Colorado Trail, Desert Southwest (CO,AZ,UT,NM), Multiday race reports, Trip Reports » A British CTR


I spent my summer holiday this year in Colorado, and had an unforgettable 6 days riding the Colorado Trail Race. That was followed by an equally incredible, and well deserved, day hanging out in the Durango sunshine, floating down the river on a tube while drinking cold beer. 

The CTR is an epic challenge, and redefined my definition of a tough day out biking. There is just so much beautiful country out there, which at times gave an incredible feeling of isolation. I just love these journeys, and the people I get to share them with and meet on the way. My experiences on the trail have a big impact on me, and I like to write about them and my thoughts during the trip, so I can remember them in years to come.

 This is my story- A British CTR . I hope you enjoy. Thanks.


Steve Wilkinson


Standard picture of bike leaninng against Colorado Trail marker

Standard picture of bike leaninng against Colorado Trail marker



Comments (13)

JoeyDurangoDecember 2nd, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Great write up Steve! I rode the entire last day with Shaggy and we finished together. You did a great job of capturing the feel of the race. See you in 2012…

Jack PetersonDecember 3rd, 2011 at 9:28 am

Fantastic write up, felt like I was there with you at the end. Stunning last days riding.
Will be interesting seeing you guys go head to head in the Cairngorms

FritzDecember 4th, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Informative and engaging writeup! Thank you very much.

NTDecember 6th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Great read! Thanks for that.

Trucker a.k.a JeremyDecember 9th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Very nice read. You are too humble. Your overnight efforts to finish sub 6 are beyond admirable. On paper those final miles look easy, but they are not. And you rode them sans sleep. I aspire towards such mental fortitude. Which leads to the question…what would you do differently in order to take….lets say 24 hours off….and finish sub 5? My experience was that tactics matter: you can’t just go ride and expect a desirable result. For instance you didn’t even think of resting at Princeton hotsprings…despite the allure. My goal is to finish sub 5….which means cutting off 36 hours….I need all the help I can get. Details, details details…..they explain a lot on an endeavour such as the CTR.
Thanks for sharing your experience.

SteveWDecember 10th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Thanks Jeremy, but in the CTR arena of talent and absence of egos, I am humbled. Just one of scores of big rides that have been laid down on the CTR, this year and past.

I too want to head back and better my time. I think taking 24 off for a sub-5 is probably beyond me physiologically, but I think 5 and single-figure hours is possible.

I break these things down, and have already worked it like this – I rode for 81 hours during the trip: daily hours – 13, 12, 12, 12, 11, 21. The 13 was at lower altitude at the start, the 11 was over Coney and exhausting. Firstly next time I will aim for ten days acclimatization with a week at 10,000′. I think that will enable me to move a bit faster, and get the bike/hike hours down to about 75. (I would be interested to know what sort of hours the sub-5 guys put in?) Then I would aim for 14 hours a day moving. I’d have to slicken up a bit to still get in 4-5 hours sleep, but knowing the route, going a bit lighter and being a bit more committed would solve that. Two more hours a day on the same sleep would hopefully work for me by having a lower heart rate from better acclimatization. I would also hope to be fitter, but time doesn’t always allow, so I can’t count on that. Then I stick to the 14 plan, no excuses. You can never make time up the next day, so no matter how tired, you have to keep cranking ’em out until the 14 are up. 4 x 14, then give it all I have.

How people tackle the route with regard to speed, is probably akin to how differently people tackle the route with regards gear though. However this kind of approach seems to work for me, and I can centre my training on hours per day, and learn the balance of how my body recovers for what effort.

Good to meet you out there on the trail a few times.

PeterMcKDecember 11th, 2011 at 3:40 am

Great writeup, thanks.

MorganDecember 13th, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Wow! Great write-up, great story, the right amount left to the imagination.

BilboDecember 14th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Hi Steve

Thanks for the story, great read. Congrats on sub 6. Inhuman effort.

JReevesDecember 31st, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I read this for the first time a couple weeks ago, and have left it open in a separate browser window since. I’ve literally re-read it over and over again. It’s brilliant! As a first timer shooting for a similar time goal(shhh, don’t tell) this was the most insightful, compelling, and honest tale of the CTR I’ve found anywhere. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

Hill HopperJanuary 19th, 2012 at 12:57 pm


I am a newbie with my eyes SET on this July. What/when did you eat? Did you cook? Bars? What? And are there spot along the way with town close by to refuel? Also, great write up & nice riding, Sir.

Hill Hopper

Barry R.February 16th, 2012 at 10:40 am


Just wondering what your gear list looked like? Weight? And I’d really like to know what your stove setup was? I’ll refrain from getting into a best tea discussion with you… 🙂

James LindenblattJune 10th, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Hi Steve! Great article, thanks for the motivatioin to finish strong! CTR 2012!

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