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  1. #1
    A Guy Who is Going Places
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    Passion Hit: Better no summer and late than not at all, an off-season road trip.

    Despite rampant reports of the best early season conditions in years, I continued to ignore the boards this weekend and took off for a mini-road trip centered on Mountain Biking. The destination was Durango, with riding to be done at points between and beyond. Summer seems like the time to do the Big, Famous, Epic rides, this unresolved time between Autumn and Winter seems like a perfect time to pick up the lesser known and downright obscure rides.

    The weather was definitely unresolved. In fact as I left Denver, the forecast indicated that the safer riding bet was here on the Front Range, while Durango was favored for a winter storm. Whatever, I loaded up and headed out. It was 16 degrees when I left the house that morning.



    South Park



    And the northern reaches of the Sangre de Christos. Unresolvedness abounds.

    The first destination was a place that has intrigued me for years. Penitente Canyon near the town of La Garita, just a bit east of Wolf Creek pass. Two of the more significant events in this area were as follows: About 33 million years ago there was an active (and no doubt exciting) period of Volcanism, which spread around heaps of ash, which hardened into rock, and now fills the canyon with interesting terrain. Also a tiny sect of the Catholic Church named Los Hermanos Penitentes holed up in here and gave the place its name. This area is much better known for rock climbing than camping, but there is a designated Mountain Bike trail, and I figure if the BLM was nice enough to put it in, I’d return the favor and ride it. I had no illusions about htiss being an epic ride, merely a nice stopover for the journey. The weather, by the way, turned nice.











    All in all, it was a perfect way to break up the drive and stretch the legs out. I wouldn't say that there is enough trail here to constitute an MTB destination in its own right.

    I had to hop back in the truck and bust over the pass, because the second ride of the day was scheduled to commence soon. Horse Gulch in Durango, specifically the deliciously tasty new trail off of Mike's



    A view of the La Platas and Kennebec from the top of Mike's. The weather was back to being mercurial.











    Nice stuff, and a good addition to the network of trails already in Horse Gulch.

    (...food..beer...much needed rest...)

    The next day we headed south, out of Durango and down to Aztec, New Mexico to ride the Alien Run trail. Supposedly back in the fifties a UFO crashed here and the government moved in and cleaned it all up and hauled it away and erased everyone's memories. But that's all by the way because what concens us here today is the existence of a nice little ten mile loop.



    Open only to mountain bikes.





    This is a fantastic trail. It alternates between twisty, winding-through-rocks sections and exposed slickrock.



    Trail blazes for the slickrock sections.





    Apparitions. There is, or was a plaque there describing the UFO crash. Someone elected to swipe it though. A dissapointment. Does anyone out there have a picture of it?





    There's a rider in there somewhere.

    (...more food..a lunch consisting of a burger, two beers and a tequila shot...then a trip to the BMX track...thrilling....then rest)


    The next day I found that the new trail in Horse Gulch was calling mee out for a repeat, so off I went.



    The Meadow, with the Telegraph Hill climb in the background.





    Different conditions on that day. A layer of corn snow, which was still quite frozen (no mud) and amazingly tractionable.



    The next morning it was up and out early for the drive back.



    Temperature 9 degrees.









    I came home to find snow, all of that storm that was supposed to land in Durango but instead had smaacked the front range.
    http://www.anthonysloan.com

    Isaiah 15:5

    There are many good bike companies out there, and I work for one of them.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    great write up

    Made a Nice monday morning start.
    " They May forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them Feel"
    Carl. W. Buechner

  3. #3
    pepito
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    beautiful. monday morning passion hits are the best.
    "Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling" ~James E. Starrs

  4. #4
    Map Maker
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    sweet pictures and write up! nice passion hit.
    thanks.
    Richmond, VA
    Ra-MORE mtb club

  5. #5
    Basura Blanca
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    A MTB trail near Penitente Cnyn? I've climbed there, but had no idea. Thanks! I drive right past on my way to Fruita, so I'll have to stop and strecth the legs next time. Great pics, Anthony. Alien Run didn't do much for me (too many trees projecting from the inside of turns on the return leg), but maybe I should give it another chance. But hey, in all this seems a highly irresponsible road trip. Shouldn't you have been at home, putting up Christmas lights, shopping online, or watching football like a real 'mericun? Don't you know bike season is over for those of us here in the Rockies?
    - Joe

  6. #6
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    Awesome weekend and pics...

    I envy you.... I only got rain on this part of the world.... oh well...

    Keep the rubber side down,
    Cris

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    Great images as always, Anthony. Nice job getting away from the snow. I'm not a skiier but cold snowy weather doesn't mean the end of the season for me either. You just have to be creative (ie, dress warmly) or head south, or both. Thanks for the hit.

  8. #8
    meh....
    Reputation: Monte's Avatar
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    Nice shots. I haven't seen any reports of the Alien Run in a while. I thought Durango would be under snow by now. That's if it does get snowed in.

    Monte

  9. #9
    More Chasmism
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    Gotta bump this up.

    I'm perpetually impressed by your shots, Anthony. In particular, the second to last one from this set could hold my gaze for a long, long time.

    hfly

  10. #10
    My post is that way --->
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    Very nice Anthony.
    Wibble

  11. #11
    Adobo Lover
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    your pics are always motivating. love your 575 in the pics. can't wait to get home and ride mine.

  12. #12
    A Guy Who is Going Places
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    Quote Originally Posted by NuMexJoe
    A MTB trail near Penitente Cnyn? I've climbed there, but had no idea. Thanks! I drive right past on my way to Fruita, so I'll have to stop and strecth the legs next time. Great pics, Anthony. Alien Run didn't do much for me (too many trees projecting from the inside of turns on the return leg), but maybe I should give it another chance. But hey, in all this seems a highly irresponsible road trip. Shouldn't you have been at home, putting up Christmas lights, shopping online, or watching football like a real 'mericun? Don't you know bike season is over for those of us here in the Rockies?
    - Joe
    I know, I know. I'm hopelessly out of order. I should go ride my bike and ruminate on my obstreperousness...
    http://www.anthonysloan.com

    Isaiah 15:5

    There are many good bike companies out there, and I work for one of them.

  13. #13
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
    Reputation: crisillo's Avatar
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    Camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by anthonys
    Thanks all. H, this is high praise indeed considering the extent to which I've admired your images.
    I was just wondering... what cam R U shooting with? If it is an SLR, how do you carry it? (I find mine a little big to carry on rides)

    Cheers,
    Cris

  14. #14
    A Guy Who is Going Places
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    Quote Originally Posted by hfly
    Gotta bump this up.

    I'm perpetually impressed by your shots, Anthony. In particular, the second to last one from this set could hold my gaze for a long, long time.

    hfly
    Thanks all. H, this is high praise indeed considering the extent to which I've admired your images.
    http://www.anthonysloan.com

    Isaiah 15:5

    There are many good bike companies out there, and I work for one of them.

  15. #15
    SALLGUD
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    Smile Thank you!

    Thanks for some seriously inspirational shots. Some of it reminded me of our trip out west this year to AZ. The year before that we were also in Durango. Beautiful!

    Michael

  16. #16
    A Guy Who is Going Places
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    Quote Originally Posted by crisillo
    I was just wondering... what cam R U shooting with? If it is an SLR, how do you carry it? (I find mine a little big to carry on rides)

    Cheers,
    Cris
    All of the trail pics were taken with a Canon A95, which is a nice little camera that exceeds my expectations. Less that $300, uses the same media as my DSLR (I've purchased enough big CF cards to have this be a bonus) and is fairly small.

    All of the out of the car window shots were taken with a Canon D60.

    A discussion on how to carry that on the trail can be found here:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...73881#poststop
    http://www.anthonysloan.com

    Isaiah 15:5

    There are many good bike companies out there, and I work for one of them.

  17. #17
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
    Reputation: crisillo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonys
    All of the trail pics were taken with a Canon A95, which is a nice little camera that exceeds my expectations. Less that $300, uses the same media as my DSLR (I've purchased enough big CF cards to have this be a bonus) and is fairly small.

    All of the out of the car window shots were taken with a Canon D60.

    A discussion on how to carry that on the trail can be found here:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...73881#poststop
    Thanks...

    I recently bought a refurbushed a400 (has to buy an SD card unfortunately), but I haven't tried it for action shots... for stills its fine....


    I will take a look at that thread.

    Cheers,
    Cris

  18. #18
    Linoleum Knife
    Reputation: forkboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonys
    specifically the deliciously tasty new trail off of Mike's
    Ya liked that, did you?

    I find it amazing how people 400 miles away hear about this stuff, when I only learned of it 8 weeks or so ago....

    We've been taking longer than normal lunch breaks at work because we can't quite work that into an hour loop. It's always about an 1:10. Maybe if I can grow some nuts and ride the whole thing. Or if they build some stairs to get to it.

    Did you ride the extra 10 miles of singletrack they built onto the front of Alien Run? It was all new this spring, and should be pretty well packed down by now.

    Excellent pics as always. Have you ever ridden the Badlands on the other side of Farmington when you come down here? It's a hoot.

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