Note: This wouldn't be a featured ride for most - it's a crazy mix of roads and trails, and incredibly long and difficult. But it will be helpful for those wanting to pre-ride parts of the course, and interesting for those wanting to see what it's all about.
It's big... it's a challenge... you need a GPS or the MTB Project MTB Project mobile app
It's the Salida Big Friggin' Loop! It is difficult due to distance, altitude and its 12k' of climbing at altitude. This ride is not for the unprepared.
Plan for food and water... you can stop in Buena Vista to re-provision.
Head west out of Salida past the airport on CR140, turn North on CR250, and stay on it until you come to a Y intersection where CR250 takes the right fork and CR252 takes the left fork. Take CR252, then turn right onto the Colorado Trail segment 14: Highway 50 to Chalk Creek TH and ride it all the way to Cottonwood
Creek, west of BV.
Following the Colorado Trail is not challenging, it is very well signed. The only possible confusion: at Chalk Creek youll have to follow CR162 down to the Princeton Hot Springs Resort, then turn left on CR321, then left on CR322, then ride through the Frontier Ranch parking lot and continue on up the jeep road to the CT trailhead. Head north on the CT to where the trail dumps out onto Colorado Highway 306. Follow Hwy. 306 east on into Buena Vista.
Connecting downtown BV to the Midland Bike Trail Out and Back is not difficult. Its on the maps, its well signed, and anyone you run into can give you directions.
One other area that is very difficult to route find on is finding the Futurity Connector
. This is essentially bushwhacking through overgrown, primitive trail. You'll find the right turn off of CR186 around 83mi into the ride. Don't miss it! You'll most likely be hike-a-biking as this "trail" is incredibly overgrown. After climbing for a good while, the trail will start to descend. Be on your toes here as this is completely unmaintained and incredibly chunky...
I strongly suggest that you load the GPX tracks into a GPS and follow it, or use the MTB Project MTB Project mobile app
. Unless you are VERY familiar with the area or experienced with orienteering, topo maps, and dead reckoning, the long route could be hard to follow without the help of GPS.