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The Five Stages of the Mount Evans Hill Climb

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Ten years ago, when I was newer to Colorado, I naively signed up for the Mount Evans Hill Climb. I drove the course a few weeks before the race, having no idea what I was getting into. My body betrayed me with an ill-timed cold, which doubled as a convenient reason to bail on the race.

I chalked it up to the cold, but really I was just scared – of the elevation gain, the altitude, the exposure.

Most every summer since then, as the date of Mount Evans approached, I would think really hard about lining up in Idaho Springs, but could never bring myself to do it. Timing, travel, or total lack of training always seemed to be ready excuses.

Until this year, 10 days before the race, when – thanks in part to some encouragement from the Rodeo crew – I finally peer pressured myself into signing up for the 28 mile ascent of the highest paved road in North America.

I made it to the start line this time. And tried to weather the various mental stages of such a singular challenge.

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Rodeo Rally: Rollins Pass

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Back in June, Nik Gilroy put out the call for a Rodeo Rally to check out some “roads” up above Rollinsville near the Continental Divide. Scott Downes joined him for the ride. And this is their account.  

Scott: “Those are the best days, when the ride is the day,” one of us said to the other over burgers and beers in the late afternoon shade. That was after we’d ventured up near the James Peak Wilderness and Rollins Pass area and spent the bulk of the day riding bikes under the hot June sun, wandering up and down burley jeep roads and dead-end double track. It was a good day.

Nik: It all started with a feeling – you know that feeling – takes hold of you and you have to acknowledge it. I wanted to get out of the normal day to day, to go somewhere I’ve never been before and to try something new. This nagging feeling would not let go. I needed to go into the mountains, to ride unchartered dirt and to get away from roads worn down by a virtual leaderboards. 

Scott: Up until this point, I had missed all previous Rodeo Rallies, many of which came down to me chickening out, because of fitness or fortitude. But I’d been uninterested in racing this year, bored with some of the same old riding, and anxious to do something different. And this would be that something.

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Prototype: Flaanimal Ti

By The Lab, Uncategorized 2 Comments

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The Lab is a restless place. A lot of ideas get tossed around. Good ideas get made, bad ideas get dust binned.

The Flaanimal is an idea that we have been brewing on for a while. It’s roots can be traced back to the Traildonkey, Belgium, and Texas (affectionately known as Tejas). Conversations swirled then turned into action. We made a Version 1 design, tested it, then moved on to Version 2 with refinements, added features, new tubing draws, and reduced weight. The choice of materials that we use for the project has always been a point of discussion. 853? 725? 525? Custom? For Flaanimal the go-to option was always steel, but we kept saying “what if”. What if we built it out of titanium? Steel is amazing, but Ti has some special properties that steel doesn’t have. It doesn’t corrode like steel, it’s stronger and lighter than most steel blends, and it has it’s own lively feel that is distinct from other materials.

Enter the Flaanimal Ti. Flaanimal Ti is a continuation of the Flaanimal project. It uses the same geometries and basic specifications of the Flaanimal but keeps the conversation going.

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The Breck Epic: Six Days of Singletrack Survival

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IMG_0030PROLOGUE

Bear with me, this could take awhile.

Epic is such an overused word anymore. It’s hard not to think of it and roll your eyes at its virtual meaninglessness, among hashtags and internet memes and over-exaggeration. Too often, it’s an unearned descriptor. So there is a certain audacity in naming your mountain bike race the Breck Epic – even if it is six days and 240-something miles of gnarly backcountry singletrack, with 40,000 feet climbing and descending, mostly above 10,000 feet in elevation.

But here, in those six days, epic cannot simply be claimed. It must be earned.

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The Teachings of a Rodeo

By The Lab, Uncategorized No Comments

At first glance, Rodeo may seem like a bunch of guys who decided to one day purchase bikes and take pictures with them. Not only with bikes, but on them, of them, of themselves, and the places that those bikes take them. To some, this takes away a part of riding; The feeling of going out on a ride, fully immersing yourself in the surroundings and the feel of it all, and finally coming home to tell others about your journeys. What some fail to realize, however, is that Rodeo – all of those involved – have simply taken both and melded them together.

Photography is nothing new and has documented more about the world than anyone could care to remember themselves. Over the years – from enhancing personal, business, and romantic relations to simply documenting and sharing – photography has helped put an image to things that words may not have been able to accurately explain. This mindset is so much a part of modern society, in fact, that a majority of people require visual proof of something to feel assured or vindicated that something has actually happened. This combined with the easy access to portable cameras as well as the many avenues to share said pictures means it should come as no surprise that there are those who wish to share their world through pictures, regardless of what others think.

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Crazy Circles: Denver’s Meridian Group ride

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Group rides. They are the best of times. You get to hang out with your friends and catch up on life. They pass the time in the saddle and make cycling a social or team sport instead of an individual endeavor.

Race pace group rides are a different animal. While a normal group ride may vary in pace, a race pace group ride pegs the meter from start to finish and can simulate a true racing experience – sans the license, entry fee, and stress of a real race. Colorado has many legendary group rides. Fort Collins says it’s is the toughest. Boulder’s Gateway and Bus Stop rides are stacked with pros. Denver’s FDR ride is quickly developing into a fantastic race pace experience with top riders, but for the time being the Meridian group ride is, in my opinion, the finest race pace group ride to blow the carbon out of your engine.

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