Colorado Trail Classic (CTC)

Welcome to the 2022 Edition 

Ride Sponsor:  Ian Altman


The Colorado Trail Classic is a point-to-point event in the COES.  Bummer you can’t loop it out but the one-way route is just too classic to miss! 


No more than 73 people allowed for this event!

This is intended to be NON-COMMERCIAL, Recreational-Use Activities that are held on parts of USFS lands in compliance with USFS Special Use Rules and Regulations.

 This is fully unsupported and you will need to be self-sufficient in order to complete it  The rules for this are located HERE.

Join us on Facebook and a sometimes used email list to follow all updates and notices!

When: Saturday, August 6th, 2022 – 6:00 AM 

What: Singletrack, high elevation, backcountry self-supported endurance epic. 
Where: Course follows a 75 mile stretch of the Colorado Trail, beginning on Molas Pass (10,860′) in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. The exact starting point for our epic day is the tippy-top of the pass, on the paved parking lot with bathrooms- located just to the east side of Hwy 550.

Course Route and Profile:  Molas Pass to Junction Creek on Garmin Connect or .GPX File for straight download from Google Docs    

Maps Needed:  Latitude 40 Maps –   Durango Trails   or SingleTrack Maps- Durango Trails

Finish:   Finish times should be recorded ( by you) at the western terminus of the CT, where it meets Junction Creek Road- all the way at the end, by the bathrooms and the first sign of pavement. Whenever you make it back to Durango go to Carver’s Brewing Company to sign out, have a brew on them, and share stories of your rad day.

Post-Ride Party: TBD


ctc profile 2

Course Description

This 75-mile endurance mountain bike ride traverses across some of the finest alpine single track on the planet!  Beginning on Molas Pass (10,860′), in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, the course will take riders over four mountain passes (all near or above 12,500′) by following the Colorado Trail to its terminus at the Junction Creek trailhead, just five miles from Durango. See the elevation profile for more details, but the route stays at or well above 10,000′ until the final ripping descent into Durango. Total climbing vert is 10,000+’ and total descending vert is 14,000+’.

Due to the length, commitment, and isolated nature of this ride, this event is purely designed as a self-supported MTB Ride.  All riders are expected to have the knowledge and equipment to sustain themselves for the entire length of the trail.  So, be prepared for the worst, and having fun is mandatory!

Ride Logistics CT Post Shot

‘Do it Yourself’ Endurance Challenge

This solo, self-supported, endurance EPIC follows a simple code of ethics merely upheld by the honor system. Finish times are self-recorded and knowing the rules and following them are your responsibility. And, if you haven’t yet,  please see- SWES and COES rules for more specifics.

    • Ride begins at 6:00 AM sharp on the top of Molas Pass (paved parking lot just off and to the east of Hwy 550). Molas Pass is located 40 miles north of Durango and camping is available near the top.
    • Shuttles from Durango are not furnished by the event but can be pre-arranged with Hermosa Tours. Shuttles with Hermosa Tours must be prepaid 48hours in advance and refunds are only offered if the entire event cancels due to extreme weather.
    • Pot-luck respulpy is on, so bring your booty to the start and we’ll get the half way point at Hotel Draw
    • Finish at the western terminus of the CT, where it meets Junction Creek Road- all the way at the end, by the bathrooms and the first sign of any pavement.


Bring a Light

Our ride this year begins at 6:00 am, August 6th. With sunrise at 6:15 AM, you won’t need a light for long off the start,  but you could easily need it 13+ hours later, with the sun setting that evening at 8:19 pm. As we endurance heads know, it’s all about our pace, break times, and conditions.  So with a big posy, and given the remote nature of the course, we highly recommend that all riders have a light of some kind with them

Alpine MTB and the Weather Factor 9er!

As with all alpine endeavors, inclement weather can quickly become a factor. And let’s face it…it often completely shuts us down!  August has the potential to be peak monsoon season in the San Juans, so plan your dress and rain gear accordingly. While we may find loads of sunshine and nothing but the head-high wildflowers in our way, be prepared and stay tuned as ride day approaches. If forecasters predict a 60+% chance of severe weather that weekend, then we will most likely call it off for both group safety concerns and overall respect for the trail. Once a reliable pattern has emerged (and if it seems like an issue this year?), then updates will be posted 3-5 days prior to the CTC Forum and CTC Registration pages.

CTC photo on Indian Ridge

Lovin’ it! on Indian Trail Ridge – CTJ 2009

CTC photo on Indian Ridge 2

some backstory on the CTC

The CT Classic originated in 2008 as part of the Durango born CT Jamboree. Held annually since 2005, the CTJ is a homegrown Colorado fund and awareness raising MTB event for Multiple Sclerosis. To date, the CTJ and CTC have raised over a quarter of a million dollars for the nearly 72,000 Colorado residents affected by MS. This chronic and disabling disease of the central nervous system largely impacts motor, sensory and optic nerves, producing a wide range of symptoms in those individuals it afflicts. Although MS was identified over two centuries ago,  the benefits of today’s medicine and lifestyle choices have drastically improved the lives for those coping with this lifelong illness. Among these discoveries, embracing an active lifestyle has proven to have a positive outcome for sustaining nerve transmission and even improving an individual’s prognosis. Ride founder Ian Altman has lived with MS for over fifteen years and has learned how this strategy works for himself by continuing to turn up the volume in his nerve impulses through extreme exertion in the mountains. The CTJ and CTC were hence born from this awareness and all riders involved chose to embrace this proactive treatment approach and spread the WORD to others. Not to mention pushing their own physical thresholds- MS or not!

Given that COES events require no entree fees, award no prizes, and more importantly- do not operate under a USFS sanctioned permit,  the CTC fundraising objectives are by all means off the table at this point. None the less, it is still encouraged that riders recognize the foundations this unique event and pay homage to those that rode before them.  And if nothing else- find your own meaning and embrace our mantra of RIDING FOR CAUSE!

IMG_4462 - Copy

Riders descend Bolam Pass towards the Wilson Range, CTJ 2007



26 responses to “Colorado Trail Classic (CTC)

  • ianaltman

    I just posted our results from this year and please let me know if you see anything that is incorrect.

    Much thanks to everyone who came to join this year and congrats to those that finished! I’d have to say that was about the toughest I’d ever seen the course and I think our times reflect that..however we clearly had a faster group overall this year! I myself was plagued by mechanicals all day and I’m sure some that DNFed had similar issues with the wet and mucky conditions. Truly bad ass to finish given such conditions and all of should be proud of our efforts… DNF, first place or whatever.

    And my favorite part of this year’s ride was that there were three of us who have Multiple Sclerosis and all finished !!!!

  • MBR

    Web sites are saying the CTC is back for 2016, but any rumors on the date? Maybe I’m blind because I can’t find a date…

    • ianaltman

      Hi MBR, the rumors are correct and I chose plan our ride this year in August due mainly to an above average snow pack in the San Juans thus far. In addition, the course is usually allot faster by August, snow banks or not. So the date for 2016 is Saturday, August 6th. Its stated at the top of this main page, under the “When” heading. I might change the start time to 6:30am but at this point it’s 6am. Cheers and hope it fits for you!

      • MBR

        Ian, The ‘fit’ is going to be a couple weeks too late, but I understand your reasoning. For me, was hoping the CTC date would be early enough to do it as a social CTR training ride. However, unless I ride the CTR slower than my normally slow pace, will hopefully have ridden thru the week before.

  • ianaltman

    Hey MBR, I see this conflict with the CTR and was grappling with that big time. Mainly because I’m hoping to ride the CTR this year as well.. but think I could pull both off time wise.. but might be a bit too waisted. Don’t know yet, I might just do an ITT from Durango to Denver starting somewhere around 7/20..? All I know is if I do have enough recovery time after the CTR I think I’d set my best PR on the CTC. So who are you..have we ridden together before..? I’ve done the CTR in 2011,12 and 13.
    Cheers! Ian

  • Stuart Buergler

    Stuart Buergler is in.

  • T Sims

    Is there a set time prior to race date that entries open on line ? Don’t want to miss this one……

    • ianaltman

      You can sign up whenever you want to on the “CTC registration page”. Just make sure to sign out if your plans change later this season.

  • ianaltman

    Hey y’all,
    Getting stoked for the 2016 CTC in a week or so and starting to look for help with our feed at Hotel Draw. If any of you know of friends or family that might be able to help out please let me know. THANKS!

  • Barry

    I’d love to come up there and see the Indian Ridge/Highine to finish section in the daylight, after having just done that section in the dark finishing off the CTR 3 days ago, but don’t think I’ll be recovered enough. Too bad you guys didn’t schedule this 1-2 weeks before the CTR.

  • ianaltman

    Hey 2016 CTC riders,

    As many of you from the Four Corners Region have probably’s been wet this week. This trend got me super worried at first, but things look to be clearing out by the weekend. In addition, I’ve talked to a few recent CTR finishers( who finished after the rain began), and it sounds like the trail is really sweet… with some mud, most of it being below Kennebec Pass.


    Some logistics and details to think about:

    ~We start from the paved parking at the top of Molas Pass; right off the highway to the East. Please be there no later then 5:50am so you can sign in. I hope to start at 6am sharp and we have a few details to go over before we head out.

    ~ If you think it will be hard for you to finish in less then 13 hours, then make sure you have a good light with you.

    ~ I will have a cooler and dry box at the start for food and other stuff. Those boxes, along with H2O will be at the mid way point( Hotel Draw) by 10:30am. Bring some Cokes, beer, maybe some whiskey and extra food to share with peeps. I’ll have a bunch of bacon for everyone.

    ~ Your finish time should to be noted ( by you) at the CT terminus in Junction Creek. The true terminus is not at the first trail sign you’ll see, but the last the bathroom and first sign of payment. To sign out, you’ll need to ride to Carvers for a brew and the book will be there to sign yourself out.

    ~ For those wanting to arrange a shuttle..Hermosa Tours is always an option. Otherwise, please just coordinate with your friends or post your requests on the forum.

  • ianaltman

    Despite my hopes for good weather and trails conditions in August this year, it’s not at all looking good. The forecast for tomorrow, 8/12, is pushing 60-70%. In addition, the trail is already wet, and after last year’s experience of racing the course in such conditions, it’s just not worth the wear on the drivetrain and the impact on the trail. Another difficulty is getting our resupply up to Hotel Draw in such conditions! That road is all clay and slick as snot when wet.
    SO I’M PULLING THE PLUG. We will not have support set up at Hotel Draw and I will not be at Molas Pass tomorrow ( 8/12), at 6 am.
    Please let anyone you know who you may have been planning to do it this year. If you are coming from out of town and plan to do it anyway, then sweet, just report your time back to this email and I’ll post it on the COES record.
    The weather looks much better next weekend and I plan to do it if it does improve. I’d be going for it with a few friends on Saturday 8/19 without support. If you’d like to join us then let me know and I’ll try to coordinate a group starting time.
    And if not, then we’ll hope for a good roll of the dice next year…
    Cheers, Ian

    • Mike

      Count me in , how’s the weather over there this week ? I’m on a single speed so would a 6 am start be a good idea regardless for me Ian ?

      • ianaltman

        Hey Mike, The timing for an average rider is typically about 13-14 hours. SSers do it in similar times, and even faster if they’re in shape or just fast. We have about 13 hours of daylight right now, so I’d say a 6 am start is good if you bring a light with you for the finish.

  • matthew Hastings

    Does anyone have a GPS file for the route? I tried using the links, but not sure what the login is?

  • ianaltman

    Hello 2018 CTC participants,

    I’m getting stoked for the 10th annual Colorado Trail Classic this coming Saturday! Seems like some fast folks are coming this year, so, with good conditions, we might see a new record set. Given that its two days away and the weather pattern is more reliable now, thought I’d post a few updates:

    -Models have reeled back a bit on timing this morning and this current monsoonal pattern looks to stick around the San Juans till mid day on Saturday. Percentages of point forecasting up on the CT are fairly low( 20-30%) and I’d bet it’ll be raining till late on Friday night, with a slight rebuild potential on Saturday morning, but then total clearing by the late afternoon.
    As I learned last year, the forecasting for our mountain weather can be completely wrong and largely depends on the pattern that has emerged that week. Given that they had it at 80% on ride day last year, I called it off. But then it turned out to be completely dry?! This years’ pattern, however, seems more stable and reliable so we may see light/scattered showers mid day with total clearing by later afternoon. As for how electric it might be… I have no idea.

    Logistics and aid stations:

    Our ride begins this Saturday, 8/18/18 at 6 am on the tippy top of Molas Pass. THIS IS THE PAVED PARKING LOT RIGHT OFF AND EAST OF HIGHWAY 550.

    Our aid station driver will be at the start to collect personal food and other items for you to have at Hotel Draw, some 38 miles from Molas. We will have a cooler and dry box for these items. As for the pot-luck, please just bring some extras… This could be bars, energy foods, coca-cola, bacon, salty stuff, beer or whatever you wanna add.

    We will provide water for all riders at Hotel, so please don’t worry about bringing extra water.

    Another friend of mine will have a water jug on Kennebec pass by 1 pm on Saturday. Although this timing may not work for the faster folks, it should fit for most of us. However, I’d bring water carrying capacity of up to 2 liters in case it gets really hot. The stretch past Hotel Draw is the driest and often the hottest.

    I’ll remind folks of this at the start, but your final timing should be marked at the absolute end of the CT in Junction Creek. There is a large CT sign 1.5 miles before that and a dirt road with a small parking lot. THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE RIDE. You’re done and your finish time should be noted when you get to the final trail-sign and a larger parking with a bathroom.

    After you finish, come to Carvers Brewing Co. for a free CO Nut Brown Ale. The record book will be there to mark your finish time, as well as, some tables to hang out, chow down and chat about our epic day.

    Can’t wait to ride with you’ll and please sign up on our registration page if you haven’t yet.

  • Adrian O'Haver

    I will bring a large and a medium.

  • Eli Torgeson

    Thanks Adrian. As i passed through Durango at 9:30pm I saw that the Walmart was open, so stopped in and picked up a fairly decent Bell Helmet and a couple extra presta tubes. It all worked out.

  • Eli Torgeson

    I told this to Ian, but just so future CTCers know, you can find the Track for the 2014 race (which matches our track) on Garmin Connect if simply go to the site, click on the “Training” tab on the left side, select “Courses” and then maneuver the map over to the Durango ara. The “CTC 2014 w/large group start” shows up and can be downloaded. This will save Ian the invitation issue and smooths out the downloading.

  • Trish Dettmer Thomas

    I’m in!

  • Is It Even Thru Hiking? Groucho’s SLASH Flip Flop CT 2020 | Wrong Way Gang

    […] walk into Silverton was beautiful as always. I raced the Colorado Trail Classic a couple weeks before; what took me 12 hours on a rigid single speed mountain bike (Molas Pass to […]

  • ian altman


    Due to the increasing monsoonal flow that has persisted over the San Juan Mountains throughout the past 10 days,  I’ve decided to call off the event this year. Its’ a bummer and it looks like I failed with the roll of the dice when picking the date this year. The current point forecast for the La Plata Mountains above Durango is 80%.

    The trail is also soaked from the past weeks of rain and although this is an unsanctioned event, I have no interest in bringing unnecessary impact to the precious Colorado Trial. In addition, safety is a serious concern. The ITR is not a place you want to be in a lightning storm.  I’ve been there before and it’s terrifying! 

    So please know that we will not be offering any support on the trail this year. I wanted to alert everyone on this day so that you don’t end up on Molas on Saturday expecting a group to ride with. 

    Sorry folks, Ullr just would have it this year.  

  • ian altman

    No, I’m sorry Nate. I’m out the rest of the month and this pattern looks to continue. Please, by all means, rage it on your own and keep your time I’d be happy to post it on our site

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