Weekend Adventure: Mountain Biking in CO

Two tanks of gas, two nights on the road, 20 miles of mountain trails and no JetBoil made for an thrilling, yet relaxing weekend.

We left out late after work on Saturday and set up car camp on the National Forest Access Road Cherry Creek. We were greeted by a breath taking view in the morning. This is the first of what will be our mini vacation series.

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Of course with no JetBoil, that means no cooking on the road, so, Sunday morning, we ventured out into Mancos, CO to Absolute Bakery and Cafe, a simply splendid cafe. It’s nestled in a century old building, which used to be a bank, and sits above the then rushing Mancos river. The interior design only adds to the fun, quirky-ness of the shop. To be honest, it’s a tiny space, but well organized. Almost all of the tables were full when we arrived and they stayed that way long after we left, I’m sure.

Their business plan is part of the ‘slow-food’ movement, where nothing is rushed and everything is perfect–and it is true. The food was inexplicably delicious as was the delightful coffee. I think I only had three cups. Or maybe four.

And we were off!

Phil’s World: Cortez, CO

We drove to Phil’s World near Mesa Verde. The snow-tipped San Juan mountain range was the back drop for much of the ride. Now to the ride. I ought to give some context. White Mesa (in New Mexico near the Ojito Wilderness) is my absolute favorite ride. Ever. If you are familiar with White Mesa, then you’ll know it’s rather technical in some sections. mtbproject.com (Mountain Bike Project) lists it as mostly moderate with some advanced variations. In contrast, Phil’s World is almost nothing like it. Flowy, smooth single track that is most known for the section called Rib Cage. Roller coaster style, each drop throws you into the next uphill with a seamless transition into clean berms at the top.

We skipped most of the other loops and rode straight up Saddle to the Abajo overlook. We worked our way to RIBS. But, stopped at the overlook long enough to give a bike part to the trail god: a 9 speed, KMC X9-SL gold chain link hung on the nose.

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Three helpings of RIBS later, and several bad puns, we headed back to the trailhead. On the plus side, neither of us ate it. Ha, get it?…

Durango, CO

One of the not so bright ideas, going to Durango on a weekend. Much like any other small town in Colorado, Durango is a hot tourist spot, especially for bikers. We spent our fair share of being a tourist in local bike shops and the like. Overall, it as an uneventful day as we decided to hang around a park near the river and then took to the mountains for refuge. All the same, we enjoyed being around each other and chit chatting.

Eventually, we made our way back into town for dinner at a local brewery–but of course, they are all packed with a 45 min+ wait time. Scratch that idea. So we made our way Fired Up Pizzeria on Main Street, and as we suspected, they had local beers on tap. Lemon Rocula- cheese pizza topped with arugula and Parmesan flakes.

Aztec, NM

After a long day of hot, tourist-inundated Durango, we returned southward to Aztec, New Mexico where we made camp for the night. With a not so early start, we rode Alien Run, but only the short loop. After some heavy rains, and some romping around in the mud, the trail was horrendous. By the time we rode, the trail was dried to a crisp and made for a terrible loop–especially after riding Phil’s World. The sun was hot. We had no coffee. We were done. We will be back though, when conditions are better, and the New Mexico summer isn’t on the verge of melting our tires before noon.

Burque, NM

All in all, it was a nice way to start our mini vacations for the summer. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures, and don’t forget to leave comments or suggestions. Email: moriah.carty@gmail.com

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