2020 Colorado Trail Race

base camp cyclery denver mountain bike shop
base camp cyclery denver mountain bike shop
colorado trail race

By Derek Murrow

Justin Holle and I have plans to race the Colorado Trail Race in July of 2020. The CTR is a 550 mile self supported bike race through some of the most rugged, challenging, and rewarding terrain that Colorado has to offer. I knew that if I was planning to commit my winter to prepping for this event then I would need to ensure that I am at least comfortable with the idea of bike camping – something that I have never done. I also thought I should bring a buddy along for the ride and race.

Justin is a fantastic all around rider, comfortable in the elements for extended periods of time, and has a bit of bike camping experience. His riding style and pace matches mine and we thought it would be a good idea to test our gear setup and pacing strategy a few times before winter sets in.

We both live near Base Camp Cyclery so the idea of starting our adventure from our own garages, meeting at the shop, and then essentially starting our adventure there sounded enticing. We met up around 2:00pm on Sunday, the 22nd. The goal was to ride ~50 miles of pavement, dirt, roads and ultimately singletrack to Segment 3 of the Colorado Trail Race with our bikes loaded with all the gear that we needed. We would then camp the night on the trail and back early the next morning.

The experience exceeded our expectations. We rolled along the Platte River trail until we got to the base of Waterton Canyon. Waterton Canyon is the official start of the Colorado Trail and includes 6 miles of dirt service road. Justin and I made good time and quickly hit the Singletrack at the top of the canyon.

colorado trail raceSave for a few first time gear mishaps, the singletrack ride was flawless. We had the trails to ourselves and the late day sun made for some beautiful riding conditions. We stopped to filter water about 35 miles in at the Platte River to and pushed to our final destination.

Nightfall set in a bit earlier than we had planned and we discovered that our night riding lights will take a bit of work to get squared away. Justin’s worked great, but my handlebar mounted light was obscured by my handlebar pack and made seeing the trail very difficult.

We decided to cut the final stretch a bit short at the end of Segment 2 instead of Segment 3. We were satisfied with the day, our equipment, and the adventure. We had put in roughly 50 miles and 6,000ft of climbing in around 6 hours.

That night we setup camp, made a quick dinner and then slept under the stars. The night was beautiful and rewarding. The next day we woke up, packed up camp and then retraced our steps / pedal strokes back to Denver. Justin and I both cram a lot into life so we made it a point to get home by noon on Monday so that we could both get back to life’s responsibilities.

We managed to cover 100 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing in 22 hours.

Special shout-out to our families and loved ones that support these crazy ideas and thanks to Base Camp Cyclery for helping us with gear selection, bike support, and bike camping bags.

See ya next year on the Colorado Trail!

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