It’s almost midnight as I try to post this while it is fresh in my mind. What a day it’s been. If kids have Disneyland and Muslims have Mecca, then cyclists have Belgium. The most difficult and storied one day races in our sport’s history have happened here. Outside of the Tour De France it seems to me that there is no bigger crown for a rider than to knock off one of the big Spring Classics that are held here. Stories of cobbles, brutal elements, and gladiators waging bike to bike combat are burned into the minds of those who follow this sport, and most of those stories happened here, in Belgium.
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary
An epic adventure has equal parts pain, suffering, and elation. It is easy to classify an adventure of epic proportions. If the pain, suffering, and elation of an epic adventure are not enough of a clear indicator, the constant thoughts and smiles of said adventure many days and weeks after the fact solidify the experience. The White Rim Trial in Moab is one such ride that easily falls into this category. More than a week has gone by since we finished the ride, and I am still thinking about it.Continue reading
Sometimes as a cyclist there is a particular ride that calls your name relentlessly. For some it’s an almost mythic European climb like Le Alpe D’huez, for others it could be a right turn onto a dirt road that they’ve never had the chance to take. Over the last year one ride has been calling my name like a record stuck on repeat. That ride is Slickrock Trail in Moab, Utah. I had ridden it once a number of years back and the experience left me laughing at the hysteria and fun of the place. It was unlike any ride I had ever done. Slickrock Trail is almost completely without peer on planet Earth. The frozen dunes of sandstone take on forms that seem drawn by Dr. Seuss. The way it undulates up and down begs you to explore every nook and cranny. The traction of the rock surface is like velcro, and it would seem that there is no grade too steep to climb so long as your legs can spin the cranks. If you aren’t up to the challenge you can just as easily stall out and tumble back down the hill (or cliff) to whence you started.
“What is Rodeo?”
That is the question I’ve received in my inbox quite a bit over the last year. It’s been a difficult question to answer quickly or clearly because the only constant I’ve been able to pin down with any certainty is that Rodeo evolved very quickly in 2014, and it’s definition seemed to be in a constant state of evolution. It has occurred to me then, over the past few months, that the most important question isn’t ‘what is Rodeo?’, it’s ‘why is Rodeo?’
The planning for the May Rodeo Rally began serendipitously back in January, when, as you might recall, I took advantage of a warm winter Colorado day and set out on a solo dirt adventure south of Denver. The beautiful route and photos must of stuck in the craw of one Matt Deviney to such a degree that he worked tirelessly on finding a way back to Denver so as to avoid the treacherous no-shoulder/pucker-inducing-death-ride segment of Santa Fe north of Sedalia, between the small town of Louviers and Titan Road. We both recon’d different routes over the ensuing months, but neither could completely pre-ride the route and were skeptical we could find a better way back to Denver.
We all laughed when the name popped out of my mouth over a morning coffee. I was describing to Chris and Peder that I wanted to build a new cyclocross bike. My 2001 Bianchi Axis, though still a worthy steed, is showing signs of age. It still gets the job done in a standard cyclocross race, but over the last year I’ve been taking the bike places it just wasn’t built to go, and it’s struggled to keep up with my demands. I am, to a fault, loyal to my beat up old warhorse bikes. My stable includes a 2001 Yeti AS-R MTB, the 2001 Bianchi Axis, and my 2007 Felt FA road bike. I recently added the Cannondale SuperSix (which I won), but it is the exception to my miserly bike ownership. When I was a bit younger (and single) I wanted bikes that were the lightest, fastest things out there, but now I’m more pragmatic about the hardware and the true performance gains it affords. Only when I come to the end of what I think one of my bikes can do do I start looking around for a new bike.
“It’s just a recovery ride”
These are probably the most mis-used words in cycling, they are around here with the Denver Rodeo crew anyway. Yesterday’s ride was supposed to be a pleasant spin to see if “the sensations are good”, but it didn’t take long for Peder and myself to get bored and start looking for silly things to do. Every time we passed a dirt offshoot of the road we’d yell “singletrack!” and see if the trail went anywhere. Most didn’t but some did, and we hit the derping payload when we took a turn onto the North Table mountain trail system. Yes, we were on our road bikes, but more and more that makes our dirt rides more fun and we were up for the challenge of seeing where our wheels would take us.