Welcome to another pic heavy installment of Airborne Porne! All pics are free for use with originals in full form, 3648x2736 on Flickr. The detail in the pictures are incredible and worth a look if you have the time. Click on the picture in the thread and it will take you to Flickr where you can right click on the picture and select original form.
This weekends trail was my first attempt at a trail in southwest CO called Telegraph. The Telegraph system is part of a huge complex of trails that wind in and around the mountains of Durango, CO with a common road splitting the northern and southern trails called Horse Gulch. What did I learn from this ride? With no doubt, 7308 feet in elevation had me humbled in a hurry. The trail we chose was the Meadow/Cuchillo loop due to our fitness levels. Our original goal was to take the Raider Ridge loop, but once we got to the turn off we realized that we just didn't have the lungs to tackle such a steep, lengthy climb.
Horse_Gulch TH by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
Uphill by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
Uphill2 by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
I knew there would be some climbing involved, but had no clue it would be three miles of non-stop climbing well past 800 feet in those three miles. I won't lie, I was having a hard time keeping up a decent pace until we got to the Meadow turn off, as was my riding buddy, Jeremy.
Looking_Back by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
We both struggled with the elevation, but I will say the gearing on the bike was spot on. We finally made it to the turn-off and decided to take a break before continuing on with the climb. Thankfully, we were not the only ones sucking wind. I have to say, the people on the trails we met were extremely nice and forgiving to us "newbies" for being so slow.
Klein_Airborne by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
Back on the trail after a much needed break, the trail wound in and out of the brush to the south side of the canyon and then flowed back north. It was a bit on the rocky side, and it was quite entertaining to hear the rocks move under the bike as we rode the trail - this bike sounds so much different than the Giant - and that is a good thing. The views of the canyon were stunning - perhaps one day I can make it to the top of the ridge instead of riding the inside of the canyon.
Meadow_Loop3 by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
Airborne1 by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
Making our way through the trail, the elevation gain was still rising to the point that I didn't think it would ever end.
Little did I know I still had a ways to go...
Meadow_Loop4 by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
Airborne4 by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
Finally, a bit of downhill - by now I am so out of breath it is starting to really show in my riding. I wasn't going to give up though, I damn sure didn't come up here to walk!!
Meadow_Loop5 by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
Airborne7 by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
What was that part about downhill? Oh yeah, that section lasted only 50 feet, and now it is back to more uphill climbing.
The view through the trees was worth it, seeing how high we had come up in elevation across the canyon.
Meadow_Loop6 by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
Airborne8 by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
When we finally reached the far northern edge of the trail, it was time to start heading downhill back to the main road of Horse Gulch. The trail became much more intense, with flat-rock jutting out of the trail with sharp jagged edges, drop-offs, and steps to take down while trying to stay on the bike with the weight as far back as possible. You have to pay close attention to the trail when riding a hardtail, and this section back was some of the trickiest I had ever ridden.
Matter of fact, I was shocked that I didn't end up with a pinch flat as there were so many sharp rocks embeded into the trail. Back on the Horse Gulch road was a ride all it it's own as the descent was much faster than I anticipated. I have a whole new respect for riding up here due to the challenge level it presented to me. Matter of fact, I cannot wait to try it again knowing what I know now.
Meadow_Loop7 by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
We couldn't leave Durango without treating ourselves to a cold one from Carver's Brewery downtown. I chose the Twilight IPA and Jeremy the Trail Nut Brown Ale. One of the great items on display there is the biggest Schwinn I have ever seen:
Big_Fixie by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
So, with all being said and done, here is to you - may the trails be smooth, my Airborne brethren riders. CHEERS!
Trail_Reward by s0ul_chicken, on Flickr
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Thread: Telegraph Trail in southwest CO
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