“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us” – J.R.R. Tolkien
I believe a certain degree of wanderlust is ingrained in our souls, but sometimes it lays in waiting until a person or event comes along to awaken our sense of adventure. I’ve always had a desire to explore and push my limits but this past year has awakened a need for the therapeutic and calming effects of the mountains. I often find myself daydreaming of my next mountain quest while I’m supposed to be planning content or designing a Facebook ad. The desire has become so strong that I can’t go a weekend without finding a new trail to rip on my mountain bike or a new hike to conquer with friends. This is how I stumbled upon my latest adventure…a 22 mile mountain bike ride from Frisco to Breckenridge.
It was Friday at 12:30 PM and I found myself sitting at home, grumbling about not being able to play in the mountains this weekend because my soccer team had a double header and I had to finish moving into my new place. How could I go a whole 3 days without smelling the fresh scent of pine trees and feeling the dirt under my bike tires? I couldn’t. There had to be a way to quench my thirst for adventure, even with only 8 hours of sunlight left in the day. So I called the only person who would a.) also not be working today and b.) is always down to shred. As soon as he agreed to go for a ride, I tossed my bike in the car, grabbed Bella’s leash and off we went into the mountains.
As soon as I saw the sun peeking out of the tunnel, my heart started to pound a little faster and a huge smile crept across my face. I had made it to Summit County; my home away from home.
After loading up on some leftover pretzels in a Tostitos bag (weird right?), we loaded our bikes onto his truck and headed over to the trailhead. Neither of us had ridden this trail before but we trusted the reviews on the Mtn Bike Project app, which promised a physically challenging yet technical ride that was only supposed to be 15.6 miles with about 1,500 feet of elevation gain. It sounded right up our alley.
After some minor adjustments to our equipment at the trailhead, we were off! The first part of the ride provided us with lots of roots to ride over, a few smaller climbs, and our first drop, which I half nailed (I had to use my foot for balance on a small section). As we rounded the corner about a mile in, I was pretty happy with how I was riding and my legs felt good. After the first big climb, Robb stopped to consume “gratuitous amounts of energy” before we carried on.
About 5 miles in, it felt like we had been climbing for centuries. Were we ever going to get to the top? We had switched off leaders pretty often to give each other a break, but Robb is a more technical rider than I am so it was nice to follow his lead up a few of the tougher sections. After riding through numerous rock gardens, over a few bridges, up and over many roots and over a small stream, we FINALLY reached the summit about 6 miles in and my quads were oh so happy to get some relief! I stopped to take a few pictures and marvel at the scenery around us. We were surrounded by mountains on every side without a major road or car in sight.
The trail rolled over a few smaller hills (one of which Robb got cocky on and ended up in a bush) before beginning the descent into Breckenridge. The second half of the ride wasn’t nearly as technical as the beginning climbs but there were still some fun drops, bridges, roots and boulders we had to maneuver around. With about 1 mile left, Robb took off ahead of me in “Beast Mode”, hid behind some trees and snuck up on me about a ½ mile down the trail. I was so busy concentrating on my riding, thinking about using only 1 finger to brake and compressing before a big drop that I didn’t even notice him behind me. I just thought he had left me in the dust to be eaten by a bear. Ok, he wouldn’t really do that but when you’re tired and realize you’re only halfway done with a 20-mile ride, your mind starts to play funny tricks on you.
After 3 miles of downhill fun, we reached the halfway point and decided it was best to take the bike path home since it was already 7pm. We’d be riding in the dark regardless and this was the safer (yet longer) way home. We cruised past Peak 7 and Peak 8, down into the neighborhood where I swear we almost got pulled over by a cop for going “too fast” on bikes. Robb said it would have been badass to get a speeding ticket on a bike but I beg to differ.
On the path home, we chatted about how sick that ride was but how we wished we could have ridden it with more daylight as the downhill on the way back would have been awesome. Once we got back to the car, this would be the longest ride I’ve done to date and my body was definitely letting me know. My thoughts turned from how awesome I had ridden to what was on the menu for dinner.
Once back at the truck, it was pitch black but we had just conquered 22 miles worth of mountain biking in 3 hours! My legs may have felt dead but my spirit was very much alive. I had conquered the hardest trail I’ve ridden so far without falling and even nailed a few bigger drops. I am beyond stoked with how much my riding is improving and it can only get better from here.
As my headlights made their way back onto I70 that night, I was left with a sense of accomplishment but also a yearning for more spontaneous adventures. I don’t think I’ll ever tame my wanderlust but will continue to feed it with trips much like this one.