Ride & Shine: Lindsay's Monarch Crest Adventure

August 08, 2018
Last modified: August 17, 2018

By pdurry

We tend to think that KETL Mountain apparel can stand up to whatever the mountain may bring, and we like to personally “test” that as often as possible. So our teammate Lindsay met up with long-time friend Parker in sunny Salida Colorado, where she tackled the Monarch Crest Trail in our new 2018 Summer line. When she got back we caught up with Lindsay to hear about her adventure and see how her KETL gear held up in the Rockies:

KETL:
Welcome back! How was your trip?

Lindsay:
It was delightful! Yeah, the trip was really great. The weather worked out real nice. It was mostly sunny except it was doing the Colorado mountain thing where it’s sunny in the morning and then in the afternoon you get a little thunder storm that rolls in. It’s kind of no big deal but it happens like clockwork every afternoon.

“I have a bit of a soft spot for exciting adventure mobiles, and I cannot actually imagine a more exciting adventure mobile. I mean, that paint job is straight up the best ever.”
“I have a bit of a soft spot for exciting adventure mobiles, and I cannot actually imagine a more exciting adventure mobile. I mean, that paint job is straight up the best ever.”


KETL:
So was it hot at that elevation?

Lindsay:
Yes and no. I did two different rides. First, I did the Monarch Crest Trail, and it wasn’t so hot because we were up super high. I think it tops out at like 11,000 and some odd feet? So yeah, my little flatlander lungs were working hard. But it was not super hot because of that really high altitude. On the second day, we just rode the local trails right down in Salida. You know, just a mere six or seven thousand feet. No big deal. But that was hot. It was hot and sunny.

KETL:
Awesome. So what led you to choose Monarch Crest in the first place?

Lindsay:
You know what? I didn’t choose it at all. I don’t really know the trails out there. But Parker is living out there and he knows all of the best trails, and he suggested Monarch Crest. It’s one thing to go someplace new and just figure it out or explore it solo, and I’m all for that. But man, it’s great to have a local who can tell you “this is a good ride,” and then you just have a good ride. And you don’t have that “am I going the right way,” worried feeling, you know? Or “how much longer shall I suffer on this climb?” That stuff is all taken care of. Overall, Parker did a really good job of selecting trails that were kind of in that sweet spot for me where it’s right on that edge of my skill level and I can do like 95% of it, but it’s challenging.

Lindsay and Parker getting weird on the Monarch Crest Trail.
Lindsay and Parker getting weird on the Monarch Crest Trail.


KETL:
What KETL Mtn gear did you pick for each day out?

Lindsay:
So for Monarch Crest Trail Day I knew it was high altitude, varying temperatures and potentially full sun with zero shade. And I burn and sizzle like a little sausage. So I wore my liner bib, which is always really nice for a long day. I wore the lightweight overshorts, just because I was thinking it’ll be light and breathable. But the clutch player there was the long sleeve SPF 50 top. I didn’t want to burn myself or have to stop 40 times and put on a bunch of sunscreen. And that was a really good choice. It seems a little bit counterintuitive at first. Like, why would you wear a long sleeve shirt on a hot day? But it’s really light breathable fabric. And it’s not skin-tight, so having a little air layer between you and your sleeve keeps things cool and breathing. Plus having that fabric over your whole arm is kinda like giving your arm some shade. And whenever I’m in a sunny place like that, the number one thing I seek out is shade. So yeah, it worked great.

Our Long Sleeve Jersey gave Lindsay some extra shade to enjoy the ride.
Our Long Sleeve Jersey gave Lindsay some extra shade to enjoy the ride.


KETL:
What was your favorite part of the Monarch Crest trail?

Lindsay:
I mean, the great thing about day one was that most of the climbing was towards the beginning of the ride. And then the last three quarters is mostly downhill and it’s really fun. So Monarch just has a nice, big, long decent. And there’s some nice, slightly technical business and little rock step downs around some corners. Generally speaking the terrain was looser and rockier than I’m used to riding in the Midwest, which is really fun and different. And it added a little additional challenge. So that was really great. Honestly, the whole thing is amazing. There are views up there that were awesome, and just lots of fun, fast downhills, which were great.

KETL:
What was the hardest part of the trip?

Lindsay:
Anytime we were climbing uphill. I try to stay on my game when it comes to climbing, but with most of our local Minnesota trails you just don’t get long, sustained climbs. And we just don’t have the altitude, so that combination of factors is hard! Thankfully most of the climbing at Monarch is pretty gradual, so there’s not too much that’s crazy, crazy steep. But you know, there were a couple of steep, little, punchy climb sections that were challenging, and some longer ones. But I felt a little better because towards the top of one of those longer, slightly steeper climbs there was a rock where I had to dismount to make it over the whole shebang. But there were other people who also had to get off there, and they were from Switzerland! I believe they have proper mountains there And they couldn’t even do it either! So if they were challenged by it too, I feel a lot better about myself.

Lindsay shredding over sunny Salida.
Lindsay shredding over sunny Salida.


KETL:

So what did you do on Day 2?

Lindsay:
The next day we rode the Cottonwood Loop. That one was special because this is just a loop that you start right in downtown Salida and then you come back around. But it was so much climbing. Just a big, long uphill ride that hurt me real bad. So for the second day I changed to the sleeveless top because it was so flipping hot. I figured “sun’s out, guns out,” throw on some sunscreen and at least I’m not gonna make my farmer’s tan worse. But the greatest thing about that loop is that when you finish back in downtown Salida there’s a river right there and you can go tubing to cool off.

KETL:
Awesome! I assume did you did that?

Lindsay:
Heck yeah I did! Grabbed some beers, grabbed some tubes. Floated down for a while. I was really warm, so that river felt freaking amazing. I may have gotten flipped by the rapids but it’s fine! Everyone’s ok! My drink was definitely spilled, but it was mostly gone by then anyway. I did lose my hat in the river, and almost lost a sandal, but it was totally worth it. I’m a strong believer that we’re all doing this for fun, and KETL mountain apparel is made for that. So go ahead and have the fun!

Lindsay’s Fun Gage: How thick is the dirt on your sock lines?
Lindsay’s Fun Gauge: How thick is the dirt on your sock lines?


KETL:
Where there any other moments from the trip that stood out to you?

Lindsay:
At one point on the Monarch Crest Trail there was a very challenging rocky situation where the line was unclear, and I happened to pull up next to another lady who was riding. We both wound up getting off and walking a bit together and had an entertaining little discussion about the pros & cons of flat pedals verses clipless. I’m always trying to get more of my lady friends to get on mountain bikes and I’m stoked to see more women getting out there. And I’m just selfish - I always want more girlfriends to ride with. Always. So I really enjoyed that little, lady mountain bike chat sesh’.

KETL:
Do you have any plans to go back?

Lindsay:
Not yet, but I definitely want to go back because I like riding a trail a second time. The first time you don’t always know what’s coming, but the second time you know it and you can take certain sections a little faster. On the second day, on the Salida trails, there was a line that looked real intimidating to me, so I got off and walked it. But Parker was adamant that I could totally do it. So I’d like to go back and try it, I think maybe with pads on, because those rocks looked sharp.


KETL:

Any other bike trips coming up on your radar?

Lindsay:
I’m going to be doing some riding out in the mountains of Pennsylvania later this month. Then I’m going to Roam Festival in Sedona this October, which I’m very excited about. It’s a big, lady mountain bike party, and the riding in Sedona is ridiculously fun. So that’ll be super great. But between those, I’m not sure yet. I’m sure there will be more things and places. I just try to make sure that if I’m going any place exciting to try and get on a bicycle.

To follow Lindsay and the rest of the KETL team on future mountain biking adventures, check back here soon, and follow us on Instagram!


Other Notes