#BucketRide: Telluride to Durango
Posted: Aug 25 2014
Do you have rides that you swear you'll do before you kick the bucket one day? It may be a killer 100-mile mountain trek through Utah, a sweet sprint up a canyon road in Maryland or just getting on your old cruiser and biking to your favorite far-away brewery. Introducing Club Ride’s #BucketRide. In this first installment, Club Ride’s CEO Scott Montgomery shares his unreal mountain bike trip from Telluride to Durango, remembering that it’s easy to get caught up deadlines, budgets, and endless emails, and taking trips reminds us of what really matters—family, friends, clean air and the big sky above. We hope you will tell us about your adventures. Here is to all the amazing rides still to be ridden.
Too many places to go and too much to do seems to always be the same story in my family. But last winter my wife Lori put the hammer down and started surfing for a great summer mountain bike ride. She stumbled upon Hermosa Tours who listed a trip from Telluride to Durango, all on sweet singletrack. It was the perfect fit and with one click, we were going. All we had to do was dream about our beloved mountain bikes until July, which turns out, was not as easy as we thought.
Finally July arrived, and our host Glen Shoemaker picked us up at 7 a.m. at the best bike store in Durango—2nd Ave Sports. Gary Provencher and his staff loaded us up with all the last-minute essentials the night before. Coffee in hand, dressed in a Vibe jersey and Mountain Surf shorts, and with a cooler full of provisions, we headed north in the van for a drive through the gorgeous countryside encircled by the San Juan mountains.
As we headed into Telluride, we took a left to start our ride on the Jud Wiebe Trail that snakes around the hills above Telluride. At 8,700 feet the air is thin, and even for a family that lives in Sun Valley at 5,840 feet, we sucked wind. But the climbing was excellent, the views were even better and it was good to get the legs turning. By lunchtime we were sitting in downtown Telluride, wondering why we had not booked a swanky lunch reservation. Instead we ate our packed sandwiches and headed down the San Juan trail along the river westward, reminding ourselves that we needed to come back to Telluride soon.
The next day, we headed south, taking in the Lizard Head rock that would seemingly always be in view for the next few days. This day would prove the slowest as we encountered some long slogs up marshy singletrack that at times was so deep that we’d have to walk through the mud. I tested out a new Tech-T and my favorite Rumble Short and Air Liner Innerwear Bib Short—perfect for a long day. The wildflowers were spectacular and as we passed from creek to singletrack to meadow, we did not see anyone all day.
Over breakfast our leader warned, “Get an early start. You don’t want to be on the top of the pass past 2 p.m.” So we hurriedly swallowed our breakfast and tore down our tents to get an early start.
Sporting the Switch jersey and Pin Rack Knicker, we headed up for the better part of three hours. The climbing was long and steady with views of meadows and our now watchful Lizard Head, mixed with a few patches of old snow and amazing hillside creeks. Blackhawk Pass was marked with a wooden sign at 11,538 feet and a pesky Marmot exited his burrow to congratulate us for our accomplishment—though we soon realized that his polite greeting was fueled by hunger for Clif Bars and Honey Stinger waffles.
My fearless son Clyde tore off shredding down the hour-long descent to our third camp site with steep rough sections and plush pine forest singletrack that smelled as good as it looked. As we rolled into camp, we realized the once clear blue sky had turned into a dark rumbling mass of clouds. Just as Glen had forewarned, it proceeded to dump for the next three hours as we sat warm, dry and tired.
The trail was still soaked from the previous day’s downpour. We followed Hermosa Creek’s twists and turns and it was a steady climb flowing back towards Durango. Admittedly our legs were fatigued, though by noon the singletrack was firm and the sun was warm without being hot. We hammered all day, only breaking for snacks to keep the legs churning.
July is perfect in the mountains of Colorado—comfortable daytime temperatures in the 70s to low 80s were standard. I also got the chance to test some innovative new arm shield concepts to block UV rays (and I did come up with quite a few new product ideas for 2016!). Of course there were hiccups (my 15-year-old son crashing over sharp rocks and predictable afternoon monsoons), but overall it was an incredible trip. It’s good to shut down the electronic tools and sit by the campfire each evening exhausted and relaxed. Life is divine. Ride Daily.