Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kenosha Pass

It's peak leaf viewing season in the mountains and what better place than Kenosha Pass.  It's one of those quintessential fall mountain bike rides and I'd never done it before.

Despite being a Friday the parking lot was a zoo and at first we couldn't even get a parking space but lots of people stopped for a quick photo then moved on so soon we were able to snatch one up.

We rode for about 6.4 miles out then turned around and came back (about 3-3 1/4 hours of riding).  You can ride 12 miles up to Georgia Pass and drop down the other side into Breckenridge then spend the night and come back the next day or arrange a car shuttle but I hate driving and was happy to do the out and back.  The first 4 miles or so are mostly rideable singletrack.  You start out climbing for a mile through woods and golden alleyways of aspens.

After a mile you reach this viewpoint.

Then you get 2 miles of 'wheee!!!' descent.  It was hard not to stop every other minute to take photos, seems like I left so many beautiful views and potential pictures behind but sometimes you have to just ride and enjoy the wind in your hair and the yellow tornado swirlies of aspen leaves whirling around you on the trail.  I did stop for a few photos though.

After 4-4 1/2 miles the trail got fussier, sections with roots and rock gardens that required some hike-a-biking.  Normally I would have tried to ride more than I did but I didn't want to crack my skull open with DOCNA Champs next week.  As it was I had one of those stupid slow motion topple over from a standstill falls at the top of the descent and I think it's because I couldn't get out of my clipless pedals in time.  I got new shoes and pedals this spring due to screaming foot pain where I have all the surgical pins after rides brought on by too small shoes and too small a surface area to the pedal.  The way you release from the new pedals is a bit different from the old.  It's easier than the old pedals but in a pinch I'm still trying to release the old way without thinking about it and it doesn't work at all.  I skinned my knee and twisted my back a little but nothing serious.  Anyway, after about 6 miles you cross a road and start climbing again on a trail in heavy woods.  Six miles up and you're at Georgia Pass but it was steep and I knew I had a lot of climbing left to get home as it was so we went up the trail a bit then turned around.  Next year-Georgia Pass!  This year, well, let's say I made it back.  Just.  I live at 5400 feet or so and Kenosha Pass is at 10,000 feet and it was a hot day so it was for sure a challenging ride for me.  But so magical during peak leaf changing season, it was worth every bead of sweat and aching quad.

Until next year...


  1. Oh gods, Elayne, that blue sky and golden aspens are drop-dead gorgeous!

    Funny (sorry) about falling over while not moving. Goes along with all those other embarrassing stories that people have about how they got hurt-- "tripping over a sidewalk" and that ilk--and now you have "standing still". Heh.

  2. Wow, its just so beautiful!! When my husband first changed his foot petals, he was on a busy street and stopped to turn into the neighborhood. He couldnt get his foot out and tumbled down the hill. No one even stopped to see if he was ok. He was , well except his pride. Hope your backs ok. Diana

  3. I wasn't completely at a standstill but I was stopping and trying to put my foot down on steep rocky bit.

    Seems like clipless pedals and stupid crashes go hand in hand. I don't know a single cyclist that hasn't had at least a few incidents. Your husband's sounds like a particularly bad one though Diana, I'm glad he was o.k.

  4. WOW, those yellow hills as far as the eye can see are really something. Cool!