21 February 2015

Stardate 2015.142

An early autumn snow blankets the higher realms of the West Elk Mountains.

Ride The Rockies Dirty 30

Day 4 of this year's Ride the Rockies has an option. In addition to the normal State Highway route between Gunnison and Crested Butte, Colorado, riders will have the option of riding over Ohio Pass (10,033 ft), dropping to Kebler Pass (9,980 ft), then further dropping to historic Crested Butte.

The Castles are in view most of the way up Ohio Creek.

The Ohio Pass option — "Dirty Thirty" as it's called — should be a jewel. The route up Ohio Creek begins about 3 miles north of Gunnison. The ride up the creek is a very scenic roll through numerous working ranches. Better yet, the Castles will be in view a good portion of the way.

The Anthracite Range at sunrise.  Ohio Pass (not in view yet) crosses this range in several miles.

About 18 miles up Ohio Creek, give or take, the asphalt gives way to dirt and gravel. During the fall, this region can be immersed in colored foliage. Ohio Pass is still several miles ahead. The rocky grade increases significantly as the route begins its climb over the eastern shoulder of the Anthracite Range.

The Ohio Pass road not long after leaving dry pavement.

I've spent a fair amount of time on Ohio Pass and Cottonwood Pass, the other dirt leg of this year's ride. Cottonwood has the elevation, but Ohio is more narrow and rocky. More than a few wheel rims will come off of Ohio Pass with war wounds.

The view looking back down the pass, a mile or so from the summit.

This pic was taken just below the summit of Ohio Pass.

From the summit of Ohio Pass, it's a short, easy, dirt descent to Kebler Pass. West of Kebler Pass, the road remains dirt. However, the tour will descend the east side of Kebler on relatively new asphalt.

A carpet of golden fern caressing quakie boles, Anthracite Range, Colorado

Mount Crested Butte is peeking over the ridge at sundown.

The Kebler descent will deposit riders in the heart of Crested Butte.


1 comment:

  1. I am so looking forward to this ride. I hope we get drawn. It would be a lovely way to celebrate the month before our tenth anniversary!


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