June 16: Aspen to Crested Butte on 2 wheels

Not a whole lot of writing to be said here, just pictures to update.  Christine and I came up with this grand plan to bike from Aspen to Crested Butte on a Saturday then back on a Sunday.  We knew it would be a big undertaking, but we significantly underestimated just how big it would be.  One day I’ll learn to overestimate mountain undertakings.

After staying the night in Edwards, we drove into Aspen in the morning and tuned up our bikes to prepare for the big day.  Then we proceeded to drive up to the American Lakes Trailhead where we would begin our undertaking.  We thought that having a couple of miles of paved road to warm up on would be a wise choice.

In about a mile we were off the road and climbing up Express Creek Road.  The riding was fun and technical but getting increasingly steep.  We stopped after a creek crossing as we looked to our right and were greeted by a stunning view.

Our first views shortly after we got on the lower portion of Express Creek Road

Christine and I enjoy the first views. Did not enjoy the thought that we were going to have to cross those mountains.

Getting higher and greeted with an amazing view of the 14,265 foot Castle Peak.

Looking at the above picture of Castle Peak, a general view of our return route is available.  The summit of Castle is the highest ridge in the picture and we returned just underneath that mountain.

Christine rides up the road just below Taylor Pass.

Christine doing work.

There was a lot of hike-a-bike involved. A LOT.

Christine on the summit of Taylor Pass, 11,928 feet.

After all of the hike a bike and riding, we made it to the summit of Taylor Pass in 2:40 minutes.  We were greeted with amazing views in all directions and a network of alpine lakes flowing through the basin to our south.

Christine rides with the Sawatch Range in the background.  Home to many of Colorado’s 14ers.

Reaching Taylor Pass with Castle in the background.

Painting it up for the camera.

Myself at the top of Taylor Pass.

After enjoying some time up top, we headed down to one of the lakes for lunch.  We ended up sitting on the edge of what we termed “God’s infinity pool.”  The lake fell out into a slow downhill stream overlooking the Sawatch Range.

This should be Y-Rider’s promotional poster next year.

We wrapped up lunch and excitedly headed on our way.  At this point, we knew we had to go over Star Pass but didn’t think too much of it.  Just had to follow along the slopes of a few mountains and then up and over.  We were wrong.  Very Wrong.

An absolutely beautiful trail. Although at this point in time we’re so bonked we definitely weren’t enjoying it.

Not the greatest picture, but this is the view from Star Pass. 12,330 feet.

5.5 miles later with another 800 feet of gain or so and we reached the top of Star Pass.  At this point in time we were exhausted, but thrilled to be done with the climbing.  At this point in time we hopped on the 400 trail and free fell into Crested Butte.  We were so ready to be done, I didn’t stop to take any pictures or such.  Just rode as fast as we could.

We eventually reached the neighborhoods south of Crested Butte and completely bonked.  We took the road into town but it seemed to be a utopia that we could never get closer too.  I’m not sure I can think of any other time I’ve been so tired.  At this point, we were debating if it was going to possible for us to ride back the next day.

First day totals:
Miles: 31 (Garmin died going into town)
Elevation Gain: 4,024 feet (8,910 to 12,362 feet)
Total Time: 8.5 hours

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