I wasn’t sure if my body was ready to do this. After finishing the Tour Divide, my right achilles and knee have not been happy. They made a turnaround this week, so, on Sunday morning at 4am in Durango, I will start the Colorado Trail Race. There are over 70 racers this year – the largest field ever.
It’s a 550-mile mountain bike race that pretty much follows the Colorado Trail. It’s an amazingly beautiful route, but the elevation is a bit terrifying. Most of the race takes place above 9,500 ft. And there are plenty of miles above 13,000 ft.
This is not my kind of race – I’m not a fast climber and I have a hard time adjusting to elevation. In 2010, I bailed out with less than 100 miles to go because I ran out of food. I’m back to slay this beast.
The first day is going to be pretty brutal. Everyone is trying to push all the way from Durango to Silverton. It’s only 84 miles, but it’s over 20,000 ft of climbing. These aren’t easy miles. It will probably take 17 or more hours. And, to top it off, only the speediest racers will make it just in time before the grocery store in Silverton closes.
Given the likelihood that Silverton’s food options will be closed by the time most of us get there, many racers are planning to pack enough food to last for 3.5 days. That’s my strategy too. Here is what I’ll be chewing on for awhile…
As always, you can follow my progress, along with the other racers, on the map below or at trackleaders.com. Racers will also be able to call in and leave messages at MTBcast.com. (I’ll try to call when I get reception in a town.) Lastly, there is a forum where fans discuss the race. Check it out here.
I hope to finish within 7 days. If I do finish, I’ll earn the TRIPLE CROWN of bikepacking!!! Only a handful of people on this planet know what this is, but, if I complete it, it would feel great.
Time to get some precious sleep!