The race is part of the Colorado Endurance Series, a series of self-supported, on your own, no assistance provided other than what you can find along the way races. Fully decked out in my Hammer kit, I did the Bigger Loop, consisting of 106 miles and ~13000′ climbing. This race takes in the Colorado Trail from near Salida Colorado to Buena Vista then heads east and rides up and down the Arkansas Hills before returning to the start. 64 of us met early at Cafe Dawn in downtown Salida. We signed in and Tom P gave us last minute instructions and we were off.


This year I decided to do the race on gears and suspension versus last years rigid Blacksheep Fatbike, it was a hard decision.

The roll out was fast and I found myself in the back watching the top dogs roll away, most of them were doing the “shorter” race (89miles) and this old dog needed to ride sensible and warm up proper before “throwing down”. On the 8.8 miles of pavement before we hit dirt I warmed up quickly in the rising sun. I left the group I was in and began to ride my own pace which would have me riding solo all the way to Buena Vista. On the horizon was the first objective the climb to the Shavano TH on the Colorado Trail.


Of the ~13000′ of climbing, the course climbs 3400′ in the first 15 miles alone.

I didn’t go crazy hard, I kept it real and rode smooth.  The beauty of the Colorado Trail and the podcasts of NPRs Snap Judgement loaded on my IPod kept me in good spirits.  With Hammer Nutrition gels/bars and Perpetuem, I knew that only a mechanical or crash would delay me arriving in BV in around 5 hours. 

Halfway to Princeton Hot Springs I had my only crash, it was on an off camber washed out section of the CT.  It wasn’t bad as I was able to jump off my bike, but the rear derailleur smacked something hard enough to bend it or the hanger out of whack.  I figured this out pretty quickly when I shifted into my spokes on the next steep climb.  

The rest of the trail was fairly uneventful, with the exception that I got to watch a rider go over the bars on a section that I figured was safer to walk than ride.  He was OK by the way.

With a resupply at 47 miles in Buena Vista I was able to carry a ziplock bag of Perpetuem to refill my food bottles and thanks to the bike shop, Boneshaker Cycles, having cold Heed available was able to fill my 3ltr water bladder full for the heat i would encounter over the next 60 miles.



They also had Bacon and Whiskey


I deserved bonus points as I couldn’t resist a small shot.  It was so smooth and tasty I had to hold myself back from having another.

This was my only stop of the day.  The finish-line beer awaits.

Crossing the Arkansas river I had gained the company of Joe S on my wheel.  I try to keep it as Solo as possible at times and until I took a wrong turn on the Midland trail I kept pretty much to myself and Snap Judgement.  After that SNAFU we rode mostly side by side on the way out to Chub Park (where does that name come from?) I let him roll away hoping to catch him on the climbs after Trout Creek pass. It was warm and I knew what was lying ahead.

Casually descending to Chub Park I was caught by Tom and Robert and I decided to get my act together if I didn’t want to get passed by anyone else.  We rode the windless dirt roads together, which was a nice change from last years stiff headwinds, until after a short rise I found myself alone again. Crossing Hwy 285 I eventually caught up to Raphael from Sub Culture Cycles in Salida.  He had been up with the front group at the start and was showing fatigue on the hills.  He was good company and I slowed to his pace and turned the podcast off in my ears for the last time.  Eventually Robert rejoins us saying that Tom had stopped but would probably catch up.  He would not catch us as we rode together up the long climb interspersed with some short downhill sections.  It was here that another rider came flying by us.  nice Second Wind we remarked.  

After missing the turn to Futurity and being alerted by my GPS, we found ourselves riding back uphill to the hidden turn.  It was here we came back across Second Wind coming towards us remarking that this can’t be the trail with all the down trees.  I assured him the it was and the trees were for walking over. Eventually we would be able to remount our bikes and ride out the rough singletrack.  By now Raphael had faded back and it was just Robert and myself.  We stopped at Futurity and picked up some SBFL chips (rocks) that Tom P had placed in an abandon building.  The chip removes 45 minutes from your finishing time but it doesn’t hurt any less.  

The race was almost over now.  We decended to rejoin the short loop and with one last big climb, a fast descent, another shorter climb, and a faster descent we were back in Salida.  The temps had dropped quickly with a passing shower that we had avoided.  It was enough for my hands to be suffering from a pretty bad case of Reynauds.  I could only tell how hard I was braking into corners by the momentum I felt when slowing down from the high speed descent.

It was a new long course and I was super stoked to finish the 106 miles under 11 hours and in 10th place. 

Colorado Endurance Series SBFL

Results and links to other blogs

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