Search This Blog

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Cloud Peak 500 Wrap - Feeling Good

Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by, you know how I feel
It's a new dawn, it's a new day
It's a new life, for me
And I'm feeling good
Feeling Good, Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newly (1964)

Paul Brasby and Craig Groseth enjoying the descent of Ten Sleep Canyon on Day 5.

At the end of our Cloud Peak 500, I felt good about the experience. Now, with all of our daily ride and logistics reports posted, the Cloud Peak 500 is finally over for me. And I'm still feeling good. 

My tale clearly was of two rides. The first ride was Day 1, which launched from sky high expectations to plummet into a barren ditch of doubt and despair, far deeper than my worst physical bonk. Emerging from that abyss, I rode stronger and smarter each of the next 6 days to work through another 300 miles of difficult, rugged, remote roads. That second ride reaffirmed my faith in the healing power of a loving God.

Several folks have asked whether I'm going back to the Cloud Peak 500 to complete some notion of "unfinished business." No. I rode the Cloud Peak 500 route as I rode it. I'm good with the experience.

For Paul, I would write his Cloud Peak 500 story as a trilogy. Part 1 recounts the excitement of Day 1 dominated by successfully riding the rugged foothills and massive climb up Red Grade Road and then the turmoil of my collapse throwing the entire enterprise into jeopardy. Part 2 features our hard, hot, rewarding rides on the next four days that each covered about 50 miles/5,000 feet of elevation gain on challenging roads through unique, remote backcountry. Part 3 shifts to the big chain ring for his race to beat the clock by hammering the final 250 miles in about 2 1/2 days. Paul rose to meet every challenge and obstacle, whether physical, mental or emotional. What a ride.

Of course, Paul would probably say that it was all just one awesome adventure. And let's do it again.

Screen shot of digital map of Cloud Peak 500 route from

The Cloud Peak 500 was my longest, hardest, and overall biggest ride of 2020 and deserved a commensurate writeup. It's a lot of writing, because it was a lot of riding. Like most of this blog, I wrote this series primarily as a digital scrapbook for myself and any friends that may enjoy it.

But this particular ride also belongs to my cycling buddy Paul, who persevered through a gauntlet of challenges to become the first official finisher of the Cloud Peak 500 bikepacking race. I wrote this for his scrapbook, too, and to document and recognize his achievement. Well done, Paul.

Additionally, this series of posts was written for all the bikepackers and potential bikepackers out there dreaming of their next adventure. If that could be in Wyoming, the Cloud Peak 500 certainly is a route to consider. These ride reports, and especially the logistics reports, reveal much to help plan such a ride.

Finally, I wrote this series of posts to honor the work of Sarah Wallick and Aaron Denberg in creating the Cloud Peak 500. Only passionate, local enthusiasts know their backcountry well enough, and care enough,  to piece together a route such as the Cloud Peak 500 and then share it with everyone. Cloud Peak 500 Official Site. Thank you, Sarah and Aaron. I hope to ride some remote roads with you in the future.

Feeling Good, Michael Buble (2005)

No comments:

Post a Comment