Donna and I started out on our trip with a brand new memory card in hopes of taking an unrestricted amount of photos. Well, we did take a lot of photos. Just over 1,700 to be exact. This is a tailored set of images that tells the story of our day to day travels and shows some of the grandiose terrain that we covered on our journey. So grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable in your chair, and enjoy the Colorado Trail as seen through the eyes of our own.
[don't worry, its only exactly 148 images].
[I'll leave the photos and your imagination to do the talking here... but she did say yes, in case you were wondering].
"Meet Bruce. Bruce will certainly attempt to steal your breakfast if you let your guard down... sorry Bruce, but this is my waffle."
"The tools you carry with you may get used once, multiple times, or not at all, but out here there are no bike shops to rely on... just your gear and the know-how you've brought along for the ride."
It was uncertain if we'd find dinner or a hot shower in the sleepy old mining town of Silverton. This photo was still worth stopping for in light of the risk at hand.
There is a certain strategy to moving safely around threatening weather in the mountains. Knowing when to press on or when to wait it out and call it a day can be a huge challenge to overcome.
Standing behind your decision to call it a day when the weather decides it's going to play nice all of a sudden... well, that's a different story.
Taking an unplanned rest day can be very rewarding. Especially when the sun decides to shine down on your soaking wet gear and solar panel for the afternoon.
We'll call that a stroke of good luck.
It's been scientifically proven that oatmeal and instant coffee do in fact taste better above 12,000 ft.
Well, not really, but it's definitely a solid theory at the very least.
"So, what've you got on there," I curiously inquired.
"We've got wine and chairs and cheese," she says. Her husband walking in tow, chuckles with a smile and refers to their llamas as "Winnebagos of the trail."
Donna waits in anticipation of any one of the three items mentioned to fall from their backs.
The bicycle detours on the Colorado Trail may take you away from single track to skirt around protected wilderness areas, but the sights still do not disappoint.
On this particular reroute, Donna and I put in a solid 67 miles of riding. Taking a relaxing lunch break to dip our feet in the cool river below this bridge was very much needed and helped us when the mileage counter continued to grow.
It's good to give back to the trail. Carrying a pocket chainsaw on the journey allowed us to cut and clear six trees in total. Better still, we crossed at least two that we had cleared in the previous weeks while out on some day-rides that did not require us to dismount and lift our bikes over.
After all, no one likes getting off their bike when the flow is good.
Some notable gear MVP's of the trip included our water filtration system, stove setup, and delicious meals from Good To Go.
"Things just seem simpler out here to me. I mean, a lid that doubles as a waffle warmer, trees that graciously hold your gear for the night as you rest beneath them, and a shortened tooth brush to fit a confined space in your bag... all seems pretty simple to me."
Total mileage covered: 250. Total ft. ascended: 37,000. Total ft. descended: 34,000. Totally stoked!
The wild raspberries approaching the end of the trail were prime for the picking. At one point, with Donna not far behind, I came to a screeching halt because of the abundance of berries along the trail. We had less than ten miles of trail left and Donna could tell I wasn't ready to be done. Much like a kid in a candy store, I continued to stall by picking and eating the raspberries. The sweet taste of the berries was only amplified by the sweet taste of accomplishment.
Adventure extraordinaire Jeff Johnson once said, "The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn't even think to ask."
Well, Jeff... I think you nailed it.
During that time, we managed to snap over 1700 photos that will surely be cherished, gone through closely, and eventually shared through stories presented on our blog and anywhere else that desires to share our story. In the coming weeks, you will see new photography and stories posted here about our journey and the gear we used to successfully complete our trek.
Another, plus many more thanks are in order for all of our supporters and friends that helped make this dream become a reality.
As Donna came up with her own version of the Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be while we rode down the trail, she happily sang, "I would ride five hundred miles, and I would ride five hundred more."
"Out here, there will be no wi-fi connection; but rather, a better kind of connection"
Disclaimer: This is entirely tentative and highly subject to change.
- Tuesday July 19 - Silverton [resupply]
- Saturday July 23 - Salida/BV area [resupply]
- Tuesday/Weds July 26-27 - Breckenridge/Summit area [resupply]
- Friday July 29 - Buff Creek area [close to front range]
With a brief hiatus from blogging, instagram-ing, social media-ing, and internet-ing, we're stepping off the grid for two weeks and setting out for the biggest journey we've ever embarked on. Out here, there will be no wi-fi connection; but rather, a better kind of connection.
With that said... DENVER OR BUST!
I can recall my first mountain bike ride in the Pacific North West like it was yesterday. I had just moved to Seattle to be a bicycle mechanic when the owner [Kurt] of the shop decided to show me the local flavor of trails, and weather for that matter. Coming from the high desert of Colorado, constant wet weather is not a typical threat. Three quarters of the way into our ride, we stopped at a clearing in the thick and lush forest where we were riding. Long johns, wool ski socks, neoprene knee warmers, non water resistant shorts, shoes without booties, and a mostly waterproof rain shell were not nearly enough lines of defense to keep me dry and warm. I was soaked, freezing cold, and thoroughly happy. Kurt turned to his buddies and then to me with a smile to say, "Welcome to the Pacific North Wet-st. There's no bad weather, just bad clothing choices." Stashing a dry change of clothes in the truck was a wise move I thought to myself.
"There's no bad weather, just bad clothing choices"
1 - They typically leave just as fast as they come in.
2 - They can be anything from rain to freezing cold rain, hail to sleet or snow, and usually have a little (or a lot of) lightening mixed in to keep you feeling alive (and scared for your life).
3 - These rules apply at any given time throughout the calendar year, seriously.
"Spot // Ready for Adventure"
Follow our bread crumb trail here...
I recently read on an adventure cyclists blog that "building your kit is an individual journey" in and of itself. [His blog here]. The information about bikepacking on the internet is abundant; with gear lists, bike configurations as unique as their owners, niche bag makers, plus size componentry entering the market, and varied opinions galore. One thing that Donna and I have gathered and come to learn is that with every opinion and gear recommendation, the end-all be-all best decision is the one you make for yourself. Every bikepacker or adventure cyclist that I have spoken to thus far believes strongly in their chosen setup and approach to tackling big days on the bike. Rightfully so when it's just you and your gear that you're depending on.
"The information about bikepacking on the internet is abundant[...]"
"[...]for a long haul, it was best to build a specialized list of purpose specific bikepacking gear."
While racing my bike, I enjoyed the many highs and lows that came from the sport. Race victories and personal bests left me feeling high; while injuries, being single-track minded at times, and countering jealousy among friends proved to be highly challenging. Recently, I scanned through some of my old race journals and found a quote that read, “Recognition of resistance: aspects of life that restrict you from being your best.” This made me sick to re-read, for activities that I love such as rock climbing and going to live music shows with friends was then considered to be a hindrance on my training.
“Recognition of resistance: aspects of life that restrict you from being your best.”
“Preparedness: being set up and prepared for the tasks at hand.”
Words by Donna Miller.
I wanted to share my excitement with others and to me that meant getting bikes in the hands of more people. It didn't have to be a mountain bike, or any style of bike in particular, I just wanted to share the joy I found riding on two wheels, even if I wasn't there to see it.
Fast forward to 2015. During the span of time leading up to 2015 a lot of change occurred in my life; new jobs in the cycling industry inevitably led me to new friends and relationships, personal growth, and moving around until the thought of packing and unpacking my belongings one more time just seemed downright unbearable. Ultimately though, it gave me the tools, experience, and connections required to successfully plan and host the event I had originally dreamed of throwing for World Bicycle Relief (WBR) years ago.
"If you like to drink beer and you like to ride bikes, but most importantly you believe a bicycle is capable of completely changing a persons life, then Brews for Bikes may be the best event you attend all year. "
Last year, with the help of so many great friends and cycling industry connections, I was able to see my vision come to life for an evening filled with so much positive energy. By successfully raising awareness and money, we were able to send 27 bikes to communities in Africa. Brews for Bikes was finally a reality.
Building upon the momentum that was generated from year one, Brews for Bikes will move from Golden to be hosted in Denver, Colo. for version 2.0, with a mission to send even more bikes to those who need them most. Putting a bike in the hands of an individual who has little means almost instantly improves quality of life. Transportation from one spot to another is now possible at four times the speed of walking, while carrying loads far heavier than the human body can support can also be accomplished. This in turn helps local businesses flourish, getting an education possible, and ultimately helps communities accomplish daily life tasks in a much more efficient manner.
If you missed last years event, don't fret, because the next Brews for Bikes is just a month away. Come out and join us to change lives through the "Power of Bicycles." Event details can be found on the flier posted above, and just to show you how much fun last year was, I'd strongly recommend taking a look at this post-event story about last year's Brews for Bikes.
More information about World Bicycle Relief and how you can become involved can be found here: The Power of Bicycles
For the full roll of images, head on over here!
Location // Oilwell Flats, Canõn City, CO
During this time of inconsistent riding it has been a good time for us to finalize our grass-roots sponsorship efforts. In turn, we have successfully gained some more supporters for the journey and we're proud to send a huge thanks to the following new supporters:
Shimano // Big Agnes // Industry Nine // Stans No Tubes // Ascention Sales Group [JetBoil]
Again, we could not be more thrilled to work with the brands that we trust in most, it is truly a great feeling.
On July 16th, 2016 - we began our self-supported journey to through-bike the Colorado Trail from Durango to Denver in two weeks. We completed the trail on Saturday, July 31th with a total time of 15 days, 5 hours, and 10 minutes. This was the best two weeks of our lives!