Wow what can I say about this adventure. Well it was one of the best experience of my life! I was in the best riding shape of my life. I had my best bike ever and rode what seem like endless incredibly buff single track trail for 5 days straight. It all started in ’05 when my dad bought me The Colorado Trail Official Guide Book and spent may days and nights studying the sections and dreaming that one day I could ride a multiday adventure on this amazing trail system. The Colorado trail spans 500 miles from Denver to Durango over the best parts of the Colorado Mountains. We chose to ride the first 9 sections of the trail from Denver to Leadville. These first 9 sections are considered some of the best for Mountain Biking.
The Colorado Trail had it all. Long descents grueling climbs, high alpine meadows and plenty of buff single track. There were several occasions where I caught myself gasping at the amazing beauty of the trail and the scenery surrounding it. I was in love!
Believe it or not we rode 180 miles without a single mechanical. Not a flat tire, broken spoke or chain. Hats off to our Mechanic Chis Kuhn for setting our bikes up perfectly for the ride.
Our food planning has gotten really good. Although we were running low on day 4 prior to getting to Breckenridge to resupply. My favorite would be the tuna wraps I have been bringing on my backpacking and bikepacking trips. It consists of a packet of albacore tuna, tortilla wrap, and mustard/mayo packet. Mmmm good stuff!
My favorite camping spot was in Lost Park. Such a beautiful valley tucked away next to the Kenosha Mountains.
By far day 5. I felt like superman this day. Somehow everything was clicking and the riding was phenomenal this day. There was a 4 miles stretch of alpine riding from Searle Pass to Kokomo Pass that was to die for.
By far day 2 when we made the choice to disassemble our bikes and strap them to our backs to cross a 6 mile wilderness section. It took 5 hours to cross this and was one of the most painful experiences in my life!
Most Memorable Moment
Before Kenosha pass I remember zipping through this aspen grove that was lush with thick green ground cover all over. There was mist floating along the ground. It almost seemed almost supernatural.
I really feel like I got my gear dialed in. Most bike packers these days are running bike bags to carry most of their gear. Personally I feel bike bags are going to take away from your bike handeling. By using backpacks and a small seat bag I could rip the descents like no other. Also since we had two people we could divy up the gear between the two of us. In the past we each had a stove, waterfilter, tools etc. Now we share and just bring one of what we need. This really lightens up the load.
REI quarter dome 2 man tent minimalist set up. This means just the rainfly and footprint.
Katadyn water filter
Jacks Quilt with a Thermolite liner (awesome warm comfy combo)
Big Agnes Insulated aircore pad
Maps Tools and Headlamp
Day one Waterton Canyon to Buffalo Creek
Here we are at the day one campsite in buffalo creek. It felt good to rest after battling the heat all day. Next time I will plan the ride differently so we don’t hit the burn area at the peak of the day.
Day two Buffalo Creek to Lost Park
We stopped for a minute to let our gear air out and prepared for what turned out to be the most difficult part of the journey. We are at the Lost Creek Wilderness boundary and you cant ride a mechanized vehicle in the wilderness. So we took the wheels off our bikes, strapped the frames to our pack and hiked for 6 miles over some tough terrain. This turned out to be a bad idea and we should have taken one of the suggested detours from the guide. Our packs were not designed to carry the weight of the frame and the straps dug into our shoulders with excruciating pain.
The Section of CT on the East side of Kenosha pass was really nice. We were running a bit behind schedule and was hoping to make it to Breckenridge this day. Judging by our pace we were not going to make it. We were worried about the amount of remaining food we had. Lucky we met a very cool thru hiker named Tony that was kind enough to part ways with one of his dinners. The extra food turned out to come in very handy. Tony if you ever read this Thanks!
We descended a few miles on the backside of Georgia pass. It was getting dark so we found a cool campsite and got some rest. Day 3 was great. Lots of great trail and I recall 3 amazing descents all in one day.
Day 4 Middle Fork of the Swan River to Breckenridge
Here is a shot of our Campsite. It only rained a couple of hours that night. Not bad compared to the nonstop rain we were used to. For the most part we were lucky and the rain would hit us as soon as we would crawl in the tent.
The descent down to Horseshoe gulch was one of the best. You could tell this section of the CT was ridden frequently and there were lots of fast buff sections of trail with nice banked corners. We both had huge grins on our faces during this section.
After eating a plate of nachos and a huge hamburger in Breckenridge we found a hostle to stay in for only $31 a night. An easy choice after A cold front had moved in and it was rainy and quite chilly. A warm dry bed sounded to good to pass up.
The folks at the fireside in were very nice and even washed our clothes and let us use wear some comfortable threads while we stayed. We grabbed a six pack of PBR’s and relaxed in the hot tub for for a few.
Day 5 Breckenridge to Leadville
And here we are at our finish line. Completing one of the most amazing journeys of my life. After this we rode about 10 miles of highway into Leadville. We stopped at the Pizza Hut and waited for Mikes girlfriend to pick us up. 180 miles total!