The Tour de 14ers

» Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in Blog | 9 comments

Photo:Fred Marmsater

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 will try as best as I can to provide regular updates via Instagram and twitter and you can also follow my progress on Trackleaders. Big thanks to Scott Morris for setting this up. 

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.

Thank you also to good folks at SCARPA, BUFF, Patagonia, Tailwind Nutrition, Point6 , Zen Nutrition and Paago Works for the awesome gear and generous help throughout all of my preparation.

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.)

Photo:Fred Marmsater


  1. Rad!

  2. Go for it Joe, stay safe.

    Love from Nanna and Gramps

  3. Bonjour Joe,

    Toute la famille vous souhaite une très belle aventure. Profitez bien ! C’est toujours un plaisir de vous lire et de regarder vos photos. Très inspirant.

  4. Crank, hike, run, crush, repeat x54! Good luck!

  5. Joe –

    Best of luck on your adventure. I was volunteering at Grouse Gulch in 2014 when you had to drop. I remember the grace and class with which you handled what was surely a tough moment. I’m sure such characteristics will serve you well!

  6. Looks like an awesome adventure Joe! What sort of bike are you riding for this one?

  7. Way to go JOE!!!
    The definition of doing WAY more, before the rest of us get out of bed!
    Awesome work Sir! Keep inspiring the rest of us.


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