Women’s Bikepacking Clinic Campout – Fort Collins 2017

Well, that couldn’t be a more boring title now, could it? I just do that because there have been others, and there will be others, so future versions of us can remember what happened this year.

The women’s bikepacking clinics always culminate in a bikepacking trip.

You have to. Otherwise no one’s dreams come true. Also, it’s far too easy to continue with weekends-as-usual-probably-car-camping-or-sleeping-in-your bed if you don’t set DEADLINES. I love a good deadline. Really makes you feel like the time is now.

In case you didn’t know, myself Amanda DelCore, and Jillian Betterly, held bikepacking clinics in Fort Collins and Boulder in the summer and spring of 2017, respectively.  So a week after the Steamboat Ramble (which is a supported bikepacking party of sorts), all the women of the pack got together for a weekend in the mountains.

This is the story of how we made an absolute adventure out of a 44.2mi round-trip route overnighter. We started from our front doors.

We had a crew of the usual suspects plus a few brave new babes. As it was the first time pedaling a loaded bike up a canyon for some, we aimed for a casual and fun afternoon.

When you do short routes, it’s all about finding the excitement in the little, everyday things. Stop at the cafe, stop for the  flowers, stop at the river. Because you can, and you usually never do. So that’s what we did.

We stopped at Noosa cafe, we took some dirt road, we hung out in the Poudre river, we stopped for ice cream sandwiches.

Until we finally got to Hewlett Gultch.  We rode, foot-dabbed, or walked our not necessarily fit-for-trail bikes down some singletrack aka hiking trail. If we couldn’t ride it, no sweat. Camp was a mere 1.5 miles away.

We successfully navigated some death-defying creek-crossings, skated across gravel pits, and eventually found a big tree with an old fireplace nearby. (Well, I scouted this spot, so it was kind of planned.)

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What happens next is primal and beautiful:

Everyone somehow naturally finds a job to do. Without any prior training or agreements, tents are up, everyone has a camp chore, and hors d’oeuvres hour is a few minutes away. It happens every damn time we do one of these trips, and it’s magical.

This is what happy hour in a woodsy field looks like:

We women in the front range like our cheese and wine in the wilderness, thank you. We nearly always have an abundance of appetizers before dinner.

The late afternoon faded as we explored our little camp area, talked about bikes, and read from Shakespeare. As the the sun dropped, the fire grew, and we imagined some elaborate tale about the family who once lived in this very spot. (There was an old foundation and chimney near to where we were camped.)

Night dropped, a million stars came out, and slowly but surely, we trickled into our tents and sleeping bags.

The next morning, two adventurous, mountain-bike-loving ladies (myself and Elaina) did the Hewlett Gulch loop, which includes approximately 7 water features, some ominous-looking crags, one long gradual climb, and one rad ridgeline descent.

Hewlett Gulch is a sweet mtb loop… I never knew!

Packing up camp meant a slow morning of coffee, granola, and maybe some leftover cheese.

After pedaling uphill on a loaded bike, sleeping outside, and having too much fun around a campfire, cruising down a canyon road always feels like victory.

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The road home was swift and cool. We looked back on all the places we struggled on the way up and laughed. We stopped to marvel at some daring slackliners in the Poudre canyon, but that was about it. We were of course, hungry, because duh – we’re bikepackers – lunch burgers were in order.

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All in all, another great women’s bikepacking trip. Nothing like getting out of town on your own two legs with a bunch of other wild women. Yeehaw.

If you’d like to join us for next time, contact us!

Also, you can follow us on Instagram if you just want to spy on our adventures.

Author: Amanda DelCore – Amanda leads bikepacking clinics in Fort Collins. She enjoys long bike rides in Horsetooth Mountain Park and bikepacking both epic and teeny routes. She won’t be caught on a bikepacking trip without a water filter, first aid kit, and a little bit of whiskey.  Instagram, website

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