Bikepacking The Colorado Trail

 My good friend and co-worker, Ryan Horkey, are off to Colorado to ride the Colorado Trail. We’ve been planning and preparing for this trip the last six months. Ryan first presented the trip idea last year right before Minnesota saw its first blanket of snow. Since then I’ve been dreaming about riding high above treeline and alpine valleys.

I was able to do a bit of research for this trip when my wife and I took a weeklong vacation in Colorado to ski and hang out with our good friend, and Salsa sponsored rider, Brett Davis. Brett is a good resource for the CT because he’s already ridden it.

While riding the Tour Divide Route together, Brett and I talked a lot about the Colorado Trail. Brett also showed me the places where the Divide Route and CT cross each other. I knew then that someday I needed to come back to ride it. We hope to meet up with Brett at the end of our trip to eat some homemade ice cream. That’s a hint Brett!

As for preparation, Ryan and I feel confident. It sounds like the snow has melted and we are hoping for no forest fires. Our Spearfish bikes are packed to the “gills” (pun intended) and the transition from thoughtful planning to anxious excitement has taken place.

Part of this preparation is riding your bike fully set up so you can know your gear in and out. This hasn’t happened as much as we would have liked because it’s been a terribly wet and soggy spring and early summer here in Minnesota. Riding the local singletrack systems hasn’t really been an option. We’ve found other ways to ride and train, but there is a level of confidence that comes from getting to ride your fully-loaded bike beforehand. Ryan and I have resorted to fully-loaded commutes back and forth to work. Those shakedown rides help you refine your setup so you avoid gear headaches that may otherwise have you stopped for hours on the trail.

I hope you can follow us on our journey using my Spot Tracker. Check out our location at:


We hope to complete 70 – 80 miles a day. Our goal is to set a good pace everyday while still having the time to stop and enjoy the scenery. Wish us well as we hit the trail!

This post filed under topics: Bikepacking Explore Sean Mailen Spearfish Touring

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Sean 'Mailman' Mailen

Sean 'Mailman' Mailen

I was born and raised in the hills of Tennessee. I decided in high school I wanted to design the best bikes and parts possible; I’ve been following my dream ever since. I love about every possible mode of cycling, mountain biking is the most fun, but if I’m on two wheels I’m happy.


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Chris Estrem | June 26th, 2013

Loaded Spearfish eh?  I would like to see photos of that. Are you able to use a frame bag?

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Brendan | June 26th, 2013

Good luck buddy!

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Bill Manning | June 28th, 2013

Great luck on your Colorado Trail adventure.  Spot Tracker shows you’ve already passed the midpoint in CT Segment 14 near Salida…cool.  Today you’ll pedal one of your ruggedest sections, Segments 16 & 17, historic old cowboy trail on the fall-line that’s eroded into a gully full of loose rocks.  Not much our volunteers can do about that unless the Forest Service ‘green lights’ a lengthy reroute.  Rubber-side down…

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Dominique | June 30th, 2013

Pictures, please!

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Christopher Weiland | July 1st, 2013

SWEET!  Three friends and I pedaled the CT last summer.  Amazing experience and simply EPIC views.  This is truly a little-known Colorado Resource, I’m thrilled to hear someone else making this journey.

I know you will have an excellent trip and will certainly create your own memories.  I encourage you to share your adventure stories with the rest of us when you return.

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Trina Ortega | July 1st, 2013

Sean and Ryan. Glad to know you’re safe! Those fires really took hold… Would love to see pictures!

And thanks for your “prepping for a gravel grinder post.” I’ll be doing my first ever in the Sawtooths in September.

Kid Riemer

Kid Riemer | July 8th, 2013

Chris Estrem - We have Spearfish specific frame bags. Check them out here.


Kid Riemer

Kid Riemer | July 8th, 2013

Dominique - Sean and Ryan are back from their trip and photos and stories will be showing up on the blog soon. Hopefully a video as well in the coming months. -Kid

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