DAY 5 - (Failure Friday) Crested Butte to Crested Butte

The next day I putzed around until noon or so. Because of the day and night before, I felt like I was gonna hurl all morning (clean living). I started up through Mt. Crested Butte towards Schofield Pass (6 miles) and realized from early on that my knees were in no shape for the rest of this journey (to Aspen, over Independence Pass, Fremont Pass, and then Loveland Pass.). They were suffering from too much inflammation. I decided to turn back and stay in Crested Butte that night.

There was an advantage to quitting that I wasn't aware of until later that day. That afternoon the remnants of hurricane Lester (from the Pacific) engulfed the entire state of Colorado in a shroud of gray, wet misery. I'm glad that I didn't camp at Schofield Pass that night. The wet weather lasted through the weekend and Monday; very uncharacteristic for Colorado. By Sunday night there was snow on all the mountain passes.

That afternoon, feeling disappointed and a bit depressed, I called Elizabeth, my loving girl friend. She said she'd be glad to come and get me the next day. I stayed another night in the Forest Queen.

On Saturday she drove my pick-up truck ('78 Chevy stepside, "Blue") the 7 hours down to Crested Butte. We spent Saturday night in Kristiana's ($48 a night bed & breakfast), since the Forest Queen was booked. We drove home on Sunday.

[Kristiana's was a pretty good place to stay, especially if you plan on getting up early every morning to go riding. There was plenty of hustle and bustle starting at about 7:00 AM. A few too many pretentious yupsters for my taste, but that's just me.]

I was, to say the least, a bit disappointed, but knew that I had probably done the right thing. If I'd had a few days to rest up In Crested Butte I probably could have finished my journey. I had a great time, though, and all my friends were very impressed with what I did accomplish.


Advice and Regrets

Before doing an extended mountain ride, make sure that you're in good shape. Especially the muscles around your knees. Since my bike had been stolen, I hadn't ridden in over a month. You might be a little modest about the mileage you try to cover, too. Gauge your mileage against how much climbing the day holds. My daily mileages were 56 miles, 53 miles, 67 miles, and 71 miles.

Crested Butte is a mountain biker's paradise. Everyone that lives there rides one (or so it seems). It's like being in an old cowpoke town, but instead of horses in front of every store front there are mountain bikes. I was told that Bikes don't get stolen in Crested Butte, although someone will occasionaly borrow one.

Drive to Crested Butte with your MTB. Spend a few nights at the Forest Queen (creekside!) and explore the multitude of trails around Crested Butte. That's my advice and I plan to take it soon. It appears that we may get an indian summer this fall in CO and I think I'll take advantage of it.

I should mention the camping in Crested Butte. I was told that there was a lot if it available near town. The best spot sounded like it was six miles northwest of town along the Slate River. There's plenty of space and it's free. Just pick a spot along the river.




sleeping bag
two pads (blue thinsulite and another with 1" foam)
down pillow
small stove (unused)

2 pair of riding gloves
shoes (I used an old pair of hiking sneakers)
2 pairs of shorts (unpadded hiking)
3 t-shirts
1 long sleeve shirt
1 sweatshirt
1 cheap nylon rain jacket
1 cheap pair nylon rain pants (unused)
1 cheap orange poncho
1 pair of fingered gloves
1 pair of Pearl Izumi "lobster" gloves (just in case)
1 pair of jeans (not used)
1 pair of polypro leg warmers (not used)
a small towel

toiletries as deemed necessary
lotion and other sundries (kleenex, Visine, Blistex, etc.)
lip junk
insect repellent (Cutter's)

a fork and spoon
one person does not need a plate

I forgot my bottle opener, but found the back of
a Blackburn rack where it attaches to the end of
the chainstays works quite well.

pot scrubber

mini-mag flashlight with clip to hang in the tent
Cateye Halogen light
spare batteries

spare inner tube

(All of the following fit in my underseat pack)
cone wrenches
crank tool
free-wheel tool
chain rivet tool
multi-headed screwdriver
small vice grip (5")
allen wrenches
patch kit
2 plastic tire levers
small bottle of Tri-Flow (in a zip lock!)
a rag

a few 1 gal and 1 qt. zip locks
  (2 for my feet in the rain)
3 heavy duty garbage bags
  (raincovers and a pannier ground cloth)
2 small (4 gal) garbage bags


Some mileages are approximate, but pretty darn close. In some cases they include short side trips (uner 1/2 mile). '?' on elevation means an educated guess.
  • DAY 1 South Boulder to Empire (56 miles)

    • 19 miles - junction with highway 6 - bicycles prohibited (~5800')
    • 22 miles - junction highway 40, go right past convenience store
    • 27 miles - Genessee and onto 70 for ~2 miles - "Sleeper" house
    • 29 miles - El Rancho exit - back onto 40 - another store (7670')
    • 41 miles - Idaho Springs - hot springs, motels (8100')
    • 54 miles - turnoff to Empire - ugh!, up a hill
    • 56 miles - Mt. Meadows campground (~8600')

  • DAY 2 Empire to Breckenridge (53 miles)

    • 11 miles - Georgetown - get on I-70 (8500')
    • 14 miles - Silver Plume - get off I-70 (9120')
    • 17 miles - Bakersville - get back on I-70
    • 21.5 miles - Loveland Basin exit - get off I-70
    • 24.7 miles - Loveland Pass - feel like turning around? (11,990')
    • 33 miles - Keystone - not much here (9200')
    • 49 miles - Breckenridge - yeah! first brewpub - where to stay? (9600')
    • 53 miles - camped overnight - I don't recommend camping here (~9700' ?)

  • DAY 3 Breckenridge to Cottonwood Hot Springs (62 miles)

    • 3 miles - start of Hossier Pass climb - ate breakfast? (9800' ?)
    • 7 miles - Hoosier Pass (11,551')
    • 18 miles - Fairplay - the Mustard Seed for feed (9950')
    • 38 miles - start Trout Creek Pass climb (8800' ?)
    • 41 miles - Trout Creek Pass - a snap from here to 'Buenie' (9346')
    • 54 miles - intersect highway 24
    • 56 miles - Buena Vista (7954')
    • 62 miles - Cottonwood Hot Springs - you'll love it here ($39) (8100' ?)

  • DAY 4 Cottonwood Hot Springs to Crested Butte (71 miles)

    • 14.2 miles - Cottonwood Pass - pat yourself on the back (12,126')
    • 29 miles - Taylor Park - a recreational park (????')
    • 54 miles - Almont - stop for bingo and pot luck supper on Thurs (8010')
    • 71 miles - Crested Butte - Yeah! another brewpub, the best (8885'). Did you notice you climbed 800' in the last 17 miles?

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