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The Final Crossing of Colorado's Continental Divide

A group of kindred mountain bikers set out for one last bikepacking trip before weather turned

The Final Crossing of Colorado's Continental Divide

Author

Thomas Woodson

Photographer

Thomas Woodson

https://www.fieldmag.com/articles/bikepacking-continental-divide-colorado

Though winter in Colorado started late this year, it eventually did arrive. And with it came an end to another great season of trails. But before snow blanked the Front Range, a group of local mountain bikers, united by the local Yeti Cycles community and a shared love for riding in big mountains, found time to make the final crossing—a yearly pilgrimage across the Continental Divide from tiny town of Nederland to Winter Park, Colorado.

Night one of this two night bikepacking trip ended in the Guinn Mountain Hut. Nestled between the James Peak Wilderness and Indian Peaks Wilderness, it’s high in elevation and can summon some full on weather without warning.

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It goes without saying that I wasn’t surprised when I opened my eyes, unzipped my sleeping bag, and saw a good two inches of snow outside on my bike. With more blowing in sideways…

Even still, up and over the Continental Divide we pushed, crossing at Rollins Pass, which we then followed all the way down to the bike park for a day of lift laps as Winter Park neared the end of it’s summer season.

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As these things go, night two is all about sneaking as many people as possible into one cheap hotel room, stocking up at the resort’s liquor store, and fully preparing for day three’s mega ride to come. Winter Park to Boulder.

Riding home could be fairly direct, but where’s the fun in that? Our group had a diverse blend of trail knowledge and experience so we set about navigating a spiderweb of unmarked trails, whose names I’ve already forgotten, here, there and everywhere in an all out race to make it down by sunset.

Delirious, we sat at the local Nepalese restaurant. Our fleet of turquoise bikes were piled up against the fence, bikepacking bags still hanging on, and elusive dark mud decorating our frames. Just like the year before, we laughed at the absurdities of the three days, and started dreaming about next year’s Final Crossing.

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The Final Crossing of Colorado's Continental Divide

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Photographer

Thomas Woodson

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