Editor’s Note: Both Brett and Craig rode the Tour Divide and Colorado Trail Race this year. Craig captures a few moments towards the end of the Colorado Trail. He also shares a few words about Brett. While Craig never mentions it, he too is doing something pretty amazing. He is currently attempting not only the triple crown of bikepacking but also hiking. It’s called the One Of Seven Project, and you can find out more here…http://www.oneofsevenproject.com/  
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. Then during the Sargents Mesa section of the race a passing hiker mentioned they saw one racer who was “Chipper” while the rest looked like me, haggard. When I heard this I thought I know a “Chipper” racer. The next day just before Highway 50 on the Fooses Creek Trail, a Westbound CTR rider told me there was a single speeder not far in front of me. I asked if they had a hat on with the word “BMX” on it. They confirmed the rider did. Right then I knew it was Brett.

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.
Many times during the tour and the CTR, Brett expressed his admiration for the other riders in the race. Despite chasing his own dream of a Triple Crown, he truly recognized others efforts and dreams also being attempted in front of him. He held patrons of businesses along the routes, owners of lodges and the sports top achievers in such high regard, and by doing so made himself even more human.

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.

Unofficial Times
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

5 Comments

  1. Tom Anderson

    Congrats Brett! – always a pleasure to listen to your call in to MTBCast. Post-tramatic Trail Disorder, love it!

  2. Patrick Zeigle

    First Male to ever complete the Triple Crown on a 1×1!! Way to go Brett!

  3. Dan Chaney

    Brett used to be my next door neighbor! I lost touch with him years ago but if you are in contact with him, tell him hi and give him another man hug for me next time you see him.

  4. Greg Guenther

    Hey Brett,
    Congrats on this awesome achievement!!

    Greg Guenther

  5. Djonn McNeill

    SALUTE!!! Congratulations on an amazing journey my friend!

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