I first met Brett on day 1 of this year’s Tour Divide. I was on the first dirt road stretch and it was pouring down rain and it was muddy as hell. Out of nowhere this guy rides up next to me. He’s on a fully rigid single speed and had the biggest grin on his face. I don’t recall his exact words but they were incredibly upbeat despite the conditions.
We would cross paths many times that first day and luckily for me ride together on many others. We even spent the night together in a 6’x6′ log cabin at Towgotee Mountain Lodge. I was sad the day I realized that we wouldn’t meet again during the tour as I was too far ahead. Luckily, I knew I would see him again at the CTR.
We meet again at the starting line for the CTR and it was a joyous meeting. I saw Brett only twice that first day but true to form each was memorable. After a quick passing in Silverton and wrong turn by me, Brett’s location became a mystery to me.
My spirit rose a ton at that moment. The idea I could possibly catch and ride with Brett again gave me a huge mental boost. When I got to Highway 50 I was really hoping to find Brett. When I got there I didn’t see him and my mood darkened. Then as I crossed the road I saw him. He was eating under a tree on the other side. We both screamed in joy and there was a huge “man hug”.
Brett and I would finish the CTR together. I spent four days covering some of the most amazing terrain I’ve ever ridden with this amazing person. Brett is not like most people you meet. His attitude is always so positive and upbeat. If he has a down moment it’s quick and he puts the adversity behind him and moves on. His stories and tales will make you laugh until you cry. His presence is genuine. He is respectfully careful with his words, and cares deeply for his family and those that he knows.
I truly felt blessed to have gotten the chance to experience his completion of the Triple Crown, becoming the 10th male and 11th person in the world to have done so in a year. Brett will bring the good out in you and raise you up. He did for me and I’m better for it.
Congratulations Brett on a job well done. Both on the bike with your Triple Crown and for your presence off the bike. I’m proud to call you a friend and feel I’m one of the luckier ones.
Arizona Trail Race: 10:07:54
Tour Divide: 21:15:57
Colorado Trail Race: 7:12:58
Triple Crown Challenge Total: 39 Days, 12 Hours, 49 Minutes
Keep up with Brett on Instagram: @brettstepanik
That’s how you complete a 4,000+ mile off road journey and become the second human first male single speed bikepacking triple crown challenge finisher. Video: @oneofsevenproject . . . #coloradotrailrace #coloradotrail #bikepacking #bikepackracing #triplecrown #skidsareforkids #morbidmtbclub @bikepackermag