In late fall, we traveled to the high elevations of the San Juan mountains to explore the vast range and to test out our prototype suspension platform. Our trip took us to the southwest part of Colorado because the San Juan's contain some of the most rugged terrain in Colorado and offer a loose network of trails - some fully developed, others just old mining paths filtering down the mountainside.
Fall in the Rockies is always epic, but the weather is variable. We encountered freezing temps and snow, but were rewarded with fresh loam and peak colors. In the end, after the trails were explored, weather was endured, flat tires were fixed, and a few beers were drunk, we found out what works and what doesn’t. Excursions like this are part of the feedback loop necessary to fully develop our suspension designs.
Fall in the San Juan range: high altitude holds snowy peaks and frigid temps while lower down in the valley the fading sun warms the gold leaves of aspen trees.
View from the Prospect Trail on Telluride Mountain. Peaks of the box canyon pierce through the afternoon clouds as a storm breaks and lights fills the valley below.
An unusually warm and moist fall delayed peak foliage season but that streak of weather broke early in our trip, leaving us to endure a few successive days of snowy weather.
Usually waiting out the bad weather would be the norm in the early morning, but we needed to cover trail. As the descent began and the rear wheel slid left to right, frozen puddles became targets. When feeling returned to our frozen toes, it all became worthwhile.
Most of the higher elevation trails were little more than footpaths on a ridge line, hidden under a thin layer of snow. Joey was able to clear them with his rear wheel.
The clouds hovered almost every day on the peaks, threatening our temperament and testing our novice meteorologist skills. Should we ride? How long? When do we turn around? The boot heaters normally reserved for ski season definitely came in handy.
You never know what to expect late season in the high country of Colorado, but that’s part of the fun. The variable conditions culminated into a perfect torture test for the Switch Infinity mechanism.
As the weather warmed and the skies began to break, we took a sketchy trip over the summit of Ophir pass and landed in Silverton. Once and old mining town, the boom days are long gone... The only gold left is on the trees.
The late afternoon sun percolating down through the trees.
Finding new ribbons of singletrack on every ride, the point of the trip becomes lost.
Many sections of trail were covered in a thick blanket of aspen leaves, making last-minute turns inevitable. Here the loose cover of fallen leaves is ripped off revealing the compost of fresh dirt below.
As the last of the autumn leaves fell and the fading sun set, a new technology was solidified and our joy of riding in our home state was reignited.
YETI SB5 CARBON
Learn More: http://yeticycles.com/#/bikes.com/sb5c
Proven Here. SB5 Carbon and the San Juan Mountains.
Words, Photos, and Film by Craig Grant. Riding by Joey Schusler.yeticycles.com