Today is almost exactly the three year anniversary of when we started Rodeo Labs in 2014. On that day Peder Horner and myself had some beer and ate some pie at Denver Bike Cafe while dreaming up the beginnings of this circus. We scribbled some names on some paper and laughed a lot as we considered the possibilities that starting from scratch allowed us.
We’re working up something new for 2017. Traditionally an organized Rodeo ride is a Rodeo Rally, but for 2017 we want to do a couple of longer, more adventurous multi day events. Thus, the term Rodeo Roundup has been coined. We want to offer a few events big enough to attract out of town Rodeoers and non-Rodeoers alike for the sake of building community and sharing some of the gems of our state.
When people ask “Where are you from” it is always interesting to observe how the responses unfold. If a person has lived in the same place their entire life then the answer is of course quite simple but that seems to be the case less and less these days. Now we live in a transient world. People relocate constantly for any number of reasons. Where we are from is open to interpretation anymore.
As for me, I was born in North Hollywood, California… but I only lived there for a matter of months before my parents moved to my father’s childhood home in Ohio. We stayed there for a few years before, I’m not sure exactly how, my parents took a trip to the Northwest corner of the USA. I’m pretty sure the story goes something like “we saw the Columbia River Gorge and knew we had found our new home”. So, promptly thereafter we relocated in Vancouver, Washington which, if you look at a map is neither in Washington DC or Vancouver BC. It’s right across the river from Portland, Oregon but dare I say it is culturally much further than a few miles from Portland. Vancouver is a bit of a sleepy eddy next to Portland’s raging torrent. Things move slower there, it isn’t as “cool” in almost any measurable way, but I think the people who live there have a certain pride in their identity, of being a small town next to a big city. I spent most of my formative years in Vancover, but our family also detoured to Argentina for a couple of years in the middle of that. Argentina opened my eyes to the fact that the outside world is not the USA. The USA is very different from the rest of the world, a bubble of sorts.
The beauty of being a fan of bike racing is that if you have the time and will power you can stand mere inches from the legends of the sport. Or, if you’re slightly over-excited you can grab them by the butt and push them up hills as they sail by.
Rodeo visited Belgium in 2015 and had a blast, so we went back this year with an even bigger group and had an even bigger blast.
Writing up a 10 day trip to cycling’s holy land is a tall order. It could take days to compose. I don’t have days to write words, but I do have photos. Lots of photos.
It’s time to share some photos.
In August a group of Rodeoers in Colorado struck out on a ride through roads not-yet-ridden-by-us. The ingredients that make these sorts of rides are always dynamic. Peder had been brewing on a Mosquito Pass expedition for years, Jered was in town and wanted to do big high mountain rides, and I tossed out the invite to the team. Eight of us jumped in on the adventure.
The word “Adventure” is rapidly transitioning from an awe-filled catalyst to a very tired marketing word these days. Flip through any cycling magazine and you can’t go very many pages without seeing a tidal wave of products advertised as the very keys you need in order to unlock this mythic “new” genre of our sport.
And yet, true adventure is unimpressed by the collective marketing departments of our industry. True adventure has been happening for centuries and will continue to happen long after humanity has achieved singularity with holo-lenses and virtual experiences. Adventure just means pointing your willing self into the unknown and having the naivete, courage, or even audacity to proceed directly into it. No fancy gear required.
A poem by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Phil: Brian and I have been riding bikes together for the last 10 years. Our escapades have included week long stage races in banana republics with more stray dogs and chickens on the road than actual pavement, big mountain rides in the pacific northwest, and week long training camps among the towering redwood trees and wineries of Santa Rosa, CA. Ever since moving to the front range area, I was excited about the opportunity to show him some of the roads in my new found backyard. Loose plans formulated early this summer for him to come out and suffer through the thin air, which Brian has historically not done very well with, in order to do some touring. With the promise of the unknown and adventure, Nik was also very interested in joining us for what was sure to be a great three-day trip in the high country.
Nik: Little did I know what was in store for me, it was a day full of emotions, the one that occupied most of my attention was how I felt like I bonked when the ride just begun; definitely not the best way to start a three-day tour.