It turned out to be a perfect day to ride with the temperature hovering around 65 degrees, and the forest canopy shimmering in a dozen shades of green from the spring rains.
After getting fitted for our bikes, we climbed in the van and headed to the top of Lizard Head for the start of our adventure. Our guide, Mark Simpson, an affable young gent, originally from New Zealand, quickly went over a biking tutorial and safety lesson.
Now you might ask yourself how does a trail get such a crazy name? Apparently, in order to stave off bankruptcy after the glory days of the steam locomotive, the Rio Grande Southern Railroad built a series of railcars (then deemed motorcars) to keep their contract with the postal service to deliver mail. These railcars were less expensive to operate and when coming into a station there wasn’t a whistle but a honking noise and as the doors raised open it appeared like a Goose! Ah yes, we were not only going to bike, but we were learning about the booming mining era and the colorful characters who built the railroad. Some of the relics you see on this trip are an old trestle and the only intact water tank used to cool off the tracks before the train came by.
Now following the old railroad grade on single track, we pedaled down a few steep hills, across creeks, around rock slides, next to wild raspberry bushes, and near rushing waterfalls. It’s a beautiful ride gazing up at the Ophir Needles or down toward Ames and the Ilium Valley. But don’t take your eyes off the trail for too long, as some of the trail is narrow with quite the drop off!
At the end of the trip the drivers had set up a table with cookies, fruit and chips. We spent a few moments hanging with our guide, and listening to the sounds of the mighty San Miguel before we felt a few rain drops. Perfect timing! We gathered the left over snacks and rushed to the van, thinking about what our next Telluride adventure will be.