From the Start Lines: Kicking Off the 2023 North South Colorado Bikepacking Adventure

The North South Colorado Race kicked off Friday morning at 6am with about 60 riders taking the start at the grand depart from Lee Martinez Park near Old Town Fort Collins. Continue reading for an overview of this exciting event, along with a few insights from the field’s progress thus far.

One of the defining aspects of the North South Colorado Bikepacking Race is the challenging yet awe-inspiring course it offers. Heading Northwest from Fort Collins, riders come close to the CO-Wyoming border before swinging South, passing through Winter Park, tackling the massive Rollins Pass and continuing South toward the lower slopes of Mount Evans, passing through numerous charming small towns, before arriving at the finish in Trinidad, CO.

A distinctive feature of the North South CO is the terrain and its distance. With the course being 600 miles, it’s too long for serious racers to “YOLO-their-way” straight-through with no sleep, but it’s almost short enough for them to try.

In 2022 – the event’s second year – there were 17 finishers, which was nearly double 2021’s finishers, and the course record was set by Andrew Onermaa in 2-days 17-hours, and 45minutes. Meanwhile, some riders will tour the course and take a full week to cover the 600-mile traverse of the Front Range.

This diversity of entrants, and their plans for the weekend/week, adds to the race’s unique charm and showcases an array of bike types, and cargo, as riders tailor their equipment to meet the demands of both the terrain and their intended time goal.

The race is inside of 200-miles to go for some, with – at the time of writing – race leaders Colin Allen of Longmont, CO and Tim Tait both at the 400-mile marker.

In the women’s event, Hailey Moore – whose Bearclaw we highlighted Friday – is in a commanding lead, and with 275 miles to go. She won the inaugural edition of the event in 3 days, 11 hours and 50 minutes but the 2021 course stopped short in Trinidad, covering a total of 535 miles. The 2022 women’s field on the current course was won by Hannah Dhonau in 4 days 10 hours 53 minutes.

You can follow along with everyone’s progress here!