Day 4 - Vail Lost lake Loop

- Mountain bike ride (CO)

I woke up a couple of times during the night with a very dry mouth, which I put down to being at quite a high altitude. The room it self was very good , with a comfortable King bed, flat screen TV and free internet access, and the building had free underground parking. In the morning I packed up my gear and as I'd been blown out by my Denver contact for a ride near copper mountain I decided to go and ride a trail over at Vail.
I got to vail at around 10:30 and parked in the Lions head car park - which was handy as it was free and the car was out of the sun. I had a walk around in the Ski resort to see if I could get any cycling gear in the end of season sales, but didn't find anything. I bought a large cream cake for my breakfast, and then went and unloaded my bike to do a ride. The lifts weren't running and there was a lot of construction going on , on the ski resort side, so I decided to go and do a ride i'd day several years back the Lost lake Loop. And set out on my route at 11:00am.
I made a fairly big mistake with my chosen route , looking at the map I had and a description I had off the internet it looked like the ride up Son of Middle Creek would be a do-able ride and would cut out a section of the Red Canyon fire road. But as it turned out I ended up having to do quite a bit of hike a bike as the trail was so steep and loose in places. It was also very hot as the trail was out of the wind but in the bright sunshine. Very different to the day before at Winter Park where it had been very cold.
Doing the trail this was not a complete disaster , as there were some sections of trail that were ride able, and there was a great section of switch backs which dropped down to Red canyon Road.
Once on the Red Canyon road it climbed upwards at a fairly easy gradient , the road wasn't too badly wash boarded. And in a couple of places there were nice views back towards Vail. Luckily for me there wasn't much traffic along the road , I imagine it would be a quite dusty unpleasant ride at the weekends.
Towards the top of the road the trail surface started to get a bit rockier, and was more of an effort to pedal up.
I reached the lost lake trail head at about 13:35, the trail dropped down slightly but then proceeded to climb upwards towards the lake , the trail was quite rooty and rocky , and i did some hike a bike along the way.
Eventually I came to the Lost Lake, It was very peaceful and scenic. I spent a bit of time here having some snacks and taking pictures, and enjoying the wilderness vibe.
6 Friendly birds turned up while I was eating some food, and were happy to eat a power bar that tasted way too healthy for me to eat. Some one later told me I shouldn't have given them anything as the eat other birds eggs as well - a bit like Magpies here in England.
From the lake I followed the trail around the edge , and it then climbed upwards, and was at times quite rocky and rooty. There was great section of the trail where it went though young trees quick quickly, the last time i'd been here they were only about .5 meters tall, now they were about 4 meters tall, so there weren't any view's anymore through this section.
The Trail alternated between being fairly wide , and nice and narrow and carried out heading mainly upwards.
The trail briefly came out of the trees and there were nice views of the vail ski area, and the singletrack was nice. Then the trail went back into the woods and dropped downwards along a fairly wide smooth trail to the end of the Lost Lake Trail.
At the end of the trail I then rode along fire roads which headed mostly upwards towards the Buffehr Creek Trail.
There were some good views as I rode along the fireroads of mountains to the North.
I finally connected onto the Buffehr Creek Trail, This trail was great fun as it shot down through aspens , the trail was quite wide, but was fast to ride along - hence i didn't stop to take any pictures
Once out of the aspens the trail got nice and narrow and was quite steep and dusty in places, as it switched back down the hill side down the North trail system trail.

I got back to the SUV at about 17:45 in total i'd ridden about 24 miles miles, the ride started at 8135ft and the highest point of the ride was 10252ft, it had been a good tough ride.

According to Topo using my GPS track I had climbed 3985 ft and lost 3995 ft

If I was to do the ride again I wouldn't climb up Son of Middle Creek again as it was too steep to be a totally enjoyable climb for my sea level lungs


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I got back to the SUV at about 17:45 I packed up my gear and then drove to Salida, Via Leadville.

I stopped and filled up with Gas in Leadville and then carried on to Salida , along the way to Salida I encountered the first rain of my trip, and as I arrived in Salida in the Dark it was still raining, which didn't bode well for riding the Monarch Crest the following day.

After checking into my Hotel the Super 8 Motel I went and had a Great meal at Fiesta Mexicana in Salida, I had a whole fired Tilapia - there was nothing left by the time i finished it. I then got in touch with some friends in Gunnison who I was supposed to ride the Monarch Crest with the following day, before going to the WalMart in Gunnison and picking up some bits and bobs. Then I headed back to the Motel and went to bed.

Click here for Day 5