(Photo by Marcel Sloother - Okearthbike.com)
Well after spending last summer on injured reserve and not being able to do any of the high altitude epic rides in Colorado, I am finally getting my chance. Now I hope I'm ready for it. The ride is often dubbed "Monarch Crest", although the actual Monarch Crest trail is only about 1/3rd of the total 35+ miles.
The ride starts with a shuttle from Poncha Springs up to the top of Monarch Pass. Yes that Monarch Pass, near Monarch ski resort. Yes, the one at 11,300 feet. The good news is that despite starting at 11,300 feet of elevation, you get to climb immediately out of the parking lot topping out near 12k feet. The air will be thin, the heart will be pumping and my mind will be filled with gorgeous sights that I've never gotten to experience. Good trade in my opinion.
We're booked on the 10a.m. shuttle, which means we should be on the trail by about 10:30 and hopefully off the peaks a little after noon to avoid lightning (a serious concern when you're riding the tallest ridge around on an aluminum lightning rod bike). This is technically a shuttle, and while we get 6k downhill we'll pedal some 2k uphill and most of it at over 10,000 feet in elevation. We'll see how that goes...
I'm going to be dragging along my DSLR and a couple of lenses, plus enough food/water/supplies to get myself back home. I'm sure its going to be a long, grueling day in the saddle but I can't wait.
Full report and pics will be up sometime Friday I'm sure.