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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning on: November 02, 2012, 08:22:40 AM
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« on: November 02, 2012, 08:22:40 AM »

While re-working my GPX track for next year, I learned that the Colorado Trail will likely have a major re-route around BV next year. It not finalized yet, and the Colorado Trail Foundation is asking for people to wait for a couple of months until they get all of the details worked out.

From what I can tell so far, the CT will pass on the west side of the Mt. Princeton, Antero, and Shavano--putting Buena Vista pretty far away, possibly out of easy re-supply range. But it's hard to tell if this might have any effect on the CTR course, since it's not yet possible to determine where and/or how much of the new trail passes through wilderness areas, etc. It could end up that bikes continue to take the same route as they have been. For that matter, Stefan will need to decide what to change, if anything--and he can't do that until the CTF finalizes their maps.

Even though so much is unknown, I still figured that it is worth putting this out there for anyone who is making plans for 2013. While nothing might change, don't get too focused on your strategy just yet.

As soon as the CTF gets their maps completed, I'm going to start exploring. Maybe on skis if it's still winter.

On a related note, I'm not going to post my updated GPX track until I know more. I had just finished making some tweaks using the data that I collected this year, but now it looks like I might need to start again in a few months.

I'll post more when I hear more!

EDIT: Just heard some more. Apparently the extra 80 miles of trail isn't actually a "re-route," but rather an "alternate route." Looks like there is now more than one way to complete the Colorado Trail. Maybe they need to rename it the Colorado Trail Network! Wink

EDIT: Well, it looks like this is much ado over nothing. Jerry Brown from Bear Creek Survey (the guy who has done all of the CT mapping), writes:

"New route goes into the wilderness south of Winfield, and there is no practical alternative route for bicycles. Any detour to the west would have to go through Taylor by way of Aspen, which is way off trail. The CT bike route will have to remain as it is."

Looks like a great alternative for hikers, but disappointing for cyclists. I was hoping for more time away from towns, more time up high, longer views, etc.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 09:52:02 AM by TobyGadd » Logged

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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #1 on: November 02, 2012, 12:41:57 PM
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2012, 12:41:57 PM »

Toby I would guess that maybe the CT will follow the new CDNST section from Cottonwood Pass to Tincup Pass? And then maybe CDNST to top out of Fooses? That new section from Cottonwood to Tincup has been deemed no bikes by the powers that be and was just completed. Just like the relatively new section from Santa Fe Peak to almost Georgia Pass (off limits as of summer 2011). I would hope that any new CT reroutes follow the CTF guidelines of allowing bikes on non-wilderness portions.

I have been studying the CDNST for a potential through-ride next year and I do not like what I am finding out, which is many sections in Colorado that are not in wilderness and not allowing bicycles. It is not fair and I am a little miffed about it. Basically any new section of trail being built is not allowing bicycles. I worry that the next step would be to exclude bikes on current portions that allow bikes, like the CT/CDNST contiguous sections in the CTR.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012, 07:34:18 AM
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012, 07:34:18 AM »

Try this again...noob question, going to do the CTR this year and wondering about bike choice?  What is the collected wisdom on carbon frames?  I have a Scott Scale Pro I was thinking of building up for this specific purpose, or selling it and going with an aluminum or Ti frame.  All hardtails, with front suspension.
Thanks for the feedback
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 07:55:00 AM
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 07:55:00 AM »

Try this again...noob question, going to do the CTR this year and wondering about bike choice?  What is the collected wisdom on carbon frames?  I have a Scott Scale Pro I was thinking of building up for this specific purpose, or selling it and going with an aluminum or Ti frame.  All hardtails, with front suspension.
Thanks for the feedback
I've seen guys on pretty much every type of bike complete the race. Rigid, SS, carbon, Ti, aluminum, 10-speed, 9-speed, 26" wheels, 29ers, thin tires, thick tires, tubeless, tubes, SRAM, Shimano, etc. I don't think that it would be possible to determine who's going to be fast and who's going to be slow by looking at bikes at the start! No fixies or cross bikes that I know of yet though. So I think that you can ride almost whatever you like.

I've finished the CTR on a hard-tail with a short-travel fork (60mm), and on an aluminum full-suspension Cannondale with 120mm of suspension. I MUCH preferred the FS bike. It was faster and more forgiving on the descents. My butt even appreciated it on the technical climbs--even though I could lock-out the rear, I often just rode with it in squish more because it was more comfortable.

If I could ride anything though, it would probably be something made out of titanium. I can't afford it, but the reputed durability sounds terrific.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #4 on: November 04, 2012, 08:16:06 AM
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2012, 08:16:06 AM »

That's what I have been leaning towards...plain jane Ti hard tail...can't beat it up, and I think having cables on the outside of the frame will make it easier for trailside repairs if a shifter cable breaks  I have a Niner RDO, but the frame configuration doesn't lend itself to frame bags
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 05:33:46 AM
kozman


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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 05:33:46 AM »

OK, next question...frame bags...I am going to work with Greg in CO for my bags, but I am wondering for the CTR being a shorter duration (relatively, thinking TD here) what it is the thoughts on full frame bag over just seat, handlebar, gas tank, and back pack.  I think lighter is better.  After many years of mtn climbing, I have learned if you plan on needing something, you will use it even if you could do without it.  thoughts?
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012, 08:48:14 AM
Woodland


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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012, 08:48:14 AM »

Yes, lighter is usually always better - but you have to be careful I think. I spent months thinking about weight vs. comfort/safety and I still didn't get it right.

Personally, I would rather have some weight on my back during HAB, than have everything on the bike...

And to your last point, I brought a stove (an item I 'planned on needing') and never touched it - in fact, I threw it in the trash in BV  icon_biggrin It was only a $15 esbit...
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #7 on: November 05, 2012, 09:20:21 AM
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2012, 09:20:21 AM »

OK, next question...frame bags...I am going to work with Greg in CO for my bags, but I am wondering for the CTR being a shorter duration (relatively, thinking TD here) what it is the thoughts on full frame bag over just seat, handlebar, gas tank, and back pack.  I think lighter is better.  After many years of mtn climbing, I have learned if you plan on needing something, you will use it even if you could do without it.  thoughts?
I've seen lots of different setups work great out there. Some guys have huge frame bags, and some carry everything on their backs. Seems like there's probably no right answer. While I upgraded to a modern ultra-light setup in 2012 (which was nice), I even successfully used panniers in 2010. Lots of options. Going light is indeed important--but not so light that you'll die if you need to stop in the middle of a below-freezing 6-hour sleet/rain/hail storm at 12,000 feet!

For my current setup, I first figured out what gear I needed, and then I determined which bags would carry everything most conveniently and efficiently. My primary focus was to avoid carrying a heavy pack, and to get as much weight on my bike as possible. I settled on a smallish frame bag on my full-suspension CTR setup. Not for the extra capacity, but because it carries heavy stuff like tools in a lower & central position, resulting in a better-balanced bike.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #8 on: November 05, 2012, 10:06:04 AM
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2012, 10:06:04 AM »

Good points from both of you!  My goal is to pack what is necessary, and try to limit comfort items to the minimum I can deal with.  Lots of training in North GA should help nail it down over the next couple of months.  I am going to start with my seat and handlebar bags, then go from there.  Should be able to pretty quickly determine if I am packed right.  Got in touch with Greg for my bags in Denver, and am stoked to be working with him as well
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #9 on: November 05, 2012, 10:50:08 AM
dream4est


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« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2012, 10:50:08 AM »

Kozman I think you need to consider that bike choice and gear/carrying equipment are not vital to success in the CTR. Like Toby says the route has been completed fully unsupported by males and females on every type of bike/gear combo around. I use bike bags and gear that would be considered shabby by most standards, yet I complete the task at hand. Having the newest bike/best gear means nothing on this course.

What is really important is the following:
1. No time limits. Each year many racers give themselves a strict time limit that is unrealistic. The trail is harder than they think. The moment comes when a person realizes that they cannot make their goal, and they quit. I have seen people that are way faster than me riding with me. That is very common as logistics become overwhelming under duress. The person has the ability to meet the goal, but reality means sleeping, breaks, being tired, not being able to eat, etc.
2. Adversity- how to overcome it without cheating or quitting. Things will not go your "way". What are you going to do when that happens? You may have to ride a tire with leaves in it-lash your frame bag with paracord-walk 80 miles-glue your shoe back together-etc.
3. Training is good but specific training is better. If one does not have a decade long endurance base, that is okay. By specific I mean HAB training. Overnight training. Weather training. Etc. I go out and hike a bike all the time in the fall and winter. I do overnighters in the cold or damp weather.
4. Mindset. What is your motivation? If it is 15 minutes of Warholian fame (like blog bragging, Facebook posting, etc.) your odds of quitting increase. This is a journey that has to be internalized. You must be one with the trail and block out human emotions that are ego driven.
5. Riding/racing alone. If you cannot handle being alone in the most remote stretch of Colorado, dont count on the company of other racers. Teaming up for anyone slower than true middle pack racers usually results in a DNF. The team slows you down almost all the time. I practice by camping alone near home often.
6. Injury. What happens when you have body issues? The will to continue the journey when dealing with pain is very important for all racers, not just fast ones. I had to deal with intense pain in 2012 in AZT and CTR. I ended up taking one aspirin in 25 days though I dealt with a heel/achilles injury in Arizona and a stress fracture in the lower leg in CTR. Do you have that drive to succeed? Even if it means your elapsed time sucks in comparison to others or your goal? Many folks quit because their final time would be not good enough or they cant break a record, etc.
7. Logistics. Dont fly in the day before. Have your gear ready prior to the morning of the race. Etc.
8. Practice with a fully loaded bike often. I am riding my bike fully loaded for the AZT 750 and it is 5.5 months from the start. Any gear movement or bike issues are being solved now-not on the trail day 1.
9. Eating. It is a skill to eat and keep up with caloric intake early in the race. Dont downplay this important aspect of the CTR. People quit all the time from this, even saying they got a bug or got sick from what they ate or whatever. It is calorie deficit not a bug. Your brain functions poorly without food not just your body.

So in conclusion if you can race with no time limit, handle adversity, ride alone, deal with pain, ride a loaded bike, HAB 50-100 miles out of 500 and eat food while moving then you have the ability to finish. If that sounds too hard then you understand why CTR is what it is. Is is a lot harder out there doing it than sitting here discussing it. Even people who finished the route underestimate it sitting at home/work talking about it. You "forget" how hard it really is. Time heals those wounds physical or mental. We forget how good it feels to finish or how painful/demoralizing the lows points were.




* bike111 490.JPG (59.42 KB, 461x615 - viewed 924 times.)
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #10 on: November 05, 2012, 11:28:16 AM
kozman


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« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2012, 11:28:16 AM »

understood....I guess I need to clarify my position.  I have been in and out of the s..t in more more ways than one in my life.  I have been on high moutains, been to war, done multi-day adventure racing, consider night riding on the Snake Creek Gap trail in GA to be a given, have been alone in the wilderness and in the mountains, have been stormed in for a week at -40 on Denali, and have pushed myself to the limit in every way that I can possibly conceive.
I get it that the CTR is hard. 
But then again, isn't that the point?  Why would you do if you knew you would make it?
My questions are gear specific, because what I am missing right now is what is *specifically* needed/necessary for this type of adventure.  I don't think that gear alone will get it done, but I do know that when you life depends on it, then ask people who know more than you to make sure you get the right gear.  There is no one on this or any other forum that will get me through the CTR.  That is to me alone, to do as only I can


I do think there is a lot that I need to know from all of you on gear; what works and what doesn't.  I am asking now, because I am ready now to start the overnight, long weekend in the mountains type training.

Hopefully I can get that type of help here.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #11 on: November 05, 2012, 11:45:49 AM
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« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2012, 11:45:49 AM »

Well I think the point is that there is no right or wrong gear based on personal preferences. What works for me may not work for you. Same with Toby and his kit. What works well for him may not for another rider.

Steve Peat once said about suspension settings that he sets his bike up, gets used to it and rides the whole season like that. His bike becomes an extension of his body. I think that is like that with bikepacking gear. You become in sync with your kit. It is through personal testing and retesting that one finds their "kit".

There is nothing that is specifically needed for this ride. Even rain gear, which is probably the #1 item of importance next to a working tire pump, can be worked around. Maybe you could elaborate? If you look here, on MTBR or on blogs gear lists are posted for others to study, evaluate, etc. It seems to me that asking for specific advice is almost like wanting your work done for you. It is the trial and error of testing that defines your kit and style and approach.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2012, 11:49:28 AM by dream4est » Logged

  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #12 on: November 05, 2012, 11:59:27 AM
Woodland


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« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2012, 11:59:27 AM »


What is really important is the following:
1. No time limits. Each year many racers give themselves a strict time limit that is unrealistic. The trail is harder than they think. The moment comes when a person realizes that they cannot make their goal, and they quit. I have seen people that are way faster than me riding with me. That is very common as logistics become overwhelming under duress. The person has the ability to meet the goal, but reality means sleeping, breaks, being tired, not being able to eat, etc.
2. Adversity- how to overcome it without cheating or quitting. Things will not go your "way". What are you going to do when that happens? You may have to ride a tire with leaves in it-lash your frame bag with paracord-walk 80 miles-glue your shoe back together-etc.
3. Training is good but specific training is better. If one does not have a decade long endurance base, that is okay. By specific I mean HAB training. Overnight training. Weather training. Etc. I go out and hike a bike all the time in the fall and winter. I do overnighters in the cold or damp weather.
4. Mindset. What is your motivation? If it is 15 minutes of Warholian fame (like blog bragging, Facebook posting, etc.) your odds of quitting increase. This is a journey that has to be internalized. You must be one with the trail and block out human emotions that are ego driven.
5. Riding/racing alone. If you cannot handle being alone in the most remote stretch of Colorado, dont count on the company of other racers. Teaming up for anyone slower than true middle pack racers usually results in a DNF. The team slows you down almost all the time. I practice by camping alone near home often.
6. Injury. What happens when you have body issues? The will to continue the journey when dealing with pain is very important for all racers, not just fast ones. I had to deal with intense pain in 2012 in AZT and CTR. I ended up taking one aspirin in 25 days though I dealt with a heel/achilles injury in Arizona and a stress fracture in the lower leg in CTR. Do you have that drive to succeed? Even if it means your elapsed time sucks in comparison to others or your goal? Many folks quit because their final time would be not good enough or they cant break a record, etc.
7. Logistics. Dont fly in the day before. Have your gear ready prior to the morning of the race. Etc.
8. Practice with a fully loaded bike often. I am riding my bike fully loaded for the AZT 750 and it is 5.5 months from the start. Any gear movement or bike issues are being solved now-not on the trail day 1.
9. Eating. It is a skill to eat and keep up with caloric intake early in the race. Dont downplay this important aspect of the CTR. People quit all the time from this, even saying they got a bug or got sick from what they ate or whatever. It is calorie deficit not a bug. Your brain functions poorly without food not just your body.

Dream4est, I'm not sure anyone has ever put it any better when it comes to the critical factors for success in this race. I wish I had been able to read that before I left this year!

I really thought that I was not going to be one of those people who set time limits, I knew it would be hard, knew that 7 days would really be pushing my limits...but inadvertently I did just that. I set these internal time/mileage checks and when I got to US-50 way behind 'schedule', suffering from #9 on your list (telling myself it was just a bug), completely failing to overcome #2 and with a terrible mindset (#4) I bailed.

Thanks for the post, I may keep that one for future reference  thumbsup
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #13 on: November 05, 2012, 01:57:15 PM
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« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2012, 01:57:15 PM »

Even people who finished the route underestimate it sitting at home/work talking about it. You "forget" how hard it really is. Time heals those wounds physical or mental. We forget how good it feels to finish or how painful/demoralizing the lows points were.
Mark (dream4est) knows what's talking about. Even though I've completed the CTR twice (and failed once), I've already forgotten how hard it is. That probably sounds silly and melodramatic, but it's true. During the race, I tried to capture my mindset by taking self-portraits and placing call-ins that I could review later--but it's already a haze anyway. On the CTR, my "self" changes, and I'm often in a very different place mentally, which allows me to deal with the effort in very different ways. At the time, it feels very natural and normal, and 95% positive despite the difficulties. But at the comfort of my desk, writing these words, the guy who slogged up Slumgullion seems like a different version of myself. Sure, I recall the details. But as my numb toes and and fingers have regained their senses of touch, the memories of the visceral exhaustion, the belligerent intensity, and the explosive joy have grown soft.

Like everything else about the CTR, each person's experience is different. Even my three rides have been surprisingly different from each other. And I expect the fourth will be as well. Which is good, because it's one hell of an adventure, with so many  possibilities. Sure, hard is hard--but the unhinged pleasure of passing through one of the more beautiful places on earth, under your own power, is incredible.

Kozman, it sounds like you've got what it takes to finish the CTR. Compared to war, I expect that the CTR is going to be a jog in the park. If you've got more questions, keep 'em coming.
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #14 on: November 05, 2012, 02:52:09 PM
kozman


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« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2012, 02:52:09 PM »

thanks guys....the thing I like the most about the CTR is that it is hard....I would be sorely disappointed if it wasn't the hardest thing I have ever done...I told someone last week, I need my next Denali, and believe I have found it. 
I agree, the minute I was off Denali the first time, after a beer, I was already planning the next trip.  And the long adventure races never quite seem as hard the week after.
Seems the gear is a little different here, but the mental fatigue, pain, and just plain suffering are the same.
One thing I have been thinking, here in N GA, I can pack a filter and get the water I need when deep in the mountains.  Since I am not out as long, it is sometimes easier than using iodine, and often times, I am too far out to depend on a store stop.  What do you do on the CTR?  Filter?, or are there sufficient water supplies that you don't need to worry too much about that?
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #15 on: November 05, 2012, 03:01:40 PM
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« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2012, 03:01:40 PM »

One thing I have been thinking, here in N GA, I can pack a filter and get the water I need when deep in the mountains.  Since I am not out as long, it is sometimes easier than using iodine, and often times, I am too far out to depend on a store stop.  What do you do on the CTR?  Filter?, or are there sufficient water supplies that you don't need to worry too much about that?

While you can get water in towns along the way, you'll still definitely need to get water from streams, creeks, springs, etc. Water in Colorado is generally pretty clean, but most people use filters or chemicals of one sort or another most of the time.  If you haven't done so already, buy a copy of the Colorado Trail Guidebook ASAP. The Data Book is also very helpful.

http://www.shop.coloradotrail.org/Guides_c4.htm
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #16 on: November 05, 2012, 03:14:15 PM
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« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2012, 03:14:15 PM »

kozman, good luck with the CTR!  My input is not worth much since I only got to Buena Vist before work called and I had to stop.  CTR 1; Me - 0.  Plus, I was not "racing"; I am very slow and was just trying to test my self against this beast. Thus, my experience and suggestions may be way off from what you want to accomplish so take what you want, particularly given your background.

dream4est has great advice.  His list above is truly awesome and should be a required read for all newbies (and a reminder for veterans).

Personally, I would recommend at least some type of frame bag to keep weight off the back and keep the weight more centered and lower (which is a good thing, particularly on some descents).  Whether its a full frame bag or partial (for instance, to allow room for the water bottle inside the frame) is really a personal choice and also depends on gear placement (where you want certain items for easy accessibility).

Idodine is probably not a great choice. It takes a while for it to work (which can mess with you if you really dehyrdated), has a bad taste and has medical issues if you take too much.  Water filters work really well on the CTR (most places, the filter won't get too clogged) and, except for a few areas, water sources are usually not too far away.  Riders also use the zapper but I don't know much about it so can't comment on it.  You can not rely on water from towns since there are not enough along the way.

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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #17 on: November 05, 2012, 03:57:33 PM
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« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2012, 03:57:33 PM »

As far as water is concerned, IMO 80-120 oz. is the range for the CTR. Here is an example of a resupply scenario Denver to Durango 1st half:

1. Start with 100oz.
2. Water at fire station on 126
3. Bailey
4. Jefferson Creek
5. Gas station on Hwy 9 by high school
6. Creeks on Searle/Kokomo saddle
7. Creek at Camp Hale bunkers.
8. Leadville
9. Buena Vista
10. Mt Princeton
11. Fooses Creek
12. Monarch Crest creek on descent to Marshall Pass
13. Tank Seven Creek. Very important. Read the guidebook as the next stretch of trail has only Lujan creek (cow poop ville) until Cochetopa Creek below Dome Lakes. Relying on Apple and his trail magic tent right before Lujan Creek is risking it.

That is not every water source on/near the route but just an example of a resupply list I have used in the past.

As one can see, learning the water spots requires reading the guidebook, studying the internet (Google is your best friend prepping for CTR) and making your own daily tables for distance, water, food resupply and climbing detail. Marshal Bird is the king of studying and compiling data. Read all his posts under screen name Marshal.

I have studied so many things in 6 years on the trail that I have been able to use things I saw on blogs etc. to get out of a jam many times. I read the 7th edition guidebook for months before the first CTR in 2007 and even carried that heavy ass book in the race!!!
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #18 on: November 07, 2012, 04:47:39 PM
wookieone


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« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2012, 04:47:39 PM »

Anybody thinking of how different it will be going in reverse, looks like that is the plan!
Jefe
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  Topic Name: CTR 2013 Planning Reply #19 on: November 08, 2012, 03:41:11 PM
Johnny_mtb

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« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2012, 03:41:11 PM »

I dont like the idea of going the opposite direction. I think I will stick with the Southbound direction and run a TT. Sounds interesting but I could just see my wife's face after she drove me to Durango and then had to drive again to pick my sorry butt up somewhere if I didn't finish.
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