Vagabond weekend.

Sometimes plans are good and things go just right. Other times flexibility is the key to making things work. This was one of those weekends where going with the flow was the plan. We had a great plan starting the day - load up the van and head to Pueblo for some fun. Got an early start and made it to the lake just as the wind was kicking up. Oh well - we were planning on staying in the canyons and hitting the fun trails where the wind wouldn't be such an issue. Or so we thought. The first lap was fine - up Rodeo, down Rattlesnake, up skull canyon - then some other trails I don't remember. I could tell the wind was bad, but we were fine. On the climb up from Rock Canyon I could see the dust storm forming over Pueblo West. Yikes! It was big, dark and angry looking. Hopefully it would stay north of us! We dropped down Pinball looking for some fun in the canyons, only to find a see of tumbleweed instead. Over my head deep filling the trail and canyon. It took some hiking to get out, then we met another wall of weeds. Every advanced canyon we tried was full. Ugh. And with no end in sight - we did another lap of Rodeo and found that canyon filled with tumbleweeds as well. In the space of fifty minutes! Okay. Done fighting the weeds. The only trails that were clear were the boring fitness trails because that's all people were riding.
Random travel shot on the way to Salida. Loved the clouds

Nick and I had a pow-wow in the van trying to figure out what to do next. We had a cooler of food, clothes and time. We just need a place to ride! And Nick wasn't interested in staying in Pueblo because of the wind and the tumbleweeds. Nothing fun was open, so it really wasn't worth it. Time for some exploring then. But where too? Canyon City? Salida? Humm... We took the scenic route up thru Wetmore and WestCliffe trying to figure out that we were going to do. At the junction of US 50 we had a choice - east or west. We picked west and headed for Salida. It would be nice to see if that was an option for winter riding. Got some trail info from Absolute Bikes and grub at the Boathouse then explored town a bit. Then bedtime. Nick was planning on riding in the AM and I was running.
looking west from Frontside Trail. Looks pretty quiet right now!

Sunday started out sunny, warm and calm. I debated wearing shorts for my run since it was so nice out. But there were clouds building in the west and I was a little concerned. I didn't want to be "that girl" and head out completely underdressed and unprepared. So when the wind kicked up, I was almost happy. A good reason to wear my tights and bring hat and gloves. I opted to leave my vest - it was still sunny and warm. I left for my run just ahead of Nick and he caught me on the Frontside climb. The first two miles of my run were solid uphill, but they were fun trails - Frontside and Lil Rattler. Then I decided to try heading out North Backbone. I was able to keep an eye on the mountains and the approaching storm. North Backbone was rolling and a good run, but traversed mostly north facing slopes. As a result, the trail was snowpacked. Not icy at all - well ridden in and benched in the snow so the running was fine. The storm on the other hand - that was moving in really quickly.
And here comes the storm! Better move!

I didn't beat it back to the van. About six miles in, the wind started howling and snow flurries enveloped the mountains. I dug my gloves out and quickly pulled my hat over my ears. Only three miles to go - and all downhill! The storm moved through as quickly as it came in, dropping the temperature as it left. Nick and I finished about the same time. He'd had a good ride despite his Achilles aching and I'd had a good run. So the weekend wasn't a complete waste - despite the tumbleweed invasion in Pueblo. We got to see Salida in the winter, which was nice. A storm in the mountains and mostly dry trails in the foothills. Perfect. Next weekend - Canyon City! Heard some good things about those trails....


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