I arrived in Crested Butte, Colorado hot off of two days in Salida. I had spent time riding there with a friend, and I was hoping that would prepare me for my 4-day Chasing Epic high-country adventure. This was the “BKXC Ride”, where participants got to ride amazing trails with Brian Kennedy.
On this first day of the trip, we were slated to “ease into” the rocky mountains. This meant riding above 10,000 feet and almost 5000 feet of descent. Fortunately, the climbs were relatively short (but steep!).
Chasing All the Epics
Chasing Epic’s Director, Steve, runs a pretty tight ship. His rides are well outfitted with top-notch food and bikes available for all. We were bedding down in some condos that were pretty darned nice! We had fantastic amenities, luxurious beds, spacious bathrooms, and balcony views of the town below.
Overall, I have absolutely zero complaints about Chasing Epic and its standards. Everything about the trip was better-than-expected and I enjoyed every single moment (even the ones where I was huffing and puffing). I will definitely be returning to enjoy their rides in the future. Five stars!
We started up the 403 Trail. After being greeted by the local bovine community, one was able to struggle to the top of the mountain while gasping for oxygen and attempting to maintain composure on the steep and sometimes rocky inclines. The good news was that, upon reaching the top, the lookouts were spectacular.
Riding down the 403 was tricky. The trail itself was not overly challenging, but my headspace was keeping me from performing as well as I would have liked. I was still nervous about the weight of the trip both in terms of challenge and self confidence. Was I up to the task? Was I good enough to hang with these riders?
The 401, while being a slightly mellower ride, was equally challenging in terms of climbs and technical difficulty. Our route presented us with a shorter climb, but the elevation combined with the fact that we recently completed the 403 made it tough. It was completely conquerable, but it was tough.
The downhill was fun and fast(er). I was slowly getting my legs back under me, and my head was in a better place midway through the descent. I felt less like I was holding up the rest of the group. BKXC and The Calirado Kid took the lead and impressed us all with their adept skills and ability to ride some of the tougher terrain. It was a pleasure to watch and learn.
The Last Note
These rides were both challenging and enjoyable. The mountains were tall, the rides were long, and the guides were the perfect combination of careful, helpful, and risk-taking. We repeatedly tested ourselves on the difficult sections and rocky downhills. Jumping in with newfound fellow riders who were experiencing the same challenges forged friendships and alliances. I would ride with any of these guys again, and I hope I do.
Stay tuned, this is only day 1 of 4!