Ride Report: #ThrowbackThursday to Strand with Rhodes

The air was so clear that distant mountains stood right before me. The September sky appeared perfectly blue. Crisp, yellow Aspen leaves colored the hills and mountainsides.

yellow aspens on the mountains in West Brush Creek, Crested Butte, CO

The Decision

In spite of an overflowing inbox and lengthy to-do list, I said to myself “we’re going for a big ride this evening!” At that moment I determined I would surprise my son when the school bell rang at 3:30 by picking him up with both our bikes mounted on the car. And that’s what I did.

My ten year old son developed a passion for mountain biking soon after learning to ride a bike. During his early years he rode in the bike trailer as we searched for tractors and bulldozers. Singletrack was not on that itinerary.

Rhodes posing at the top of Strand HillAt the outset of last summer, we treated ourselves to long overdue bike upgrades. Thanks to his Trek Fuel Ex Jr and the Crested Butte Devo program, my son was flowing like the wind up and down the singletrack of the upper East River Valley by September. Rather than a short ride near the neighborhood, we would ride Strand Hill that day. I had not been in years. Like a kid myself, I couldn’t wait for the school bell to ring.

The Uphill

The ride out Brush Creek Road was fast and fun. It didn’t take long to reach the cattle fence crossing and begin the uphill. A decade ago, I had every rock and bar ditch memorized. The Strand uphill is a big push for a ten year old. Rhodes was excited to be outside working hard and looking forward to the downhill. We needed our stops and breaks to hydrate and fuel. After ample patience and persistence, we reached the hill’s crest and stretched out in the grass.

The Downhill

I love the color of the evening sun. Golden light illuminated golden hillsides draping the bases of many high rocky peaks. With that backdrop, we prepared for the real fun. For me this descent was the long overdue return to an old favorite that I would ride often from town in simpler times. My eyes darted between the sight of my son flowing down the wind and the twists and turns of track below my front wheel. Zoom, zoom, zoom, we rode like this until we finally cleared the forest and reached the level trail of open sage.

Back on Brush Creek Road we raced side by side. Great fun and a great way to not be too late for dinner.


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