Biking from Denver to Durango on The Colorado Trail is no easy feat. Its highest point is 13,271 feet above sea level and most of the already-challenging trail is above 10,000 feet. With detours, it took buddies Connor Johnson, Blake Finnerty and Paul Wirth 12 days to cover the slightly over 500 miles they calculated. Sound like your kind of fun?
RELATED: The Three (And A Half) Types of Fun, Explained
TGR caught up with Connor to hear more about the trip, know the stories behind his photo essay (all captions are written by him) and learn what it takes to attempt such a challenge.
How did you pack?
"All of our bikes had about 160 mm of travel. There are bags made specifically for hardtail bikes, but not as much full suspension. Being that we just graduated college and don't quite have that amount of money, we all sewed our own bags. You obviously want to put more weight on the bike than in the backpack, so we strapped stuff like a sleeping bag in a dry sack on the front handlebars and also wore packs. All in all, we carried about 50 to 60 pounds each between kitchen supplies, bike repair gear, tent and my bivy sack."
Any weather problems?
"We got really rained out right by the Twin Lakes area. We were soaked through. It was like the sky was coming down on us. We didn't have to worry as much about water sources, but we did have to pick our following campsites more carefully. It also made navigation a little hard. The guidebook would say 'cross a stream' and we would cross 15."
How could you tell the trip was taking a physical toll?
"We racked up a fair calorie deficit, actually. We all lost 15-20 pounds. It's pretty crazy, actually. We'd eat a lot of Snickers, a lot of peanut butter, anything that was highly caloric. My go-to meal was making ramen and then throwing instant potatoes into the leftover water. Not exactly gourmet. If you're not riding, you're hiking... you just get hungry!"
Hardest segment? Why?
"Definitely Buena Vista to Silverton. It was our biggest section, 200 miles, and resulted in 5 nights in the backcountry. That amount of time without a resupply, so far out, took a toll on us. We could've maybe pushed through it a little faster, but we were also trying to enjoy the trail as much as possible. We never had a quitting point, but there were definitely some points of low morale."
Wait, there's more:
"Our water purifier broke on us during the second to last day, but luckily we brought iodine tablets as well."
Favorite segment? Why?
"The high alpine exposure areas outside Silverton were my favorite, they were really cool. A lot of it was above 12,000 feet, and just beautiful."
"The Colorado Trail is open to bikers, hikers and horses, but there are these wilderness areas that bikers can't go through. You need to do detours around, and one of those detours was 75 miles! We also didn't realize how much hike-a-bike there would be. A lot of the trails were pretty beat up by moto riders and horses.
"Ice cream was a huge crowd pleaser. That was one of the first things we would do whenever we rolled into a town!"
On the trail, you wish you had ... (fill in the blank)?
"A bike hub or a solar charger for charging electronics on bigger trips. A lot of the higher alpine stuff I wasn't able to get a photo of, but so be it. It's always cool to be able to show, but it's also about your own experience. I packed 2 GoPros and a Sony a6000."
"We didn't see a lot of wildlife, which was strange. Maybe we just biked right through it. After all, we were going pretty fast and focusing on the trail."
Would you do it again?
"Not right now," he said laughingly. "Maybe something smaller, 80-100 miles, something you could do in a few days. We definitely tested our mental and physical limits on this trip. By the end of it, we were pretty done."
Parting words of wisdom?
"A little hot food goes a long way."
September 1st, 2015
November 18th, 2015
Nice pictures! I wait to make some alike next spring.
November 23rd, 2017
Twin Lakes is always rainy, whenever I’ve been
April 24th, 2018
if you are not eating much fiber, then you will always get indigestion. so eat lots of dietary fibers** sarkari naukri
May 3rd, 2018
You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it! 90’s Outfits
May 12th, 2018
Hey, you used to write wonderful, but the last several posts have been kinda boring… I miss your tremendous writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on! lebanon escorts
May 27th, 2018
Some times its a pain in the ass to read what website owners wrote but this site is rattling user pleasant! . escorts in lebanon
June 14th, 2018
Aw, this became quite a good post. In concept I have to put in place writing like that additionally – spending time and actual effort to generate a top notch article… but what / things I say… I procrastinate alot and by no indicates find a way to get something done. escorts beirut
July 3rd, 2018
Thank you pertaining to sharing that excellent written content on your website. I ran into it on google. I am going to check back again once you publish much more aricles. vintage clothing uk
July 31st, 2018
Perhaps you should also a put a forum site on your blog to increase reader interaction.”,-.” deer fence installation
November 2nd, 2018
What’s the first thing when you heard about gifting? Do you have any idea about engraved gifts dubai Try something new with your dear ones
December 19th, 2019
Awesome article mate! I like what you put up, it makes me feel like I was part of this adventure! I hope this doesn’t cost any type of phobia from the big Phobias List
January 21st, 2020
500 Miles???? Wow. Great job man. Too bad for the weather but overall seems like a great adventure! I want to try this so much, it’s like I have a mania for this type of stuff. Keep up the goot work and thank you for sharing.