I started out with a couple rides close to home on BLM roads. Although there is a lot of ups and downs, the riding isn't too technical or rocky. With its constant climbing and moderate distance, this ride is good for working off the month long rust. Even though I hiked a fair amount the past month, hiking and biking use different leg movement and I noticed a slight strength loss after my break from riding.
Although it has been a while since I posted about mountain biking on my blog, I have been still riding quite a bit before my injury. Most of the rides were places that I have blogged about before however, so I didn't want to write about the same ride twice. Now with midsummer trail conditions everywhere, I was ready to explore some new areas.
Originally I set my sights on the Crested Butte area. Last year I rode there and was eager to explore more of the endless trails in that region. The weather looked risky there however and I didn't want to drive so far to be washed out by thunderstorms early on my ride.
At the last minute, something came up requiring me to travel to Buena Vista, about an hour from home. This led me to Twin Lakes. Twin Lakes is less than a half hour from Buena Vista. There was a ride I had on my radar there.
Twin Lakes is a small village named for a pair of lakes that make up the heart of the area. The town sits at elevation of 9200' just south of Leadville on the eastern side of Independence Pass. Beautiful mountains seemingly rise from the lake making for dramatic scenery. Mt Elbert, the highest summit in the Rockies, rises just a few miles northeast from the area and is visible from most points in the area.
Last summer, I attempted this ride. I had a cue sheet for the ride and the local topo map for the region. Unfortunately, the cue sheet was vague at places and routes that were named on my map weren't signed. There is also a maze of dirt roads in the area that make route finding confusing. I missed a key turn and ended up backtracking and taking several wrong turns. I ended up giving up on my cue sheet and stuck to some singletrack around the lakes. At the same time it was frequently showering to add to frustrating experience.
I found this route on a website called MTB Project. The route followed a mix of Forest Service roads, BLM trail, a few miles on paved road, and a good chunk of the ride on the Colorado and Continental Divide Trails. This time I referenced an online map at the website with my map to try to avoid route finding confusion. I planned on following the listed route, I just started at a different point.
|Near the beginning of North Face Bypass|
|Mt Hope, Twin Peaks, Rinker, La Plata, and Elbert|
|Near the height of the land on North Face Bypass|
|A close up of the peaks above Twin Lakes|
|Threatening clouds moving in over Elbert|
|Lodgepole Fire burn scar|
|I think this is the "wrong" road I took|
|On the Colorado Trail|
|Nice singletrack along the CT|
|Wildflower along the CT|
|Traveling along the CT in what appears to be an old burn|
|Trail sign near South Elbert trailhead|
|Aspens along the CT|
|Nice view of the Twin Lakes from above|
|Loose, nasty sidehill|
|Along the trail to Twin Lakes Village|
|Views through the trees|
|Bridge crossing Lake Creek|
|A more technical section of trail|
|One of the many water crossings|
|A brief open section on the south side|
of the lakes
|One of the lakes coming into view|
|Looking back at Mt Elbert|
|Open area near Interlaken|
|The main hotel|
|Building at Interlaken|
|The owner's private residence (Dexter House)|
|A nice stand of aspens|
|Riding along the lake|
|Another lakeside stretch|
|Riding along the north side of the lower lake|
|View across the lake|
|Closeup view over the lake|
|View from North Face Bypass|
(L-R, Mt Hope Twin Peaks, Rinker, La Plate Peak)
|Nice singletrack on the CT|
Click Interlaken, for a description and a more detailed history on the resort.
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