Drift and Swift: Silverthorne to Como, CO.

Some days drift. Others are swift.

Riding from the concrete/condominium megapolis of Silverthorne to the ramshackle, timewarped settlement of Como seemed to fuse the two. In one languid day, we journeyed from glitzy ski towns to a lost world of forgotten railroads and abandoned junk, traversing the beautiful, mellow Boreas Pass.

It’s an area rich in frontier history. This Continental Divide crossing was the stomping ground of prospectors flocking to Breckenridge during the Colorado Gold Rush. This history has the added perk that the pass is perfectly graded for cycling, a throwback to the railroad layed down by Union Pacific in the late 1880s, linking the once thriving communities of Leadville and Como.

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A buttery smooth bike path to Frisco weaved us through luxurious condominiums scattered around the Dillon Reservoir, in the shadow of snow capped peaks - a magnet to skiers come the winter months.

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Who lives where: knowing your Kowalskis from your McKaics.

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The bike path wound on past Frisco, towards the luxy ski resort of Breckenridge.

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After a refuel in Breck, we began the climb over Boreas Pass. This Continental Divide marks the 15th crossing on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

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Pavement soon turned to hardpack dirt, affording far reaching views of the Blue River and reservoir far below.

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A railway water tank from the 1880s, where steam trains loaded up with ore from the nearby mines.

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Then it was onwards and upwards, towards powdered peaks.

The top of the pass was still crusty with icy snow; tyres struggle to find purchase as we slipped and slid our way forwards.

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11 482 ft. That's around 3500m in new money. Named after the Greek god of the North Wind, it was perhaps fitting that a biting wind whipped through abandoned buildings at the top of the Continental Divide. We wasted no time in donning layers before the ten mile descent to Como.

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Dense forest and mountain views opened up as we hurtled our way back down.

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The gentle glow of sunset as the sun dropped behind the mountains.

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The temperature had plummeted too. The local populace (aka Ricki Ramstetter, owner of the Mountain Man Gallery) kindly offered us the keys to the civic centre, complete with massive, roaring heater. By now we were a roving posse of five: Layl had rejoined Nick, and we'd finally met up with Greg, who'd also ridden down from Alaska.

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After a good feed and plenty of tourer chat, we bedded down on the floor of the centre. Sweet dreams ensued.

Morning brought sun and warmth once more. Just 20 miles from picture-perfect Brecken, overgrown and dishevelled Como felt like a completely different side to Colorado. The Colorado of yesteryear...

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Semi-abandoned junk cluttered every yard, lending the place an end-of-the-earth, Alaskan feel.

Judging by the amount of outhouses, much of it doesn't even have running water; its barebones outhouses must make for frosty ablutions come winter.

There was a small artistic community. A couple of signs suggested 'antiques' might be for sale, though it was hard to tell junk from art. Shopping in Como is more like a forage...

Como humour: I shopped till I dropped.

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The Mountain Man Gallery also doubled up as the community post office. Its historic brass letter boxes had been tranplanted from a closed office in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

Meanwhile, Greg and Nick ponder the finer details of bike touring setup.

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Bingo night in Como.

3 thoughts on “Drift and Swift: Silverthorne to Como, CO.

  1. Susie Moberly

    Great photos and writing as usual… and very pleased to see you back into the swing of life on the dirt road! Take care. You are still recovering… stay warm. We DO enjoy your posts! X

    Reply
  2. gyatsola

    The snow looks beautiful – I went through there around the same time as you (17th October through Como I think), and it was much warmer, just a touch of snow in sheltered spots on the way up the Boreas. Glad you found somewhere to stay in Como, I didn’t! I took a detour to Fairplay – a really interesting little town.

    Reply

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