Greetings from the "Geeks Garage" in Steamboat Springs! My goal of getting acclimitized seems to be fairing well. After spending a night at 7400 feet at Flaming Gorge (and doing two short trail rides) we drove east to Steamboat yesterday and settled in at the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, elevation 8,000 or so.
Today was my big ride aimed to test my ability to climb and breathe at higher elevations. Kristin and I drove to the Steamboat ski resort and I set out on bike at a base elevation of 6900 feet and climbed, climbed, and climbed to the very summit of the mountain at 10,380 feet. It was a unrelenting 7-mile climb on loose, rocky jeep roads but, surprisingly, I was able to breathe with relative ease and never walked a step. I saw lots of families descending the lower trails on rental bikes, then I was in no-man's land on the upper half of the mountain, far above the gondola's upper terminus.
The top of the trail brought me to the Continental Divide, a place I hadn't ever set foot before. From there I descended a narrow ribbon of singletrack surrounded by boundless meadows of waist-high wildflowers. The town and the ski resort base were but shiny specks in the distance. A little more climbing dropped me into yet more pristine singletrack, this time through walls of beautiful aspens. The trails were not so technical to merit their black diamond rating on the maps, but I enjoyed them nonetheless.
All in all, it was a 16.8 mile ride with over 3400 feet of climbing. The Moots is purring, my legs feel fresh, and my lungs are functioning as designed. That's about all I could ask for.
You can follow the route I took on this map if you'd like.
I ascended on Zig Zag and Storm Peak Challenge, then descended Pete's Wicked, Duster, Moonlight, Huffman's, Valley View, Sitz, and Yoo-Hoo. The whole ride too me a little over 3 hours including stoppage time and photos. 2:45 of actual pedal time.
I was told that it would take 4+ hours, so yeah, I feel good.
Tomorrow it's onward to Winter Park for a night, then to Leadville. The weather has been great so far. Everyday in the upper 80's and not a drop of rain so far.
Kristin enjoyed a bit of singletrack at Flaming Gorge on Sunday, then went running there on Monday morning and she ran/hiked a pretty arduous 9 mile route at Steamboat today while I biked. And nobody got eaten by bears... so it was a good day.