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Thread: Trip report of utter failure
07-20-2012, 05:38 PM #1
Trip report of utter failure
1 year of plans down the drain the first two days. Moral of this story, one an original plan falls through, make a new one, donít just adapt when you donít have to.
So the original plan was to ride with a partner from Summit County to Durango on the CT completely self supported. It would be a tough trip but doable for sure. My original partner bailed, then I couldnít find a backup. I already had the vacation time off of work and I decided letís do this. I am a fairly strong rider and I have all the gear. What can go wrong?
All in all I am stoked I got as far as I did and have a renewed passion to make this trail my bitch.
Since I was leaving from Dillon and still needed a shakedown ride, I decided to scoot over to Keystone and climb the gulch to reach the CT. Everything worked well, but the setup was a bit heavy. After dropping down to Gold Hill I took the bike path back to my house to make a few adjustments and get a good nights sleep. I knew day two would be a big day.
Segments 7, 8, 9-10 mandatory detour, and some of 11.
I got an early start and decided to take my time and not push myself too hard, I really wanted to get some mileage under my belt.
I started with a leisurely ride up the bike path to Copper mountain.
Up, up and up to Janetís cabin.
Searle and Kokomo Pass, and this is where the trouble began.
After passing Janetís cabin I got caught in a hail and lightening storm just above treeline. So I retreated a little and hunkered down while waiting for it to pass. Finally it stopped, or so I thought, and I bee lined it for the summit. Going over Searle it hit again but no lightning. So I pushed on.
Right before Kokomo the clouds got dark again and it started pouring. So I started flying downhill to find some cover from the storm. Over 12k feet is not where I want to play with lighning.
As I was cruising downhill I got the sensation that I was probably going too fast, and shortly after my vision was blurred by the water and I didnít see the rock drop covered with mud. I hit it and couldnít regain control of my bike with all the extra gear on it and hopped off the back, ripping my shorts, only to watch the bike turn left off the side of the trail, instead of right into the mountain as I tried to send it.
And everything went to slo mo. I watched the bike with all my gear roll and cartwheel down the side of the mountain and come to a stop in a small pond. Sorry no pictures....my camera was strapped to the back of the bike in a drysack. Plus pictures became very secondary at this point
Luckily my initial assessment of the bike found only a bent disc, slightly bent wheel, bent derailleur hanger, and my bottom rack mounts were broken.
It was still storming really bad so I got the bike back to the trail and hiked it down to Camp Hale to work on the fixes. Thatís when I noticed some missing gear. But it was nothing too bad, extra shoes and some straps.
I got the bike running/rack ziptied again and decided to haul ass to make up for the lost time, at this point it was nearly dark. By the time I reached HWY 24 after a few wrong turns it was dark. I put on the lights and figured it was just pavement so I made it all the way to Segment 11 before bonking out. I went about halfway through and found a place to camp. At this point it was very late.
Zip tie fix:
Now for the tragedy. My tent, sleeping bag and pad were soaked from their time in the pond. My waterproof panniers were far from water proof. And on top of that my water filter was cracked and unable to filter any water! I sucked it up and spent an absolutely miserable night in the extra clothes I brought and a makeshift bivy made with emergency blankets.
I woke up after a few hours of fitful sleep and drank the only liquid I had, schnapps. I rode the 20ish miles back to Leadville and thankfully found water, shade, awesome foodtruck tacos, and a payphone (my cell was soaked from the pond as well). I swallowed my pride and got a ride home.
Now, do I reconfigure the trip into a drive/bike trip and try to bag as many miles as I can after fixing the bike and have a ďbase campĒ to go back to? Or do I just ride downhill the rest of the week?
07-20-2012, 05:47 PM #2
I say patch it up and keep going.
07-20-2012, 05:54 PM #3
This TR rules. I've never done this ride, but a buddy of mine has and I have a lot of respect for it.
07-20-2012, 06:00 PM #4
07-20-2012, 09:24 PM #5
when things go slo-mo things are typically really f-ed up.In search of the elusive artic powder weasel ...
07-20-2012, 10:30 PM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
You need to make that trail your bitch, or you'll be its bitch for the rest of your life.
I know this. There's a wilderness area in PA that made me its bitch three times (backpacking, not bikepacking). I still think about that shithole 18 years later and 1500 miles away.
07-20-2012, 10:38 PM #7
Ouch - maybe you need some R&R instead?o--/\
-/ .) ' \ go with respect, get to know your mountains
/' (. ' |'\
' ' .) ' ,'
07-21-2012, 12:03 AM #8
Damn, sweet TR. I'd say regroup, lose the rack and go with a frame bag and seat bag, get back out there and give 'er hell. You know you'll regret it if you don't
07-21-2012, 05:50 AM #9
i'm digging on the recent upswing in TR's.
that sounds miserable, but in a 'good' way.
woot!crab in my shoe mouth
07-21-2012, 08:09 AM #10
Nice effort man. I've been meaning to do this ride for years so I've researched it and planned out my gear setup but have not done it. Need more time off.
I say fix your shit, get a ride back to Leadville, and give it another shot.
Question: What's up with the panniers? I'm guessing that you've done your research on bikepacking.net and the bikepacking forum on MTBR as I have and rarely see many people using panniers. The opinions that I've read are that they really suck off road and this is usually coming from people who are riding trails much less gnarly than the CT.
Have you thought about a frame bag and dropping some weight/bulk off of your rig? THat setup looks like a crash waiting to happen.
Either way, good luck, glad you made it out OK. Sorry if this sounds like MMQBing, but I guess that's how you learn.
07-21-2012, 08:54 AM #11I woke up after a few hours of fitful sleep and drank the only liquid I had, schnapps.
that sounds like some solid type 3 fun.
07-21-2012, 09:00 AM #12
I use panniers because they are what I have. Some new bags would be nice but I have way to many other recreational drains on my income. Plus I hate riding with a pack, and seat bag pretty much = needing a pack as well. In all actuality the panniers didn't throw off my handling too much, crash aside.
The biggest problem with my setup is weight. I have decent gear, but not totally ultralight gear. If I had a partner my setup would have weighed quite a bit less. We could have shared the weight of the kitchen, water treatment,first aid, parts and tools (a big weight factor), and other various junk.
Going solo means more weight and more gear for "just in case something happens."
07-21-2012, 09:14 AM #13
Gotcha. A partner would definitely cut down on weight, but so would a few other things.
If you want, I have a bivy sack, jetboil, a sleeping pad and other stuff that you can borrow to cut down on weight. I live in Dillon too so just let me know.
07-21-2012, 03:57 PM #14
07-21-2012, 05:42 PM #15
Thanks for the thread, hope you're able to get back after it and finish. Do whatever works and enjoy it. Makes for a good story and thread. Luckily we forget pain quickly.
07-21-2012, 07:45 PM #16
Great TR. I'm not laughing at your repairs and pain, but like others have said, it's trips like this that you remember the most.
Yours brought back "great" memories of an emergency ejection so I wouldn't follow the bike down a rocky 50' embankment into a lake - completely destroyed the rear wheel and had to carry the bike 12 miles out. And my two unplanned overnight bivouacs due to (a)catastrophic mechanical failure, and (b) partner breaking his leg.
Thanks - hadn't thought of those in years.
Hope you get it all fixed/reconfigured then go out and tame that bitch!
07-22-2012, 05:28 AM #17
Awesome TR. Bike into a lake is probably not the type of water-resistance the pannier makers were advertising. Are your brakes adequate for the increase weight? Hope you get your trip online again!Originally Posted by blurred
07-23-2012, 07:48 AM #18
This trail will NEVER be your bitch. She was there before you, she'll be there after you.
You need to show her proper respect.
Then maybe, MAYBE, she will allow you passage through her beautiful curves.
If so, be sure to humbly thank her afterwards.
Fail to do this and, like Jamespio above, you will continue to be HER bitch.
07-23-2012, 08:16 AM #19Registered User
- Join Date
- Aug 2010
- Park City
07-23-2012, 08:21 AM #20
Rough start. Hope it's going better out there this time around and you get some good weather for the high alpine stretches in the SJ's.
07-23-2012, 08:22 AM #21
Awesome! Mo' nature is a bitch, sometimes you win sometimes she wins. Until you learn the rules of the game, you will get bitch slapped, that's how it works. If it was easy, everyone could do it but it isn't, that's why you tried it. A ride that like won't be found at Disney and you got the balls to try it when 99% of the rest of the country is sitting on the couch. Round 1, goes to the mountain. You have gained a huge amount of knowledge already and know the rules of game. Retreat, evaulate, plan, attack!Be more like your dog...
07-23-2012, 09:36 AM #22
This is purely my opinion there might be some research somewhere but I dont know where and have not really bothered to look for it. I think it is more dangerous to try and escape the storm too quickly then getting struck by lightning. Obviously it is best to avoid these situations but think of how many people get stuck in lightning storms every year above treeline. With all the tourists trying to climb a fourteeneer etc. it has to be a lot. How many people do you hear about getting struck by lightning in these situations (very few) vs how many are trying to rush out of the situation and hurt themselves trying to go too fast. I think the numbers would be significantly tilted towards the group trying to escape lightning. Again thats my thoughts and maybe I am way off.
07-23-2012, 09:43 AM #23