A few weeks back I lined up for the Battle Of The Bear endurance XC MTB race in Morrison, Colorado. I was using the race as a way to get 3-4 difficult hours of training in for the leadup to Dirty Kanza, not so much with any specific race goals in sight. Bear Creek State Park is a flast, flowy, and often smooth XC race so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try something new on Traildonkey 2.0.
Some rides haunt you. You see a peak or a road out of the corner of your eye and you know that you must go and find where it goes. Until you do there will be no rest and yet when you decide to go there is also no rest. Fear creeps in, and doubt. Is it do-able? Can you do it? These are the scary rides with unknown outcomes. Yet these are the rides we most love.
At Rodeo failure IS an option. It’s OK to turn around and go home if necessary. But if you manage to press on and push through you accomplish something special. Something outside of the measurements of distance, power, calories, and altitude gained.
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.
I’ve been putting in some great miles on the Traildonkey 2.0 prototype so far this year. I’ve only done three actual rides but they have all been big and up high. Treating the Donkey like a road bike is a good series of tests. Does it feel stable, stiff, and planted on climbs and descents? Yes, yes it does.
It isn’t a race road bike, but it has done really well on tarmac, gravel, ice, and snow alike.
Bonus: When road racing season arrives I’ll probably be that much stronger from pushing around a bike that has a few more pounds on it than the average road racing thoroughbred. When I race a lighter bike it’ll feel like lightning.
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.
Cowboy Cross at the Western Stockyard Complex. The smiles won’t soon fade.
In my opinion it is the best CX race and best atmosphere of any race in the Front Range. The labyrinth course in, through, under, and around the stockyards is SO. MUCH. FUN.
It is a funny and rare thing when everything converges. This year cyclocross season started a bit early with a season opener at Oskar Blues farm in Longmont. We’ve been a little bit quicker on our toes than last year so we already had our kits in-hand a few days before race day. On a lark I decided that I wanted to race the prototype Traildonkey as well. I’ve actually had this bike in storage since April because as a very early prototype it had a lot of imperfections in the design (which we’ve since revised and refined). I’ve been riding the Flaanimal prototype a lot lately and while I do love the bike and the feel of steel I wanted to go back and get re-antiquated with our first bike project, the one born at almost exactly the same time the team was in January 2014.
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.
We took a different type of route on Sunday morning. We just weren’t feeling the normal ruts we sometimes ride in. A figure 8 course way up high gave us about 10 miles of gravel, 10 miles of pavement, and 10 miles of singletrack. This is my favorite type of riding. It feels less like routine and more like adventure.
It was an excellent weekend of camping, trail riding, unicorn hunting, and s’more roasting in Buffalo Creek, Colorado.