After we loaded and tested our perspective setups it was all systems go. So Sunday morning Emily drove us up to Waterton Canyon. We saddled up and started pedaling.

I felt weird knowing that it would take 7+ days to accomplish our goal and standing at the trail head in fresh chamois, clean bikes, and full bellies made the ultimate goal feel even more far reaching. But it was going to be a long arduous journey that would be achieved pedal stroke by pedal stroke, sometimes foot step over foot step as our bikes were heavy and there was some burly trail ahead.

We made a big push and landed at Kenosha Pass at the end of day 1. We got through our first Wilderness “go- around” (no bikes allowed in designated Wilderness areas) and experienced some pretty mellow trail for the opening day.

We would, sadly, say goodbye to Ryan as he came into the ride with some knee issues that only got worse after day 1. Smartly, he pulled out while we were close to home, let us raid his gear (unbelievably helpful), and dropped off Kenosha Pass to the Shaggy Sheep restaurant to wait for a pick up.

The three of us remaining fools continued on. We stopped 3 miles from the start to fill up on water. When I laid my bike down my camera fell out of my camera bag and I didn’t notice it until we climbed 7 miles from the creek.

Reluctantly, I dropped my bags and flipped it. Russell and Troy hung out for 2 hrs while I raced back down to retrieve my camera. Luckily, I got it and it wasn’t for nothing but my lack of attention set our time line back now and those bonus miles would be plenty punishment enough that the boys didn’t have to hold a grudge.

We pushed on over Georgia Pass until we dropped into Breckenridge (not into town just on the outskirts). We crossed the highway and stated slogging our way up to the Miner’s Creek hike-a-bike.

This was a tough day for me. We hit our first bit above tree line and the hike-a-bike wrecked me. The trail tested my limits hard on day 2 and the humbling thing is that this wasn’t the hardest day to come.

Day 3 started just outside of Copper Mtn. We woke and had breakfast then dropped into town, again just on the outskirts though we got water at the Copper Mtn Ski Resort.

Immediately we started climbing up to Searle Pass. It was nice and mellow, which is just what the doctor ordered after our bout on Miner’s Creek. We got up over tree line again 12,000+ft and rolled our way across alpine meadows to Kokomo Pass.

We dropped down to Hwy 24 from there and then traversed over to Leadville for some burritos and Horchata.

From Leadville we headed southwest towards the Mt. Elbert Trail Head (tallest 14er in CO). We entered the San Isabel National Forest and started traversing our way over to Buena Vista.

This section of single track would linger in annals of my mind as some of my favorite still. Loamy, fast, flowy, ripping through aspen groves, and mostly downhill!

We made it over to Hwy 24 again and got a sick 18miles of false flat descending all the way into BV. We got in pace line formation but still didn’t make it to K’s Dairy Delite in time before they closed. So we pedaled over to Pancho’s for Burgers, fries, and malts before pedaling, in the dark, up to the CT trail head 10 miles up Cottonwood Pass.