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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

GETTIN’ HIGH IN COLORADO

Rich Rothwell is a successful and experienced British endurance racer, but the 500-mile Colorado Trail Race nearly broke him. Fortunately, it merely changed him for life.

The head of the Fooses Creek Trail hung a tantalising 50 metres above my head. It had taken eleven miles and well over two hours of gradual woodland singletrack ascent to get this far. The firm trail had now turned to loose marble-like gravel. It reared up to an improbable angle. So near was still quite far.

It was late afternoon. Thankfully the sting had left the sun that had beaten relentlessly through the thin air from the moment it broke the horizon many hours before. Fatigue was at a new high late on day three in the Colorado Trail Race. I was approaching 3,500m of elevation and feeling it.

Kick some footholds into the scree. Push the bike one foot forward. Apply brakes. Pull on the bars to level my body with the bike again. Repeat. A slow process, but every inch brought me closer. Pain was building in my left knee, but I thought nothing of it; something is going to hurt doing this, right?

After what seemed like an age I joined the Monarch Crest Trail and hung over my handlebars, heart racing and gasping for breath. I saw nothing but my feet for five minutes. Altitude gets you like that; it constantly gnaws at your energy levels, but at times overwhelms and engulfs your body. Hard efforts often left me reeling.

Then I lifted my head. The Great Divide Trail merged here with the Colorado Trail. An iconic spot. The cool and still late afternoon air was soft and incredibly peaceful as I gazed out across layers of high ridges and peaks. Lungs vaguely replenished with oxygen, I followed a further section of flowing singletrack to a grassy plateau and couldn’t resist sitting down to properly enjoy the tranquillity. It was bloody hard to get here, but bloody worth it.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: The wider we travel, the more narrow our focus… Travel isn’t going to broaden your mind if you keep travelling to the same damn place. Interview: Dan’s Secret Forest Dan Atherton has made his home in a far flung corner of Wales. He’s teaming up with the locals to give you a lot of reasons to make the trip there. Behind The Scenes: Filth Camp Chipps gives a West Coast American a lesson in UK weather. It’s not (just) about the rain. Classic Ride: I Love Wight Dean Hersey escapes the grips of winter by going south to the Isle of Wight. Still Going: Keep Pedalling It’s not a review, it’s a relationship. Hannah’s DMR Vaults have been given some TLC. Interview: Grayson Perry: Bloke On A Bike Hannah finds that fun is in the eye of the beholder – and artist Grayson Perry sees things differently to her. International Adventure: Getting High in Colorado Rich Rothwell is seeing more than stars as he battles altitude sickness and injury through the wilds of Colorado. Bike Test: Rackpacking Antony de Hevenigham checks out three mountain bikes that come ready for the long haul. Bikes with racks, from Mason, Salsa and Trek. Behind The Scenes: Bounce Cycles Barney admits to being a little bit boggled by those who aren’t afraid to look at something and say ‘Give me a minute with this lathe and I’ll make that better for you’. International Adventure: #vanlife, Canada Anna Cipullo finds that the camera might lie, but the smell of mould does not. Pete’s Pros: Joe Barnes Pete Scullion catches up with the enduro racer and van dweller as he moves back to Orange Bikes and starts his own team. Last Word Hannah pushes up a hill just to ride down it again. Sound familiar?