La Sportiva recently released a new take on their reputable Ultra Raptor trail runner: theUltra Raptor II Mid GTX. Building upon the battle-tested base of the current Ultra Raptor model, it adds a few new features and flourishes: mid top ankle cuff, Gore-Tex upper, a new black and grey colorway, and it comes in regular as well as wide sizes.
Rather than being a conventional low-top trail runner, the Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is a mid-height trail runner/hiker – the line on which I’d categorize it myself is pretty blurred. It features a Gore-Tex upper and – sit down since this is almost a first for Sportiva: it comes in both regular and WIDE sizes! Rejoice!
I love drawing lines on maps and dreaming of sufferfests to do. I seem to squeeze out the most enjoyment from long ridge runs. I love being up high, teetering on top of a knife edge between two drainages, without the need of a trail to follow, yet having an obvious route in front of me. I revel in the exposure the position gives me to wind, weather, and of course: gravity.
The Continental Divide makes an obvious target for my doodles, and many of my past fastpacks have used segments of it already – either in whole or in part. Last year, I traversed the CD between Milner Pass and Berthoud Pass – located just outside my back door and earlier in that same year I traveled from Loveland Pass to Guanella Pass with a bike lashed to my back. Previously, I took on the Mosquito/Tenmile Range in total, where the CD makes an appearance for a few peaks (McNamee, Clinton, Wheeler), before bowing out. And of course, I’ve even ridden the Tour Divide Race on a mountain bike, which crosses the Continental Divide some three dozen times or so. All these trips had their unique aspects, and each one I believe is an ultra classic. What to do, next?
Segment #5 takes you from the East Longs Peak TH back to the beginning in Golden, CO via Lyons + Boulder, CO. And with this last segment, the first pass at the entire Front Range 14ers bikepacking route is done!
Segment #4 takes from around Georgetown to the base of Longs Peak! The MTB narrative rushes you down Argentine Pass to a resupply in Idaho Springs, then up Oh My God Road, to a mixed surface route to the trailhead.
Switchbacks with steep dropoffs! Ghost towns! 4WD mania! Alpine singletrack!
The Road narrative takes the same dizzying switchbacks of Oh My God Road to Richmond Street in Black Hawk, where you’ll wander up a steep, rough road up to the Peak to Peak highway. Peak to Peak is a ultra-classic road route in of itself, featuring wide-shouldered riding, perfect for all the rubber necking you’ll be doing because of the mountain views.
I’ve taken a ton of time to scout out free, dispersed, legal campsites near the East Longs Peak Trailhead – such opportunities get tight, as private property encroaches close to the route. But I think we’ve got some good ones.
Finish the Segment off with a summit of Longs Peak! The absolute Monarch of the Front Range and of Rocky Mountain National Park! All that’s left down is rocket you back to Golden – and that’ll be Segment #5.
The Milner to Berthoud Pass Continental Divide Ridge Traverse Fastpack was one of my biggest and proudest projects of 2020. Like the L.A. Freeway route, I think we’re going to see a lot of interest from people wanting to take it on in 2021 and beyond.
Thanks to Adam McRoberts at Big Things Crewing for having me on while I slowly got more and more caffeinated while we talk about living a life of endurance in personal, professional, and mountain pursuits.