In the Saddle: Crested Butte’s 4-H cycling club
August 30, 2005
Crested Butte ought to be spelled with an “H,” somehow.That’s “H” as in Hard, Humbling, Heavenly and Hold on.My buddy and I headed over last weekend to worship in the Mecca of mountain biking. We picked the granddaddy of the trails Saturday, climbing 2,000 vertical feet out of Cement Creek to Reno Divide before tapping into 18 or so miles of singletrack trail in Flag Creek, Bear Creek and Deadman Gulch. There were two blazing downhill stretches, but you had to earn them with two climbs of about 800 vertical feet each.That’s where the Hard and Humbling parts came in. The last climb, more than three hours into the ride, had me gasping for breath and staggering like a Widespread Panic fan after a marathon concert.I felt a little better when, back at the car, reclining with a cold beer, my buddy figured out we had tackled roughly 3,600 vertical feet and 25 miles.I felt even better the next day when we partook of the pleasures of Crested Butte’s famed 401 Trail. Sure the climb up Schofield Pass was tough, and the initial climb up the singletrack 401 was even tougher, but once we topped out and caught amazing views of the back of the Maroon Bells and countless surrounding peaks and bowls, it was well worth it. That experience, and the screaming descent that followed, were where the Heavenly part came in.Heavenly pretty much describes the view of the charming little town as you descend from Gothic. Crested Butte is still ringed by pastures and open space despite development pressures. It appears to have the perfect balance between community and resort, unlike some other mountain towns. Let’s hope the developers don’t mess it up.All I can say is Hold on, Crested Butte, Hold on.