Labor Day is just around the corner, which means summer is coming to an end here in the Rocky Mountains. Chasing Epic has a busy fall season coming up with multiple trips to amazing destinations like Crested Butte, Moab, Sedona and St. George. We’ve had a hell of a summer, and to celebrate another successful season of showing our clients the best riding around, we thought we’d single out the biggest, baddest ride of the last few months!
And the winner is….
Crystal, Star Pass, and Block and Tackle (Crested Butte)
We like to push our riders beyond what they think is possible, and this summer was a prime example of that. For our four-day trip in late July, we ended up tallying a total of almost 80 miles and over 10,000 feet climbed (and descended)! If you talked to each of our clients that trip, I’m willing to bet none of them would have guessed the mileage and effort they were able to put in on the bike.
On the third day of our trip, we brainstormed with our awesome guides at Colorado Backcountry to put together a ride that would no-doubt test the more advanced group of mountain bikers. That, and we knew the Yeti Tribe Gathering was in town so we wanted to stay out of their way. Mission accomplished, we strung together several trails that left us alone in the backcountry while putting in almost 23 miles and climbing almost 4500 vertical!
Yeah, that’s right… these guys were smiling while pushing their bikes up an uber-steep section of the Crystal Pass trail. Want more proof? Here’s young ripper, Russell, pushing near the top of Star Pass with a smile still on his face too! How can you not, with a view like that to keep you in heaven?
We get a lot of folks asking about the climbs and if they’re possible, and I always reply with two answers: first, yes, it’s possible as long as they’re willing to give the effort. And two- we never, never make you climb anything that isn’t worth the reward on the descents!
Once we topped out on the second pass of the day (Star Pass), we hung out to eat lunch and enjoy the views of the passing thunderstorms.
From Star Pass, we descended Trail 400 (a regular inclusion in any Crested Butte enduro race) for almost 6 miles of some of the sweetest singletrack around. From above treeline, through open meadows, along a creek, and into the aspen forest- this trail has it all. Look closely, there’s a rider down there in the lower right hand corner.
After an amazing descent, we crossed Brush Creek and begun the steep grind up Block and Tackle. B&T is a tough climb regardless of who you are- most of it is hike-a-bike, but our riders were willing to put in the time to enjoy the spoils. The top half-mile is an easy cruise through meadows and pine forests before you top out.
Adding to the excitement of the ride were the looming thunderstorms; we always stay safe on the trail, and these were off in the distance enough to admire but not threaten. From the top of Block and Tackle, you get another incredible 6+ mile descent down into Cement Creek and back down to the car. It’s a combination of steep, rooty, fast singletrack and wide-open meadows…. a perfect ending to an epic ride.
Close Second Place: South Boundary Trail (Angel Fire, NM)
By itself, the South Boundary Trail is a 22-mile point to point ride from Angel Fire to Taos that gains about 2500 vertical, and descends almost 6,000! It’s an all-day epic…. and when you take a wrong turn like one of our groups did this summer, it turns into an even bigger ride! Our first group on the trail in June managed to miss a key turn, and as a result they added 8 miles and another 1,000 vertical!