MOUNTAIN BIKING USA.

PART TWO. DURANGO DIRT

Arriving in Durango early afternoon we checked into the Silver Spur Motel. John Wayne stayed and liked it said the neon sign. It came recommended. With the necessary formalities over we jumped in the van, map in hand and went off in search of the Halfin Creek Trail. Unable to locate one end of the trail we tried the other and were rewarded with a piece of single track that disappeared into the trees. From the guidebook this was identified as the hardest trail. No mistake there (Picture Dur1). The trail snaked its way up along the side of Halfin Creek with intermittent scree slopes along the way. The total elevation of this climb was 3,300ft, however at around 9000ft the trail was still covered with snow. On the way down, the tight turns made it extremely hard to stay on the bike. That coupled with a endo over the bars onto some granite rock didn't make for a relaxing descent.

The following day, having been woken up by the Durango-Silvertown steam engine, we set off to the ski resort of Purgatory and an attempt at the 1990 World Championship course.

With the weather forecast for the next day being rain, a sight seeing tour to Mesa Verde was planned. Mesa Verde is a series of Indian settlement nestled under cliff overhangs. The dwellings are mesmerising as they were only discovered at the turn of the century and were quickly set up as a heritage site (Picture Dur3). Be warned though, its surprisingly tough walking around at 9500ft, and watch out for the over fed Americans when embarking on some of the tours, which involve climbing down steep steps and through rock cuttings.

Arising the next morning realising it was our last day, we opted for a local ride. Just opposite the motel was Animas City Mountain. The trail goes straight up and down. 1300ft up in fact. The trails is unrelenting with technical rock strewn stretches. At the top you arrive at a ledge with fantastic views over the back of Durango. The singletrack ride down is gnarly and we soon found ourselves at the bottom and facing the long drive back to Denver.