PHYSICAL EXERTION: INTERMEDIATE+ / TECHNICAL ABILITY: ADVANCED
What to Expect From This Trip: BIG rides above treeline. Epic descents in the Colorado high country that will blow your mind.
We’re super excited that our Monarch Crest trip has become a regular on the calendar- it’s more epic than we imagined. The IMBA Epic-rated ride is over 35 miles with a whole bunch of descending, but very few know that the best descents aren’t on the epic ride! That’s why we’ll take four days to show you the goods, just like we always do with Chasing Epic. Be prepared to be totally worked over these four days, as the combination of rowdy descents, altitude, and long days on the bike will wear even the fittest and best riders out.
For this trip, we decided to mix things up a bit and run it “Enduro” style: meaning most of our rides on this trip will be shuttled with advanced-level, big descents that aren’t for the faint of heart. Sure, we’ll have a big day of trail riding mixed in (Day 3 on Canyon Creek), but these descents are some of the biggest in the Rockies and you’ll want to bring your A-game. Four days of these rides will wear on you! This trip will be guided by our awesome partners at Colorado Backcountry, who have approved permits from the US Forest Service.
The Monarch Crest Enduro is based in Salida, CO – about 3 hours from the Denver airport. Take a look below at the expected 5-day itinerary, and get psyched!
Expected Itinerary- Monarch Crest Enduro
Day One: We’ll meet in Salida, CO at 6pm on the first night to get bikes set up and have a welcome dinner (and beers) for everyone. For those flying into Denver, expect a 2.5 hour drive into the mountains. Hit the sack early, it’s going to be a BIG four days of riding ahead.
Day Two: Since the Monarch Crest is the backbone of our trip, we’ll start with one of the best descents off the pass, Starvation Creek. This ride starts at Monarch Pass with a gentle climb, followed by a slightly stiffer climb and quite a bit of high-alpine downhill, before we get to Starvation Creek proper. This descent follows its namesake (Starvation Creek) for 6 miles and about 2500 feet of rowdy, primitive downhill riding. If you’re feeling up to it in the afternoon, we’ve got an optional bonus ride on the Cottonwood trails available to finish you off!
Day Three: This morning’s ride is going to be huge, so make sure you eat a big breakfast! Today is our main “pedal day”, which means we’re going to put you to the test… enduro style. Canyon Creek is a relatively unknown loop just west of Monarch Pass, but it’s slowly gaining popularity because of the 10+ mile downhill. Yes, that’s what we said: 10 mile downhill. But it’s not without a little effort, as we’ll climb 3800 feet today with a nice long hike-a-bike above treeline. Don’t worry though, the suffering is always worth it, as you’ll have a descent and experience today you’ll never forget.
Day Four: Double shuttle day! Today we’re going to put your skills and stamina to the test, with a combo of shuttles that should be on every mountain biker’s bucket list: Greens Creek and Fooses Creek. Expect some rowdy high country riding and a full day of effort that totals about 30 miles with 8000′ of crazy downhill. This is one of our biggest days with Chasing Epic, and we can’t wait to show you the goods.
Day Five: Today is departure day, but that doesn’t mean we’ll take it easy on you. Today we’re going to shuttle up the Methodist Mountain trails, which sit just south of town. We’ll add a “bonus” 1500+ vert with the morning shuttle and all told it’ll be about 12-15 miles with another 3,500 feet of descending; it’ll be the perfect way to top off an amazing four days of riding! Expect to be done around noon, which should give you time to head back to Denver and catch an evening flight home.