It has been a very busy year at Rodeo and that in itself has been exciting and exhausting at the same time. We haven’t quite had the time resources to plan Rallies or Roundup this year but we did kick off a weekly Tuesday night ride in Denver called Table Top Tuesdays. The rides are open invite to anyone who wants to go wring themselves out on the local roads and trails in and around Denver, Golden, North Table, and South Table mountains.
I’ve been on a long-distance off-road adventure kick the last few yeas (exhibit A, exhibit B,exhibit C, etc). When I heard about the Rockstar VA bikepacking race, I decided not only did I have to ride it, I was all-in it to win it. The course seemed to be right up my alley: long backcountry trails, rocks, ridge, suffering, hardship, or other words everything that makes an epic event. At first I thought “hey it’s just a really long ride” but the more I dove into it I found it’s actually a whole different sport. It’s actually a combination of land navigation, lightweight camping, nutrition planning, time management, hiking, and with some bike riding in there as well.
I stared up the rusty colored scree field and strained to make out the solitary post just barely peaking above the ridge line that topped it. That was the prize. That was the summit of Imogene pass, the second summit of the day, the crux of the ride. The post was not far as the crow flies, maybe only a couple hundred feet away. It felt much further, infinitely far all things considered. Our progress was painstakingly slow. The fatigue and altitude had quietly stolen away all of our spit and venom all day long leaving us with dry mouths and heavy legs. The 4×4 road surface was generously strewn with wet, coarse rock. We shuffled on our feet.
I swiveled left nervously, my eyes following the ridge line west until they found their target about a mile away. A dark wall of clouds was quickly approaching us. Only ten minutes earlier they had seemed twice as far away. The clouds didn’t move if you stared at them but if you turned away they darted closer at an astonishing pace. Now they were nearly on top of us, thumb and index finger shaped like an O, ready to flick us off the mountain.
A quick mental calculus painted an obvious picture: We weren’t going to make it. We were only a half mile from the summit, a distance that we could cover in a few minutes on a normal ride, but at 12,600 feet with steep gradients ahead of us it would take us more than fifteen minutes to cover the ground.
“What do you think?” I asked Peder, hoping he would contradict what I knew to be true.
“It’s going to hit us.” he said. So much for that. “But I really don’t want to high tail it back down to Telluride.”
A strong gust of wind hit us, a light rain along with it. If we turned around now we would fail to complete our planned loop but if we went for the summit we’d get t-boned by the storm; completely exposed on a ridgeline at 13,114 feet.
I was pulled out of my morning reverie by a text from Peder – “Evans today. Interested?”
After a week of Thanksgiving gluttony, some singletrack shred, soaking in hot springs and live music, my palette was satiated, but I felt guilty at my weekly mileage total of 15.5. With no group ride intel for Sunday, I figured maybe I’d do some solo adventure. I would find more singletrack and laugh while descending something that would greatly benefit from a dropper post.
Black Friday Rodeo Rally
Hosted by: Rodeo Adventure Labs – https://www.rodeo-labs.com/
11/24/17 @ 8:30am
Start/Parking Location: Jake Mountain Parking Lot
Black Friday Rodeo Rally welcomes you to ride 47.3 miles with us amid North Georgia’s Blue Ridge WMA dirt roads, forests, streams and mountains instead of hordes of pushy shoppers, fake mall Santa’s and cheeseballs and summer sausages. The route is a good mix of gravel/pave (70/30) ranging from flat and smooth to remote forest service roads. Oh, and don’t mind the little climbs up Nimblewill and Noontoola they will give you plenty of time to look within….
We’re always looking for another reason to throw around the word “epic”.
But most rides are not epic. Some rides are merely good, or great, or fun, or “I’m glad I got outside today”.
If everything is exceptional then nothing is exceptional.
So three cheers for good rides with friends both old and new, on roads both old and new.
Hat tip to Rocky Mountain Road Club. They know how to put together a good ride.
It is happening.
The adventue bike segment is getting bigger, exploding. The offerings are more vast with each passing week.
You know how they say that the universe isn’t just expanding, but that the rate of expansion is accelerating? Well, that’s “Adventure” bikes too.
When we build Traildonkey 1.0 in 2014 the pickings were slim, and in our opinion nobody had really nailed the sweet spot for a multi surface, multi terrain bike capable of properly ignoring traditional bike categories – which is why we decided to go for it ourselves. Now almost four years later the industry has caught up. Almost every major brand (with a few notable exceptions) has a super legit gravel adventure bike. And here’s the thing: They are pretty much all great bikes. I can’t think of a single company that has made something awful and my money says that the genre is going to keep getting more interesting, more capable, and more fun.
Rodeoer Mike Smith aka “Donkeyslayer” has put together a geat open invite ride in his native territory and we are helping to spread the word.
(questions should go to mike at wwmd (at) comcast.net)
October 15, 2017
Ride Time 8am
Helen, GA –