Marble to Crested Butte

From Andre my friend from Aspen:

4:30AM wake up call, 7AM start out of Marble.  14 guys, a full Wed night contingent.  60 miles, 10,000’ of vert.  Some very tough sections, including Scofield in both directions, it’s a bitch of a climb with a ridiculously steep mile right out of the shoot, then lots of hike-a-bike through scree from Crystal to the top.  From there, we climbed up to the 401 single-track, which drops down to Gothic through “The Sound of Music” on steroids.  First in awe and then giddy, we switch-backed our way through flowers and lush plants that were 6-7 feet tall no shit.  From 401 we rode the Gothic road into Mt Crested Butte and then caught a quick downhill section of single-track called Lupine into the Butte, nice.  Lunch at Izzy’s, down a side street while what seemed like the entire front range of Colorado was wandering through the weekend arts festival.  We didn’t linger long, heading back out at about 2:00PM, up Washington Gulch, which goes on forever and kicks up near the top.  Then adding insult to injury we climbed a steep old jeep trail to the top of 403, which drops like a stone all the way back down to Gothic.  Then it’s back up 401, a steady climb in your smallest and second-smallest gear.  About a mile from the top I cramped up and that was that.  I limped and pedaled to the top where the back of both legs seized up again as I was getting off the bike.  Brutal.  If only that was the end of the ride, but nooo, we get to go down Scofield, which is the perfect section of riding if you are out to test your suspension to the breaking point.  Of course there is a climb out of Crystal that makes sure you are reminded of the recent cramping episode.  Finally back in Marble at 7:00PM, for a solid 12 hour day out.  A dip in Beaver lake, followed by beers and chips to help with cramping, it is medicinal after all, and then dinner at the Redstone Inn, home at 11:30PM.  GREAT bunch of guys.  One endo over a log, one flat, that’s it.  Actually, one more; Scott  has a heart condition and he is on beta blockers, which keeps him from getting his heart rate up above a certain level.  He was doing well until Washington Gulch started kicking up.  He lost all his “oomph” and had to ask a car for a ride to the top.  From there he and Arts, Dave  and Jim  rode the easier way out via Paradise Pass, skipping 403 and 401.  He was bumming, but we were just glad he was okay and being smart to go easy the rest of the way.  It was interesting how the ride kicked just about everyone’s butt in one way or another, maybe a sign of the fact that the group is aging.  But whatever the problem, we were laughing and giving each other shit the whole way.