OK We Have Had Enough of Moab UT

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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.

Alexander getting his first race briefing
Victoria full of confidence!
Victoria just before the gun goes off
Alexander moments before his race begins
Alexander coming in hot to a hard right hand turn
Alexander staying ahead of some chasers
Victoria coming out of a hard turn!
Out of the turn and full gas up the road!
Victoria dropping out of the Upper single track
Now back to the Lower singletrack trail and full gas!
Victoria crossing the finish line!
Both kids at the end of the race with full smiles and lots of pride!
Trail run day! We ran from the bottom of the valley behind us. We are currently at 10000 feet elevation!
Yes Ashley made it too!
We took some time to check out this river after one of our runs
Ranger appreciated the cool mountain stream
One of the many sources of the river just behind us!
We stopped for some pictures in the meadow!
Alexander with the valley back to Crested Butte behind him.
Me and my kiddos!
Victoria can spend all day in these meadows checking out all the bees and hummingbirds that live there.
Dan riding at 10+ thousand feet!
Riding on the iconic 403 trail in Crested Butte!
More 403 Trail
This was the view from our campsite
This is the view behind our campsite
Dan riding the iconic 401 trail. People come from all around the world to ride this epic trail!
A beautiful meadow at 11000 feet elevation
More 401 trail. It was a brutal climb with steep grades and little air but worth every gasp for breath.
More 401. If you are ever in Crested Butte I can assure you it is worth all the work to get there.
At the summit of the 401 about to begin a 2000 foot decent for the next 5 miles through endless flowered meadows
Near the bottom of the 401. I came from the upper ridge on the right of the photo
Still dropping on the 401. Below is the road up the valley that I had to ride to get to the trailhead.
One of the many stream crossing on the 401.
Looking down from the chairlift at the bike park
The city of Crested Butte from near the summit of Mt Crested Butte
Our downhill mountain bike crew on a day of ripping curves and finding air!
Alexander and Victoria finishing the downhill run
This is how Ranger travels in the coach! He has a really tough life.

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