Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Time For Another Crazy Race ?

It has been almost two years since I last completed an epic/crazy bikepacking race and it would appear that the planets have aligned again. Yup, I have had some more long service leave approved from mid July and I aim to complete my "lifetime triple crown" of  THE original, grandaddy bikepacking races. Already having the Tour Divide Race and the Arizona Trail Race 750 under my belt, it is time to cap it off with the tripartite of the Triple Crown  -
The Colorado Trail Race (CTR).
Note - the Triple Crown is technically completing ALL three of these races in one year, hence my "lifetime" triple crown as I would never get enough time off in one year to have a crack at these races all in a row.

(Maurizio Doro photo)

The CTR is the shortest of the three at just 525 miles (845km) but as you can see from the link above, what it lacks in distance it makes up for in climbing and elevation of the trail itself! 72 500ft of climbing is still two and a half Mt Everests - sea to summit - plus much of the race is around the 10 000ft elevation mark. The highest point is an eye watering/lung busting pass at 13 270ft. This will be challenging for a sea level dweller such as myself. Don't forget that a large portion of it is also single track.
There is nowhere to train for that elevation here in Australia so I will just have to train as best I can, then try to get over to Colorado a week before the big event to try to acclimate somewhat....

(Maurizio Doro photo)

So, to the training.
I have my Lynda Wallenfels training programs that I followed for the TDR and AZTR750. They worked well for me then and I have no reason to doubt that if I follow them rigorously that they won't work for me now. I have one week until the official training starts and to assist in the process it will be back onto a strictly nutritious diet with no hollow calories. This will be tied to a zero alcohol policy - especially easy sounding today as yesterday was Australia Day and perhaps one or two too many beverages were partaken in......

(Maurizio Doro photo)

The rules of the race are the standard unsupported bikepacking ethos that accompanies each of these ultra endurance style races. No dedicated, outside support that isn't commercially available to everyone. So, just ride your bike from Denver to Durango by yourself, with no help.
Sounds like crap doesn't it?
Well, I happen to really love the challenge of doing it all by myself, with no help. It requires you to plan ahead, prior to the race, with a frenzy that might only have been matched by the D-Day planners but you know a lot of that planning will be worthless once into the race because "I" will be the uncontrollable factor. I might feel awesome and rip ahead. More likely, I will feel like crap and make some dumb decisions despite knowing better. Then it will be up to me to roll with those decisions and make the best of it - all while being rooted out of my brain.
Fun, no?!

(Maurizio Doro photo)

What bike will I take?
Well, it is very early days yet and while I always try to take the most route specific bike to these races it may just be a case of run what I brung. At this stage I am thinking that I will use the Cannondale Beast Of The East that I used for the AZTR. I will remove the Lefty and put a Pike fork on it for strength and so that I can run my dynamo hub. While a hardtail, it does have Plus size tyres which should give me a little bit of plushness over what looks to be pretty rocky terrain. This choice may well be totally inappropriate so watch this space on bike selection....

(Maurizio Doro photo)

So, I guess that is my declaration. I am committing to this thing. Let the training begin..... (next week)

Below is a moving pictures version of the 2018 race by Aaron Johnson. Check it out if for no other reason than to ogle the scenery!!

Thanks also to Maurizio Doro from Italy who tackled the CTR in 2019 and from whom I have borrow the above photos - without permission...but I hope that is ok Maurizio?



  1. Dave, I'd really like to say you're nuts but challenging oneself no matter in what way reminds us of why we're alive. Massive respect mate. I'll point my Canning Stock Route friend John White to your blog for this latest insane mission!

    1. Thanks Geoff. I knew you would understand. ;) I'm in touch with a Brian Alder from your side of The Ditch who is having another crack at it this year. Should be good!

  2. Good luck Bro. Looks awesome on the video. Where are you going to fit your Drone?

  3. No, the drone would be too cumbersome and delicate to haul around unfortunately. Standard phone photos will be the go I guess.

  4. Madness! You need a WR for that!

    All the best Dave, you got this...


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