Outdoor

“Desperation on the Colorado Path”: A bikepacker’s first try at FKT

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Payson McElveen had never gone out of a bikepacking race prior to his recent decision to try an FKT.

In September, McElveen hit the road to becoming the best the 3-day and 21-hour unsupported bikepacking FKT on the Colorado Trail. The epic 530 mile route runs from McElveen’s backyard in Durango to Denver. Only a few sections differ from the traditional walking route (as bicycles are not allowed in wilderness areas).

The pro MTB racer and Durango resident has won national titles in both single speed and gravel races. But he has never packed time with his bike.

The Solo Bikepacking FKT Push was just McElveen, his trusty Trek steed, and a healthy stash of CLIF bars in a race against the clock.

The route required McElveen to complete 75,000 feet of climbing over the 530 miles as well as obstacles in terrain and weather. Even in September, he encountered unexpected snow.

“On paper, this thing scares me,” McElveen said before trying. “It’s one of the most difficult bikepacking routes there is.”

He’s right. It’s a grueling and life changing effort in bike packaging that is compressed into less than 4 days.

It sounds like a roller coaster. And it was. Lucky for us, McElveen documented his attempt here so we can relive his wild ride.

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Mary Murphy

From Mary Murphy

Mary is based in GearJunkie’s Denver, CO office. She has degrees in English and Journalism and has been writing professionally for over four years. Her outdoor interests range from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to pack paddleboarding. If she’s not writing, you can most likely find her on top of a fourteenth or at a local bakery.

Topics: cycling, endurance, MTB

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