ROAD TO LEADVILLE: GUNSIGHT PASS

Saturday July 24, 2010 – This morning I did a skills clinic up at Crested Butte Resort that was a blast. It was a great group and I hope I had a nugget or two to offer the riders. After the clinic, I horked down a Caesar burrito left over from last night as I drove from the ski mountain down to Crested Butte proper. I parked there and headed out the Lower Loop to a nasty ‘ol climb called Gunsight Pass. Gunsight is about as much vertical as we can get around here in one shot at 3,000 plus.

I hadn’t done it for years and it was everything I remembered and then some. “Did I used to have to push this section?” I muttered to myself time and again. It’s an old mining road and it’s pure, blasted rock; loose and steep. It was dry, which was why I was having trouble staying on my bike, or so I told myself. I was not feeling so great. Susan and I have this descriptive when we ride that we call feeling like Margon. I don’t know where we got it but we’ve been saying it for years: “Man, I felt stronger than Margon out there today.” I think we have always assumed that Margon was some sort of Greek god of strength or something. I just googled it and came up mainly with restaurants in NYC. Oh well, today I did not feel like Margon.

I didn’t wear my HR monitor, got 3,500 on my altimeter and was out for about 2.5 hours. That puts me at about 10 hours this week with tomorrow yet to be written. I kind of want to just take it off but the weekdays are harder for me to get away for a longer, quality ride. I’m planning to head out Highway 149 toward Lake City in the morning on my road bike and take it as is comes. It might be an hour easy spin or I might go all the way over to the Lake Fork and ply the four 1,000 footers (more or less) that go along with that route. You just never know.

I’m also starting to get my race bike for Leadville ready. That means getting out the gram scale and weighing stuff. Tonight I weighed multi-tools and the winner was the Topeak Mini 20 Pro which came in at 110 grams without the chaintool, which I’ll have in one of the Topeak ProPacks and hope to never see during the race.

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8 Responses to “ROAD TO LEADVILLE: GUNSIGHT PASS”

  1. Dave –
    What do you think time difference between the Bailey Hundo and Leadville will be? Bailey was my first 100 and I am trying to see if sub 9 at Leadville is in the cards – 8:30 at Bailey and went pretty easy. Thanks for the good info on the blog.
    Thanks

  2. Dave Wiens Says:

    I think Bailey was a little easier; not as much climbing and nothing steep until that last little kicker at the finish. That being said, I’ll bet you’re also fitter now. The kicker with Leadville is the number of riders. You didn’t have to worry about that much at Bailey. If you’re not careful at Leadville, you can find yourself way back there and behind tons of riders. Get a good spot on the starting grid and work hard to hold your position until you get to St. Kevins. At that point, you can relax some and ride your own race. Pace carefully as there are tons of enthusiastic riders early on. You might get passed by 100 in the early going but you could pass twice that number at the end. Good luck!

  3. Have you done the ride up Roaring Judy to Cement Mountain trail? Fantastic climb, something like 3300′ in 6 or 7 miles. It’s got a lot of grades in the 20%-35% range but the surface is good enough that it is all rideable. It starts at the top of Jack’s Cabin cutoff and can be looped with Rosebud and Doctor park for a sweet 3.5-4 hours.

  4. Dave Wiens Says:

    Just twice from the top of the cutoff and not for years (as in 18-20!). Once, we spent much of the time lost as we were looking for the old faint trail that comes down to the highway sheds on 135. The other time I think I connected with Rosebud, as you mention. Great country up there! Doctor Park, however, always a favorite and one of the few classics I have done this year.

  5. Eccher Gulch I think is the faint trail descent to 135 – I’ve done that too but it’s a sketchy exit to 135 through private property, although I did find an exit devoid of any keep out signs. Who knows? It’s fantastic for sure tho! Another nice 4 hour loop…I have the GPS track, just holla if you need it.

    After spending the last month in your neck of the woods I’m pretty sure it’s the nicest MTB training grounds on planet earth in the summer!

  6. I think people discount Gunsight Pass since there are so many great rides in CB. I love the climb/ride. On a wet afternoon on a short weekend visit, and I set out to do Gunsight in loomng skies since the ST was wet. . I hate to use the word “epic” but the rocky fire road climb up, getting caught in a rain-snow-thunder storm and then flatting on the descent was an awesome.

    Good luck in Leadville!

  7. I think people discount Gunsight Pass since there are so many great rides in CB. I love the climb/ride. On a wet afternoon on a short weekend visit, and I set out to do Gunsight in loomng skies since the ST was wet. . I hate to use the word “epic” but the rocky fire road climb up, getting caught in a rain-snow-thunder storm and then flatting on the descent was an awesome ride.

    Good luck in Leadville!

  8. Tim watkins Says:

    I was down on tues/weds to visit my daughter and ride and rode/walked gunsight on my single speed and was positively worked by the time I hit old mine sight only went a bit farther up.. not to top out sheesh whaddamonster!!! I feel a bit better knowing you were having a bit of difficulty with this one too.. !!! thanks for the band aid!!!

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