In three short days, on Saturday August 9th, a number of Rodeoers will embark on a uniquely strange adventure. We will, as an informal group of team mates and friends from around the Front Range, attempt an assault on Mount Evans aboard 3 speed city bikes.The ride has been dubbed the Mount Evans Chill Climb. The route will entail the final twelve to fourteen miles from Echo Lake Lodge to the summit of the mountain at 14,265′ (4,348 m). It is the highest paved road in America. It won’t be a race, it won’t be a time trial, it’ll just be a fun way to test ourselves and have a good time with friends. No official support will be provided, no roads will be closed. We’re just going on a ride together. Riders should keep in mind that the road is fully open to traffic and obey all traffic laws.
The planning for the May Rodeo Rally began serendipitously back in January, when, as you might recall, I took advantage of a warm winter Colorado day and set out on a solo dirt adventure south of Denver. The beautiful route and photos must of stuck in the craw of one Matt Deviney to such a degree that he worked tirelessly on finding a way back to Denver so as to avoid the treacherous no-shoulder/pucker-inducing-death-ride segment of Santa Fe north of Sedalia, between the small town of Louviers and Titan Road. We both recon’d different routes over the ensuing months, but neither could completely pre-ride the route and were skeptical we could find a better way back to Denver.
We all laughed when the name popped out of my mouth over a morning coffee. I was describing to Chris and Peder that I wanted to build a new cyclocross bike. My 2001 Bianchi Axis, though still a worthy steed, is showing signs of age. It still gets the job done in a standard cyclocross race, but over the last year I’ve been taking the bike places it just wasn’t built to go, and it’s struggled to keep up with my demands. I am, to a fault, loyal to my beat up old warhorse bikes. My stable includes a 2001 Yeti AS-R MTB, the 2001 Bianchi Axis, and my 2007 Felt FA road bike. I recently added the Cannondale SuperSix (which I won), but it is the exception to my miserly bike ownership. When I was a bit younger (and single) I wanted bikes that were the lightest, fastest things out there, but now I’m more pragmatic about the hardware and the true performance gains it affords. Only when I come to the end of what I think one of my bikes can do do I start looking around for a new bike.
Words by Bo Brawner. Photos by Bo and Taylor Brawner.
It is difficult to put into words having your brother and your dad on the bike next to you. Some of you may get to experience this – some may not. But in his late 50’s my dad saw my brother and I complete the ride from ATL to PCB FL and asked at the victory dinner, “you guys think I can do this?” 50 pounds overweight and with some heart issues, we said, “of course! It’s just gonna take some work.”
By Chris Joseph
Kokopelli Trail May 1-3 2014
- 136 total miles (218 km) in 22 hours ride time, 50 hours Total time
- Lessons learned:
- Good people and water are very, very valuable
- Bike shoes are not made for hiking
- Garmin doesn’t always know the way
- Cliff bars make a good adhesive for gluing teeth back in
- Taking photos requires energy. Less energy = less photos
- The comfort of sleeping on the ground increases exponentially depending on how tired you are
- When very dehydrated and hallucinating rocks can sometimes look like boxes stacked neatly on the trail in front of you
- The words “man up” can be humorous or humiliating depending on the point of origin
- Chainring wounds look similar to shark bites, only with a little grease mixed into the blood
Text and Photography by Matt DeViney
GoPro Photography by Stephen Fitzgerald
It seems as though I have joined a cycling team of sorts. As in, a “bicycle racing team”. So, here’s the thing; I don’t think “racing sucks” (Surly), or that riding your bike with a Garmin requires you to adhere to some set of (still unpublished) rules, but I do think training through mountain landscapes in order to go the fastest in circles around an abandoned business park is weird. I will never view mountains as “resistance training”, and I will never be the guy opting to ride outdoors instead of on the rollers solely to avoid rickets and scurvy brought on by a vitamin D deficiency. That said, I love the sport, and I would wet myself with excitement (unlike in a triathlon) were I able to spend a brief moment of my life in a(n assuredly doomed) breakaway. It would be fun, just to say I did, but that’s low on the list of reasons I ride a bike.
“It’s just a recovery ride”
These are probably the most mis-used words in cycling, they are around here with the Denver Rodeo crew anyway. Yesterday’s ride was supposed to be a pleasant spin to see if “the sensations are good”, but it didn’t take long for Peder and myself to get bored and start looking for silly things to do. Every time we passed a dirt offshoot of the road we’d yell “singletrack!” and see if the trail went anywhere. Most didn’t but some did, and we hit the derping payload when we took a turn onto the North Table mountain trail system. Yes, we were on our road bikes, but more and more that makes our dirt rides more fun and we were up for the challenge of seeing where our wheels would take us.
Rodeo was in Oregon for a weekend of racing at the Gorge Roubaix series, and we were the invite to stop by The Vanilla Workshop to take a tour of one of the finest hand built bike manufacturers that we know of. Rodeo co-founder Peder Horner has a Vanilla touring bike in-production at the shop, and it was a great excuse to check in and see how one of these beautiful bikes comes together. Most of the Vanilla crew was out to lunch, so we had the place mostly to ourselves while Tom Rousculp showed us around the facility. Thanks Tom! We brought the camera along so that we could share the experience of what lies beyond this unassuming door. Willy Wonka style.
Sometimes you plan on rolling out and doing 100 miles in the mountains with friends. Sometimes you get distracted and have an adventure.
Peder and Matt and myself chanced upon the 2nd option recently. We had expected to put in some huge base miles for the upcoming race season. Plenty of smooth ups and downs were on tap, and we were geared up and ready for it.
We should have known from the start that something was amiss though. Before leaving the house Peder found both of his tires flat from thorns. Similarly, I found a flat and a thorn while leaving my house for the meetup. While en route I suffered a 2nd flat. The ride hadn’t even begun and we were 45 minutes behind “schedule” and 4 flats down.