CTR ’13

Jefe, CTR boss

Though neither Eszter or I got to participate in CTR this year, we got a good little glimpse into it. Our house erupted with CTR activity, from people picking up SPOTs to housing seven or so people, to trying to figure out why every share page on SPOT’s server wasn’t posting any data. We overnighted additional units, people’s SPOTs died or were misplaced the day before, SPOT login info had to be recovered.

Between Max, Jefe, Pete, Aaron and Cullen Barker, it was quite a crew of characters. I wasn’t sure who to direct my attention on and laugh with (or at), there was so much going on. Cullen trying fruitlessly to guess his SPOT password, Max making a half dozen bagel sandwiches while waffling over taking a seat pack or not, Pete giving Cullen a GPS tutorial using his “to elementary school kids” voice, Jefe looking on in amusement and calmly answering the many gear and strategy questions being fired his way. Everyone eating pizza (except those that don’t).

Just the usual pre-race chaos that made me glad I wasn’t racing… until I laid down to sleep for the night, or was restlessly awake at 3:30, hearing people rustling around for the 4 am start.

We got up rather lazily, I fixed and updated a few things. We saw the race unfolding on trackleaders. It was time to ride.

3rd place rider Matt Schiff

I have mixed feelings about spectating a race like CTR. It’s solo, self-supported, and not everyone wants to see people following the race in remote places. But Eszter had a Mountain Flyer article to write, I had a SPOT or two to hand out to people already racing, and… it was was a beautiful day to ride the CT!

We missed Jesse (race coverage fail!) because he was so stinkin’ fast. But had fun trying to set up shots on other riders, and, of course, seeing and cheering on our friends. Max was looking good, glad to be on the bike and away from his pre-race mishap.

Photographing a race isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You spend time waiting, you try to bust out the camera quickly when someone suddenly comes riding at you. A great way to spend time doing something a little different, but I wouldn’t want to do it too much.

Stefan was crushing it, on the bike and in the style department.

“The secret is in the sea salt,” he says with a wink.

Dan wins the award for having the most fun descending Blackhawk Pass. He’s the author of a sweet Colorado guidebook that has a photo of mine from CTR ’09 — taken not far from where I got this photo of Dan.

Not enough.

Time spent.

In places like this.

Watching the alternating tired and enthusiastic faces crest the pass was pretty entertaining. Felt a bit like intruding, but it was unique to put some faces to the dots, and have photos to share on bikepacking and mountain flyer. This race and this trail are both something so special that it’s just beyond words to describe. To me, it’s a small confirmation that we, as a species, are doing some things really right.

I was planning a little assault on the Durango Dirty Century route, so wanted to keep this ride “reasonable.” Eszter had a freebie day, so she wanted to ride it for all it was worth, and to ride yet another new-to-us and possibly adventurous trail.

I’m a sucker for new trail, especially of the adventurous type, and, well, I’m a sucker for her too. I couldn’t say no. So we kept rolling and got to see Triple Crown winner Forest Baker, and some of the back of the pack. They’d be shellacked by quite a storm on Indian Ridge. The looks on some of their faces, and the varying responses, was pretty interesting to see.

After too much climbing on fab CT trail and with too little food, we reached the turn off for Salt Creek.

That’s the trail there. Nice and rustic.

A tip from Ian Altman when he picked up his SPOT was the key to cracking this trail. We made it out of the biggest question mark meadow, and then educated (ummm, let’s go straight!) guesses got us through the rest.

As always with these little used trails, there are huge rewards, like this hillside painted with daisies.

More than I’ve ever seen. Though she’s trampling flowers, she’s on the trail, or as near we could tell, the trail.

This trail may soon be in the Hermosa wilderness, so it was a treat to get to ride it.

The details of running out of food and low on energy out of Hermosa fade quickly in the shadow of a great little adventure and a big loop full of CTR stoke. Back to the computers to follow dots, daydream about moonlit nights on Coney/Cataract and eat giant burritos.

The Colorado Trail Race. So glad I get to be a small part of it, even when not racing. We were just especially lucky to be living in the start town this year.

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