Philip Benningfield
Great Divide
Water What is the importance of water? Obvious right? Then why do my cohorts and I tempt fate and drink water from high snowfields and even the occasional lower stream in our haste?

The taste is pure, fresh, better than Futican from Japanese glaciers! I simply can not get water from the store or from the tap that makes me lick my lips. I love Colorado alpine water and desperately want to get high enough to take it in. I believe no pika has shit in it, no marmot has fouled it, and even the pollution from the sky, which is given to me as a human-made reminder, rests on the snowfields top layer.

When the ice-cold fluid hits my mouth and brain freeze comes on, it feels right. I plan rides like the classic Monarch Crest or the Divide Route along Marshall Pass in part to sip from perfect springs near 12,000 feet. I will not pass these springs, even when a group keeps on moving, as the springs are my carrot along the way.

Drinking alpine water should not be attempted by people who are not willing to have guardia or basic stomach aches. You are definitely taking your fate into your own mouth!

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Philip Benningfield

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Philip Benningfield
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Have your traveled by bike in the past? My motivation comes from some instinctual need to see what lies over the next mountain pass, to see a pristine meadow flushed with wildflowers or filled with stoic elk, or follow a never-ending ranch fence line in as obscure a place as possible.
  • What is your goal for the route? What do you hope to get out of this journey? Any undertaking along the GDR is tempered with as little expectations as possible. I find no need to try and experience the trip beforehand as the actual ride far surpasses any expectation. The goal each and every time is to get away from the busy world and witness, with as minimal a kit as I can survive with, the peace found out in the middle of nowhere!


  • Tattered warm Pearlizumi gloves
  • Sleeping Bag Feathered Friends Hummingbird 20-degree sleeping bag
  • Marmot 650-fill down coat
  • Jagged Edge skullcap

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