Boulder to Crested Butte – Adventure in the time of COVID

August 21, 2020 |

With races and events canceled, athletes everywhere are getting creative with ways to challenge themselves and stay fit. Stages pro mountain bike athlete Ryan Petry originally planned to compete in a grueling LeadBoat Odyssey, riding from Boulder to Leadville, racing the Stages Cycling Leadville 100 MTB then riding to Steamboat and racing the SBT GRVL race. When both races canceled because of COVID-19, Ryan set out to create a similarly challenging and creative event: riding from Boulder to Crested Butte using historic backcountry mining passes. Ryan was joined by fellow pro cyclist Alexey Vermeulen on the 275-mile route through Rollins Pass, Argentine Pass, Webster Pass, Mosquito Pass, and Peal Pass, with 34,000 feet of climbing.

“In a ride like this, pacing is crucial,” Ryan said. “During the three 8-9 hour days, the effort required is dictated by the mountains. We knew at times simply continuing to pedal would be a challenge, and at elevations above 13,000 feet it was important to control our output in order to successfully and enjoyably link together the climbs and days.”

Ryan’s mountain bike was equipped with a Stages power meter and a Stages Dash M50. In addition to Dash providing navigation and mapping for the course, the power meter and Dash helped him monitor his effort throughout the ride.

“My plan was to stay at endurance pacing when possible, and avoid efforts above threshold,” Ryan said. “When the trail demanded more than this, I chose to hike my bike. Not only did the Dash keep us on course, but it also helped me stay within my own physical limits and made the entire experience enjoyable by avoiding red-lining and bonking.”

Ryan took on this challenge to explore new roads while using the mountain bike as transportation, and he took Stages along for the ride by chronicling his adventure on Instagram.

“With the route loaded on my Dash, I did not focus on distance or time, but rather power and elevation. Some miles tick by slowly, others fly by. I knew as long as I stayed within my limits, I would be successful.”

And succeed he did! After three days of riding, hiking and climbing Ryan successfully made it to Crested Butte for some well deserved rest. 

“These three days gave me a whole new respect for mountains,” Ryan said, “and have further opened my eyes to the endless adventures that the bicycle can be used for.”

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