Starvation Creek. It sounds scary. What happened in the hay day railroad and mining history of Salida that would warrant the name Starvation Creek? Well, I still don't know the answer to that, but I know Starvation is more then a sign off the well traveled Monarch Crest. And that was our goal this weekend - ride a bunch of hours and learn a little more about the Vapor course. With another three day weekend, it was the perfect opportunity for both of us to ride new trails. A later then we wanted start Friday had us rolling up Marshall Pass road just after 10:30. We found a sweet campsite and quickly got ready to ride. Clouds were already forming and we were heading up into the sky to great them. Up Poncha Creek Rd, a gradual climb until the Starvation Creek trailhead. And then it got steep. Very steep, loose and rocky. No talking as we both settled into the business of climbing. Thunder rumbled all around us as the clouds thickened. And still we climbed. The miles creeped by on my Garmin, laughingly slow. It was only five miles to the summit of Marshall, but time was ticking away. All I could think was how horrible the climb would feel come September 7th... We rode all the way out to Marshall Pass Road and quickly donned rain gear for the looming storm.
|The never ending climb up Poncha Creek Road.|
Then to Starvation. Another sucker of a climb stood between us and the promise of singletrack. It didn't take long and we almost missed the faint turn off the road. Just a wooden post marking the way - something I will have to remember. As for Starvation Creek? Wow. A mini version of Silver Creek but closer to the water and with bigger consequences for wiping out. The trail was half as wide as anything we usually ride and benched into a steep, near vertical slope at times. We rode through wooded groves and open, flower filled meadows, down steep descents and up punchy little climbs. And too soon, it was over. Crossing a narrow wooden bridge and we were back on the road where we had started.
A quick stop take rain gear off - the clouds had rumbled but not done anything, and we were riding again. This time down to the Otto Mears road and a steep ATV track to Rainbow Trail. There was some hike-a-bike as we took a lesser traveled trail the followed a creek up. I was starting to get tired and falling off the pace a little as we neared the junction with Rainbow. A short break and it was back on our bikes for the final chunk of Rainbow Trail. I wasn't as smooth as I wanted and was struggling on the climbs, but still in control on the descents. My third time on that segment of Rainbow and I finally felt comfortable riding. As soon as we hit the dirt road climb back into camp however, the wheels came off. I couldn't hold Nick's wheel and was generally ready to be done. And we had two more days of riding!
|One of the climbs on Rainbow - suffering at this point...|