The Silverton Project is the next evolution of our yearly expeditions to the San Juan Mountain range situated in the South West corner of Colorado. We previously called the trip Ouray week because 2016-2018 we based the trip and riding out of the town or Ouray, Colorado. This year we’re moving our base of riding to the nearby town of Silverton Colorado in order to open up some fresh route options and to have a new town to explore and hang out in.

The Silverton Project is a Rodeo “family trip”. Rodeo has a number of externally focused rides that we host or organize throughout the year but this trip in general is significantly more difficult than any normal week of bike riding and it has more DNA level meaning to me and the company and as such is primarily open only to people who in one way or another are a part of what Rodeo is up to – be that either through being an integral member of the community, an owner of our bikes, or is a significant contributor to our culture.


This year the trip will have a story telling and documentary film making component that is a primary part of the trip. We will have professional film makers along on the trip who will be documenting the rides, the people, the mountains, the down time, the history of the area, and a larger arc related to “why would anyone go ride bikes in a place like this?”. Anyone along on the trip will by default be a part of the story that is told through the film. If you aren’t comfortable being a part of the film project this probably isn’t the trip for you.

As noted above, quite a few people wouldn’t really enjoy riding bikes the way we will be riding in the San Juans. Very few miles that we will cover will be easy miles. We may pass a few miles here and there on the highway on route to our major objectives each day but once we get off the main roads the road surface quickly turns to gravel, rocks, and sometimes scree. Pitches in the San Juans are steeper than most other places we’ve ridden in Colorado. You can spend a significant amount of time climbing 10% and steeper grades and above grades and grades can get steeper than 20%. Adding to the difficulty of the place we will be at high altitude even when in the town of Silverton itself which sits at 9,318′. Passes will top out at anywhere from 10,000 to 13,000 feet. Some days we may climb 2,500 feet, some 4,000 feet, and we may even have a 10,000 foot day. There will be times when a road will look rideable at a glance but the thin air will wear you out quickly causing you to have to push your bike hence the origin of the #walkyourdonkey hashtag. If all of this sounds ominous then good. It would be better to psyche you out than it would to undersell the riding. That said This trip will also aim to be fun. We’re not trying to cook up a steaming pot of arbitrary adversity.


Weather conditions in the San Juans are completely unpredictable. Generally speaking Colorado is pretty sunny but the San Juans can get caught in a monsoon pattern which could mean early morning sun and afternoon showers or it could just mean rain all day long. If we have to call a day of riding due to rain we will. Part of the reason to be there for a week is to have some flexibility in our riding schedule if we need it. On the high passes the rain can turn to sleet or snow and lightning is a very real safety concern. We’ve had to take shelter and high tail it mid ride in previous years due to mid day lightning.


We’ve booked two houses on VRBO in order to house all riders. According to specs we can sleep up to 22 people but we don’t expect to have 22 people on this trip. The primary cost of the trip will be lodging. We should have a mix of rooms, some having one full or queen size bed and some having double twins or fold out couches, etc etc. If you have a sleeping request feel free to email and we will do our best to accommodate.


We will arrive in Silverton on the afternoon of the 21st for check in. We will depart the morning of the 28th. If you have your own transport please note that in the logistics Google Doc. If you need a ride or want to carpool please note that in the logistics Google Doc.


We have a central database for wrangling logistics. Please fill in relevant info for yourself in the sheet so that we can keep track of details as well as possible.


We’re going to round cost for the week at $600. This will include lodging, support logistics that we are able to provide, and some meals that we will prepare at the house. If you only plan to stay certain days we can work to adjust rate but we had to book two houses for the entire duration so generally some people just need to pitch in. Considering Leadville 100 costs about $500 for a single day of racing we feel pretty good about costs. We aren’t marking up any costs we are simply trying to cover costs.



We’ve ridden extensively on these roads and trails for a few years now so we are pretty opinionated about what works. Here are some suggestions. If you ignore these suggestions do so at your own peril / discomfort. We’re all big kids so everyone is responsible for themselves. We will bring a repair stand, tools and extra wheels on the trip. If you don’t have a bike that is adequate for this trip let me know as we may have a demo TD3 in your size in our fleet.

Bike: TD3 recommended per tire clearance. Flaanimal and TD21 are fine but you will get a bit more beaten up on the descents with slightly smaller tires. Protip: The descents will sort of beat you up no matter what bike you are on, so just slow down and enjoy the views!

Tires: 650b x 2.1 recommended. 700c x 45 is adequate. 700 x 50 Gravel Kings, 700 x 50 WTB Venture, or 700c Nano 2.1 (50mm) would also be nice if conditions are dry but won’t allow much clearance for mud. 650b x 47mm is barely adequate but passable if you dial in PSI and are thoughtful on the descents.

Suspension Stem: Redshift stem STRONGLY recommended

Dropper post: Not required but does come in handy on some techy sections. PNW Coast suspension dropper is pretty ideal for this trip.

Suspension Post: Will definitely help smooth things out but is not required.

Gearing: 2x or 1x are fine. Clutch derailleur required or you will drop your chain. For a climbing gear you need something in the ballpark of a 34t up front and a 46t in back. That’s a 34/46 = .73 ratio. You could go 32 up front and it will be fine. No matter what you will run out of gears here and there and have to walk from time to time. You don’t really need a fast road gear because we won’t spend much time moving above 25mph.

Clothing requirements: Wear whatever you want but a light, packable rain jacket is required. Vests are helpful and light. Various light weight and mid weight gloves may be needed. Helmets are required. Bring shoes that are good for riding and won’t give you blisters if you have to walk here and there.

Bags: Definitely bring some sort of gear carrying capability on your bike. A bar bag is a great starting point. A top tube bag is another good idea. A frame bag may be overkill. A seat bag, tool roll, etc is mandatory for carrying tube, patch kit, dynaplug, C02, or whatever it is that you prefer to carry for tools.

Lights: Bring them just in case we do an evening ride or cruise. The more powerful the better.

Food: Bring whatever you love. If you are picky bring as much picky food as you can so that you stay happy.


We will have a vehicle driving ahead or in back of us but its primary purpose will be to support the film crew. We will bring along some food / water in the vehicle but these rides should be considered to be self supported. Vehicles can’t really move quickly in this environment so access to the vehicle will be sporadic.

Jenn Hines will be along on this trip is a bit of a logistics / Soigneur role. She will help coordinate meals when we are preparing them. She will probably make things like rice cakes and snacks for ride days. She may or may not be able to toss masses of kits into the laundry or at least pull them out of the laundry and help hang then as bandwidth allows. When we eat out she will help coordinate dinner plan reservations so that we don’t have to seek out restaurants on our own every night. She has been a professional soigneur for professional cycling teams on and off for about six years so she may be willing to help with some post ride massage – but you need to negotiate rates and schedule. IKOR Labs will be along on the trip as a promotional, filming, and support partner. They will be providing some CBD based recovery products that we can use on the trip. Generally CBD is thought to help with recovery, reduce fatigue, inflammation, etc. We will have all three of those things in spades on this trip. If you aren’t familiar with CBD products it’s too much to get into here but do take a look at their site. If you don’t like CBD for whatever reason there is no obligation. We’ve tried the entire IKOR lineup and are fans of everything they make. We may bring on some other supporters / sponsors on the trip and if so will add those here.



We aren’t posting routes yet but we will post route files for people to download. High level we do not want this trip to be a death slog. We want it to be fun and challenging. We will try to keep most rides in the 20-25 mile range. If that sounds short don’t worry. A 25 mile ride could take four hours in these conditions. If we add a route like Black Bear / Imogene it will be a longer than average day and will cover 10,000 feet of climbing in 40 miles. The riding in the San Juans wears you down when you stack days back to back so we plan on doing something like 2-3 days of riding, then a day off, then 2-3 days of riding. We may leave some flex days for people who want to decide between bagging another pass and riding something like Colorado Trail singletrack which is also located in the nearby vicinity. If you get tired and want to skip a day of riding or go on your own ride that is totally ok. We want everyone to ENJOY this trip.

Watch this space for GPS route links.


There are probably questions we haven’t covered here. Feel free to ask and we will update this page.


We look forward to having an awesome trip with an awesome group of people!