Epic MUni Ride - Monarch Crest Trail, Colorado

That is too epic not to post a link to more shots, Mike. Sounds more like an expedition than a ride. Just sensational looking. Wish my cardio was up to doing such a ride.


That would be a tragedy!
A former co-worker rode The Great Divide Race on a singlespeed mountain bike in 2005. Imagine riding 2500 miles on some trails like that while averaging more than 100 miles per day. Amazing. I assume that the trails that Mike rode are on the Great Divide MTB Race route.

Info on Kent’s GDR ride is here: http://www.mile43.com/peterson/rando.html
A full writeup is here: http://www.mile43.com/peterson/Turtle/MountainTurtle.html
Kent’s current blog is here: http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/
And general info and past results are here: http://www.greatdividerace.com/


Gret to see some more pics from this one, Mike.


That is epic! :sunglasses:

I just got back from visiting my Mom in Boston for 3 wks. I road a few easy (hard for me, many I couldn’t ride up) fire roads there and on a weekend trip in New Hampsure.

Man are those trails were bumpy! the on trail parts were almost as bumpy as the off trail portions in that second pic.

For Osmundo, how was the Surly Endomorph tire on that ride, and what pressure did you use?

ok, ok, work sucks anyway.

we still had over 5,000’ of climbing, and we started at 11,312’ :astonished:

That 29er sure is FUN, especially at 12,000’

I have always been able to spin long cranks w/o any knee problems or extreme wobble, and most of my riding is climbing, so long has worked well for me. I really enjoyed the length for the steep sustained descencts, I had plenty of platform for resistance. Speed is no problem, and those are bike cranks, the spider was taken off. Must have been a older version. The cranks are super light and strong. Glad you liked the writeup, thanks.

FWIW, I’ve added a few more photos of my Monarch Crest Trail ride on August 15th. Enjoy…

Muni toe

This is what happens to my toes when I try to keep up with Aspen Mike on singletrack. That dude can friggin’ wheel fast! Next time Mike needs to bring a novel to occupy himself while he waits for me.

I am very much an enthusiastic novice. This is my first summer on the muni so I don’t have much to compare it to. It seemed suceptible to flopping on the narrow rutted sections, but that could be my lack of skill as well. I love how it absorbs the bumps on the rocky steeps. I started the morning out firm (no pun intended) @ 20 lbs because there was initiially a lot of climbing. Once it flattened out I dropped to a squishy 13-15 lbs.
I bought the Surly in the winter when I was riding snow. I am going to try a Duro tire soon and I’ll let you know what I think.

This ride was heaven but it kicked my arse! Thanks to Mike for taking the great pics and his patience. I had a ton of fun!

Osmundo, ouch, looks like you’ll lose at least one toe nail. You never mentioned once all day about that. Do you think it was the downhill, some of that stuff, especially on Silver Creek was sickly steep :astonished: You are very enthusiastic, but I would disagree with “novice”, dude you were rippin it up. Some of that ride was very difficult, give yourself more credit, I thought you were awesome:) Thanks for the kind words, the waiting was very relaxing, so no problem, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The 29er was feeling good that day, I hit the air pressure perfect. C U on the trail again soon, certainly before the snow flies in the high country next month.

greening of america

not the magic variety :frowning:

Really wish I could have hooked up with aspenmike and Osmundo; would have been a sight to see; swarm of mountain unicyclists on the Monarch Crest Trail!

As aspenmike already covered most everything about his ride, I’ll just add a bit of my experience:

On August 15th I enjoyed a 19 mile sub 4 hour muni ride on the Monarch Crest Trail -> Poncha Creek 4x4 Road route. I’ve done plenty of high altitude trail running before so I knew what to expect but I must say that coming from sea-level and muniing at this elevation wasn’t nearly as hard as trying to run! Awesome views, awesome time. The few mountain bikers I saw enroute were blown away to see a unicyclist out there. This one couple I kept catching up to on the climbs (they’d lose me on the downhills ofcourse) couldn’t believe it; as we both pushed our respective modes of transportation uphill I just said, “Well it’s alot easier pushing a unicycle uphill than a bicycle!” Later on as we started to decend near the Agate Creek trail intersection I was suprised to turn a corner and see a group of hikers, cameras ready, taking my picture! I asked, “What’s up?” And they said that the mountain bikers that had earlier passed me told them there was a unicyclist on the trail; and the hikers couldn’t believe it so they got their cameras out (just in case it might be true) to capture the “rare” event; like a wild animal seen seldomly I guess! So those “rock-star” moments were pretty cool but mainly it was fun feeling so small out there in such a HUGE place. The only iffy moment came at Marshall Pass when I was pointed the wrong direction back to the Shirley Site. These “locals” gave me blank stares when I asked about the Poncha Creek 4x4 Road; they instead pointed me down the Marshall Pass Road. I started down that way only to realize that this route just didn’t “feel right” so I turned around after half a mile and corrected my error. I didn’t have my map with me, having given it to my “shuttle” i.e. my wife and dog, so they could find where to pick me up; however I did snap some digital photos of the map and so I had only to look at the photos on my camera and zoom in to figure out where to go. Would have worked like a dream except I didn’t get close enough to the map/photo description to make out clearly the route! But it all worked out in the end. The only real upd’ing I had out there was at times the trail got kind of troughed out and narrow making pedal clearance a real issue. So quite a few times I’d come too close to a rock or the burmed trail side and catch a pedal and go flying off, only once did I do a full “superman” into the ground and that was late going down the easy 4x4 road!

I truly had a blast. I just hope that the powers that be don’t close the Monarch Crest Trail to non-foot traffic, it would be a terrible shame.



Monarch Crest Muni Epic II 2008:

I know it’s only February but I’d like to give everybody more heads up this time so perhaps we could get a decent group together for this awesome Epic ride. I know the status on the CDT portion of the trail is (at this time) still undecided but let’s hope for the best. Anyhow I’m going to be out in Southwest Colorado again (coming from Huntsville, Alabama) this late June to mid July and was planning on meeting up with another friend Hitarock sometime late June - first weekend in July to give the full Epic another shot. I’m going to be running the San Juan Solstice 50 mile on June 21st so I’ll need a few days to recover from that before I attempt a Muni Epic; also, hopefully, I’ll be running the Hardrock 100 on July11th-13th so I’ll need to taper for that. That leaves me a window from about June 25th - July 3rd to fit in the Monarch Crest Muni Epic. Aspenmike and Osmundo beat me to it last year by a week (unfortunately I was still on a plane at the time) but I’m hoping this year we can all meet up? Please post here or PM me so maybe we can work some kind of shuttling out as this is a P2P ride. There are several mileage options that end up at the same far trail head anything from 19-30+ miles. I’ll bump this thread as we get closer but be putting this on the back burner…

Another bump:
Hitarock and I are planning on an assault on the Monarch Crest trail sometime between Jun 24th and July 3rd (assuming the route is mostly snow free). I’m running the San Juan Solstice 50 Mile on June 21st so will need a few days to recover :slight_smile: and at the other end I’m doing Hardrock 100 Mile on July 11th so I wanted to give myself a week to taper… If there is too much snow we’ll either plan an alternative (lower altitude) route or else just go for it and hike-a-uni… If anybody is interested let’s keep this thread alive or else just PM me…

At this point, I would say, that the divide will be unrideable, due to snow at that time of year. There is still 225cm of snow at 3353 meters elevation, with another storm hitting in 24-36 hours. It would be a long post holeing adventure, maybe one to avoid. The trail, even if snow free, for the most part, would get ruined by riding it, way to muddy. So…
keep posted to the bike shop in Salida, they have good updates on the trail conditions, it might turn hot and dry. :smiley:

I kind of figured that would be the case as the 50 mile race I’m doing in June is considering a re-route to avoid the high levels of snow on the Divide and the 100 miler in July is predicted to have the most snow in years :frowning: I ran Hardrock 100 in 2005 when it was a sloppy, post-holing mess, very difficult i.e. to the tune of over 43 hours of nonstop hell! Anyhow we just wanted to get an awesome muni epic in, something 50km + or -. I’m coming out of the Lake City area and hitarock from Estes Park. I’ve read of some awesome epic’s out of Gunnison so we’ll plan something else. Anybody have any ideas and/or want to link up during this time frame somewhere?