Steamboat Springs gives a good first impression. Nice river, lots of sports facilities, ski area plus ski jumps, a host of restaurants, hot springs, forest, mtb tracks close to town, and friendly helpful people. We start the day with an oil change for the van. We've done over 2000 miles. While this is happening we ride into town on the sealed Cycleway along the river, past the skate board park, and several kids play grounds, to "Orange Peel" one of several cycle shops. The staff are very helpful and give us a host of info about where to go riding.
Just across the river is "Emerald Mountain". Lots and lots of tracks, and we follow a really good map (yes our first good map) towards the summit. Hanmer needs a ride like this. At no time was the climb taxing, but via a number of zigs and gentle
climbing tracks we traversed the mountain and after about an hour hit the summit ridge. Great track, great ride, and a real feeling of achievement...and then the downhill, following a whole range of other tracks back to the van. We really enjoyed the couple of hours out on the hill...and all rideable from the Centre of town...felt just like home.
Today we woke in a Dept of Forestry campsite at 9000 feet, right on the main divide. Only 20km from the centre of Steamboat Springs. $12 a night. The opportunity to ride along the Continental Divide trail was too enticing. What a lovely ride through beautiful alpine Meadows and in forest, past several stunning lakes. The only problem was we were once again at altitude, and trying to focus on even small technical challenges when you can't breath is a challenge. Meet a couple of local riders and they were surprised that we had found out about this special locals ride. We did an out and back route of approx 26km, while they were descending back to town via trails on the local ski mountain. They don't get to ride it all that often. Winter can hang around here for up to seven months.
Felt really privileged to be able to be out here on
these trails. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful wife, who is willing to share these experiences with me. She reckons Steamboat Springs could be another option for us to live for a while.... We will see.
For the third evening in a row we have had huge thunder and lightening storms. Not so much rain, but lots of noise and flashing. Very impressive.
Have been researching routes for my global ride. A very possible alternative will be riding the "Divide" from South to North. That will be in June 2016. Routegoes rightby here and through Steamboat. Very exciting to know we will be back here again soon.