiful places. They are priceless treasures that we need to insure remain open to mountain biking. I also would like to share these experiences with more of you next summer and will send you out the itinerary for the summer of 2010 as soon as I put it together. I hope you can join us. Keep in touch.
Howie...aka "The Harpseal"
(a nickname my son gave me. He was quick to point out that the Harpseal has the highest blubber content of all the seals. Now that I can't catch him anymore on the climbs or for that matter the downhills... he can get away with calling me that!)