Philip Benningfield
Great Divide
No Man’s Land One of my favorite things about Colorado is No Man’s Land. The area perched above and east of Salida is a near 300-plus mile expanse of rolling high plains, ranch lands, national forest, open parks and brutal wind. Within these miles lies the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route: A stretch from Salida to Hartsel with all of the aforementioned qualities.

Having easy access to the route and plenty more allows many months of close-to-home, but still way out there adventure. It is common to see less than a handful of rancher trucks in a 50-mile ride. On the uncommon days, the comfortable, yet big, climb to reach the high lands has turned into a sleeting, hand-numbing, frozen plunge back down to Salida.

What does this unpredictable nature offer? More than I could ever express quickly. Suffice to say open high country in Colorado creates a tentative feeling of what lies ahead, and for me that is all I really need!

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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

- Great Divide Milestones -