Zen On Dirt

CDT Day 47 – Leaving Leadville, riding with legends…or just Cjell Mone

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A long, long time ago (2012), in a land far, far away (the Great Basin in WY), I came across a mystical figure in the middle of a giant windstorm. Not really, I just happened to run into Cjell Money who was coming northbound on the Tour Divide while I was going south bound. Dressed in a tanktop, nothing even looking like bike shorts, and no helmet, I wasn’t sure if I was seeing things when I first got close enough to recognize him as a human on a bicycle.

When he wanted to come tour with us for a day or two, I knew we’d get some solid hours of entertainment. Some people do cool things with their lives – he’s one of them.


With monsoons threatening and hitting with regular frequency, we knew that we wanted to hit Kokomo and Searle Passes early in the morning. So we hatched a plan to leave Leadville late, pedal the two or three hours over Tennessee Pass, camp, and then head up and over into Summit County in the morning.

The morning was spent: Getting breakfast at City on the Hill, watching a pretty damn good stage of the Tour de France, chatting with the Silverrush 50 racers who were geeking out over bike pushing technique, heartrate, and average speeds, eating pastries brought back from City on the Hill, talking more with the family of five who were bike touring, and all around being lazy on the couch.


Around two, we headed out to lunch and to meet Cjell who was riding over from Vail.

Bellies full, we pedaled out the road, up Wurst Ditch road, and back onto the CT/CDT. We ran into dozens of CT thru-hikers as we made our way through the swoopy trail which seemed to be mostly downhill in both directions. It’s rare that that happens…


Conversation centered around bikes, bikepacking, thru-hiking, and thru-hikers. Cjell, being both, definitely brought an interesting perspective.

Over Tennessee Pass, down to Camp Hale, we explored the bunkers and the various graffiti edits that have been made over the years. Lower than we’d been in what seemed like days, it felt tropical.


We headed up the trail to find a place to camp, passing by a waterfall that I’ve missed in my previous three passes through the area, admiring the flowers, and hoping that we’d find a good place to camp in a timely manner.


We finally did, making a fire as mosquito repellent and waiting patiently to get hungry after our late lunch.


The fire, as they all do, eventually burnt itself out and we headed to get horizontal.

A perfect nero-day with plenty of entertainment, conversation, and good food.


One thought on “CDT Day 47 – Leaving Leadville, riding with legends…or just Cjell Mone

  1. That dude is my hero.

    Aside, Lael is doing a 400mi road race today, in competition with one legendary local female competitor. I think we know who to blame for this racing bug.

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