A Solo Adventure: Attending the Outerbike Festival in Crested Butte, Colorado
Last month, we published a write up on the top 5 mountain bike destinations in the USA and I realized that I had the chance to travel to each of them, except to Crested Butte, in Colorado. This fueled my trip to attend the Outerbike Festival held in Crested Butte. When it comes to solo travel, there's something undeniably liberating about hitting the open road, with only your bike and a sense of adventure as companions. I was rewarded with a journey filled with breathtaking landscapes, thrilling trails, and unforgettable experiences.
**Day 1: Fruita's Kokopeli Trails and Riverside Camping**
I embarked on this adventure with one goal in mind: to immerse myself in the world of mountain biking in Crested Butte. I drove straight through from Carlsbad, CA to Fruita, Colorado, just in time to squeeze in a ride at the famous Kokopeli Trails, located just outside Fruita. The desert landscape, with its red rock formations and winding trails snaking along high above the Colorado River, provided a thrilling start to my journey.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, I set up camp along the tranquil banks of the Colorado River. The soothing sounds of the river served as a lullaby, promising an exciting day ahead.
**Day 2: Scenic Drive via Kebler Pass to Crested Butte**
With the first light of dawn, I was up and ready for the next leg of my adventure. I hit the road, following the breathtaking Kebler Pass route to Crested Butte. The drive was nothing short of mesmerizing, with towering aspen trees forming a shimmering canopy overhead. Never before had I had Google Maps give me a suggested route that entailed a 30 mile dirt road, so this was a bonus for me.
Upon my arrival in Crested Butte, I wasted no time and joined a mid-morning ride on the Strand Trail, just on the south side of town. My solo journey was about to become a shared experience as I was joined by friends Cody and Christina, who had been living in their adventure truck in the Crested Butte area for the past few weeks. They have been ambassadors for TASCO for some time, so it was great to spend some time with them. You can follow their adventures here. Their camaraderie added a new layer of excitement to the trip.
After our exhilarating ride on the Strand Trail, Cody somehow convinced me to embark on a big mountain adventure. We decided to combine the 401 Trail with the 403 Trail, creating an epic 34-mile and 4000-vertical-foot ride right from the festival venue.
The journey was nothing short of epic. We navigated endless miles of fireroad climbs, interspersed with ribbons of singletrack that revealed some of the most stunning views I'd ever seen. The sun-kissed peaks and lush alpine meadows were worth every pedal stroke.
However, the ride took longer than expected, and we found ourselves returning well after dark. But the sense of accomplishment and the memories of those breathtaking vistas made it all worthwhile.
**Days 3-5: Outerbike Festival Fun**
The first day in Crested Butte set the tone for the rest of my stay. The next three days were a whirlwind of excitement as I hung out with new friends who stopped by the TASCO tent to gear up for their own mountain bike adventures. The festival venue was buzzing with energy, with bike vendors offering their latest models for test rides on nearby trails and the bike park. It was fun to see so many riders stoked on grabbing some new MTB gear for their weekend. Many had never tried on our gloves or shorts before, so they loved the chance to find out for themselves how good they are!
Each morning, it was a race to get your hands on the latest gear, and soon enough, all the vendors had empty stands as festival-goers rushed out to shred the nearby trails. The sense of community and shared passion for mountain biking made it an unforgettable experience.
One highlite of the weekend was when we hosted a corn-hole tournement, headed up by our friend Jeff Lenosky. The folks at 1Up and Smith joined in on the fun and drinks were handed out by the good people at Ska Brewing. It was a great night of fun!
In the end, my solo trip to the Outerbike Festival in Crested Butte, Colorado, was not just about the trails and the gear. It was about the people I met, the breathtaking scenery I encountered, and the sheer joy of immersing myself in the world of mountain biking. It was a journey of self-discovery, adventure, and the freedom that comes with exploring the world on two wheels. If you haven't attended the Crested Butte Outerbike, I'd highly recommend putting it on your schedule for next summer!