Mark Caminiti recently finished up the Triple Crown last month. If you are new to the sport, the Triple Crown is the Arizona Trail Race, Tour Divide, and Colorado Trail Race. The combined distance of the 3 races totals more then 4,000 miles, all while taking place between the months of April and August. Mark became the 7th ever life time Triple Crown finisher, and the 4th ever finisher in one season. Mark’s bikepacking career may be the most decorated of any bikepacker to date. Age? 44 Hometown? Orignally from Colorado Springs, CO Current residence? Idaho Springs, CO When was your first mountain bike experience? 1990. Diamond Back Ascent. Just rode it around Manitou Springs. Were you instantly hooked? No. I got a Cannondale Killer V in July 1995 and that got me. 2007 was the first year of the Colorado Trail Race, bring us to the start line – what was the mood? I was so not prepared – all I can remember is it was hot- mid afternoon. I was worried I had forgot something. You have attempted 6 Colorado Trail Races, completing 5 of them. How special is this trail to you? It is what a Colorado mountain biker should aspire to do. Like the state championships basically. Looking back to 2007, how much has changed for bikepacking? Well, for bikepacking as a whole things are night and day. Towns love it now as they see the dollars pour in. In 2010 you attempted and finished your first AZT 750. You were on the trail for almost 16 days. Briefly describe your experience. I ran out of water on the gasline road fixing a failing tire. That was like the 30th problem I had- in the first 225 miles. I bailed off course for 18 hours and returned with a tube I bought off a jerky rancher. I only stayed in it for one reason – if I merely finished I would win. The top 2 riders were way faster but only had 7 days before a plane flight. So I toughed it out for a 15:15. You have since finished the trail three more times, making it 4 for 4 on the route – how important is it for you to finish these races? After finishing 10 straight, it has become less important to me. I want sometimes to quit after my chances at a really good time disappear, but I always seem to keep going. Next year I hope to get faster without resorting to quitting. It can be hard for someone to get enough time off for the Tour Divide. What do you do for a living that gave you the ability to finish the Triple Crown? I run a business with my girlfriend, Leila Duran. She helps me out big time by working more when I am gone. Without her support I would not be able to do it. After finishing the AZT 750 this year you decided to take on the Tour Divide. Most people plan a run at the Triple Crown well before hand, did you have any idea you would take on the TD before the AZT? What was your motivation for the Triple Crown? I had a plan for the triple crown in my mind. It only took off after I had issues on day 1 in AZT750. I was mad at myself for getting heat stroke in the Canelos. I told myself that I would do the triple if I could pull off a strong 750 finish. In your opinion, what is the most difficult race of the Triple Crown? For me it was the Tour Divide. I am not a long distance gravel grinder type. I am now!! After TD road riding seems easy. Before it I dreaded long road rides. AZT and CTR are easier for me. I can hide my climbing weaknesses better thru hikeabike, and steep downhills are my forte. In TD that is exposed and discarded as a style. What was your biggest obstacle during the Triple Crown, was there any point where you were ready to quit? In TD I really blew it and my knees were killing me from day 2 to day 13 or so. On day 4 I realized my seat was too low. I had a border patrol guy offering me a ride backwards off Red Meadow Pass area to Polebridge. I couldnt walk and only could ride one legged. I put snow in baggies in pockets over my knees and hiked over Red Meadow and its 2 miles of snow. Amazingly my knees started to improve. I only rode 12 miles the next day from Whitefish to Columbia Falls. Rained all day and I had enough at that point. Then on day 6 I rode 105 miles thru 39 degree rain to Holland Lake Lodge. It sucked big time. I was 1-2 days behind the pace I wanted to maintain. I was cold, wet and hungry. I decided that no matter what I would finish. Tell us about your rig/rigs? 2014 Scott Spark 900SL Under 24 lbs with a dropper post. 1×10. Carbon Wheelset. Great bike. It looks like you went pretty light. What bags were you rocking? My own bags. Xpac vx07 and vx21. About half the weight of the big bag makers. Settling in on a seatbag/harness/downtube bag setup as my favorite. With 2 liters of water on the back via a Camelbak Race Vest. What was one piece of gear that you couldn’t live without on all three routes? Plastic freezer bag pogies. They weigh nothing and keep hands warm even in the worst conditions without gloves. It has to be tough planning the logistics for the Triple Crown. Did you have anyone in particular that you want to thank? Other than Leila, I need to thank: Marshal Bird Tanner Morgan Tim McCabe Kirsten and Greg from Brush Mtn Sean Allan Aaron Denberg Matt Lee Scott Morris There are many others I met or raced with. It was a special year. I could list dozens of other people. Will we see you at the start line of the AZT again next year? Maybe. I want to ride/race the CDT, so the 750 may not happen for me. Michael Ackerman interviews Mark after he completed the Triple Crown in Durango.