On July 26th 1981, my grandfather, Robert L. Payton, ran a marathon on a cinder track in Garden City, New York. He was a great storyteller and told me this particular one many times. Initially, he had been planning to run the Chicago marathon in the fall with a couple of friends but work and other commitments got in the way so he decided to challenge himself to the distance, alone. 105 laps with no support other than a brief stop half way when grandma, wondering what he was up to, came over to the track to bring him some water.
After his passing several years ago, we decided as a family to declare July 26, family sports day as a small tribute to him.
This Tuesday, July 26 will mark the beginning for me of a month long adventure, the Tour de 14ers – a solo, self-supported and self-powered link up of all the Colorado 14ers, by bicycle and on foot. Inspired by Justin Simoni’s successful completion of this trip last year, I will take on this challenge in similar style via a slightly different route starting and finishing at my home in Gold Hill, Colorado.
Adhering to the “do it yourself” bikepacking racing ethic, I will receive no outside assistance, relying only on small towns for resupply. I will employ light and fast tactics and carry a minimal amount of gear. The objective of the trip is to inspire people to pursue local adventures under their own power.
I would like to thank my wife, family and friends for the immense amount of support and help I have received before leaving.
Thank you also to Reeb Cycles, Oskar Blues Brewery, Hotbox Roasters, Oveja Negra Threadworks for all the bike related gear and support. Special thanks to Tim Moore at Cylhops Bike CANtina for getting the rig perfectly dialed and to Monty Wilson for the custom bags from Oveja Negra.
Finally, shout out and big thanks to Dean Leslie of Wandering Fever and Fred Marmsater for their outstanding contributions to the artistic dimension of the project. (I should note that Fred will be meeting me at a few locations on the route to shoot photos and collect some of my video footage, but will not provide me with any further assistance beyond the exchange of data.)