Got news today that my brother is moving back from Boulder, CO to the NY/NJ area where we're from -- the things some people are willing to do for money never ceases to amaze me -- so while it's a shame we won't get to see him in August, this made planning our trip around the Leadville 100 race much easier. And dare I say a bit less stressful too. It would have been nice to go for a ride with him, but I'm glad we can stick to the western slope and save the Front Range for another time.
We've been bouncing around different routes for a while now, but have finally settled on a plan and much to Kristin's pleasure, we're not going to be changing camp every night. Both of our trips last year (Utah and TransRockies) had us spend a night in the same place only twice and we don't want to do that again unless necessary.
So, here's the basic bird's-eye view of the itinerary.
08/01 - Leave in the evening to drive to Flaming Gorge National Recreational Area in the northeast corner of Utah. It's a 14 hour drive and we should arrive early afternoon on Saturday.Drive through the night -- Denny's at 4am!!!
08/02 - Set up camp and get some hiking or a short ride in on the mountain bike. We're not going to bring our kayaks this time; we'll rent them if we get the itch and settle for increased fuel economy instead (driving to/from Lake Powell last year with a couple of boats on the road killed the mileage on our Element).Tent camping.
08/03 - Get some mountain biking in. Flaming Gorge has a 10-mile singletrack trail that goes along the Canyon Rim that I am dying to ride, not to mention some other trails too. We'll see what the weather is like and how much we want to ride versus hiking or going out on the water. Jet ski rental? Tent camping.
08/04 - Break camp and drive 4 hours to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Hoping to rent a small rustic cabin at Strawberry Hot Springs for two nights and get some chill-out time done in town (visit the Moots factory to see where my baby was made) and do some riding. Cabin.
08/05 - Going to get a big climbing ride in at Steamboat's ski resort. With any luck (and weather cooperation) I'm going to follow a clockwise route from the base (6900') up Zig-Zag to Storm Peak Challenge to the summit (10,372') and descend on Pete's Wicked Trail over to Valley view and Yoo-Hoo. Steamboat offers lift-served mountain biking, but why in the hell would I want to spend money for a lift when my pedals work perfectly fine? Just kidding, DH'ers. Anyway, this will give me a chance to see how my acclimitization is faring. Cabin.
08/06 - Say goodbye to Steamboat and drive 2 hours to Winter Park, "Mountain Bike USA" as I see they like to call themselves down there. Websites for the town boast "600 miles" of mountain bike trails and it seems like all of them are very, very high in the sky. Probably get a short spin in to stretch out from the previous day's effort, but mostly will just do some hiking and relaxing and maybe some photography. Tent camping... probably.
08/07 - Relaxed sight-seeing drive to the town of Leadville (elevation 10,200'), less than 2 hours away. Going to check out the town and probably not do much else. Staying at Silver King Inn downtown.
08/08 - Staying off my feet and resting for the big race. Maybe do a drive around to some of the other sights, like the Maroon Bells which isn't too far away. Going to get to bed very, very early. Hotel.
08/09 - Race day. I believe the race starts at 6am and I know the hotel starts serving breakfast at 3:30am. Have no idea what to expect but I would like one of the sub-12:00 belt buckles so hopefully I'll have a beer in my hand by 6pm. Hotel.
08/10 - A long, 19 hour drive back home. The most direct route will take us west past Grand Junction, CO and right past Moab. I'd be tempted to stop and have Kristin drive me to the top of Porcupine Rim, but if not for the time-crunch to get home, the fact that my legs will be thrashed from the previous day, then the fact that it will likely be 110 degrees. Either way, we'll zip right on by Moab and continue north through Salt Lake City and home. Sometime.