The whole drive is grey and foreboding. At 2pm we definitely need our headlights on, and it is raining sporadically. We get to Telluride and are welcomed by thunder and lightening....Colorado mountains in September? No. We are told this is very unusual. We dodge the rain and do a trip up the free gondola to get info and maps for tomorrow's planned ride. They are threatening to close gondola because of lightening. Most the night it continues, but on waking we are greated by clear blue skies...let's go.
A short ride to the gondola, hook our bikes on, and before we know it we are at the trailhead at 10,535 feet. Now normally, in Colorado, you get a 3 to 5 mile warm up, up a jeep track before you start climbing, and eventually you get to 9 or 10,000 feet. Today no warm up, no climb, we start at 10,500 feet, and then we climb. Oh goodness. Where is that oxygen? I thought we might be a little
acclimatised by now. We are on Prospect Trail and we climb, with a little bit of contouring, to approx 11200feet. I occasionally hear some grumbling from my better half..."thought this was going to be lovely downhill..." The loop to the top was almost worth it. Fantastic views of Palmyra Peak (13,320 feet), and down to Mountain Village. I can see why Tim loves this ski mountain. What amazing terrain, and so much of it.
Unfortunately, much of the upper loop track is very muddy, with deep puddles. We are not too happy riding the trails in this state as it does them more harm than good. Ju skips out to a road for a short section to avoid some really slippery roots and mud...good choice sweetheart.
The lower two thirds of the trail is much dryer, and lots of fun, and then we hit the mansions. Way up on the ski field, nestled amongst the trees, heaps of multi million dollar mansions. The mtb trail suddenly becomes secondary, as with dropped jaws we gawp at the affluence, and most are vacant, empty until the ski season. We zoom down, through the Frisby golf course, still stunned by the mansions on the hill, and decide to get the gondola (free), back up to the downhill bike park. We reckon we can handle the blue runs.....didn't
happen. The blue tracks were closed for maintenance. So back down to Telluride on the gondola.
A quick lunch, then a tourist ride, up the valley towards the Bridal Vale falls. We are both too knackered to climb the road to the falls them self, so take photos from the road end. Then it's downhill, and a lap of the village, before heading out of town. We are heading for Cortez and Phils Loop, via Lizardhead Pass.