Discovery and Despair On The Colorado Trail With Payson McElveen
By Payson McElveen
When the pandemic put Durango, CO resident @Payson McElveen‘s typical race schedule of mountain bike and gravel events on hold, he shifted his focus to discovering the bike in new ways. From Everesting 100% singletrack in May, to linking 100 miles of Crested Butte trail in a day for an upcoming Matchstick Productions Film, he found himself intrigued by riding farther and farther. In late September, sandwiched between an early-season winter storm and the rapidly dropping temperatures of changing seasons, Payson found a window to strike out on a first bikepacking adventure–the Colorado Trail from Durango to Denver.
Despite a lack of experience, Payson was inspired to cover the 530 mile route as fast as he could, and spent two weeks taking a crash course in the equipment, strategy, and preparation required to do a record-attempt TT on the route. Despite generous guidance from many of bikepacking’s veterans, Payson would learn that there is no substitute for experience. In a ride that took him through a rollercoaster of discovery and despair, the rewards of his first bikepacking adventure ultimately left Payson wanting more of this newfound passion.
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.