Monday, October 22, 2012

Second half of October at 11,300

October this year has been classic Colorado riding weather. A tiny bit of moisture early in the month to tack up the summer dry trails, then day after day of sunny weather in the 60s.

I've been mounting lights for after work rides, and have seriously needed them several times.

I had too much to do for riding Saturday, but Sunday I set about riding my summer classic ride with curiosity about how conditions would be up high. Left from the house in Salida about 9:30 AM and climbed to Marshall Pass.


Saw not one single aspen leaf left on a tree. We had big wind a couple days this week and the trees got completely stripped. But the weather was really nice. I was very comfortable with leg warmers and a medium weight long sleeve. Saw my first skiffs of snow at around 10,750 ft in the shade off the Marshall Pass Road. Ran into 4-6" on the singletrack in the trees between Marshall Pass and the top of Silver Creek. In places it was a little icey, so it impacted my pace but was very much passable.

In the last couple hundred yards before the Silver Creek Trailhead, I ran into some sticking mud that lead me to carry my muddy bike through the trees off trail a couple times.

Note the killer SnakPak mounted up on my top tube. Pretty handy little accessory!

icey Silver Creek

On the Silver Creek descent I encountered a couple stretches of peek-a-boo ice. Rolling along with a nice bit of momentum only to see that you have a maybe 10 or 20 feet to shed speed before hitting the ice. Pucker! Note that the creek is iced over. Bits of snow here and there, even down here at a little over 10,000 ft elevation.

icey Silver Creek

Finished up in the classic manner, riding the Rainbow out to Highway 285.

It was a treat to be able to get this ride in one more time before the high country closes up to rolling wheels. Not sure I've ever done this loop as late as October 21. The weather forecast shows a storm headed our way arriving just in time for the weekend. We need to start seeing serious winter moisture--it's going to be critical that we get real winter this year so cross your fingers!

So this was probably it for riding my bike 11K +, but I don't see the bikes being put away in favor of snowshoes for quite a while. The lower riding, 10K and lower should be good to go for at least several more weeks.