Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Elevation is King - Guest Blog by Travis Barnes

We met up with the boys around 8PM at the end of the trail for Segment 6. It was an insanely emotional day for us, but  will tell my version of account another time. Let me introduce to you Travis Barnes, my husband and my kids hero. This is his account of the last three days. 

The first three days of our Colorado Trail experience are behind us. It’s amazing what can happen in three days. We rolled into Breckenridge today behaving like we’d been gone for weeks, but time is relative as we now know miles are. That’s right, miles are relative. The 500 mile distance of this ride is not impressive. When we left for this trip we could ride 75 miles on the mountain bike with 27 lbs of gear with little problem, then do it again the next day. That being said, the past 3 days have been the hardest riding I have ever experienced in my life. On day two we took a bypass into a town and I was able to text Erin. I told her among other things that, “this is HARD.” Erin knows me better than anyone and she became ultra concerned. I never say things are hard. Out here, miles make no difference, as they do in Oklahoma. Elevation is king. Literally in one day we experienced a two mile section that took us over an hour and a half. This effort led us to a downhill section where we covered 5 miles in 20 minutes. My hope is that when this is over, the miles traveled is not what is emphasized. Elevation is king. What kind of elevation did we climb? What did we descend?

The trails have been phenomenal - the best mountainbiking anywhere. These climbs that are so hard and devastating always lead to a reward that make you forget your toils in seconds. The views from the top are indescribable; but also inphotographable and invideoable. Taking a picture only disappoints because it's not what you are actually seeing. That is part of what makes the climb worth it - you can't see this without actually standing there. The second reward is the downhill biking to follow. The trails are so well maintained, we were absolutely flying. We had to start noticing the braking bumps in the trail and braking earlier because we were missing turns and flying off the trail. At one point I shared the trail with a bird for a brief moment. I startled it and it took flight in direction of the trail. It stayed two feet in front of my bike for a solid 3-4 seconds. Really cool.

In just three days time we have noticed certain nuances of the trail. There are two breeds out here; the day travelers and the thru travelers. We can all spot each other with no problems. If I come across a day traveler, I can assume they are on a “work out” and not in the mood for much else. If I come across a thru traveler, it is expected to stop and share trail stories and adventures for a short time. Thru travelers are never in a hurry, and they are genuinely interested in what you are doing. The work out crew is not far detached from every day life and have too much on their mind to be concerned with the geared up hippies.

I say all of this with the wisdom of the 3 day pro. You’d be right if you said in response that there is no such thing. You’d be right. We are just trying to figure this out. I just hope my lungs and legs figure out this altitude and do it quickly. As it turns out, to ride the Colorado Trail you will have to ride over mountains. As two Oklahoman’s trying to accomplish this, there was no way we could prepare. We have to figure it out in the next few days and adapt.

I can say that finishing this three days was a life experience in itself. That moment when we rolled into Breckenridge from seemingly the middle of nowhere and to see Erin and my girls was absolutely fantastic. As terrifically difficult as I expect this trail to be, I’m confident that the hard part has been done; we have started it.


  1. So cool that you are experiencing this as a family. I love reading about your adventures! Love you all. ❤️

  2. Awesome!! Love it!!! You crunchy Hippies.