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Destination: Salida, Colorado


The town of Salida hosts a variety of events throughout the summer. Two events of importance to mountain bikers are the FIBArk and the Vapor Trail 125.


Held in June, the FIBArk is known as America’s ‘Oldest and Boldest Whitewater Festival’ but has since expanded to include a mountain bike race on the S Mountain Trails. Participants can choose from three different loops and race distances suitable for beginners, intermediate, and advanced riders. While the mountain bike race in Sunday morning, the entire weekend is filled with boating contests, running races, music and festivities.

Vapor Trail 125

Hosted by Absolute Bikes as a fundraiser for Salida Mountain Trails, the Vapor Trail 125 is one of the toughest ultra endurance races in Colorado. With a 10 p.m. start, racers ride from town in parade format, cheered on by many Salida residents before climbing to intersect the Colorado Trail. The route then follows trails and railroad grades through the high passes of the Collegiate Peaks before dropping down to the famous Snowblind Aid Station manned by Dave Wiens and a crew from Gunnison.

Wiens serves up his famous peanut butter bagels in addition to pancakes and bacon for racers greeting the sunrise. The route then climbs back up to Monarch Pass and traverses the Monarch Crest Trail with an extra credit loop on Starvation Creek before descending the Silver Creek Trail and finishing on the Rainbow Trail.

The field is limited to 50 handpicked racers and takes riders between 13 and 20 hours to complete. The race finishes at Shawn Gillis’ house where riders are treated to BBQ and homemade baked goods.

The race embraces all that is great about Salida mountain biking: Amazing trails, friendly people, and an appreciation for a good day out on a bike.

Best of Salida

Best Bike Shop: Absolute Bikes
330 West Sackett Avenue
(719) 539-9295

Absolute Bikes serves as the heart of mountain biking in Salida. Drop by to ask about current trail conditions, new trails in the works, to get a bike fit, or just to see the vintage collection of mountain bikes. The mechanics are top-notch to help take care of any parts broken while riding in the area.

Best Coffee Shop: Salida Café
300 W Sackett Ave
(719) 539-4261

Located right next to Absolute Bikes, the Salida Café provides excellent coffee, breakfast, and pastries during the day. At night, the space hosts live music on a regular basis and have a superb selection of beers on tap.

Best Pre-ride Breakfast: Patio Pancake Place
640 East Rainbow Blvd
(719) 539-9905

If a giant stack of pancakes or French toast with a side of bacon and eggs is your idea of a good breakfast, look no further than the Patio Pancake Place. Serving up copious amounts of food for an affordable price, the diner is a favorite among Vapor Trail 125 finishers.

Eszter Horanyi lives and mountain bikes in Crested Butte, CO.  She has dabbled in road racing, cyclocross racing, and cross country mountain bike racing, but has gravitated towards ultra endurance and multi day self supported racing in the more recent past.  She firmly believes that nothing tops a good ride with good friends on good trails, thus she spends her life in search of all of the above. All articles by Eszter.

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