Aaron Johnson | CTR: Day 3

CTR: Day 3

March 06, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

September 4, 2013

La Garita bike detour to (almost!) Mt. Princeton Hot Springs

84 miles, 13,811' gained, 20 hours

Another 2am start – the full moon seemed even brighter this night, bright enough to keep me from sleeping well.  I made the mistake of leaving my camelbak nozzle touching the ground - little rodents chewed it up! Hope I don't get Hanta virus!  It was warm and I got going pretty quickly, heading towards the long climb up to Sergeant’s Mesa in the moonlight.  I passed Trail Angle Apple’s tent in the wee hours, nobody was stirring – I snuck in and grabbed a coke and bag of chips, feeling guilty for not being able to thank him and SO grateful for some caffeine.

Spirits lifted, I felt great for the next few hours of steady climbing, until of course I hit Sergeant’s Mesa: a 6 mile long pinball machine of baby heads and roots, infuriating and unridable, especially on a hard tail.  I'd been expecting it, so just resigned myself to the slog, knowing it'd be over soon.

I was leapfrogging with Pete Basinger throughout the morning, and tailed him down the long descent to Tank 7, the start of a huge climb up to Marshall Pass.  Only thing slowing me down was the local wildlife:

Crazy aggro cows actually almost trampled me.  I put on some tunes and crushed the climb up to Marshall – I was again trying to beat out the clouds, didn’t want to get held up by lightning.  Made it up and over Fooses by mid-afternoon, still hoping to make it to Buena Vista that day.  Fooses was a fun, LONG descent – I’d definitely hate to climb that!

DCIM\100GOPRO Endless hike-a-bike up to Marshall Pass

Steep, loose descent down Fooses

I felt pretty shattered once I got to Hwy 50 – this picked up my spirits a bit though, especially as I was getting low on food:

Quick little snack and I was off, visions of a hot dinner in BV dancing in my head.  After a couple hours of pretty slow progress, however, I realized if I were to push to Buena Vista, I’d be there after midnight.  Damn.  I definitely underestimated this part of the CT, thinking it would go quickly.  I resolved to make it at least to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, which seemed doable.  Darkness came as I was riding the section of CT I knew from the Vapor Trail last fall – it seemed much chunkier than I remembered! Probably since I was on a hard tail, not my squishy Mojo I rode before.

I was about 5 miles from the hot springs when I decided to screw it and camp.  I was making stupid mistakes and didn’t feel safe riding anymore.  I just hoped my sad bag of trail mix and package of beef jerkey was enough to get me to Buena Vista – I planned on starting early, before the store at the hot springs would be open.  Got passed by Ryan making a late push for the hot springs as I fell asleep.  3 days of insanely hard riding – I was smashed, and fell asleep instantly, despite feeling distressingly hungry.


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