Hey, Curt here. It’s officially high alpine bike season here in Breckenridge, so I thought I would take you along on a recent Saturday morning mountain bike ride… right out the front door (literally) of our office.
At 10,000 feet, we have a very short alpine bike season here in Summit county - it often takes well into July for the trails above treeline to fully melt and dry out. Building Glade has kept me occupied more or less all the time recently, so this was my first opportunity this year to get up high and do some solo exploring on the bike.
I hopped on my bike at 10am on this sunny July Saturday and began the slog up towards the ski resort. My planned route was to bike up the Peak 9 Road from town to the top of Mercury chair, then take the jeep road above Mercury to Wheeler trail, ascend Wheeler to the south, before descending into the Crystal Lake basin to connect up with Spruce trail, then take Burro trail back to town. Here is the route:
After an hour and a half of grinding (with some hike-a-biking) I finally made it to the Wheeler intersection:
We have had a ton of rain this summer so this beginning section of Wheeler was totally overgrown in some places and held 12 inch puddles in others. I had to get off the bike and push through chest high brush more than once on this section.
After a bit of traversing (and some more climbing) I finally made it to my high point on Wheeler. It was all downhill from here:
My Revel Rascal with Mt. Helen in the background. I skied Helen three winters ago and have been meaning to go back. The slope angle is almost exactly 30 degrees for a couple thousand feet… so it’s one of the few places around here that you can get up high (safely) in the winter.
Starting my descent: I’m fairly certain my brakes were on fire after this section:
One of many creek crossings I came across:
All in all it was a killer day in the alpine… and one of the reasons summer here in the high country is unbeatable.
Bonus: Ellie and I enjoyed a nice spa session immediately after the ride: