Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last Bike Of The Season...

It was December 5th when I decided to get on the mountain bike again. It had been a long time since I last biked the Upper Loop Trail. I had heard from some people that it was riding well, with just a few snow patches. With snow on its way thanks to a changing weather pattern, this could be my final mountain bike ride up in Crested Butte until April. It was another beautiful day with temperatures in the 40's but the clouds started to weave in and the winds had picked up.
I started from town and headed to Tony's Trail. It was funny to look at Mount Crested Butte in December and not see any snow. This is the South-West side of the mountain.

A view up Paradise Divide. A bit more snow but still very shallow.

The Town of Crested Butte is shadowed by Red Lady Bowl (Mt. Emmons). Very little snow on a mountain that gets a lot of snow.

North Facing Slopes holding much more snow then South facing.

Including Whetstone Mountain

Ok... on to singletrack. I was shocked and amazing how good the riding was, very tacky with minimal snow patches in the sun.

It is winter, time to grow the beard?

Great riding through leaf-less aspens

A recent fallen tree blocking the trail.

More south facing exposed trail = more fun!

the pond in Skyland is partially frozen.

This was the extend of the snow on the trail, very rideable and really fun!

I was surprised with the bikes capability to accelerate in the snow.

I decided to take Whetstone Vista Trail down. I thought about the Upper Upper Loop Trail, but considering how rocky it is I opted to take the safe way down.

Snow stuck to my Maxxis Icon tires, but did not affect the tires performance that much.

Beginning of Whetstone Vista looked somewhat clear of snow.

After the initial steep downhill of Whetsotne Vista Trail, the trail flattens out, here is where I noticed the most snow. I wouldn't mind riding a fat bike in these conditions.

A look at my newish Specialized Stumjumper Comp Carbon, what a fun bike.

After the final decent, I reached Brush Creek Road.

Heading back into town, you can see the clouds starting to build.

I hopped on the Upper Loop Spur Trail to get me back to Tony's Trail and eventually back to town.

Storms building, my hope of skiing powder within the next few storms was on my mind!

Upper Loop junction with Tonys Trail.

This mountain biking season has been one for the memory books. I have to thank mother nature for doing her part, even with a horrible drought year, as we escaped many serious forest fires. Although the trails were very dusty and dry at times, the rain came and our worry of forest fires soon diminished. I write to you now with over 40 inches of new snow since December 7th! Cheers to the longest mountain bike season this area may have ever seen, it has been real!

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