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