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.
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.
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.
Hear Ye, Hear Ye! June Rodeo Rally
The weather had been rain, sleet, and snow for three days. The forecast predicted a four hour break on Saturday morning from 10am to 2pm.
The forecast was 100% wrong.
We don’t ride in foul weather because we are suckers for punishment. We ride in bad weather because there are good people to do it with.
It has been three months since we rallied at Stoney Pass. Despite being one of those all time days not much has been written about it. Documenting our adventures is at the core of what we do around here, but documenting takes time. Time is always against us as cyclists. Time is in short supply. We all have real lives. We all have work, friends, families, significant others, other passions, and the like.
The Rodeo Rally is notorious for epic adventure and a good time. Most of that, however, includes some epic climbs and leaving some comfort zones some would rather not leave. This February Rally is an attempt to make a ride that is more inclusive and more social while still providing some adventure and fun. As a plus, is has a chance to draw in a lot of people who may have been put off by previous rallies. 70+ miles, a little over 1k elevation, and a few turn off points along the way. The goal is to hit a few abandoned towns out east of the front range and explore some less-traveled dirt while admiring the mountains from afar.
Date: February 20th
Distance: 77 Miles with turn around/shortcut options
Meeting Place: Gray’s Cafe in Ault, CO @ 8 A.M., caravan out to the start at 8:30 to roll out by 9/9:30. Parking is open ended at the moment, but we may need to figure it out day of.
Est. Ride Time: 5-7 Hours
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.
Photos by Brett Rindt, Patrick Charles, Peder Horner, Nick Gilroy, and Stephen Fitzgerald
Fall is in the air in Colorado. The leaves are putting on their yearly show as they turn from green to gold to fiery red before drifting away on gusts of wind. If you live in this state you wait for this time of year with anticipation. Maybe you feel the morning air getting more crisp by the day. Maybe you’ve noticed that the tomatoes in your garden have stopped turning from green to red. Whatever the case, you know that the window to catch nature’s leaf peeping display is small, only a few weeks at most. The Rodeo crew decided to organize a last minute rally to coincide with the season. Many of us had seen an obscure gravel road heading due east into unknown hills off of Highway 285, and it was decided that we would create a route exploring this wild section of Colorado that had hitherto not been explored by any of us. It didn’t hurt that said road plunged straight into rich bouquets of red and yellow aspen, and beneath those bouquets waited trails and roads carpeted in gold and ripe for exploring.
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.”