Sunday, March 27, 2011

Over the Hill?

June 14th we head west to check the next item off our bucket list: a five day point-to-point mountain bike ride from Durango Colorado to Moab Utah. This trip will be an adventure loaded with surprises and with a sense of accomplishment for a bunch of middle-age east coast flat-landers. We put a lot of work into selecting this particular trip, so I thought I'd share the details for anyone else who might be considering something similar.

We started by recognizing that certain bucket-list items will be more difficult to pull off than others in another 5-10 years, primarily due to physical demands. So we prioritized this trip over some other bucket-list items (e.g., offshore sailing).

Last fall, with some consultation, I developed selection criteria:

  1. All singletrack all the time
  2. Private tour for our group of 6-8 riders (all good friends, compatible group)
  3. Point to point - the sense of accomplishment is appealing
  4. A destination with epic scenery and world class vistas
  5. NO HOTELS - looking for full immersion with no distractions
  6. All play and no work - we focus on riding not logistics
  7. Accommodate a variety of skills and abilities
  8. Excellent food, and lots of it

A few evenings with Google and I had list of candidate trips. Over a few beers we shortened the list to:
  • Hermosa Tours - great fit with tour operator, "luxury" camping a big draw
  • Sacred Rides - great fit with tour operator, ability to hit all the best rides
  • San Juan Hut to Hut - big sense of adventure, provisioned cabins
  • Boreale Biking - Yukon very appealing, great chow, Yurt with bike powered blender was a big draw
Our criteria were very demanding so each option entailed some compromise, but after contacting some of the operators we proceeded with building a five day itinerary for June '11 with Hermosa. We then locked six riders and settled back to enjoy the holidays. On New Years day '11 we began training for our custom Colorado to Moab trip:

  • Day One:  Advanced singletrack on the Colorado Trail, Intermediate on Hermosa Creek Trail, standard route on dirt road.  These options give you anywhere from 30-50 miles the first day.  The day ends with a downhill to the camp.
  • Day Two: A very pretty 40-ish miles past the Lizard Head Wilderness into Uncompahgre National Forest and our camp at Miramonte Reservoir.
  • Day Three: We work our way along the rim of Paradox Valley and then into Utah near day’s end.  As we enter Utah we’re be making our way up the east side of the La Sal Mountains.  Mileage today is about 35.
  • Day Four: we continue climbing up the east side of the La Sal Mountains toward Geyser Pass.  It’s good to take our time today and not push it too hard.  This is an underrated part of the route for no other reason that people just don’t go here!  True solitude.  We end the day high in the La Sals ready for a big day 6.  About 30 miles.
  • Day Five: The Whole Enchilada.  28 miles of some of the best mountain biking in the world.  High alpine singletrack all the way to the Colorado River 7000 feet below.  Must be ridden to be believed.  Shuttle back to Durango after the ride.
Like any event of this magnitude, the training and the run-up are great fun. We're just getting started!


"Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed." — Charles Schultz


  1. Love the quote at the bottom good meaning. but I like the going up part, still not too crazy on the speeding up yet. Read parts of your trip plan, sounded really cool even though I dont know what the places mean. I can tell that you are SO excited and cant wait to hear some of the stories and see the pictures.

  2. Sounds like your going to have a lot of fun, have you put BASE jumping on you bucket list?
    Check out my blog if you get the chance: