Day 9 450mi /300mi on trail – 950miles of trail to the border.

This morning I left Fort Collins in the fog and rain and fought both all day. As soon as I headed into the mtns the temp dropped to high 30s and 40s and stayed there all day. I am not warm.

Today’s sections of trail (from Steamboat to Pinedale) were mostly flat double track or gravel roads and didnt have anything too exciting. Except for anyone who’s a Tremors fan:

Late afternoon I crossed over the Oregon Trail… and even though its the wrong direction, I couldn’t resist and I rode it for several miles. It is a protected landmark (you’re still allowed to ride it) in Wyoming so it is as it was 150 years ago…an unimproved mud track.  It turns out the same reason today was kind of boring is why it made the best spot to head west in the 1800s, its the flatest spot to cross the Continental Divide (but still at an elevation of 7500-9000ft)

Was on the Oregon Trail and didnt die from dysentery or a snake bite!

I don’t think I have seen Antelope before, but they are everywhere out here. They are skittish but very curious. Every time I would ride up on a group, they would bounce off as quickly as possible until they were at the crest of the next hill and then they would stop… turn around and watch me slowly roll by.
Tonight I am setting up shop in Pinedale, WY. I knocked out two big sections today and tomorrow I head into the Tetons and then possibly towards Yellowstone. Its getting seriously cold and Banff is still about 800 miles North. I have no doubt I will be riding sections in snow soon.

Tomorrow’s initial route:

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Days 7 – 300mi Day 8- off

Hey everyone! Yesterday I rode from Breckenridge to  Steamboat on trail and then buzzed 3.5 hours on road to my friends Brett and Jenny’s  place in Fort Collins. I took the long way and rode through the Rocky Mountain National Park. Today I just hung out in Fort Collins and changed my rear tire, oil, and cleaned my air filter. We also did a lot of what you’re supposed to do in Fort Collins… bicycling and brewery hopping. It’s been a great 24 hours!

The day off was amazing but I’m itching to be back on the bike, heading north on dirt . This week I hope to hit up the Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier. Stay tuned! Loosely planning on being at the border by Tuesday!

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Days 5 &6 430 mi 1,781 total 1,447 mi trail remaining

20160911_09433820160910_19064320160910_182729This weekend I rode from Del Norte, CO to Breckenridge, CO. I hit my first wicked single track (video below) as well as hung out in Crested Butte with my buddy Dan. I took the morning off and mtn biked trail 401 in CB with Dan. Trail 401 has a reputation as one of the prime bike trails in the country. It was a great ride!

Tomorrow is a big day on the moto, I am back on the trail and will hop off of it in Steamboat to head east to hang out in Fort Collins for a day for some motorcycle maintenance.

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Singletrack:

Schofield Pass:

Goats:

Pass to Breckenridge

 

DAY 4 End of Day Edit- 250 miles today. 1,350 total 1,695 miles of trail remaining.

A special thanks to Bernard, Kristen and the R&S West team for getting some new rubber on relatively quickly this morning. Heading back up north to Chama, NM where I left the trail yesterday. Hope to be in CO by dark with 100 miles of trail in for the day.

End of day Update: I am sitting at Three Barrel Brewery in Del Norte CO right eating some fantastic pizza and and drinking some very solid beer. I booked another hotel… taking the lazy way around apparently. But… the Windsor Hotel in Del Norte is amazing. I travel a lot for work and have stayed in some very decent places… but this place is beautiful. When you ride The Divide time the riding so you can stay here. It was built in 1876 and the current owners took 20 years to restore it… seriously an impressive place. Plus there are apparently home made croissants and jam in the morning 🙂

The Riding:  Despite a late start, had an amazing day of riding. New Mexico was great, but in my 14 years of riding, nothing can beat Colorado (so far). I hit some really sweet tight trail up to 12,700ft (video below), saw a bunch of curious marmots (I know someone that will be happy about this) and just enjoyed riding in CO. I am going to let the video and pics do the rest of the talking on the riding.

This is the third time I have been to CO in the last 6 weeks. The first time I came to CO was when I was ten with  my family… its weird but even at ten I knew this was my spot and i have made the trip as often as possible since!

Not Riding: With the down time getting my tires changed I reflected a bit on people I have met in the first 4 days of travel. I have said it before and I  will say it again… when I ride, I am typically helmet on… dont talk to people… go go go type person.  A chance meeting with a pretty rad group of around the world adventure riders at the beginning of  the August has twisted my norm around (follow Pascal, Janine and Phillippe  http://ertw2015.wixsite.com/ertw the Aug 3rd post is about the best 2 days of rising I’ve had). Now I try to slow it down and stop to talk to people. Today I met three great people in Albuquerque. First is Bernard. Bernard is the Service Manager at R&S West in ABQ, he has been wrenching on bikes for 53 years, having started in England in 1963 at a Honda Dealership… he was the guy working on and assembling the “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” bikes. Then a guy comes riding in on a VStrom 1000. He sees my muddy and traveled DR next to all of my gear spread out on the sidewalk. He asks “Big Trip?” I half mutter, yep… riding from Mexico to Banff offroad along the Continental Divide. He cracks a huge smile and says “Congratulations and smacks my back” and then tells me where the best breakfast burritos are (with green chiles) and within walking distance… I liked Chris immediately. Turns out he is an operations guy for a tech company with roots in Phoenix. Chris has to get a faaaast fix on an oil leak and meet up for a group ride in Arizona… I think he made it. Third person is Kristen. She works at R&S. Born and raised in ABQ and was just truly interested in my ride. I am riding for me and loving every second of it… but everyone I talk to seems to have wanted to do something similar and immediately wants to know the details and they get excited hearing about the trip. I hope I can leverage my experience to inspire others to dive in and “Just Go”…. whatever that means for them.

In other news… I put on 100 spf today but still have some wicked helmet sunburn. Other, other news… i’m a little bit behind but now I am into the good stuff. Heading into the Crested Butte region tomorrow. Its off-trail… but CB will always have my heart… I tell ya… it’s a Butte! If I make solid time I am hitting it up!

 

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Day 3: 300mi, 200 on trail.

Today was an amazing day of riding followed by a really crappy motorcycle dealership experience and then a really good one.

Don’t go to Santa Fe Motor Sports in Santa Fe NM if you need anything on the Con Divide ride. I rode 50 miles on road out of the way to see if they could hook me up with a quick tire change for the rear. Long story short… they are terrible. If you want to know why check it out on the Yelp review.

So if you need help… Do go to R&S West down in Albuquerque. I called, told the Service Manager what was going on and he tells me to head down. I have a couple traffic issues on he way so they are literally closing up when I get there, but they bring me to the tire section I pick out some Dunlop 606s and they tell me they will get em on asap when they open in the morning and then refer me to a hotel down the street and a place to eat. I thought about just buying the tires and spooning them on in the parking lot… but it was 6p, I was tired and sweaty and the area didn’t look so swell. Soooo when you are on your ride… go to R&S.

The riding was great! Todays sections were amazing and the best so far! I covered about 220 miles off road from Grants NM to Abiquiu NM. There were really three different sections… the first was all open canyon land area including the first of several single track sections (think mtn bike trail but on a 500lb bike), second was pine covered national forest and the third was about 45 miles of very rocky and challenging double track with some slick rock thrown in… I have been passing a group of four riders on a BMW, two Triumphs and a KTM each day. Yesterday they were fixing a flat and today they were turning around as the trail was getting really rocky and very very vertical… I happened to catch them on video turning around (I can’t say i blame them… it was probably the right call even though it doesn’t look challenging in the video).

Weather was amazing and I was toasty all day.

Wildlife today was a huge fetch of gophers, a wild mustang (video included), tons of cows and a jackass at Santa Fe Motorsports.

Tomorrow is going to have to be a big day… tires on the bike… 110 miles of freeway and then going to still try to get 200 miles of trail in. May not have time for an update tomorrow.

Group calls it quits:

Mustang:

Morning of Day 2:

Morning  of Day 3- Canyons

Day 2: 250 miles- 800mi total/ 2,116mi of trail remaining.

Hey…. sooooo…. I am riding 2,700 miles off road from Mexico to flippin Canada through the Rockies… annnd it is amazing. It’s day two and I was really starting to get my groove. The bike and trail are starting to feel like home. It’s amazing that this ride still exists and hasnt disappeared or been paved over. If you have thought about doing it, stop thinking… toss a tent on your bike and go. I’m having a blast and couldn’t be happier!

I left camp in the dark at 6a today. Took everything down in the rain and a 42° temp. It’s been raining for the last 36 hours and both my gear and I are soaked through and frozen. But the rain has been incredible in its own way… it brightens all senses… it smells great, freezes your butt and makes the NM clay and mud slick as can be so the sense of touch is heightened when you slam your bike down 🙂

I’m only averaging one bike drop per day which I’m pretty OK with.

Saw tons of wildlife today. Lots of deer in the a.m.,  I saw what i think was an Antelope, a mtn goat and boatloads of suicidal jack rabbits (instinct tells them to zigzag in front of prey… this is NOT a sound strategy for running from Michelins flying down a mud road).

After an awesome day off road I popped into Grants NM around 330p for some food. While eating, I began to dry out and warm up. When I stepped back out into the cold and rain I decided drying and thawing my gear annnnd me in a hotel room was going to happen.

I roasted my rear tire a bit more than expected heading to Mexico from Phoenix yesterday so I may keep an eye out for a cycle shop near the trail tomorrow. Hoping for another 200+ tomorrow and to cross into CO by Friday morning! Right now my only agenda is to try to be up in Fort Collins by Monday for beers and moto maintenence at my buddy Brett’s place!

I have some pretty great video that I’ll upload soon. My laptop is dead and I left my charger behind. Any ideas of where a Best Buy is in the wilderness of northern New Mexico?

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Day 1: 550miles (so far)

The day started a bit later than expected but was still on the road by 3am. 350 miles were pavement and the last 200 have been off road. I didn’t think to check the weather before heading out (byproduct of living in Phoenix) and have been getting dumped on from the remnants of Hurricane Newton. Leaving on a trip in Sept to ride to Canada on a trail that is mostly 8000ft+ altitude is going to make for a chilly and wet trip. Any bets on when I see snow first?

I have “get-there-itis” in life… so I am trying really hard to take this trip casually and live outside the helmet.  I stopped to talk to a group of cyclists who are just finishing their Continental Divide ride. The group started out with 20 and there are four remaining. They’re on day 62 with only about a hundred miles left of the 2700 mile journey. Every time I start feeling like i’m pushing it far enough, I meet someone who reminds me what bad ass looks like and here I am sitting at the kiddie table… these guys are amazing! I asked them to pull up the site and I hope they find it- message me if you do!

Heading up into the Apache Range to find a spot to setup camp.

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Pre Game

I am riding from Mexico to Banff via the Continental Divide Trail. I leave Phoenix at 2:20am. I hope to be in in El Berrendo Mexico by 9am and then I head north. Biggest decision right now is whether to bring the -20 sleeping bag or the +20 bag… everything else is ready to go!