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Pikes Peak or Bust

Pikes Peak stands as the most recognizable landmark in the Colorado Springs area. Towering 14,000 ft above the surrounding countryside this landmark served as the navigation point for thousands of early settlers and more recently a major touring destination for visitors in the area.

Not content with going the easy way we decided to try our hand at riding the tandem to the top. Bikes are not allowed on the main road so we had to find a trail.

The Barr Trail is the most popular hiking route to the top and begins immediately outside Manitou Springs adjacent to the Cog Railway station. Barr Trail climbs 7,000 ft in 12 miles. We got an early start and took off up the trail. The tandem was doing well with the early going being mostly hike-a-bike up stairs. After .5 a mile we were on the bike riding along the narrow singletrack. Unfortunately after another .5 mile while grinding up a steep slope we snapped the main drive chain with the force we were putting into the cranks. That ended the ride; Mark was able to fix the chain but it was permanently weakened and would not survive more stress. As the early travellers used to say “Pikes Peak or Bust”… we were not finished.

The next day we returned to mountain. This time Mark had his mountain bike and Kat had her wallet. The plan today was to send Kat up the Cog Railway to the top while Mark rode his bike solo up Barr Trail.

Kat made the peak and Mark made it to 12,000 ft (the end of the trail and the beginning of a gravel rock crawl to the top). Kat enjoyed majestic views from the peak and Mark cruised 9 miles of pure downhill. All in all we consider both trips a success and we have the pictures to prove it.

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