Follow my adventure
I’ll be documenting my adventure each step of the way before, during and after the project via this blog. Keep reading to find out more.
Colorado Trail Race by the Numbers
John Muir Trail ResourcesJohnmuirtrail.org BearFootTheory Trailstosummit PCTA
Arizona Trail Race (AZTR)The Arizona Trail was made a National Scenic Trail in 2009 and officially completed in 2011. Stretching from the Mexico border to the southern border of Utah, it's over 750 miles long. The trail even traverses the Grand Canyon. This means I will have to take my bike apart and carry it from the South Rim to the North Rim as part of the AZTR. The Arizona Trail was first ridden in 2000 by Andrea Lankford. The first Individual Time Trail (ITT) was in 2005 by Scott Morris completing it in just over seven days. Today there are two distances, either 300 or 750 miles. The format for the race is strictly self-supported. No outside support is allowed, riders can only use services available to everyone. It is not a stage race - the clock runs continuously from the time a rider starts until they cross the finish. The current men's record is 6:12:28 held by Neil Beltchenko (2016) and the women's record is 9:13:53 held by Alice Drobna (2015). I'll be racing the Arizona Trail Race (AZTR) as an ITT in October. My direction of travel will be south to north (NOBO). I hope to complete the trail in around 8-10 days. I have a feeling the AZTR will be the toughest of the three trails. The elevation gain/loss and the harshness of the desert will make it a formidable test.
- 800 miles
- 100,000' of climbing
- 5-7 Rideability*
- 60% Single Track
TOUR DIVIDEThe Tour Divide route was mapped over 4 years and first published by Adventure Cycling Association in 1998. Starting in Banff, Canada the Tour Divide finishes on the US/Mexico border in Antelope Wells, NM. The format for the race is strictly self-supported. No outside support is allowed, riders can only use services available to everyone. It is not a stage race - the clock runs continuously from the time a rider starts until they cross the finish. As far as races go the Tour Divide is very much underground. There's no entry fees, prizes, sponsorship or even spectators. It's just you and your bike against the elements and a shit ton of gravel roads between Canada and Mexico. The current men's record is 13 days 22 hours 51 mins set by Mike Hall 2016 and the women's is 15 days, 10 hour, 59 minutes by Lael Wilcox in 2015.
- 2745 miles
- 150,000' of climbing
- 10 Rideability*
- <1% Single Track
Colorado Trail (CTR)The Colorado Trail (CTR) covers 500 miles from Denver to Durango. Originally designed as a hiking and equestrian trail, mountain bikers found it's beauty and challenging single track too irresistible. Users are faced with large amounts of above tree line travel, strenuous climbs, and extreme weather. Unlike the Tour Divide over half of the Colorado Trail Race (CTR) is single track and over 9000' in elevation. I've hiked a good portion of what I'll ride while thru-hiking Continental Divide Trail in 2015. It's highest point is 13,271 feet (4,045 m). The Colorado Trail will be a huge test of my fitness and ability to recovery after the Tour Divide. Having only have a few weeks between the two races will mean recovery is important. I look forward to the challenge but won't kid myself into believing it won't be a huge kick in the pants. I hope to complete the CTR in 6-8 day, that makes the average miles per day between 63-83. I'll be travel south to north (NOBO). The race starts in Durango, CO on July 23rd at 4 am. The format for the race is strictly self-supported. No outside support is allowed, riders can only use services available to everyone. It is not a stage race - the clock runs continuously from the time a rider starts until they cross the finish. The current men's record is 3:20:44 held by Jesse Jakomait (2015) and the women's record is 5:05:27 held by Eszter Horanyi (2011).
- 530 miles
- 60,000' of climbing
- 6-8 Rideability*
- 60% Single Track
- Avg Elevation 9000'+
BIKEPACKINGThere is no official definition for what bikepacking is, but the loosely accepted one is: Bikepacking is basically the combination of cycling and camping. Unlike normal touring it's generally off-road and the bags mount directly to the bicycle. Usually bikepacking is done ultralite and riders cover large distances. Such races as the Tour Divide, Trans AM, Colorado Trail, and more are common testing ground for bikepackers. A classic touring set ups rely on rigid racks that are mounted to one's bicycle. As a result these add weight, need to be customized for different frame types. Their also another component that could possibly break (especially with the added weight and road vibrations). The classic touring set up also has bags positioned on the sides of the bicycle, making them too wide for single track use. Rigid racks and today's full suspension frames simple are not compatible. [row] [full_col] [caption id="attachment_1879" align="alignnone" width="2592"] Classic Touring Set Up[/caption] [/full_col] [/row] A bikepacker relies on carrying less gear and rather than rigid racks they use soft bags directly mounted to the bicycle. A normal set up may include: handlebar bag, 1-2 top tube bags (sometimes called a Gas Tank, front and Jerry Can, rear), seat bag, and a frame bag. Some use small bags that fit next to the stem behind the handlebar. Depending on one's load you might also wear a hydration pack for added carrying capacity. In addition, water bottles and small bags have been known to be mounted to fork blades. [row] [full_col] [caption id="attachment_1880" align="alignnone" width="3264"] Bikepacking Set Up[/caption] [/full_col] [/row] I plan to use a hardtail mountain bike for the Tour Divide and hopefully switch to a full suspension for the Colorado Trail and Arizona Trail. As I don't like to carry a hydration pack on long rides I'll be carrying the bare necessities and going ultralite. My thru-hiking experience will help me with what I need and don't need but I still need to figure out each piece of gear's position on the bike. I should be announcing which bike I'll be riding soon. Stay tuned.
Throughout my hiking triple crown my style of hiking, speed, efficiency, and favorite gear changed drastically.When I started the Appalachian Trail (AT) I started with a 75 liter pack that weighed around 50 pounds. Most of my gear was pretty standard as I didn't know there was other options. The learning curve for a thru-hiker without much prior hiking experience is extreme. I do wish I knew what I know now back then. My AT experience would have been very different. My favorite gear items from the AT would have to be my MSR Superfly and my Outdoor Research PL150 gloves. What I loved about the Superfly was it's simplicity, minimal weight, and efficiency. I had the version with the auto start which was very nice to have, especially when your hands are cold and using matches or a lighter would be hard to do. As I started my AT thru-hike on the last day of February. I encountered many freezing mornings and my PL150 gloves kept my hands toasty warm. I even had a white-out blizzard on April 1st on Roan High Knob in North Carolina, where at the summit almost a foot of snow fell. I was very happy to have gloves that kept my hands warm. Between the AT and Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) I hiked the Long Trail (LT). The LT is only 272 miles, and shares 100 miles of trail with the AT. After learning a ton from the AT I went light. I'm guessing my base pack weight was around 10 lbs. compared to the 25 or so on the AT. The Pacific Crest Trail was my third thru-hike after thru-hiking Appalachian Trail and Long Trail. I felt like on the LT I went too light in some areas so I once again changed up my gear list. My Favorite gear from the PCT was my Julbo Race 2.0 Sunglasses and Ibex Woolies 150 Crew and Ibex Woolies Boxer Briefs for sleeping. Julbo make the best sunglasses and their lenses adjust perfectly to the constantly changing light when hiking in the woods. My other favorite gear, were my Ibex top and bottom's. They were great for sleeping in. What I love about Ibex is it doesn't hold smell like synthetics and offers better warmth if it's wet. You can see my gear lists for the AT and PCT here. I trimmed 10 pounds off my pack weight between the AT and PCT. When it came time to hike the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) I once again changed up my gear. I started the CDT with about a 11-12 lb base weight, probably my lightest pack of the triple crown. My favorite gear on the CDT was my Superfeet insoles and my Dudeproducts Dude wipes. I also switched from using a chemical to treat my water to Platypus's GravityWorks filtration system. I've been using Superfeet for years now. They supply amazing support and make insoles for all my shoes, not just my hiking shoes. Superfeet even starting make sandals and shoes. They are my go to footwear for the summer. Dude Wipes were instrumental for staying clean on the CDT (or any place for that matter). I'll never use toilet paper in the backcountry again. Large, moist and sturdy Dude Wipes have you covered. I can't wait to try their Dude Shower. I love the simplicity of the Platypus GravityWorks system. All I had to do was fill one bladder with unfiltered water, hang it, attach the hose to a clean bladder/bottle and sit back and relax. Personally, I can never sit still so I used this time to do other camp tasks, making my camp chores go quicker. You can checkout this video about the GravityWorks to learn more. Every hike I go on I learn more about my gear and myself. Usually the result is a change in how I hike or what I think I need. I say "think" because you never know until you get out there again and try whatever it is you think might work for you. Ever hike is different and you have to adapt to each one.
How Can You Support?You can support the One of Seven Project and it's sponsors by clicking on the images below and purchasing them at Amazon (Anytime you click on ANY Amazon ad/link on this site, then purchase ANY item I get commission). Thank you! [row] [full_col] [one_fourth]
ConclusionIn the end it comes down to learning what works for you, adapting your gear to fit your own style, doing more with less, being open to change and listening to what your body and trail are telling you. Finally leave the creation of limits to the trail and the weather. You can't control everything, so don't try.
For Immediate ReleaseOne of Seven Project Avid cyclist, hiker and adventurer Craig Fowler will be completing the bikepacking triple crown. The bikepacking triple crown consists of the Tour Divide 2709 miles, Colorado Trail, 530 miles and Arizona Trail 750 miles this Summer. Once complete Fowler will be the only person to have completed both the hiking and bikepacking triple crowns. He will be one of seven billion. Fowler completed the Appalachian Trail in 2001. Next he completed the Pacific Crest Trail 2007. He completed the Continental Divide Trail in 2015. Fowler is now one of about 500 people in the entire world to be a triple crown hiker. Fowler is no stranger to going big or dipping into the pain cave. He has completed multiple 100 mile mountain bike and 24 hour races. He is also a 4 time winner of the MAD Racing Men's Master A Cyclocross Championship and former Washington State Cyclocross Champion. It's Fowler's hope he can gain enough support to have a short film made show casing the two sports, six trails, their similarities and differences. A future book is possible as well. When asked about the where the idea came from Fowler had the following to say: "A small part came from the movie The Martian when Matt Damon talks about being the only person to ever be on a planet alone, but mostly it's just my desire to push myself and see new places. After the Appalachian Trail I knew it was just the beginning of a long journey."
Contact Info:Inquiries can be made at the One of Seven Project website contact page. Website - oneofsevenproject.com Instagram - @oneofsevenproject Twitter - @oneofsevenproj YouTube
KATAHDIN Baxter Peak - Elevation - 5267 ft. Northern Terminus of the APPALACHIAN TRAIL A Mountain footpath Extending over 2000 miles to Springer Mtn. GeorgiaI read those words and my young mind was blown away that if I choose to I could walk from where I sat all the way to Georgia. Haven driven on vacations to Florida I knew how far that was. I was captivated by the idea. I turned to my father and asked, “Dad, do people really walk all the way from Georgia to here?” Before my father could respond a young man looking more like a bum than anything, proudly but not arrogantly announced “Yeah. I just did!”. I do not recall what I said to this but I can tell you what went through my mind. At that moment I just knew I would be that young man some day. I would stand atop of that same mountain, possibly even standing in the same spot feeling the joy and sense of accomplishment he was. I had no idea of knowing just how much further than Mt. Katahdin, the Appalachian Trail, and thru-hiking those words would take me. Throughout high school and college my love for cycling grew. I started riding and racing mountain bikes, then came road bikes and a little cyclocross. In college I started doing day hikes and short overnight hikes as well. After Bill Bryson's book "A Walk in the Woods" came out and my good friend Jim Slavin hiked half the AT in 2000, I was ready to start my own journey. That fall I moved home with my parents to save money to hike the AT. I started February 28, 2001 completed it on July 29, 2001 (153 days). In 2003 I hiked the Long Trail, completing my second thru-hike. (A side note: The Long Trail is part of what some call the Baby Triple Crown. It consists of the Long Trail, Colorado Trail, and the John Muir Trail. It's on my likes of triple crowns) With the thru-hiking bug, wanderlust, or whatever you want to call it in full bloom I moved to Seattle, Washington to be closer to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). After being in Seattle for three years it was time to hike. Not only did I thru-hike the 2655 mile PCT, I rode my bicycle 1800 miles down the west coast as a "warm up". When I reached Canada I got my bike back and rode 250 miles home to the very spot I started 161 days before (131 days of hiking finishing on August 29, 2007). While in the Pacific North West (PNW), my other love, cyclocross developed and became my favorite cycling discipline. After eight years I packed up again moving to Colorado to be closer to the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and being a triple crown hiker. My cycling taste had changed during my time in the PNW to one that was more focused on exploring and covering ground. In the PNW it was all about racing. I lived and breathed racing. Just like in the PNW it only took a few years before I went thru-hiking again. In 2015 I completed my hiking triple crown by thru-hiking the CDT in 131 days. My thru-hiking triple crown consisted of 7574 miles. The bikepacking portion of the One of Seven Project will be roughly around 4000 miles. All said over 11,000 miles of human powered travel. I'll be One of Seven Billion. My adventure is mine, what's your's? (share your's below in the comments section.)