Amanda Delcore
Great Divide
Colorado in Review I'm biased, I think. I lived in Colorado for a year just after college. It happened to be one of the happiest years of my life, which I attribute to being able to hike amazing mountains, do positive, rewarding work, and being exposed to a lot of vitamin D.
The GDMBR tends to go through the mountains rather than over them. I prefer being IN the mountains, but not with a 75 lb. bike.  So if the route goes THROUGH them, that’s fine.

Of course the elevation might get you if you're not acclimated but overall, I have to say that I would take two Colorados over one New Mexico. Here's why:
The roads are well-maintained.
The forest service roads that you ride on the GDMBR in Colorado are usually packed down and treated with magnesium chloride to prevent dust or they are fairly compacted gravel. Read: like butter. The only exception I can remember is a sandy section before Del Norte, and it wasn't long.

The mountain passes are almost all at railroad grade.

Sure, the little hills in between may be steeper than railroad grade, but there aren't a lot of punishing rollers, and the long passes are manageable. The only passes that stick out as outliers are the pass before Steamboat Lake and the pass out of Radium. Even then, not impossible.

The scenery is great.

Much of the national forest you pass through is still that, forest. In other states, this land has been used for other purposes like natural resource development or ranching. It was nice to be in some pristine forests. Exceptions were the superfund site just after Indiana pass in southern Colorado, but even that was awesome to look at.
Well-stocked mountain towns. 

Steamboat Springs, Dillon, Breckenridge, Salida.... They all have restaurants, bars, good grocery stores, outdoors gear stores, and artist shops. If you were looking for a break from the rough life along the GDMBR, Colorado is there for you.  It's more expensive in town, but chances are you know someone that lives there, right?

Well, my time with the Internet is up, and my phone is doing strange things with my picture files, so I'll wrap it up.  

I guess the only other thing I'll say is that I detoured to Boulder and Denver, and it was rad.  It gave me a chance to get off the fire roads, ride some singletrack, see old friends, and unwind a lot. I also met a bunch of fellow GDMBR riders in Salida which was really amazing. It's about the experiences you share with people, right?


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Amanda Delcore

Gear List

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Amanda Delcore
  • Genesis moment for the trip I was visiting the Radavist website and I saw the Blackburn #outthere banner ad. Congratulations… the marketing worked. I was probably at work, day-dreaming, like most outdoor enthusiasts. I had always wanted to hike the Continental Divide in Colorado… Prior to learning about the Blackburn Ranger program, I even blocked out a month in my work calendar to hike the CDT in a sort of act of defiance. Seeing the Blackburn Ranger program got me thinking… why not bike it? I did some research, I admittedly didn’t contemplate the consequences, and started scheming furiously about how to make a killer application video.
  • Have I traveled by bike in the past? Yes I bike toured parts of Maine and New Hampshire solo. I biked from Portland, Maine to the White Mountains of New Hampshire; I camped, did day-trip summits in the morning and rode to the next spot in the afternoon. I also bike toured the Blue Ridge Parkway in early spring.
  • Goal for the route? I’m not one much for goals. I shy away from formally setting goals, because I find that reward is fleeting and there’s not much else to do but set a new goal. And in units of time, the route to achieving a goal is almost the entirety of the experience. For me, the real reward is the process of following an interest or a curiosity. I am interested in inspiring other females to bikepack; to this end I’m running a Women’s Bikepacking Series in my hometown of Philadelphia. I am curious to see if I can replicate this series in some way during the tour. I am also keen to ride with friends and make new connections in the cycling community; as a start, there are at least three different people riding with me during different parts of the trip.
  • Hope to get out of the journey? A deeper understanding of myself and my capabilities. I hope to learn how to endure the extremes of nature and everything in between. I think much of our lives are setup to spend most of the day indoors, and we miss out on how pleasant and how ugly nature can be. On this trip there will be mornings that are cool, clear, and sunny, but there will also be afternoons of thunderstorms or intense heat. I hope to gain an appreciation for the full spectrum of nature and the patience to roll with it.
  • What’s in my bag? I’m not there yet in my packing…. : / I think they are going to be my lumbar pack, a thumb piano or another tiny musical instrument, a bandana, and ??? I’ll try to figure this part out in the next week and a half.


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