Bodewes seeks to break Colorado Trail Race record – The Journal


The race begins Sunday morning in Denver

Will Bodewes eats watermelon after cycling the Colorado Trail Race in four days, 11 hours and 30 minutes last year. He finished second, but wants to go faster this year. (Courtesy of Will Bodewes).

After finishing a big ultra-endurance race like the Colorado Trail Race, Will Bodewes said he still thinks he’ll never do it again.

Over time, however, he said he began to think of all the things he could have done differently.

Last year, Bodewes rode his brother’s hardtail bike in the 527-mile autonomous race from Durango to Denver and ran into mechanical issues. At the start of the race, one of the screws in his cycling shoe fell off, preventing him from unhooking his pedal and causing him to fall several times. Then, with about 70 miles to go, his bike’s derailleur broke. He banged on it with a rock until it worked a few gears so he could finish the race.

His diet wasn’t great either: lots of peanut butter, Nutella, and salt burritos.

He also became so tired that he had an out of body experience.

Despite the difficulties he encountered, Bodewes still finished second in the race, finishing in four days, 11 hours and 30 minutes. Neil Beltchenko won in 4:03:09. Another Durango runner, Scott Simmons, was fourth in 4:17:58. Neither Simmons nor Beltchenko are entered this year.

After thinking about the race, Bodewes not only changed his mind and decided to race again, but he is now looking to break the three-day, 19-hour record.

When Bodewes leaves Denver at 4am on Sunday (the race changes direction every year), he will have a new plan (including less sleep), a new bike (still a hard tail, but with 20 millimeters more travel) and different foods (including lots of Tailwind Nutrition powder for making drinks) to power it.

“With my physical condition and my trail experience, I’m confident,” he said. “For me it’s about seeing how far I can push myself and seeing where that line is. I don’t think a lot of people understand their limits, but I think there’s value in knowing and value to discover.

He said he thinks whether or not he can break the record will depend on external factors: the weather, particularly lightning, mechanical issues with his bike and whether he can avoid injury. His plan to get only an hour’s sleep a night, broken up into 20-minute segments, meanwhile, will be a wild card.

“My biggest concern is the weather and lightning; it’s always a big danger,” he said, and it will force him to make good choices while climbing. “Secondly, I must not injure myself. And third, I don’t know how much sleep I can handle.

Bodewes does not take a sleeping bag with him, just a tarp, a down jacket and rain gear. This is partly because he only plans to sleep a few hours during the entire race.

“I never really found the right limit and the right balance,” he said, noting that he planned on power naps just long enough to refresh his brain. “We’ll see if it works,” he said.

Bodewes also made sleep banks to prepare: sleep at least 10 hours a night for 14 days before the race.

And he has been training for eight months, mixing races and rides to prepare.

Doing ultras is in his family. His dad and brothers have also done it while his sister, Kristina, recently hiked the Colorado Trail in just under 15 days, setting her own record.

“We encourage siblings,” he said. “It’s such a good mental challenge to take on and brings stability and self-confidence. It’s more about learning to be there, to endure a lot of pain and to motivate yourself: can I continue and can I deal with the challenges that come my way? The real value is intrinsic to what you get from the experience.

Bodewes is one of 92 people entered in the race (only about half finished last year). To break the record, Bodewes will need to arrive in Durango by 11 p.m. Wednesday.

“Personally, I think I have the potential to do that,” Bodewes said. “I might as well try to see what’s going on.”

People can track runners’ progress live at


About Author

Comments are closed.