A couple years ago Scott Brady asked me if I'd be up for a big ultra race, and to do it flying the colors for Overland Journal. Last year, my schedule just didn't accommodate such a big ride. This year, I've been logging 20+ hour weeks on the bike, often on the trail by 4:15 am. I feel great, have already made one walk-up to the podium this year, and I'm ready to take on the CTR. For those unfamiliar with the CTR, many have touted it as the hardest mountain bike race in North America. It's an unsupported race on the demanding Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango. The rules are simple. Stay the course. Ride alone. Carry your own food and gear. Make it to Durango as fast as you can. Results are tracked by Spot satellite tracker. Racers can depart on their chosen date, or start during a mass start on August, 1.
I will post a link to my Spot tracker page on July, 17th for anyone interested in following my progress.
Here are the beastly digits:
The Colorado Trail Race
- Total miles: 498
- Miles of singletrack: 387
- Average altitude is around 9,000 feet
- Total feet of climbing - 65,000
My Personal Digits
- Bike weight: 21.7 pounds
- Total gear weight minus food and water: 8.9 pounds.
- Miles I've logged getting ready since Jan, 1: 2,600 miles on the road. 2,376 miles on the mountain bike. 423 hours total.
- 145 miles running (which sucked)
- 4,000+ crunches...my core is still unimpressive. Bummer.
Since this has been almost three years in the planning, I thought I would share my preparations.
The Bike: Form Cycles, Custom Ti Prevail 29er with custom post.
This bike was almost purpose built for this ride. On race day, it will be fitted with a 1x9 drive train. Why not 10? No real reason I can justify. The frame bag is made by Revelate and the tail bag by Carousel Design Works. For this trip, I'm going to skip a bar bag. Some have already doubted my decision to run carbon rims, but I have ample faith that these rims are more durable than any metal rim I've ever used.
Osprey Hornet 24. I wanted something very light without loosing features. This will hold a 3L reservoir, the bulk of my water stores.
MSR Bivy. I'm planning to take short naps as needed and can only afford 1 pound for my shelter. We're old friends, me and this bivy.
NeoAir Xlite 3/4. This pad rolls up so small, it literally fits in a jersey pocket. Darn comfy for what it is. I'm only planning on 4-5 hours of sleep each night, so it has to be good sleep.
This is my one luxury item. 800 fill. 32 degrees. If it gets ugly, this will have to be home.
Optimus Crux Stove. I've experimented with Esbit cubes, alcohol stoves and all the other uber-light options. At 63 grams, you can't beat this stove. Given I will need to consume 3000+ calories a day, one warm meal will be good for my spirits each day.
Other important pieces:
- Rab Helium rain jacket - 257 grams.
- First Ascent MicroTherm Down Shirt (the one I reviewed in the OJ spring newsletter)
- Steripen and bottle top filter. Still the lightest solution I could find aside from using chemicals.
- Garmin eTrex 30 for navigation. (iPhone as a backup)
- Repair kit, First aid, spare tube, multi-tool, duct tape, zip ties, super glue.