Crested Butte Redux–Mountain Biking and Vanlife

IMG_20200713_143708_508Summer nights in Crested Butte are most excellent!After resting for a day in Gunnison and stocking up on supplies I made my way back to Crested Butte to spend a week at a spot I had previously camped at in 2018. I ended up having a good time in 2018 and you can view that stay here.My campsite is located at the top of the maintained part of Brush Creek road and there is a large open dispersed camping area. There is plenty of room for all types of campers and due to its proximity to town, awesome riding, and 4 wheeling, it is a very popular place to camp so expect some neighbors. If you have a 4×4 camping setup it would be great to push up the 4wd road past the creek crossing and stay at one of the many incredible dispersed sites along the way to Pearl Pass.IMG_20200710_110919Climbing is tough getting up the start of the singletrack on the way to the top of Teocalli Ridge.In 2018 I got my ass kicked on this trail. It was my first high elevation ride of the year and I bonked so hard I could not enjoy the downhill. After getting rested up from the 195 mile ride with Joe and Kristen I was feeling pretty strong and ready for another attempt.IMG_20200710_113347The wild flowers were poppin! I was feeling strong at this point but there were still some steep spots that required you to push your bike. About 2/3 of the way up I was pushing my bike, huffing and puffing and I look back and see a middle aged couple rocketing up the climb that I could barely walk. They zip past me and say hi, I notice a whirring sound that reminded me of and RC motor. Ha! They were on e-bikes! Ok my spirit wasn’t completely crushed after all.

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At the top I took a break and busted out a gluten free PB and J. Man these taste good but ended up being a bad idea for my finicky digestive system. The views from the ridge are spectacular and inspired me to ride Perl Pass the next day.IMG_20200711_102329After a great ride on Teocalli Ridge the previous day I was ready to attack Pearl Pass next. This ride has some historical significance and hold the oldest Mountain bike event in the world the Pearl Pass tour from Crested Butte to Aspen that has been a tradition for 48 years!

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Picture from the 3rd annual event in 1978

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I wasn’t riding to the town of Aspen but still wanted to make it to the top of the 12,705 foot pass then head back to camp. On the way up I ran into some jeepers and had a good conversation with a gal that was waiting for her husband and friends to get to the top and head back. One of the jeeps radioed in and said they had to turn around about 200 yards from the summit due to a snow bank. When I got up there and saw it for myself the snow bank looked manageable so I drug my bike across the off camber snow bank. Briefly after getting back on dry trail I encountered another snow bank that was just as easy to cross as the last one.IMG_20200711_131211I was thrilled to get to the top of this 12,700 foot pass. Lots of other jeepers, motos, and ATV’s were not able to enjoy the summit this day. I felt kind of special.IMG_20200713_143419_290

Breathtaking views of the Elk Mountains all around. The Elk Mountain range is one of my favorite ranges in Colorado.

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After a good 10 days of camping at the Brush Creek dispersed campsite I made my way back into Gunnison to resupply and noticed a post from one of my other nomad friends Ramon. I know Ramon from riding at the bike parts and in New Mexico. I messaged him and we decided to meet up in Gunnison and catch up then later ride Doctor Park.

Doctor Park is considered to be one of the best rides in Crested Butte. Ramon’s wife Linda was kind enough to shuttle us to the top of Bear Creek Trail. The ride started off excellent with mellow descending along the creek and through meadows.

When we reached the top of the climb to Doctor Park a thunderstorm moved in and parked right on top of us. It was scary to hear the thunder ecohing right above us. We waited for about a half hour for the rain to let up but it never did so we decided to go for it. Man did it rain on us. Lucly I had brought my rainjacket bur Ramon did not. It rained so hard the trail turned to a stream and even hailed on us.

We finished the ride with big grins on our faces. Although this was not the Dr. Park experience I was looking for we still had a blast and completed the ride safely. Ramon and Linda invited me to their winter home in San Felipe Mexico that I just may take them up on!

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