Denver to Durango - High Country MTB Adventure on the Colorado Trail

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<b>Road tripping up to Denver from Durango to the trailhead at Waterton Canyon. Sam taking the helm for a bit while Barry rested. Usually a 6-hour drive, it was a nice to slow down and smell the wildflowers.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Meet Nellie: She’s a 1989 Lazy Daze, and she handled the steep Colorado mountain passes like a champ. Having the RV meet us at the end of each riding day was plush. Between Nellie and Barry (RV Driver Extraordinaire) we had fresh hot coffee every day before rolling out into the ice-cold rain and fog.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Day 1 of the trip was hot and dusty. Notorious for its lack of water, this segment of the Colorado Trail also goes through the remains of the Buffalo Creek Fire (1996) making for an extra-hot day even with the cloud cover. Not much of a foreshadow for days to come…</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Cruising through the early morning fog on our way to Bailey, CO, where we will shuttle around the Lost Creek Wilderness to the top of Kenosha Pass.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Cold, wet, and foggy was the forecast for the foreseeable future. Cruising out of camp at 7am in the rain is not a typical sight in Colorado.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Dawn patrol off Kenosha Pass in the heavy fog.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Ascending the last part of Georgia Pass before a rad descent into Breckenridge, CO.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Only able to see 5-10 feet in front of you made for a mysteriously epic descent off Georgia Pass, especially knowing the vast expanse of Colorado peaks that were surrounding us.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Colorado Trail 1776 - fitting name for Colorado’s trail as the year of American Independence. Colorado, also known as the Centennial State, was admitted into the union in 1876.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Still cold, wet, and rainy, Colorado has seen record amounts of rainfall this year.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Sam after three days and about 90 miles of ice-cold rain, mud, and 15,000ft of climbing/ descending.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Lightning is a serious threat in the high country of Colorado. After numerous days of 5:30am wake-up calls, we were reminded of this threat after seeing this tree that had recently been struck. Almost still smoldering, we rolled up to massive chunks of wood that had been flung 40+ feet from the force of the strike. It only left us imagining what would happen to one of us in the same, unlucky scenario.<br />
</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>The coldest day of the trip was also complemented with the most climbing and descending per mile; around 5,800ft of climbing in the 12 miles between Breckenridge and Copper Mountain.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Dark and gloomy again, ascending out of Copper en route to Tennessee Pass.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>The clouds were still lurking in the background...not a typical sight in Colorado at 7am. Ascending Searle Pass.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>A glimmer of sun as we began to ascend above treeline once again.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>For the first time since we started the trail, we were rewarded with an epic view of the surrounding mountains.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Ben cresting a climb near Kokomo Pass with a mess of Colorado’s famous 14er’s in the background.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>The wildflowers have had plenty of water this summer, but I’m sure they have been missing the sun. A blistering-fast descent to the saddle of Kokomo Pass.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Another day, another pass.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>After-hours of climbing. We didn’t once regret our decision to ride 140-160mm travel bikes on this epic adventure because rallying some of the most technical backcountry descents around made it all worth it.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Back in the trees for a few days as we skirted the Collegiate peaks. It was nice to mix it up with a little bit of fast, rolling terrain.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Some really cool, fast descents through the Aspens near Buena Vista, CO.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Infamous to Leadville 100 riders, the Colorado Trail passes right though Twin Lakes. Having been a former Leadville participant, I’d have to say the Colorado Trail takes a much more exciting route through the area.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>With lots of hike-a-bike on the Colorado Trail, footwear choice is key. Near Salida, CO, the ascent up Fooses Creek Trail is known as the steepest grade on the trail. We'll come back to this area to race the Monarch Crest Enduro where we'll get to ride down this portion of the trail.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Another amazing view from the top of Fooses Creek Trail.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>The sun came out for another classic Colorado descent on the Monarch Crest.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b> It wouldn’t be a true Colorado adventure without throwing some fly fishing into the mix. Ben hiked the Colorado trail last summer, and although we didn’t fish as much this time around, the epic descending made it all worth it.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Gotcha!</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Parting ways from the Monarch Crest, we began to climb up and out of Marshall Pass in yet another cloudy and rainy morning.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Climbing out of Spring Creek Pass around 6am with a storm brewing in the distance.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>A quick stop in Del Notre the night before made for some tasty leftover Subway breakfast.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Slow-moving terrain as we crest over the endless false summits along the ridge. Is that a trail?</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>After a 4am wakeup attempt to beat the storms to Silverton, we ended up having to surrender to Mother Nature facing 20+ miles of riding above tree line and no bail-out options. We made-due with 40mph manuals down Slumgullion Pass while Nellie took her time getting down one of the steepest passes in Colorado.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>We forgot our kayaks for San Juan River trails.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Back in familiar territory, we were rewarded with an amazing morning climbing from the top of Molas Pass.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>The San Juans are extraordinarily green this year, and all the rain is certainly much nicer than uncontrollable forest fires and scorching sun.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Enjoying a special treat near the top of Bolam Pass.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Although we rode some amazing trail between Denver and Durango, and we may be slightly bias because we’re lucky enough to live in Durango, we all agree the best riding on the trail is found in the San Juans. Can’t wait to get back to Spring Creek Pass in good weather!</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Raging and splashing, the descent off of Rolling Pass was wet, fast, and chunky. Too much fun to stop, we had keep splashing and smashing.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>The higher you get, the chunkier the terrain. So we really liked getting high.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Partly cloudy with a high probability of ridiculously amazing trail conditions.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>It's almost hard to describe the feeling of doing back-to-back 6 hour days in the high country. Some days we felt really good, but more often than not, we had to grit our teeth and keeping pushing. At 12,000’ everything is harder; more walking, harder breaths, and ‘man I wish I had a 20-tooth chainring right now.’</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>ENVEous?</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Ben pushing up to the top of Indian Trail Ridge, possibly one of the most distinguished passed in the San Juans, known for the exposure and rocky terrain.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>The wildflowers on the way up Indian Trail Ridge were loving the sun...maybe as much as we were.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Indian Trail Ridge.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Bruised, battered, and smiling, we met a lot of folk on the trail that came out to battle their demons. Some hikers strategically placed this bottle of Old No. 7 for those on the trail that need a little liquid courage.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Descending to the top of Kenebec pass, possibly the best descent of the entire trail matched with bone chilling exposure. Creeping ever-so-much closer to home.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Takin' 'er on home from the top of Kenebec Pass, one of our favorite high country rides.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Of course, we rode straight to Ska Brewing for the best beer we may ever have. The sense of accomplishment hit full force with every sip of freshly tapped Pinstripe.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
<b>Cheers to everyone who made this trip possible! Special thanks to Barry Simmons and Nellie for meeting us at the end of all 12 days of this crazy journey.</b> - Dylan Stucki / Ben Kraushaar
Intro Graphic
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Description

ENVE's Dylan Stucki tackled a 341-mile Denver-to-Durango MTB trip with close friends across the Colorado Trail. They captured the sights and sounds of the trip and we're lucky enough to be able to share them with you in this epic slideshow. -gordo

We are three mountain bikers. Some people used to know who we are, hometown heroes in the dark ages of a struggling sport as we rolled out of the start in pursuit of professional racing careers. Years of toeing the line between love and hate for a two-wheeled lifestyle that was passionately instilled in us from a young age.

Uplifted by the support of people close to us, yet driven away by the politics, we embarked on a journey to ride the Colorado Trail, hoping to find new inspirations that keep the pedals turning. What we found was camaraderie and a new appreciation for the vast expanse of mountains in our backyard. Seemingly endless mountain passes taking us well above 12,000’ over and over again left us with shear determination as our motivation to complete the ride. Record rainfall in Colorado this summer made for some especially rainy, cold, and demoralizing rides en route from Denver to Durango. Nevertheless we pushed on through all the short breaths and steep passes, completing the trail in our goal of 12 days. We are Ben, Sam, and Dylan…

Stats:

  • Miles Ridden: 341.3
  • Elevation gain/loss: 50,722 feet
  • Riding Time: 45 hours, 58 minutes, 13 seconds
  • Average Speed: 7.42 MPH
  • Beers Consumed: 300
  • Quarters Fed Into Car Washes: 96
  • Completely Destroyed Bearings: 32
  • Demolished Drivetrains: 4
  • Juicy J Lyrics repeated: 400
  • Black Sabbath’s ‘NIB’ lyrics repeated: 10,000
  • Showers Taken: 3 (yeah, that’s one each)
  • Girls hiking the trail that had recently seen the movie ‘WILD’: All of them​

Dylan and the crew thank ENVE, Maxxis, Evoc, KASK and Ska Brewing for supporting the adventure.

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