Mount Evans Nocturne

I’ve only ridden my bike to the top of Mount Evans once. It was a wild day spent riding and laughing with friends.

Even though I live in Denver and the 14,240 foot peak is relatively close I’ve never gone back and done it again. Evans is a bit of a rite of passage for local cyclists around these parts. The annual hill climb race is well attended and on any given weekend streams of riders can be seen striking out for the incredible summit via Squaw Pass or Idaho Springs.

Many serious cyclists ride the peak yearly or even many times per year but I’ve never felt the draw to go back and ride up it again. I think maybe I’m just a bit scared of the whole thing and maybe I have such good memories from the first ascent that I don’t ever want to go back and try to top it.

Sometimes though life conspires and mixes together just the right elements in a way that motivates you to do something that you had no intention of doing. On this occasion the events were a full moon, persistent invites from friends, and my own personal funk.

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Unspeakable.

Words: Phil Elsasser

Images: Lliam Dunn and Stephen Fitzgerald

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Scared.  I haven’t been scared about doing something on a bike since, well, probably 2009 when I got the chance to do my first NRC stage race at Cascade Classic.  Lining up against guys that you have held in awe while watching pro races for years can be at the least, a tiny bit intimidating.  So to be scared the night before a bike ride, with a few local guys in the mountains seemed silly.  But when you looked at the stats of the ride, maybe it was worth being scared.  175 miles, 17,000 feet of climbing across a mixture of single track, gravel, and plenty of pavement for good measure.

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30 miles of white… knuckles

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Yesterday was sketchy. Not “this is fun!” sketchy, more like shaking-when-I-got home sketchy. There was something unusual about the snow that fell in Denver this week. I think the combination of quantity and the consistently frigid temperatures combined to make it more treacherous than I’ve ever seen. It was extremely dry snow but simultaneously as slick as snot. After a hand full tense slides and maneuvers of I probably should have turned around at mile 10 and cut my losses, but the allure of Cherry Creek State Park when it is covered in a layer of white perfection baited me on.

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Evening derp sessions #traildonkey

#Crossishere twelve months out of the year for us. Playing around on local trails and bike parks is a pretty great way to mix up the rhythm of the summer months between road riding and mountain biking. It is also a great way to experience familiar terrain in a new way. It is also just fun! A lot of people spend time doing cyclcoross drills to build skills and that is very useful, but we think that people should see cyclocross bikes as everyday bikes, not race day bikes. If you spend time on the bike regularly and just go out and have fun it’ll fit and ride with perfect familiarity on race day. You might just be surprised at how tame a cyclocross course is as well after you’ve finished a summer of shred on your local trails.Continue reading

Rodeo Rally // Rampart Range // Video

Rampart Rally was one of the most difficult, most incredible rides we’ve ever done. Patrick, Chris, Peder, Jacob, Tim, Michael, myself. All the usuals were there, the guys who show up time and again for the biggest things that we do as a team. It strikes me that, when boiled down, this is the group that casts the mold for Rodeo. Not everyone will ride bikes the way we do or do the things we do and that is okay, but at the end of the day when it comes to telling the story of who we are as a team, you couldn’t ask for a better crew.

Rampart Rally covered 80-100 miles each of the two days, but through conditions that we ourselves would admit were often over the top. We were each equipped with bikes that had fairly skinny, fairly slick tires, but that is where the similarities ended. Steel, carbon, road, MTB, CX, everything was represented. We aren’t biased towards Traildonkeys and Flaanimals, we love each of the bikes that showed up to tackle the course. At the end of the day on a ride like this, just showing up and pedaling until you arrive at your destination is the most important requirement. Everything else is gravy.

I couldn’t be more happy to call these men team mates. It is an honor to call them friends as well.

-Stephen

 

You ain’t seen nothin’, son.

 

*Blip!*

My phone lit up. Text from Peder.

“Looks wet”

His timing was uncanny. It was Monday, I had cleared most of my to-do items for the first half of the day and I was beginning to consider whether or not I’d be able to head out for a ride. My monitor glowed with the Doppler loop of Weather Underground’s precipitation map. Even though we’d been hit with a couple of days of solid rain and the clouds still sat threateningly low, the map actually showed surprisingly few green and yellow blobs of wetness.

“It’s not as wet as you think.” I texted back. My attention was fixed on a spot on the map thirty miles south of me. For about a month I’d been drawn to a place where the flowing undulations of Colorado’s prairies are suddenly, unceremoniously violated with sharp spires of sandstone sticking out of the ground at sixty degree angles. That place was called Roxborough State Park. I had never been there and I had no good reason why not. The idea of finally visiting for a first time has been a dripping faucet in the back of my mind for a better part of a month and on Monday I was considering shutting the faucet up.

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Belgium day 2: Good roads, great company.

It is not difficult to go on a good ride, and it is not difficult to take a good photograph (or at least a decent one). It IS difficult however to go on a good ride while taking good photos. Good rides involve momentum, flow, and that feeling of covering copious amounts of countryside. Good photographs involve putting some thought into what it is you are trying to show and doing it with intention… and some luck.

On yesterday’s ride I didn’t do that, I just rode around in a state of awe and waved my camera around while holding the shutter button down. Zero thoughfulness, zero intention. Click, click, click. Hope something turns out.

As they say on the internet: Sorrynotsorry.

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