12 days. 343 miles. 53,190 feet of climbing. 59,635 feet of downhill. 10,316 feet average elevation. 13,250 maximum elevation.
This is an epic 12 day journey across the roof of the Rockies on the Colorado Trail, which winds 487 miles through Colorado from Denver to Durango. It is a high altitude trail, with its lowest point at 5600 feet near Denver, the highest bike legal point at 13,250 feet near Lake City, and an average elevation of over 10,000 feet.
It's one of the preeminent alpine trail rides in the world, with over 90% singletrack, grueling climbs, epic descents, stunning views, fantastic camping, cold beer, hot food, and good company. If this isnít enough reason to do this trip on its own, thereís also the fact that Iím getting old, Iím getting decrepit, life is getting busier, and I want to ride this trail while I am still able, a situation that Iím sure is shared Ėat least in part- by many of you. Thus, I am extending an invitation for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Myself and a handful of friends will be riding this route in the in late summer of 2014. This isn't a commercial trip. I'm not getting paid -in fact, I'll be paying my equal share of expenses as well- and we are offering the opportunity to other riders to join us for this awesome trip.
What makes me want to lead this trip? About a decade ago, I attempted to start a commercial guiding service to support and guide riders over the entire length of the Colorado Trail but was stonewalled by the multiple layers of Forest Service permitting requirements and bureaucracy. While putting together my business plan back then, I rode at least 40% of this route: I found the campsites; I figured out the segment lengths and access points; and I know the weather and terrain of the Colorado Rockies from a lifetime of living amid them.
Today, there are still no commercial outfitters that offer support to ride the full trail, thus one must either arrange for a private support vehicle to haul your gear or do the ride fully self-supported, and Iím just not fit enough, hard-core enough, or motivated enough to want to suffer that much. If you are, more power to you, but this trip is for those of us that want the experience of riding the trail, but also want to enjoy a cold beer, a hot dinner, a comfortable camp chair, an occasional soft bed, and some ripping trail unencumbered by 40 pounds of gear strapped to our bike.
Currently, we have 4 riders and 1 support driver confirmed for the trip. We have room for 4 more (our maximum group size is 8 riders and 2 drivers/vehicles). Anyone that joins this trip needs to be in good physical shape, have the equipment, skills, and time to ride technical singletrack at extreme elevation for upwards of 40 miles a day for 12 continuous days. That said, this isnít a race, and we will go at sane pace.
This ride isn't for the faint of heart. Here's the daily breakdown of each ride:
Day 1: 28 miles, 5000 feet of climbing, 2600 feet of descending, average elevation 6865 feet, maximum altitude 7815 feet
Day 2: 27 miles, 4500 feet of climbing, 4000 feet of descending, average elevation 9640 feet, maximum altitude 11,880 feet
Day:3 30 miles, 6020 feet of climbing, 6390 feet of descending, average elevation 10,400 feet, maximum altitude 12,460 feet
Day 4: 27 miles, 4425 feet of climbing, 4125 feet of descending, average elevation 10,665 feet, maximum altitude 12,250 feet
Day 5: 35.5 miles, 4100 feet of climbing, 6425 feet of descending, average elevation 9640 feet, maximum altitude 11,090 feet
Day 6: 30 miles, 4700 feet of climbing, 5100 feet of descending, average elevation 10,360 feet, maximum altitude 11,950 feet
Day 7: 32 miles, 5540 feet of climbing, 6050 feet of descending, average elevation 11,090 feet, maximum altitude 11,775 feet
Day 8: 17.5 miles, 1340 feet of climbing, 1800 feet of descending, average elevation 9715 feet, maximum altitude 10,425 feet
Day 9: 17 miles, 3640 feet of climbing, 2180 feet of descending, average elevation 12,250 feet, maximum altitude 13,250 feet
Day 10: 27 miles, 3525 feet of climbing, 6600 feet of descending, average elevation 11,900 feet, maximum altitude 13,000 feet
Day 11: 36 miles, 5860 feet of climbing, 6075 feet of descending, average elevation 11,400 feet, maximum altitude 12,460 feet
Day 12: 36 miles, 4540 feet of climbing, 8290 feet of descending, average elevation 9875 feet, maximum altitude 12,300 feet
So here's the deal: this trip will cost $850-$900 per person (for either 4 or 8 riders, prices will change if we have 5-7 riders), not including transportation to/from Durango and Denver. This includes shared gas, food, beer, a couple of motel nights, campground fees, and our support drivers.
Also, we will need support drivers for this trip. One will drive my truck and if we have more than 4 people, we'll need a second vehicle and driver as well. Being a driver is a great option if you don't feel up for the big days but still want to ride some of these trails, or have a significant other/friend/family member that isn't a rider but wants to experience and camp in some of the sweetest spots in the Colorado Rockies. There will be plenty of time every day for the drivers to start the ride with us before riding back to the car and driving to the next camp, or they can ride in to meet once they've reached the next camp. There will also be plenty of time for hiking, riding, fishing, etc, pretty much everyday. Add to that the fact that we are paying the drivers $400 for driving for us for 2 weeks and that we will cover all of their food, beer, and motel expenses, and it's an awesome opportunity!
Again, there are only a few spots on this trip. At this point, we have 4 that are confirmed, and 3 on the fence, so we may end up with a wait list. Being that we are a year away from this trip, there's a good chance that at least one of these people will have to bow out, thus opening up a spot. So if this is something that you'd like to do, send me a PM -include an email address- and I'll send you the trip plan and ride guide and put you on the email list so that you are up on what we are doing.
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