Day One – Saturday - 61 miles

We began the day by stopping at our traditional breakfast spot in Ouray, The Silver Nugget. The service left a little to be desired, and it was as if they were not quite prepared for such a large group as the doors opened. It would be our last visit there. We thought it would be a good idea for everyone to get their sea-legs before tackling Engineer Pass, which was our target for the day. We rode up to the Amphitheater to kick things off, and make sure everything was in order. Zach had a couple of problems with the DR’s brakes, but a slight adjustment was made and we were on our way. Steve and I decided to use our street helmets this year so we could listen to music and also talk back and forth. We headed down US 550 to the entrance of the Alpine Loop and we were off. It was a little challenging riding with so many riders and making certain we were all together. I was the lead and Steve followed me, and we were in communication, so it was made a little easier. As we rode up Engineer Pass I was remarking to Steve how this was the spot where my family had abandoned our Jeep to walk as we rode down the Pass on a family vacation in 2008. No response. Soon my bluetooth told me rider “A” had been disconnected, so I knew I was too far ahead. I stopped to wait, but no one came. After several uncomfortable minutes I turned the bike off to listen. I could hear nothing, but after removing my helmet I heard some voices. This part of trail had many switchbacks, so I could hear someone below me as I was one level up. It was Mike and Steve. I asked if everyone was ok, and they responded in the positive, but said Steve’s bike was gone. What the heck I thought as I went up to the next switchback to turn around. As I got back down to their spot I realized Steve’s bike had gone over the cliff, fortunately without him on it. It turns out a big boulder had popped his front tire up, and it came down on the left side of the trail and there was nothing to prevent it from going down. Steve stayed on his feet, but was helpless as his bike caromed down the cliff and rolled down to next level narrowly missing John, the last bike in our group, and continued on beyond that before resting some 50 yards below the trail. Fortunately there were some ATVers who had a pull rope and it took all of us to pull the bike up. It was everything we could do to pull the bike up and everyone thought for sure we would have to somehow get the truck up here to take it down. Amazingly we got the bike up on the trail and it started right up. A lot of the plastic had severe scrapes but it was really no worse for the wear. The only problem was the front rim had been bent causing a flat. We filled it up with some Fix-A-Flat, and he rode it back to camp. Unbelievable! We all rode back to camp, and laughed about it for a while and decided to use the extra bike and ride some more. The extra bike was a Yamaha RW 250. Zach rode this bike, exchanging his DR so Steve could ride. We ended up riding over to Camp Bird and knocking around for the balance of the day.

Steve’s Bike being pulled up