Monday morning 8/7/2017 was a clear cool morning, perfect for a bike ride. As a flat lander from Michigan I was in Gunnison attempting to acclimate in preparation for the Leadville 100. Is a 60+ mile ride with more elevation gain than is possible in my home state a good choice for tapering for a major event? I don’t care, I don’t get mountain views in Michigan so I will take them when I get the chance.
I left Gunnison riding north on Main street CO135 crossing the Taylor river and then turning left on Ohio Creek road. Good asphalt for the next 7 miles with some nice rollers and an overall slight uphill. I didn’t notice the elevation because the views are amazing. Great views of the Castle peak formation and picturesque valleys of ranch land and foothills. Eventually the road turns to gravel and you need to take the left fork in the road to continue on to Ohio pass. After a few miles of gravel there is a Forest Service pull off on the right hand side of the road with an outhouse. From this point the road becomes noticeably steeper. Several switch backs greet you as you ride through beautiful and fragrant aspen groves. I would love to ride this when Autumn colors are present. If it is a year with lots of snow, or early in the summer there is a great waterfall on the left towards the top of the pass. There is no sign letting you know you have reached the top, there was one here 15 years ago when I drove this road in a truck, but evidently a rock slide removed the photo op proving your efforts. Continue on until the road runs into Kebler Pass road. Once at this point there was a decision to make, turn left to record another pass or turn right to head down to Cressted Butte. Really there is no decision, Kebler pass was only a short climb from here and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to mark off another pass.
Turning left and riding another short climb, Kebler had been reached. I then turned around and proceeded down to Cressted Butte. This descent was unremarkable other than in the middle of a lot of gravel the road becomes asphalt for a few miles and then becomes gravel again. I have no idea why they paved the section they did, but smooth descending is better than washboard so any pavement is nice.
Once into Cressted Butte the speed limit is 15mph, I have never received a speeding ticket on my bike but if I ever want to risk it this is the place. A right turn onto CO135 and I was heading to Gunnison. It is an nice ride back to Gunnison as the scenery changes from Alpine aspen groves to high Deseret mesas in the course of 5 miles. Crossing the Taylor river again in the little hamlet of Almont is the last chance for a rest stop before the short ride to Gunnison.
Great ride, great views, and a favorite when I get a chance.