The last week in Moab had every day over 100 degrees. It was so hot our refrigerator could not keep up and appeared to be failing. So we packed up our camp and headed to Colorado. It was a little sad saying goodbye to Moab for we had really gotten comfortable in our camping spot. We had been there for more than two months. We had a membership at the gym in town and the receptionists all thought we were locals. We also do not see a circumstance that will bring us back to Moab for many years. Oh well, it is hot and we need to get out of here. We drove the 4 hours to a campsite just west of Gunnison Colorado. We stayed the night and first thing in the morning Ashley and I drove another 80 miles to the small town of Crested Butte to find available campsites. We found the perfect location just above and outside of town on National Forest land that did not cost a thing and we were only limited to a 14 night stay. We set up two tents to secure the sites and headed back to get the coach. Once we arrived back at the coach Victoria and Alexander both quickly helped up pack up and get under way. My parents followed close behind as we made our way through Crested Butte and up the narrow winding dirt road to the camp sites.
When Ashley and I first arrived into the valley in which Crested Butte sits I was immediately in love with the town. It is without a doubt the most beautiful place I have ever been. Crested Butte is a small town of about 2500 people that is surrounded by majestic peaks on all sides. It is known as the Wild Flower Capital of the U.S. and we can attest that it is a title well deserved. There are many small parks in and around town. There is a river that flows right through town and can be accessed at many points in town. There are bike lanes and bike trails all throughout town as well. Hundreds of miles of mountain biking and hiking trails can be accessed from town. Every single one of these trails takes you high into alpine mountains, through meadows of wildflowers, across crystal clear creeks, past snow fields all while offering breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains. As I said, this place is absolutely amazing. Some day when we stop traveling, we will find our way back to Crested Butte and put down some roots.
Our time here consisted of many high elevation mountain bike rides for me as well as a few hikes or trail runs for the four of us. We also spent a full day with Grandpa Murphy at a ski resort turned downhill mountain bike park. We took the chairlifts up the mountain with our bikes and blasted our way down the steep trails launching off every jump we could find. By the day’s end we were all catching air and flying around corners barely touching our brakes. Needless to say after a full days worth of downhill riding we were all spent when the chairlifts stopped running and we had to go home.
One of the main reasons for our visit to Crested Butte was that the kids were signed up for their first mountain bike race. We spend the week prior to the race practicing the course. Victoria and Alexander are both good riders but we were now at nearly 9000ft in elevation so we wanted the kids to become acclimated. Also we typically only ride cross country trails and at our one leisurely pace. So a race at elevation with the increased sense of urgency of competition is something completely new to the kids. Not to mention the race is 10 miles long for Victoria and 8 for Alexander and they would complete these distances without Ashley or me there riding with them. Oh did I mention in Colorado they start training their kids on a mountain bike at age 3? On race day the kids were both nervous but excited. When we arrived at the start line we saw kids 2 years younger than Alexander on $5000 bikes riding wheelies and doing bunny hops. There were multiple bike teams strategizing their race in matching uniforms and helmets. Ashley and I looked at each other and wondered what we got our kids into. We thought we were a mountain bike family but after being at the start line for one minute we learned that we have a long way to go to catch up with this Colorado crowd. Even Alexander and Victoria began picking up on the vibe that we were a little out of our league. So I gave them a pep talk, told them not to bother coming home if they did not at least finish in the top 3, just kidding. I told them to go out and push hard and leave all their energy out on the trail but to have fun and enjoy the competition and the camaraderie of kids their age. In the end they both had a blast and finished respectably. Victoria finished right in the middle of her group of 10. The four girls that beat her were all on a racing team and all were riding better bikes than Ashley or I ride. Alexander also finished right in the middle of his age competitors. They both loved the racing and asked to be signed up for another race whenever the opportunity arises.