Two Midsummer Nights' Dream Bikepacking Pikes Peak

In which I achieve escape velocity despite my bludgeoned brain to escape the noise of construction for the local festival, discover having a TBI headache in a tent in a hailstorm with zero count lightening is less fun than it sounds, and along the way I get to ride Beorn of Clan Gus Boots Willsen up, down, over through rocks, roots, mountains, streams all familier yet remarkable because Beorn can ride lines no bike I've ever had can. What a delight!

The western tail of Pikes Peak. What a green, luscious, cooler, wet year!

Beorn's plus size nobbies roll amazingly smoothy on asphalt and smooth dirt roads (being a plus-size equivalent to René Herse endurance tires), so don't slow me down, yet they are much appreciated and grippy when I get to the technical bits, giving float and rolling over rocks and roots I'd previously considered unridable.

Ring the Peak trail, below The Craigs. It climbs up and over a saddle off photo right.

Climbing Craig's Saddle. Sit up and back and spin despite the steepish, steady climb for a couple of miles.

Beorn of the Gus Boots Willsen Clan loves long adventure rides over all terrains. Beorn loves long adventure rides over all terrains and makes them wondrous to ride. This is a rock garden section of the Ring the (Pikes) Peak Trail, above Craig's Road. Boots goes over, up, and down things I previously considered unridable, causing me to recalibrate what I can ride. I'm now more limited by my lungs than my ability to ride the terrain. For reference, I'd make it over this rock on my unloaded bikes (geared or fixed) about 25% of the time, and then just. Boots just rolled over it, both coming and going.

Camp, below Sentinel Point, the high point seen through the aspen.

Decanting cold brew coffee. The night before, I soak the grounds in just enough water, warm from the day, then in the morning, I fill it the rest of the way with water cooled in the night. Here, you can see the grounds pouring into the bandanna lining the mug.

The last drop! Lift the bandana by the corners, twist the base and get a perfect mug of cold brew. Hold it in an insulated thermos and you have cold coffee on a hot (or cold!) afternoon, no fire required!

Coffeeneuring bandana dried, cleaned, and ready to filter the next mug.

Next morning's climb started early at 6am. The plan was to connect a trail that “almost” connects to a road that goes to Cripple Creek, and continue on to Shelf Road and eventually Salida. Reality and my brain had other plans. However, I was stunned how much of this trail I rode, both up and unexpectedly back down (all of it down). My arms still got a good workout with a fair bit of LCG (lowest common gear) over sections too steep and technical for my riding capacity. Grin.

Already tired, first thing in the morning, gazing at bokah view of the Continental Divide from near Pancake Rocks. Though I thought I'd escaped “cleanly” from the chaos of town, apparently too much previous stimulation had overloaded my brain to the point a TBI headache hit (think migraine, muscle tension, and sinus headaches simultaneously), harder than in a long while. I was too stupid to know it yet. Sardonic grin.

The snowy Continental Divide, as seen from near Pancake Rocks above Cripple Creek.

Descending Pancake Rocks to the end of the trail. There is a “trail” that connects to Highway 67, but it is not conducive to taking a bike, dropping down crevasses and cliffs...

But what a place to end a trail!

View down Horsethief Park. Thunderstorms hit hard that afternoon, and the choice to weather a headache either outside pelted by pea-sized hail or inside a kettledrum effect on the tent isn't much of a choice, but makes recover challenging. Rather than continuing on to Salida by a different route, I headed home to recover out of the elements (snow is hitting the higher country as I write this).

#withabandon