Southwest Day 13: The Bivvy Telluride to Rico

September 5, 2021. 37 miles, 3671 ft of climbing.

I got a relatively early start, and it was still pretty chilly out. The first time this trip I’ve used my lightweight windbreaker jacket. It took a while before the sun made it down into the narrow canyon valley and things started to warm up.

The valley is scenic, but it was nice to be biking when the traffic was lighter since the shoulder wasn’t great.

It was something like 10 lightly uphill miles to the turnoff to Telluride. I headed up toward Mountain Village and Lizard Head Pass. It looked like there was an opion to skip some of the climbing by following a dirt road through a valley that met up with the main road after the first up and down. I decided to follow the main road - partly because I didn’t know the state of the dirt road and partly because the internet claimed Lizard Head Pass had good scenery. It was right, though the first bit was climbing through relatively populated areas until the Mountain Village turnoff.

After that first (relatively) steep climb, there was along stretch of more rolling-but-mostly-upwards road, with a great view of mountains (and trees, and rocks). There were also a lot of road cyclists out on day rides up the pass. The sure sign of being close to towns.

This pass came in two parts, with a meaningful downhill in the middle (where the alternate route joined back up). In the past I’ve been frustrated by these kinds of downhills because it felt like losing progress. But this time I enjoyed the break from the climbing. I guess there’s a point at which the variety is better than perceived efficiency.

Soon enough it was back to climbing, though not at a grade that was too terribly tedious. It still took a while to get to the top, of course. Just before the pass was a lake that looked like it was quite the local destination. At the top of the pass there were also a bunch of people camping as well as access to some of the local mountain bike routes. And more road bikers. Definitely a popular place to be.

I was looking forward to the looooong downhill (the rest of today and most of tomorrow - something like 50 miles). And sure enough, it was a great downhill. It was a shallow enough grade to just enjoy without worrying too much about going too fast. The scenery wasn’t as nice as the climbing side, but the miles and miles of coasting made up for it.

Soon enough I got to Rico, a small town that seemed to mostly be a stop for (motor) bikers to stop for lunch. I joined the throng at a local place and had mediocre pizza with enough left over for dinner later.

My destination for the evening was only a mile or two past Rico at Lazy Rooster Ranch. They appear to be in the process of creating a campground, but currently just have an A-frame off-grid cabin that they are renting out. The cabin was cute and comfortable and a nice place to crash. The ambiance of the area was a little “under construction”, but it was right on the (small) river. I think it’ll be a nice place when they are done setting it up.

Bronwyn Woods