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That's a gorgeous and inspiring movie and ride; on my long term bucket list now.

Newb questions: when people are talking about riding or racing the CT here, are they mostly talking about doing sections with supported breaks (either in town, race support staff, or even car support like he did)? Is it practical to do an unsupported thru ride, where you'd carry all your own food and filter water?
Most of the time when I hear of someone riding the CT, I assume it is an unsupported thru ride. The Colorado Trail Race is an unsupported thru ride that is an individual time trial.
 

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Most of the time when I hear of someone riding the CT, I assume it is an unsupported thru ride. The Colorado Trail Race is an unsupported thru ride that is an individual time trial.
Cool yeah, my terminology is probably not correct. I see that in the CTR, competitors are (or were) allowed to go shopping in town. I guess my question is just, how many calories can you expect to load your bike up with at a time in general, although that would be a more relevant question for other trails where stopping in town wasn't possible, so perhaps that is a whole other thread.
 

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Newb questions: when people are talking about riding or racing the CT here, are they mostly talking about doing sections with supported breaks (either in town, race support staff, or even car support like he did)? Is it practical to do an unsupported thru ride, where you'd carry all your own food and filter water?
People who race the CT would be doing the whole route unsupported. CTR follows a defined route with simple rules which includes riding unsupported. Unsupported just means doing the entire route yourself without pre-arranged assistance/resources not available to other racers. You can eat at a restaurant, resupply in stores or stay in a motel etc, because those resources are available to everyone. But you can't stage your own food/water drops, have a friend meet you with supplies, sleep in a friend's camper along the way or ride with someone and share gear because those things are not available to other racers. Riding unsupported provides a level playing field.

If you're just riding the trail you can do it any way you want - in sections, with support, with friends, or do the whole route unsupported. Lots of people who don't care about time or racing still do it unsupported because of the flexibility it allows. Stop or ride whenever you want and and no need to rely on anyone else. A support vehicle or other pre-arranged support takes effort to set up and can cost you flexibility. If you've planned to meet somewhere end of day you may be committed to making it there even if you want to stop earlier. That can be a big deal if weather turns bad, you're not feeling well or if the segment takes longer than expected and you don't have service to get in touch. There's no right or wrong way but I think self-supported is the easiest and most self-satisfying way to ride the CT for a lot of people.

It's very practical to do the CT self-supported. Water is generally abundant so most days you don't need to carry lots. Food re-supply is pretty easy on the east half of the route. I think the section from Buena Vista to Silverton is the longest without a store. How many days food you need to carry depends on how long that distance will take you, maybe 3-6 days for most people. Carrying food for 4-6 is getting to be a lot but can be done. You have to do your research on where water, food resupply and other resources are to plan where and when to fill up. Lots of info and trip reports out there.
 

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People who race the CT would be doing the whole route unsupported. CTR follows a defined route with simple rules which includes riding unsupported. Unsupported just means doing the entire route yourself without pre-arranged assistance/resources not available to other racers. You can eat at a restaurant, resupply in stores or stay in a motel etc, because those resources are available to everyone. But you can't stage your own food/water drops, have a friend meet you with supplies, sleep in a friend's camper along the way or ride with someone and share gear because those things are not available to other racers. Riding unsupported provides a level playing field.

If you're just riding the trail you can do it any way you want - in sections, with support, with friends, or do the whole route unsupported. Lots of people who don't care about time or racing still do it unsupported because of the flexibility it allows. Stop or ride whenever you and and no need to rely on anyone else. A support vehicle or other pre-arranged support takes effort to set up and can cost you flexibility. If you've planned to meet somewhere end of day you may be committed to making it there even if you want to stop earlier. That can be a big deal if weather turns bad, you're not feeling well or if the segment takes longer than expected and you don't have service to get in touch. There's no right or wrong way but I think self-supported is the easiest and most self-satisfying way to ride the CT for a lot of people.

It's very practical to do the CT self-supported. Water is generally abundant so most days you don't need to carry lots. Food re-supply is pretty easy on the east half of the route. I think the section from Buena Vista to Silverton is the longest without a store. How many days food you need to carry depends on how long that distance will take you, maybe 3-6 days for most people. Carrying food for 4-6 is getting to be a lot but can be done. You have to do your research on where water, food resupply and other resources are to plan where and when to fill up. Lots of info and trip reports out there.
Thanks for clearing that up for me!
 

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Gonna piggyback this thread as im doing the ct also in july. Some great info in here but was wondering about tire choice.

Im going to be on my 170mm hardtail that is fully enduro'd out with cushcore and dh tires. Obviously im changing all that as i can save many pounds by putting some ardents or similar tire on.

What do people recommend for tires?
Bring tubes?
Run lighter inserts?


I live in CO and have ridden a bunch of the ct and see a lot of opportunity for flats...

And for gearing is. 28t with and 11 speed good enough or should i look for a wider range cassette?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
My intent is to probably run 29 x 2.35 - something like a Rekon Race that is on lighter side and rolls well. I'll be on a FS bike. No cushcore or anything. will bring a tube, maybe 2. Not sure what range your cassette is - mine's a 10-52 and debating 28 vs 30 chainring. Will probably go for lowest gearing I can unless I get sold on why that wouldn't be a good idea....

COBikeman
 

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28 vs 30 chainring. Will probably go for lowest gearing I can unless I get sold on why that wouldn't be a good idea....

Smart. Unless you're riding short days and recovering in hotels/condo's along the way, or you're Superman, you will be much happier with lower gearing. You will very, very rarely use the high gears. And you'll still walk a bunch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
Smart. Unless you're riding short days and recovering in hotels/condo's along the way, or you're Superman, you will be much happier with lower gearing. You will very, very rarely use the high gears. And you'll still walk a bunch.
Yeah thanks Mike - that's what I was figuring. Ride 10 hours/day (???). I don't recall any Ritz Carltons along the trail, sadly :) Although a dip at Mt Princeton should be in the cards!

COBikeman
 

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Ok, I've gone down the rabbit hole of planning. I'll be starting my ITT on 7/10/21. The unofficial women's record for Durango-Denver is 5 days, 15 hours, 34 minutes (unofficial because she rode the whole thing with her husband). It is the time I am aiming for/to beat. I'm hoping to ride 18-20 hours a day, take quick power naps and keep moving. Avoid afternoon thunderstorms when possible. It sounds so easy on paper, right??? 😆 😆

Speaking of rain, I got out on Memorial Day for the perfect bad weather gear test day. I drove up to Silverton and started riding in 45 degree temps, right as a hail-then lightning-then ice rain-then snow storm rolled through and gave me a beating. I turned around at 11,000 ft when the snow started to stick and turned the road to mud slush. I had on all the layers I intend to bring on the CT (wool long sleeve, puff jacket, rain jacket, rain pants, wool socks). The rain pants were baggy and I needed to use hair ties on the ankles, and water sprayed up my socks and into my lower legs. But my butt stayed dry/warm which is good. I was really disappointed in my OR Helium jacket. It's a great jacket, lightweight and very packable, but once it got saturated in the steady rain, the sleeves stuck to my arms and I got pretty wet there and also along the zipper seam. Luckily it was Memorial day and the sales were going on, so I picked up an Arcteryx Norvan Gore-tex jacket on sale (phew! $275 retail!) and hopefully we will get some more weather to test that one out.
 

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Awesome - would love to hear more about your planning, gear, hacks, etc.

COBikeman
Working on it! Here's what I'm planning on so far, with some room for tweaks.

Bike: Trek Fuel EX (120mm front/rear), SRAM Eagle- changing out front chainring to a 28. Maxxis Ardent Race 29x2.4 front/rear.

Bags: A bit of a mishmash. Mostly Bedrock bags (handlebar bag, and custom frame bag). Revelate Vole on the saddle as I get a little more tire clearance than my larger Bedrock saddle bag. Considering adding a downtube bag for all my tools. I'll also carry an Osprey pack, I don't like the weight on my back, but I drink more from a straw that is handy, and depending on where I am, I don't have to fill it all the way with water.

Sleep kit: Pretty minimal. Big Agnes Pluton UL 40 degree sleeping bag, OR Helium Bivy, no pad

Water: 2.5 bladder in Osprey, extra bottle on bike, purification tablets, Katadyn BeFree and 1L collapsible bladder for filter, or to carry extra water if needed

Extra Stuff: Rain Jacket (just got an Arcteryx Novan, haven't tried it yet, but my OR Helium failed me in a storm last week so it is out), Marmot rain pants, extra wool socks, light longsleeve base layer, heavier wool midlayer, puff jacket, knee warmers, warm tights for sleeping. Small toiletry kit with sunscreen, chamois cream, magic butt-healing cream, toothbrush/paste, few first aid stuff.

Electronics: Navigate with Garmin Edge 530, 2 helmet-mounted lights, phone. 3-4 Goal Zero lipstick rechargers and cords. Wall plug to recharge the rechargers when I'm in a town.

Tool kit: Working on this, I feel like I have way too much. But I've seen people with disastrous mechanicals. So multitool, tire plugs/bacon/tire boots/extra sealant/pump/CO2, plus large needle/thread, super glue, extra brake pads, derailleur hangar, 2 tubes (regular and Tubolito), leatherman with pliers, spare cleats/bolts.

Food: A LOT. Everything!! My go-to for big calories are frozen burritos, let them thaw as you go. Also I really love those nasty gas station mini donuts that are like 1,000 calories per package, so sugary!! Debating about some kind of caffeine pills, since I am addicted to morning coffee buzz but don't want to make my own coffee out on the trail. Also that might help me in those long nights when the sleep monster is after me. Maybe some special Colorado gummies too. ;)

I think that is basically it!! Light as possible, but still have enough to get me out of any oh sh!t situations (I hope!!)

If you see any obvious thing I'm forgetting, let me know!!
 

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Well im starting late next week. Denver -> Durango. Will probably see some of you out there!
I'm guessing we will cross paths out there. Are you registered on Trackleaders?

We have been getting hammered with rain/storms in the San Juans, yesterday Silverton never got above 60 degrees. Hoping the pattern breaks for a little bit for you, but at least there will be plenty of water. Ride smart and enjoy the journey!
 

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I'm guessing we will cross paths out there. Are you registered on Trackleaders?

We have been getting hammered with rain/storms in the San Juans, yesterday Silverton never got above 60 degrees. Hoping the pattern breaks for a little bit for you, but at least there will be plenty of water. Ride smart and enjoy the journey!
no we're not racing. I should probably get some kind of tracker though. What are you using?
 

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no we're not racing. I should probably get some kind of tracker though. What are you using?
I have a Spot Gen 3. I registered for an ITT on the Colorado Trail Trackleaders page as I'm wanting an official time.

Since I live in Durango and can ride the trail whenever I feel like (as long as my boss is ok with it), I didn't think it would be fair to take a spot for the Grand Depart away from someone from out of town/state/country that's really jonesing to ride. So I'm "racing" but alone.
 

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I have a Spot Gen 3. I registered for an ITT on the Colorado Trail Trackleaders page as I'm wanting an official time.

Since I live in Durango and can ride the trail whenever I feel like (as long as my boss is ok with it), I didn't think it would be fair to take a spot for the Grand Depart away from someone from out of town/state/country that's really jonesing to ride. So I'm "racing" but alone.
Ah that makes more sense. Spot is having a sale for the 4th so I picked up a gen4.

I also saw on fb that moto's cleared the snow off Monarch pass which makes me wonder about snow on the rest of the route :oops:

Was gonna bring a super lightweight rain shell but may bring a slightly bigger one and get some pants with all the rain this season (it been so wet in Denver).

18-20 hours a day is nuts!!! Good luck with your attempt! You will prolly pass us while we're asleep but if we see you we'll cheer you on haha.
 

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Not much snow to speak of this year. The hot weeks in early June took care of that. I rode over Rolling Pass last weekend, it's the big pass after Molas at about 12, 500ft, there were a few isolated snow drifts to walk through but not bothersome. The rain could leave things muddy and cold, hoping for a dry spell!!

They also just had a big trail run race last weekend, and ran over the Coney summit section, if there was any lingering snow up there, about 100 runners just forged a path through it so it should be fine.
 

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Ok nice, hoping for no slop haha

Any thoughts on my clearance here?


I'm running one of those wolf tooth spacers and think I can space it out even more... Its raining now though and cant fully test.
My other option is to jury rig a rack onto the back with one of those wolf tooth rack attach seat post collars and strapping a stuff sack to it which might be better weight wise I dunno.
 

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That's similar clearance to what I have on my hardtail. If that's with dropper post lowered in the pic, you should be ok. You might get the odd bit of tire rub. If that happens, just lower it a little bit less and keep the bag straps cinched up.

As for tires, I run Minions normally. About to put on a new DHF and maybe an Aggressor on the rear. They aren't light tires but they seem to hold up well. No cushcore or inserts, those seem like a pain to deal with and add weight. I just run tires that are a little more beefy. I'll be going slow regardless. Definitely bring a tube or two. I also bring a tire repair kit so I can sew up a slashed tire if need be. Lots of remote country and few bike shops on the west end of the route.
 
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