Riding the Monarch Crest Trail

So September was ridiculously busy for me, but I thought I’d share my favorite adventure during that month: riding the Monarch Crest Trail. This trail is awesome in its own right, but being on an upgraded Hazel (thanks again Golden Bike Shop) and riding that far above treeline during sunset really made this a great ride.

Steve on trail in the fading light

Steve and I left Gunnison around 5pm, which was a bit later that we had intended. We were really nervous about the light situation when we finally got on our bikes and had left a car at Poncha Pass for the shuttle. Luckily, it didn’t take long for us to get above treeline from the summit of Monarch Pass, where we were rewarded with some of the best views I have had in Colorado in a while.

The Southern Sawatch during Sunset
Yours truly enjoying the great single track. Photo: Steve

I was extremely excited to be riding on my bike for the first time since April, so I killed it on the uphills while Steve tried hard to keep up. The uphills turned into an awesome rolling trail before one of the longest descents I have ever ridden.

The shadows grew longer….
Me taking a quick break before the long descent. Photo: Steve
Last rays of the sun before the descent

We rode fast and hard on the non-technical descent only having to squint to see when the trees grew thick. We left the singletrack just as it got too dark with 14 miles of railroad-grade dirt road to Poncha Pass when I noticed Steve’s rear tire was flat. I went ahead riding mostly by moonlight to the car, drove back to him, and then drove all the way back to Denver. It was a great day in the Gunnison/Salida area with Steve and Sarah (as always), and I found myself back there only two weeks later, which I’ll share with you next time.


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