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Defining the Rocky Mountain Cyclist

Advent of the Town Series MTB Little League Training with the Circus Tuning the Political Wheel Fruita Fat Tire Festival Race Reports

Number 2 Summer 2005 $3.95

Editor’s Note


he first thing people do after launching a publication is anxiously type their names into Google and see how they rank out there in the dark and mysterious Googleworld. I’m just as curious as any other neo-publishers. Every so often (okay, twice a week) I send the Google gremlins on a little search for Mountain Flyer. This morning my search turned up something new and interesting. A chat room on an anonymous cycling-related site I’d never heard of had a little smut on my ‘zine. I was flattered. I happily read on about how cool and soulful Mountain Flyer was and how this tremendously sophisticated cyclist really recommended Mountain Flyer to his friend (we’ll call him Myron). Things went south from there. Myron replied that he thought Mountain Flyer was “lame” and we spent too much valuable print space on, yuck, how distasteful, racing of all things. Myron read through “as much of it as he could stomach.” Well, I thought, that’s a little over-dramatic. I thought issue No. 1 was a well-rounded publication. What about the article on the Valles Caldera Ride or Jefe’s single-speed adventure? Those articles had nothing to do with racing. Can’t please them all I guess. Thankfully, the compliments I have received on issue No. 1 have far outweighed any non-constructive criticism. But if you look beyond the insults, this person’s comments do bring up a noticeably divisive gap in the cycling world. What relevance does racing have and what has it contributed to our sport? I’ve spent roughly one-third of my life racing. I love when my heart pounds so hard that it feels like Keith Moon is doing a drum solo in my temples. Because of this, I admire other racers and the feats they achieve. I appreciate the challenge racing adds to my life and how it drives me to get out and do something that pumps endorphins through my veins like a designer drug. I like the chase, whether I am the hungry wolf or the desperate rabbit. It is, however, important to recognize that not all cyclists are racers. I’d say that there are five basic types of cyclists: 1. Racer X. You know, they wear their heart rate monitors as a watch and constantly tries to talk everyone they know into racing so that they can beat them into a pulp on the first climb. 2. The Recreational Racer. Loves anything to do with cycling. Loves to compete and be involved but does not center life around training. It’s really all about riding. Has competed in the 24 Hours of Moab every year since its inception, once riding a single speed and wearing a tutu (never again). 3. The Avid Cyclist. Way into riding hard, fast and long every chance he or she gets and does not really care about racing at all. It’s safe to say that many of these types are faster than the racers because they are usually on their bikes while the racers are sitting on the couch worrying about resting. 4. The Casual Rider. Loves anything to do with The Tour and even more about Lance Armstrong. These folks may own as

many as six Livestrong bracelets and a postal service edition Trek road bike. 5. The Baggy Pants, Slightly Intoxicated, Soft Around the Middle Boulder Frat Boy. Thinks a bike is something to steal when walking home from the bar (because his friends took away his car keys—again). Mountain Flyer is meant to be for numbers one, two, three and four. These folks all have one thing in common. They love the sport. Their best day of the week involves an epic ride with friends or family. Has racing contributed to the sport? Even if you don’t dig racing it’s easy to see that competition has inspired people to push the boundaries of possibility. John Stamstead rode the entire Continental Divide Trail by himself and set the record. That’s got soul. Last year, Mike Curiak rallied a handful of like-minded lunatics, labeled it a race and proceeded to break Stamstead’s record by 52 hours. That’s sick! Some of the best innovations in cycling were inspired by racing. Where would front suspension be if Ned Overend hadn’t raced on the original Rock Shox in the 1990 World Championships? Would we have full suspension bikes if there were never such thing as downhill racing? Without the racers’ need for more efficient bikes, would we have clipless pedals or STI shifting? I doubt any of these products would be available if it were not for competition. Furthermore, racing has provided a format for which cyclists and representatives from the cycling industry can get together and get organized. Some of cycling’s greatest advocates are the race promoters because they have a powerful voice in their communities and can use their role to organize trail work days and educational programs (see the story in this issue on MTB Little League). One purpose of the media is to cover newsworthy events and happenings. Well Myron, racing happens. I agree that getting out and riding with your buds is what it’s really all about, but racing has contributed to the growth of cycling. So all you Myrons out there— keep the criticism coming (but please keep it constructive), and before you get too critical, take a closer look. Racing does have soul.

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Photo by Mike Tittel

Is racin’ lamer than a 3 legged horse?

Who’s Who In This Issue Cover photo: Karen Janssen at Harman Rocks by Xavier Fané Editor Brian Riepe Managing Editor Caroline Spaeth Art Director Gloria Sharp Mountain Flyer Logo Design Donald Montoya Photographers Xavier Fané Josh McGuckin Brian Riepe Mike Tittel Nathan Ward Writers Lisa Cramton Dean Crandall Susan DeMattei Jeff Irwin Dan Roper Lora Schmillen Andrea Schulz Dave Sheldon Caroline Spaeth Brian Riepe Kevin Tan Printer Crested Butte Printing and Publishing Publisher Secret Agent Marketing Group, LLC Mailing Address Mountain Flyer P.O. Box 272 Gunnison, CO 81230 Email Web Site Advertising Sales 970.275.2573 Subscriptions


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Editor’s Note

Number 2 Summer 2005


Advent of the Town Series by Brian Riepe


Flyover by Caroline Spaeth with Brian Riepe


Tuning the Political Wheel by Caroline Spaeth


Salida Mountain Trails Park by Andrea Schulz


The Candy Store


KT’s Garage by Kevin Tan


Lisa Myklak —Moving up Fast in the Downhill World by Dave Sheldon


Training with the Circus —Tricks and Tips for Fitting Training into Your Real Life by Susan DeMattei


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The Fruita Fat Tire Festival—Ten years Worth Celebrating by Brian Riepe


Racing Action 2005 Tour of Canyonlands 40 18 Hours of Fruita Endurance Race 46 Chalk Creek Stampede 50 Kokopelli Trail Race 56

The Sordid History of Fat Tire Bike Week by Lisa Cramton

Calendar of Obscure Events



Will There be Future Cooperation with ACA and USA Cycling by Dean Crandall

Our Forests—Land of Many Uses by Lora Schmillen

La Ruta de la Conquistadores by Dave Sheldon

What if the Buddha Raced a Bike? by Jeff Irwin

The Unthinkable Day by Dan Roper


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Closer to Home Advent of the Town Series by Brian Riepe

ome may consider it the glory days of U.S. cycling. Picture it. It’s late June 1991. All the best Europeans came here to race. Nine months before this, Ned Overend won the first-ever official Mountain Bike World Championships in Durango, Colo. Cycling is going strong in the Rocky Mountains. Getting trail use permits and road closures is as easy as clicking your foot into your new SPD pedals (the latest and greatest at the time). So, here you are, vacationing in the picturesque, little Rocky Mountain town.



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An excited crowd, beers in hand, lines the dirt streets. Riders are streaming past, hopping off the Main St. curb and thumping across the narrow wood bridge over the swollen waters of No-Name Creek. The racers’ bikes are mostly custom steel. Only a few have shocks. Some of the riders are wearing those cool Etto helmets—the ones with the florescent green and pink tiger stripes— and Oakley Blades. Sweet! The cheering grows louder as riders rip past. Two of the world’s best, John Tomac and Tinker Juarez, fly by in their

big rings and climb up towards Thin Air Pass. Tomac is hunched over in his drop bars, tongue hanging out, taking in every bit of oxygen he can find. Tinker is right on Tomac’s wheel but he doesn’t know it because his ’fro is covering his eyes. One more lap to go…. Is this stop number 6 on the World Cup circuit? No way. A NORBA NCS race? Nope. This is the circuit race at a humble Colorado Off-Road Points Series event. Back in 1991, this is where you could watch some of the best competitors in

cycling. Boulder, Durango, Winterpark, Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs, Aspen and Vail all hosted races that attracted the top competitors in the country. The best thing was, even with the high level of competition, the races had a modest atmosphere. It all seemed very approachable for a newcomer. People camped in the parking lot and everyone attended the post race barbecue to share a beer and tales from that day’s adventure. For $25 you could race, eat and get a cool Tshirt. In the next few years, things would change dramatically. NORBA began looking for new venues around the country. The National Championship Series and the UCI World Cup took off and the top riders began chasing points and sponsors. Good for the growth of the sport? Perhaps. But racing in the country changed. The overall attitude at the events became less microbus and more SUV. Things got serious. Everything was geared towards sponsorship and the eyes of race promoters became fogged with the elusive goal of getting television

coverage. Hype was the rumbling, throaty hotrod and dinero was the tattooed, leather-bound driver. Some of the riders and most of the fans started

Beer, Pizza and Door Prizes. Is this Bingo Night or a Bike Race? to lose interest. Luckily they only lost interest in traveling and paying huge entry fees, but they did not lose interest in racing.

To meet the demand for regional racing, high quality events sprang up. New formats like 24-hour racing and the freeride scene emerged. For the dedicated racer, it’s never been hard to find a good venue in the Rocky Mountain region. The Mountain States Cup offers a professionally run, wonderfully competitive series. Thanks in part to the American Cycling Association, the road racing schedule is growing steadily. There are even more bike races in this region than rodeos! But what about those who can’t travel every weekend to chase a point series around the state? What if you’re not that serious, and you miss the days when beer was a recovery drink. Or maybe you like a good race but aren’t willing to blow your retirement savings on traveling. You have job commitments, families or other interests that keep you from devoting your life to racing. You may be part of the majority of cyclists looking for something different. For you and many other cyclists, the Town Series is the perfect answer. Mountain Flyer


Along Came the Town Series In the early 1990s, a new type of race series popped up in the Rocky Mountain Region: The Town Series. The trend may have started in Vail or Winter Park, maybe Summit County. The formula is simple. Give people a fun, inexpensive weekly race series that is just a bike ride from home. Add some tasty snacks, foaming microbrews and locally donated prizes at the finish line and you’ve got a quick success. If you hang around at the post race party, you’ll likely hear slurred comments about how much fun this is and how, “This is just like the good ol’ days.” A Town Series race is like the good ol’ days in that it makes racing fun, humble and accessible. You don’t need hype to put on a bike race. All you need to do is line up and say go! Ironically, these series have become some of the largest races in the region nowadays. Collectively, they are the bulk of the racing in the Rocky Mountains. The Winter Park series brings in more than 600 racers per event, while the Summit and Vail series can see more than 300 racers on a warm summer night. Even Crested Butte’s Pinnacle series hosts six parties per summer for more than 100 racers. The Aspen Cycling Club puts on 22 events alternating between road and mountain every week from May until August. The Front Range communities have their own versions with continuous racing from March through December (mountain, road and cyclocross) hosted by several different promoters including Schwab Cycles and Boulder Racing. These town series races are inexpensive. Old-fashioned fun is the main theme but don’t let the low-key atmosphere fool you. Just like in the good ol’ days, when you put a bunch of adrenaline-spiked cyclists on the starting line and say go, the chemicals kick in and you’ve got a race. The level of competition is whatever you want to make of it. You can have a few beers before the race and hang out with the laughing group or you can put the hammer down and try to hang with the likes of Mike Kloser or 8

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Town Series events are about racing with your friends. Photo Courtesy City of Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation.

Brian Passenti and Bob Helmus lead the peleton in an Aspen Cycling Club Series race. Photo by Steve Kelly

Calendar of Town Series Racing in Colorado Aspen Cycling Club Race Series Detailed information at Aspen Cycling Club is one of the oldest and best organized cycling clubs around. This series hosts an impressive 22 events (alternating between mountain and road) spread over five months. Highlights: Some of the best road races in the state like a hill climb up Independence Pass on May 21, 2005, before the road is open to traffic and a race up to the Maroon Bells trailhead and back on July 27, 2005.

Matt Boughton enjoys a splash through a mountain spring on the Government Trail (Aspen Cycling Club Series).Photo

Schedule: May 4 through Sept. 17, every Wednesday evening with several events on weekends too Banquet on Sept. 21

by Steve Kelly

Jimmy Mortenson in the Vail series, Charlie Eckert in Aspen, Susan DeMattei in Crested Butte, or Travis Brown, Marc Gullicson and Gretchen Reeves in the Boulder Racing Series. I’d be willing to bet the competition is stiff in the Four Corners Series. The point is that many of today’s top racers live in the Rocky Mountains, so you can get some serious competition at town series races if that’s what your looking for. Town Series racing is grassroots racing at its very best. It offers an opportunity to compete against your peers, ride with some of the best in the sport and train at an intensity that would otherwise be impossible to replicate. Best of all, the consensus is that Town Series racing is the most fun you can have in a little mountain town without getting arrested. What’s next? Here is a call to arms: Will some budding young race promoter host the Rocky Mountain Town Championships? I’d love to see some sort of one day/team points event where each town can enter a representative group of riders. You design the format. Imagine the rivalries. Get on it!

Crested Butte Poweraid Pinnacle Series Detailed information at or April Prout @ (970) 349-2303 The Pinnacle series is locally known as the best dinner deal in town. Lay down 10 big ones and get all you can drink beer from Breckenridge Brewery and all you can eat pizza, pasta, barbecue and cookies. Oh yeah, you have to race your bike first. The stack of prizes in race promoter Eric “H-Bomb” Baumms’ closet rivals the Grinchs’ sleigh as he’s leaving Whoville. Get the picture? You race, you eat well and win cool stuff. Highlights: You guessed it: Beer, food, prizes and racing on the infamous Crested Butte “tunnel of Aspen tree’s” singletrack. Schedule: Every Thursday night: July 7, 14, 21, Aug, 4, 11, 25 Wildflower Rush June 24–26

Summit Mountain Challenge XC Series Detailed information at The Summit Series is one of the originals. Founded in 1987 by Greg and Amy Guras of A Racers Edge, a local bike shop, and currently promoted by Maverick Sports Promotions. Race attendance averages 310 people per race. Format is cross-country. Sponsors include Avid, Mavic, Yeti, Turner, Clif Bar, Gary Fisher and A Racers Edge.. Highlights: Maverick Sports clearly focuses on putting on a great event. If you read through their mission statement, take notice of the phrase “customer service”—very cool. The opening race is always huge, more than 400 people, but the best thing is that it’s a series of backcountry courses. Each course is different and the series is designed to cater to “complete riders” rather than climbers. The season ends with a championship and finals party with the “mother of all raffles.”

2005 Schedule: Sunday June 5, opening race; every Wednesday night June 15 through Aug. 17 July 4, Firecracker 50 Aug. 27–28, Fall Classic Note: The Summit Mountain Challenge XC Series is also the birthplace of MTB Little League, a program designed to get kids involved in cycling in a low-key fun environment with an emphasis on sportsmanship, team building and fun. For more info see the article on MTB Little League on the following page.

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MTB Little League

Hitting a Home Run in Kids’ Cycling by Brian Riepe


ou know when your dog hangs his head out the window of your car and the wind makes his lips flap around? That’s the feeling MTB Little League will give your kids—pure, unbridled, drooling enjoyment. Little League involves racing but riding is the focus of the program, which is designed to expose kids to the true soul of cycling. Give a kid a custom team jersey, a group of friends to ride with every Friday evening, a fun race series, sneak in a little life education and you’ve got MTB Little League. “It’s a program, or more appropriately, the template of a program that we’re offering free to all promoters as well as those interested in youth development,” said Mike McCormack, Maverick Sports Promotions, which set up the program. “Last year we had more than 1,300 junior entries and logged more than 2,300 ‘kid hours’ of trail work and education in stewardship of the backcountry. That’s a big deal in youth development.” Want one in your own town? Why not? It’s easier than you think. Just add a little sweat equity and it’s free. Maverick Sports Promotions has done all the work and the company is happy to give you the template to start your own chapter. For years, the bike industry has recognized the need for junior programs. Many have tried with moderate success. The problem? Well, racing can be intimidating, expensive and generally hard for a kid to get involved in. More importantly, before kids get involved in racing, it’s important to teach them something about backcountry ethics, environmental conservation and the heart of the cycling culture: advocacy and a general love of the sport. The trick is to make all that stuff fun and cool so that the kids stick around.


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MTB Little League is the creation of Mike McCormack and Jeff Westcott of Maverick Sports Promotions. In 2001, they were trying to find a way to get more juniors racing at the Summit Mountain Challenge Series in Summit County, Colo. The simple thing to do, they realized, was to make the racing free. So they did. Word got out and by the end of the summer the junior ranks had gone from 11 racers to 50. The only problem was that they totally underestimated the numbers and had to go out and purchase prizes for all the extra winners they had. That financial hit led them to the creation of a more organized youth program. Not one that would make a profit, but at least break even, an important step towards sustainability. The program is simply modeled after baseball little league and other youth sports programs. The idea was to keep the costs down by selling team sponsorship to local businesses. The cost for joining the league is $40 per child. All the kids get custom jerseys and a bunch of quality time on their bikes. Participants get to build good sportsmanship and camaraderie by racing as a team and riding together once a week on recreational rides guided by parents and volunteers. The racing is the fun and exciting part that draws kids into the program. It’s cool wearing the team jersey, taking joy in each other’s victories, consoling each other’s defeats and winning prizes as a team. Now comes the advocacy. Having fun in the outdoors goes beyond racing and understanding good ethics. Maverick Sports had the foresight to take the program one step further and use it as an opportunity to teach the kids about backcountry ethics, appropriate trail use and giving back a little something to the community through volunteering. The weekly recreational rides are used as an educational opportunity. Coupled with organized trail workdays, MTB Little Leaguers get a full cycling experience. Come to think about it, maybe a few adults out there should think about joining. MTB Little League now has chapters in Summit County, Colo., Vail, Colo., Maine and Iowa. For more information on starting a chapter in your hometown, check out or call Mike McCormack at (970) 333-1159.

Photos Courtesy of Mountain Bike Little League

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Winterpark Detailed information at,, or (970) 726-1590 One of the best memories I have from my early cycling days is racing the Tipperary Creek Classic, an epic point-topoint race that traverses high above the valley from Fraser to Winter Park. That point-to-point race is still part of the Winter Park Series. Following the great tradition of the Town Series, Tom Carey of Winter Park Resort/Winter Park Competition Center hosts the races as fundraisers for their youth ski and snowboard programs. Highlights: All the good stuff. Raffles, epic singletrack and it’s all close enough to Denver to bring in more than 600 competitors for each event. Schedule: Every other Saturday June 4 through Aug. 27

Vail Butch Peterson (leading) takes a pull, while Jason LaPointe (in red) sucks his wheel and Rich Burkley makes a sneak attack from behind on the white stripe in the Aspen Cycling Club Series. Photo by Steve Kelly

Detailed information at, (970) 479-2279 or e-mail The Vail series is one of the originals and it’s run as professionally as the World Cup events that have been held on the same trails. The series is promoted by the Vail Recreation District along with variety of other events like golf tournaments, lacrosse, marathons, ice hockey, gymnastics and hiking. Highlights: World-class race courses with the town series feel. Finishes off with a huge end of the season party at Beaver Creek. Cash Prizes for Pro/Expert and generous prizes for all other categories.

In an unexpected move, numbers 734 and 96 attack from the back, putting the pressure on the leaders. Photo Courtesy City of Steamboat Springs Parks and Rec


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Schedule: May 25, June 8, June 29, July 13, July 20, Aug. 10, Aug. 24. Races held on Wednesday nights starting with the kids races at 5:00 pm and the adult categories at 5:30 pm.

Charlie Eckert in yellow helmet, Chris Seldin in blue helmet, Rishi Grewal two behind Chris with white and yellow helmet and Ted MacBlane on the right edge jockey for position in an Aspen Cycling Club Series race. Photo by Steve Kelly

Four Corners Detailed information at According to the series website, this series is not officially running for 2005 but they still are going to keep track of points for 11 races (what more do you need, keep track of the points and it’s a series). With Durango located within the greater 4 corners area, it’s needless to say that this “series” is extremely competitive. Highlights: Includes the Iron Horse classic and culminates with the Road Apple Rally (rumored to be Ned Overend’s favorite race). Schedule: March 5 through Oct. 1

Steamboat Springs Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series Detailed information at or (970) 879-4300 Steamboat Springs is probably one of the few ski towns left that still has as many cowboys as mountain bikers, and they like it that way. But it’s also a breeding ground for outdoor cottage industries;

Home of Moots, Kent Eriksens’ new venture, Byk E, Honey Stinger /EN-R-G foods, Big Agnes and Bicycle Associated Products. Just like the rest of Colorado towns, Steamboat Springs has its fair share of local honchos and a well-established 15-year-old town series where locals can vent off some steam after work. Highlights: Race on the incredible network of trail that crisscross Mt. Werner and Howelsen Hill. Ahhh, classic Colorado singletrack, Aspen trees, skunk cabbage up to your pierced belly button and that beautiful red soil! Each race is followed by the de rigueur post-race party at a different local establishment each week, complete with a raffle for $500 worth of merchandise. Schedule: Beginning May 25 and running on alternating Wednesday evenings.

Boulder/Denver Detailed information at or I was raised in a small town and still live in a small town so I have a tough

time calling anything brewing in the commercial-sized vats of the front range a town…but all the racing around Boulder and Denver provides the essential ingredients: fun, inexpensive and accessible races. There are now more bike races within 75 miles of Denver than there are tasty items on the menu at Tokyo Joes. Between the Cherry Creek time trial series, Pro Peleton time trial series, Schwab Cycles’ spring training series and fall cyclocross races, Boulder Racing’s variety of events from mountain to cyclocross and the Mead series, prudent Denver cyclists can race their bikes three days a week all year long without logging too many miles in the Subaru. Highlights: Colorado’s front range hosts some of the best Cyclocross racing in the country and criterium races that would scare the EPO out of any European tour rider. Schedule: Way too many to even summarize, we can’t afford to use up print space on it all–look it up on the Internet (just make sure you log off, get off your phat butt and go ride your bike before you’re tempted to start surfing).

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Regional cycling news World Cup Comes to New Mexico Angel Fire, NM – In a mountain biking coup for New Mexico, the World Cup is coming to Angel Fire Resort on July 9-10. The mountain resort in northern New Mexico was chosen as the only U.S. location for the 2005 Mountain Bike UCI World Cup competition. “At nearly 11,000 feet, we have two high-speed chair lifts, the challenging trails and the facilities to make this the ideal racing location,” said Jon Mahanna, the resort’s general manager. “We’ve been one of New Mexico’s best kept secrets and that’s beginning to change.” World-class riders will descend on the resort, nestled high in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, to compete in three grueling events. The downhill course will send racers off tight technical drops, across a lava field and down a highspeed ski slope before screaming down to the resort base. The cross-country course will cover an 8-mile singletrack loop that climbs 1,500 vertical feet to the mountain’s summit. In the mountain cross, racers will go head to head on a course with 14

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huge jumps and berms. During the races, the resort village will host a shopping venue for bike gear and provide live entertainment.—Caroline Spaeth

Double Your Riding Pleasure: Valles Caldera, NM If you missed your chance at riding the Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico last year, mark your calendar for this summer. Banking on doubling their big success of last year’s first-ever rides in the 89,000-acre federal land, the Preserve staff and a group of mountain bike volunteers are setting up two weekends of rides in the ancient sunken volcano. Choose from shorter scenic rides through expansive grasslands, rimmed by the resurgent volcanic domes. Or climb up those resurgent domes on a longer 30-mile loop. Rides are scheduled for June 18-19 and Aug. 13-14. The August rides coincide with the nearby Fat Tire Festival in Los Alamos. For more information, go to—C. S.

Velodrome, BMX Track Planned for Albuquerque Albuquerque, NM – Plans are underway in Albuquerque for an indoor bicycle park, where city officials plan to build a BMX track, velodrome and training facility. In late 2003, Albuquerque voters approved a $1.96 million bond for the project, which is expected to produce a $10 million price tag. Albuquerque’s Mayor Martin Chavez announced in February that David Chauner, president and CEO of Threshold Sports, has been hired to help the city plan and develop the project. The American Bicycle Association (ABA), a BMX sanctioning body with 60,000 members, will stage events at the covered BMX track and help young riders prepare for international and Olympic competition. John Clayton, ABA president has called the facility, “A boon for BMX racing across the country and a site for our top national events.” According to newspaper reports, Mayor Chavez has indicated that money will be raised from city, state and private sources to fund the project. Ground breaking is expected to take place in 2005 with targeted completion in fall 2006.—C. S.

Boulder Considers More Mountain Bike Access Boulder, Colo. – Although this western city has an incredibly high concentration of cyclists, Boulder’s surrounding open space and mountain parks have been notoriously inaccessible to mountain bikers. But that could soon change. In a move possibly influenced by public input from local advocacy groups like the Boulder Off-Road Alliance (BOA), the Boulder City Council approved on April 12 its new Visitor Master Plan, which dictates future uses and policies for Boulder parks. Despite the plan’s new restrictions for hikers, dog-walkers and equestrians, it contains optimistically positive language concerning mountain bike uses. On its website, BOA points out that it’s not necessarily time to celebrate. The burden is now on the cycling community to make sure the plan gets implemented as intended. The BOA has an extensive wish list for trail projects with an overall goal of opening new trails connecting existing trail systems to the community so cyclists are not forced to drive to trailheads. Some of the proposed projects would include the following: • Southeast: Boulder to Superior • East Boulder Trail: Baseline Reservoir to Teller Farms

• Lefthand Trail to Boulder Reservoir and Feeder Canal Trail (Axelson Trail) • North Foothills Trail to Heil Valley Ranch • Mesa Trail to South Boulder Creek West Trailhead For more information on how you can help, go to—B. Riepe

Safer Colorado Roads in the Works A bill that would significantly improve cycling safety on Colorado roads was heading to the Governor’s desk in late May. The Bicycle Safety Bill gives cyclists the legal backing for using common sense riding techniques. Gov. Bill Owens is expected to sign the bill in June and the law will go into effect July 1. “This bill was made possible by our grassroots support from cyclists around the state,” said Dan Grunig, director of Bicycle Colorado. “Changing laws is a challenging and slow process, but cyclists are building political power at the statehouse.” The bill received strong bipartisan support evident by the lead sponsors. Rep. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) rides year-round and enters an occasional road race. Sen. Ron Tupa (D-Boulder) loves to bike and his sister Shannon is a professional mountain bike racer.

House Bill 1218 improves the rights of cyclists on roadways while riding side by side, riding in crosswalks and signaling a right-hand turn. Current state law in these three areas assigns automatic fault to a bicyclist hit by a car, even if the driver is out of control. The bill gives cops and the legal system the power to cite the person, motorist or cyclists, who behaves unsafely. If signed, the bill would allow cyclists to ride side-by-side as long as they are not impeding the normal flow of traffic. But Grunig also stresses, “On roads with no shoulder, please be alert and ride single file when cars want to pass.” The bill also improves the safety of cyclists crossing streets. Most kids ride bikes on sidewalks and bike paths. Under current law, if they ride across a street in a safety crosswalk, and a car hits them, the child is at fault and the parents pay the medical bills. The bill takes away some of this potential liability. Finally, the bill would make it legal to signal a right turn either by pointing to the right or with the traditional bent left arm. Bicycle Colorado, our statewide cycling advocacy group that created the bill, said bicycling tourists bring in more than $250 million dollars of revenue to Colorado each year. Find the latest status of the bill at—C.S.

“This is another example of how government can work with organizations to encourage responsible use of public lands for our residents and visitors,”

Tuning the Political Wheel New Mexico Guv gets singletrack mind by Caroline Spaeth

Dave Simon, director of New Mexico State Parks, reaps the rewards of the first-ever trail-building agreement between a state park system and IMBA. This trail is the first of many planned for Sumner Lake State Park and other New Mexico state parks.


ountain biking and politics. Not the most harmonious of combinations, is it? But as unnatural as it may sound, getting cool new trails on public lands often depends on this unlikely combo. Unfortunately it’s usually the suits at desks, not gearheads on bikes, making the often politically charged land management decisions. But these days, in New Mexico you’ll actually find more of those suits on the trails. It all started last fall when the New Mexico State Parks signed an agreement with IMBA to build more trails in the state park system, the first agreement of its kind in the country. Dave Simon had taken the job as director of New Mexico State Parks a few years earlier, but soon realized that the economic fortunes of the parks were tied like an umbilical cord to the state’s lakes and water sports, naturally a big draw in the dry Southwest. The recent drought and shrinking budgets made him look elsewhere to slake the state’s thirst for recreation. “What we really needed to do was make


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those recreational opportunities available no matter what the moisture conditions were in the state,” Simon said. State surveys supported what he already knew as an avid mountain biker: The parks needed more trails. “I feel like mountain biking is a huge untapped potential for state parks,” he said. So Simon picked up the phone and called IMBA. What did they think about coming down to the state and teaching his staff how to build more trails? IMBA, which has numerous agreements with federal land agencies, jumped at the chance and signed its first-ever agreement in a state park system to build mountain bike trails and conduct trail-building schools. “This opens the door to more trails in New Mexico,” said Pete Webber, IMBA’s communications director. “It’s a model for cooperation between mountain bikers and land management agencies.” Somehow that unappetizing mountain bike-politics combo is looking a little more appealing, don’t you think? But it gets better. News of the agreement made it up

to the state’s top politician, Gov. Bill Richardson, who has been getting into riding his mountain bike on the Bosque trail along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque. He liked the idea of building bike trails in the state parks. “This is another example of how government can work with organizations to encourage responsible use of public lands for our residents and visitors,” Richardson said. “More than 39 million Americans participated in mountain biking in 2003, and New Mexico’s unique landscapes, climate and biodiversity are ideal for this kind of recreation.” (That’s political-speak for, “Cool, dude, more trails!”) But the Governor really is into trails, especially that Bosque trail. He wanted to extend the bike trail, so he talked to State Parks Director Simon, who instead suggested developing a trails programs in the state, promoting trails of all kinds. With Richardson’s political support, this spring the state legislature approved hiring a first-ever statewide trails coordinator position and $1 million in federal and state money to fund state trail planning. Simon said the trails coordinator will focus on two major statewide trails: extending the Bosque trail so the Governor and other cyclists can ride it farther along the Rio Grande, perhaps ultimately across the entire state; and finalizing New Mexico’s section of the Continental Divide Trail. The state’s section of the 3,100-mile CDT is the least developed of all the five states where the trail runs. In the meantime, Simon already is reaping the fat-tire fruits of political labor. IMBA and the state parks staff broke ground on a new trail in Sumner Lake State Park the same day their agreement was signed last September, and more trails are in the works. “We literally built the first trail in the park that very day,” said Simon. “Then we rode it.” Who says the wheels of bureaucracy can’t have knobby tires?

“More than 39 million Americans participated in mountain biking in 2003, and New Mexico’s unique landscapes, climate and biodiversity are ideal for this kind of recreation.”

IMBA Signs Agreement With National Parks IMBA crested a major hill on the national trails front this spring, signing an unprecedented agreement with the National Park Service. National Parks have hundreds of dirt roads that have been closed to bicycling. With this agreement, mountain bikers can now picture a future where they could ride in national parks for the first time, mostly likely on dirt roads first and then later on trails if all goes well. “This agreement represents a true breakthrough for mountain biking,” said Mike Van Abel, IMBA’s executive director. “It opens the door for individual park units to partner with mountain bikers and investigate new riding opportunities on a case-by-case basis.” But don’t load up your bike and head over to your

local national park just yet. As part of the five-year agreement, the two organizations will partner on two pilot products to be selected later this year. The NPS could open dirt roads with a straightforward administrative process but opening singletrack to bikes will require a much more lengthy process under NPS rules. The agreement primarily recognizes bicycling as a positive activity, compatible with the values of the park system. In other words, although the progress will move slowly in low gear, at least the wheels are in motion. In the meantime, check out the IMBA website,, where they’re taking suggestions on what pilot projects to propose first.—Caroline Spaeth

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Wouldn’t it be great to have a trail system accessible just minutes from anywhere in town, a place where everyone can go and enjoy the trails–cyclists, runners, walkers, kids, everybody.”

Salida Mountain Trails Park Mountain bikers work to create more singletrack on the edge of Salida’s downtown historic district by Andrea Schulz


ust a few yards north of downtown Salida lies a lonely slice of public land owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the City of Salida. For many years this land has sat virtually unused, its few difficult trails used only by expert mountain bikers and hikers, a place where people do little more than illegally dump trash. However, if a new public project gains acceptance, this land may be given the attention it deserves and turned into the Salida Mountain Trails Park, a sustainable non-motorized trail system that will greatly enhance Salida’s recreational opportunities. “It’s really unusual in this day and age to have the opportunity to create a new trail system right on the edge of downtown,” says Tom Purvis, a member of the Salida Mountain Trails Park Committee. “We have the chance to turn this small piece of littered land into a place of pride that will benefit the entire town, a place where people can ride their bikes, take walks and have picnics while learning about the history of our area.” The proposed non-motorized trail system will focus on creating trails for beginner and intermediate mountain bikers, trails that are also perfect for walking or running. Salida local Nathan Ward also commented, “Last year when I was working on Salida Singletrack, the mountain bike guidebook to the valley, I noticed that Salida didn’t have many trail options for beginners or intermediate riders. These people were leaving the area and traveling to Buena Vista or Leadville to ride the Midland Railroad Bicycle Trail or the 18

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Photo by Nathan Ward

Mineral Belt Trail. Salida would really benefit from having some easier trails accessible directly from downtown.” If all goes according to plan, the Salida Mountain Trails Park will include several new trails, rebuild existing trails to sustainable standards, incorporate trailheads, provide parking and teach visitors about

the Salida area through interpretive signage. The Park’s ultimate goal is to build 25 miles of new singletrack in the area. To help facilitate the process, the Salida Mountain Trails Park has officially become a chapter of the Arkansas River Trust, the local non-profit group responsible for creating the immensely popular River Walk and Whitewater Park along the Arkansas River. “We want to build on the excellent work done by the Arkansas River Trust along the river and apply that same professional standard to the public lands north of downtown Salida,” explains Ward. “Wouldn’t it be great to have a trail system accessible just minutes from anywhere in town, a place where everyone can go and enjoy the trails–cyclists, runners, walkers, kids, everybody.” The fate of the project lies in the hands of the BLM, which is currently conducting its first ever Travel Management Plan covering all BLM lands from Salida to Cañon City to Westcliffe. The BLM will ultimately decide what types of trails and uses are allowed. The City of Salida is also playing a major role since it owns the piece of land closest to downtown, which will determine the vital access points to the Salida Mountain Trails Park Area. “Both of these groups have been great to work with so far, and we hope to partner with them in the long-run to make these new trails a reality,” said Tom Purvis. To express your support, or if you have questions on how you can help, please contact the Salida Mountain Trails Park Committee at (719) 539-8523 or email:

Overheard —quotes from the field “Ohhhh, I can ride my bicycle but I can’t drink my liquor.” --Mavic roadie Dan Crean, after a four-hour ride in Fruita, taunting a friend to do a shot at his bachelor party “I like bike rides better than women. A good bike ride is easier to come by.” --Lucius Warner, enjoying an endorphin buzz at the top of trail 401 in Crested Butte “Are you guys gonna wear your numbers on the front of your jerseys or the back?” --An anonymous cyclist, heading out with eight friends from Aspen on a “casual” early-season Sunday ride in Fruita “Oh, yes. I’m hoping there will be lots of mud and snow. It will help slow down the fast guys” --Mike Curiak, illustrious endurance rider and organizer of the Kokopelli Trail Race, when asked if he thought there may still be snow on the high parts of the race course

Descente Athletic New Chamois Eliminates Stitching Say goodbye to chamois stitching that irritates you in all the wrong places. Boulderbased Descente Athletic has created the ultimate chamois, the Aero X. The chamois’ separate side wings and front panel are radio-frequency welded to the main chamois body. This completely eliminates stitching, making the Aero X one of the most comfortable shorts on the market. Descente uses higher density and thicker foam in the critical center areas and puts lower density foam around the periphery, creating multiple layers and more protection for you and yours on those epic adventures. Find more information at Suggested retail: $110.00


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DeFeet The Levitators Will Move You Ever feel like you need those sci-fi rocket-propelled shoes to get off the couch for a ride? Defeet’s new Levitator socks might be the motivation you need to get moving. Defeet, one of the best names in high performance athletic socks, has designed the most unique socks I’ve ever seen. The features of the new Levitator socks make it sound more like space age gear than something to slip your foot in. The socks, designed by engineers and knitting technicians, have a Levi-Pad for cushion and stability, Ambi-Fit left and right specific design, Awetoe seams, sculpted Air-E-Ator mesh for exhaust, Sexe-Hedron cuff for airflow, Coolmax-fresh FX fabric for wicking freshness. If that doesn’t inspire you, these socks are super comfy and last a long, long time under typical abusive conditions, all for less than the cost of breakfast at Pasquals. Get more information at Suggested retail: $10.99 - $12.99.

Ultimate Support Expanding Its Bike Repair Stand Line Ultimate Support’s history of innovation comes into the spotlight yet again with the addition of several new products in its bicycle repair stand product line. The company has four new products: Pro Elite, Pro Elite Commercial, Pro Compact and the Alpine Digital Scale. Website:

Pro Compact For the new Pro Compact, Ultimate offers this description, “Smaller, lighter, faster. That’s what traveling pro mechanics kept telling us to create, so we listened.” The company put its slide-lock clamping head on the slimmer Pro Compact stand for fast and easy adjustments. The Pro Compact weighs less then 10 pounds, can be fully extended to 58 inches, yet folds into an impressive 38-inch unit. Suggested retail: $179.99.

New Alpine Digital Scale Further expanding Ultimate Support’s bike repair stand line is the new Alpine Digital Scale, offered in partnership with Feedback Sports®. The scale is constructed either to be clamped into a bicycle stand or be suspended from a hook. Its compact size allows for travel and storage. Suggested retail: $64.99. I have an Ultimate stand that I purchased in 1993; it’s still the best stand I’ve ever used. —Editor

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Strawberry Honey Stinger The Gel with More Buzz Honey Stinger, produced by EN-R-G Foods of Steamboat Springs, Colo., has become a favorite among serious endurance athletes like Tinker Juarez and Cristina Begy. And it’s not just because they have the endurance of grizzly bears. Honey Stinger energy gel is the product of extensive studies showing that honey, because of its unique combination of sugars and relatively low position on the glycemic index, is the ultimate natural energy gel. Honey Stinger makes it even better by adding all-natural flavors, B vitamins, electrolytes and, in some flavors, caffeine. The newest flavor is strawberry. Buzz! Fly over to more info at Suggested Retail: $1.39.

KINeSYS Performance Sunscreen Spray and Go When you rode out it was cloudy, now the sun is out and your face is feeling it. Try this quick solution: KINeSYS Performance Sunscreen is a new microspray sunscreen, developed by chemists, sports medicine physicians and scientists. Spray it on and it dries fast without any rubbing and without residue. Better yet, the sunscreen is oil-free, water and sweat resistant, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. Available in mango scent or fragrance-free with broad spectrum 15 or 30 SPF UVA/UVB protection. Just spray it on and go. Find more information at Suggested retail: $14.00.

First Endurance Relying on Research and Racer Expertise First Endurance continues to stay at the front of the endurance nutrition pack with its new E3 sports drink. First Endurance blended the knowledge from the company’s clinical research with input from racers like Fred Rodriguez, three-time USPRO Champion, and the Navigators and Sierra Nevada Professional Cycling teams to produce the new sports drink. E3 contains an ideal blend of simple and complex carbohydrates, amino acids, antioxidants and electrolytes to provide endurance athletes the nutrients they need to fuel working muscles and increase exercise endurance. Flavors come in tangerine and lemon-lime. Find more info at and (866) 347-7811. Suggested retail: $12.95.


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Boone Titanium A Single-Speed Cog That Exudes Cool Want your single-speed to exude cool like one of Jesse James’ West Coast Choppers? If you’re thinkin’, “Oh yeah baby, that’s the way I wanna live and if you don’t like it, FU,” well then this single-speed cog is the cool you’re looking for. Boone Titanium is better known for making custom rings for fingers but also produces a full line of bicycle chainrings that are sure to put all your friends into a state of cog envy. Find more cool cog info at The single-speed cog pictured can be yours for a surprising $45.

Black Diamond Depend on the Vectra IQ in the Dark Whether you’re commuting to work at all hours of the night or cranking in a 24-hour race, you depend on a reliable, affordable back-up light. This time make sure you have the Vectra IQ headlamp in your gear bag. The Vectra IQ headlamp combines four long-lasting LED lights with a high-powered xenon bulb, giving you the best of both worlds: bright light when you need it, longer run times when you’re out for hours. Running on four AA batteries, the Vectra headlamp lights up the trail for up to 300 hours of run time in the “strobeoscope” mode and three hours at full power. Find more information at Suggested retail: $65.

Big Agnes The Mother of 24-Hour Race Comfort Planning to endure some 24-hour events this year? You may want to cozy up with a great deal on a Big Agnes sleeping bag. All Big Agnes bags have a fabric sleeve on the underside of the bag, which holds your pad in place. The result: you’re left to your sweet singletrack dreams instead of sliding off your pad all night. For car camping, we like the 3lb, 4oz. Encampment Polarguard Delta synthetic bag because of the reasonable $155 price and the roomy rectangular shape. A Big Agnes bag is the perfect insurance policy for those cold frosty October nights in Moab. Mate the 15-degree Encampment with a Big Agnes pad—or any 20-in. wide sleeping pad you already own—and you’ll be set in the camping department. Consider the fact that Big Agnes supports races like the 24 Hours of Steamboat and the 24 Hours in the Sage and you can’t go wrong. Find more information at or (877) 554-8975. Suggested Retail: $155. Mountain Flyer


Product Review

KT’s Garage by Kevin Tan Kevin Tan has worked as a mechanic in the Gunnison, Colo., area since 1995. With a background in mathematics, physics and chemistry, he could go head-to-head with just about any tech guy out there, but he prefers to keep it simple. “As a mechanic, I have had an opportunity to play with everything from Wal-Mart crapola to the most Gucci stuff out there,” Tan said. “It’s a great vantage point to consider what is White ENO Crank, Phil Wood BB: A Quality Combo With the advent of newer cranks featuring oversize spindles, outboard bearings and hollow forged arms, the older square-taper standard has fallen into the shadows. Unfortunately, so have meticulously engineered concepts like adjustable chain-line, Q-factor and longevity. While the increased demands of suspension and ever-increasing airtime make the added strength a necessity for heavier riders or the vertically gifted, for many riders and bike setups, a square taper was right on. With this in mind, I got the chance to 24

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truly innovative versus what is hyped and what makes some product designs so successful and others bomb. It’s also a cool way to connect with both industry people and riders.” In other words, whether wrenching on adult tricycles or a local pro’s velocipede, it’s all good. KT divides his time between managing the Tune-Up bike shop in Gunnison, goofing off with his family and playing in the dirt.

install White’s ENO crank (that’s one in reverse) along with Phil Wood’s bottom bracket for a trip down memory lane. If you have enjoyed riding singlespeeds for any length of time, you have probably heard of White Industries’ ENO freewheel, arguably the most durable and well-sealed unit I’ve ever seen. Available in sizes from 16T to 23T, it does the trick. Well this is the matching crankset. The cranks are designed for the lowest possible Q-factor (this is the width of the crankset from edge to edge) and come in lengths of 170, 175 or 180 mm. (A quick note on Q-factor: many elite-level riders fuss about it, and go so far as requesting machined-down crank spindles, bottom bracket shells or pedal spindles. If you spend much time on a road bike with a double ring, you know what a low Q-factor feels like.) The cranks feature

an aluminum drive ring with available sizes of 32, 34, 36, 38 or 44T. I think it’s safe to say that Phil Wood has essentially perfected the square-taper bottom bracket. With slightly hollowed-out faces on the taper for maximum security, aluminum or stainless steel cups to end creaking and seizing, sealed bearings with marine-rated seals and the ability to fine tune the chain line, this piece of equipment is for the purist. It is not uncommon to hear about these bottom brackets just getting smoother after several years and outliving several bike frames. The cranks and bottom bracket installed with minimal fuss and worked without a glitch. As for stiffness, I have seen plenty of Octalink or ISIS setups that are flexier and a few setups that are stiffer (XT hollow forged). The appeal of this type of setup is in the small batch quality that these manufacturers are known for,

The unique design of the tire, with its squared-off profile, ultra-supple high-volume casing, low-profile knobs and spooky low recommended pressure made for a ride that truly was more than the sum of its parts

The White Brothers Eno Cranks combined with the Phil Wood BB is old school, but sweet.

the product longevity and the attention to performance and fit that is impossible to achieve in the mass market. White Industries ENO Crank 180 mm Suggested retail: $185 Weight: 525 grams Phil Wood Bottom Bracket (stainless cups) 116 mm Suggested retail: $131 (w/ stainless cups) Weight: 256 grams (w/ cups)

Hutchinson: Fatter Python Has Bigger Bite Hutchinson scored big with the Python tire. During the mid to late ’90s, these tires could be seen winning almost everything. Paola Pezzo, Miguel Martinez and many other top pros consistently chose to ride them. The unique design of the tire, with its squared-off profile, ultra-supple high-volume casing, low-profile knobs and spooky low recommended pressure made for a

tires we tested are UST tubeless and feature a multiple-extrusion rubber designed to maximize straight-line efficiency and cornering traction. I tried to mount these on my singlespeed bike, which uses V-brakes. The Python 2.3 leaves only a few millimeters clearance to the brake cable, not enough for my liking, so I decided to run them on my disc brake bike. I had been running some dual compound sticky tires, and the difference in rolling resistance was like night and day. These things motor! The handling of the tire, like the original, favors smooth riders with honed skills. On corners, these tires handle quite a bit differently than aggressive knobbies, with a sensation I would describe as “adherence” vs. “bite.” On the dry, rolling technical terrain that much of Colorado is known for, these tires roll very fast and smooth but require more attention in steep or loose sections. As cross-country bikes have evolved from hardtails with limited travel to fullsuspension bikes with disk brakes and several inches of travel, the Python has evolved accordingly. Where the original 2.0 Python is well suited for racing, the 2.3 is better suited for long, fast trail rides where their high efficiency can mean pushing a gear or two higher. Hutchinson Python 2.3 MRC UST Suggested retail: $55 Weight (as listed): 895 grams For more information check out

A bigger Python has evolved.

ride that truly was more than the sum of its parts. Within a two-year span, several companies were producing tires that attempted to recreate both the comfort and efficiency of the Python, but with limited success. Well it’s almost 10 years later, and despite changes to the casing, rubber compound and tread, the Python looks much like it first did. For ’05 Hutchinson has introduced the Python in a 2.3 size. The

Dissecting the DT Swiss 240 Single-Speed Wheel Set Lurking just out of reach of the Mesa Mall in Grand Junction, Colo., is the U.S. headquarters of DT Swiss. DT’s Swiss-made products, which include rims, spokes, hubs and shocks, are shipped here for distribution in the States. DT offers a complete Mountain Flyer


Photos by Brian Riepe

line of pre-built wheel sets from mountain and road racing to downhill and freeride applications. All wheels use DT’s well-known hubs and newer lineup of rims, laced with the optimal spokes for the job. Being an avid member of the one-gear crowd, I opted to take the new 240 singlespeed wheel set for a spin. The wheel set comes in either disk or rim brake configurations. Since I have purist tendencies, I opted for the rim brake version. The 240 rear hub (240 grams, that is) is DT’s classic ultra-light rear hub. The single-speed version has a few changes from the standard hub: it is available with a quick-release lever or bolts, comes stock with a Centerlock rotor mount and uses a Shimano-compatible cog body. The hub body is roughly half as wide as a nine-speed body, giving you enough room to run more than one cog (if you choose to) and several spacers for fine-tuning of the chainline. The freehub uses DT’s patented Star Ratchet System and boasts a “no tool” service concept. The front hub is wispy light and is set up to be radial laced with 28 holes. The rims are DT’s XR4.1, which weigh in at about 425 grams and feature welded/machined sidewalls for strength, durability and precision. In reference to the “optimal spoke” for the job, the front wheel is radial laced with Revolutions (2.0/1.5/2.0), while the rear wheel uses a slightly beefier Super Comp (2.0/1.7/1.8) in a three cross. If you are unfamiliar with the Super Comp spoke, it basically bridges the gap between the ultra-light Revolution and the workhorse Competition (2.0/1.8/2.0) spokes—less windup (twist) in tensioning than Revolutions, full strength at the hub, able to use stronger nipples and with a weight somewhere in the middle. DT’s reputation for high precision is visible on all elements of the build. Light, stiff rims laced to smooth hubs with a well-thought-out choice of spokes make for a great feeling wheel set. The front and rear wheels accelerate very quickly and are both dish-less, which makes them 26

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The DT Swiss front hub is specifically designed for radial lacing.

The DT Swiss rear hub is one of most user-friendly hubs on the market. Look ma no tools!

feel very solid laterally. DT designed these wheels around an “easy service” concept, with commonly found spoke and rim configurations and a tool-less freehub rebuild. I had to see for myself—and it’s true. Rebuilding the freehub mechanism should take no more than 15 minutes with just your own paws and some light grease. If you have ever worked with a “typical” freehub system that uses small pawls, microscopic springs and around 40 or 50 ball bearings, DT’s Star Ratchet is refreshing. There are two interlocking plates with coil springs on either side. The system is surprisingly simple, feels very positive and is confidence inspiring. Oh and one more thing. I gotta say I

was impressed by the integrated, knurled washers on the 8 mm bolts. It’s a small detail that makes the bolts non-marring to the frame and keeps them solidly in place with minimal torque. DT set out not to redefine the wheel but to raise the bar with well-engineered products designed for ease of service, durability and lighter weight. DT 240 Single-Speed Wheel Set (rim brake version) Suggested retail: $770 Weight: 1,523 grams (as listed) For more information:

Lisa Myklak Moving up fast in the downhill world

Photo by Josh McGuckin Inset photos by Brian Riepe

by Dave Sheldon

Lisa Myklak’s rise from a crash-happy beginner to an accomplished professional downhill racer in four short years is nothing less than inspiring. In 2001, in only her second year of racing, Lisa signed up for a downhill race. Competing in the expert class, she tore up the course for a fifth-place finish. The next year, she started winning downhill races consistently in the expert class, including taking first in the Collegiate National Downhill Championship race. This year, embarking on her third year of racing as a pro, Lisa will try to better her 2004 fourth-place finish at the Big 28

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Bear Mountain Cross and defend her overall title in the Mountain States Cup series.

MF: That’s a pretty serous first ride. LM: Oh yeah, I was hooked. As soon as I got back to Boulder, I bought a bike.

Mountain Flyer caught up with the bright-eyed, energetic rider for a few margaritas at a popular Mexican joint in her hometown of Boulder, Colo.

MF: And the rest is history? LM: No. That bike was stolen after two months, so I focused on rock climbing for a few years. Then in 2000, I got a Schwinn Homegrown, named it Bucky, and started up again.

Mountain Flyer: What was your first mountain bike ride like? Lisa Myklak: Hmm, it was during spring break in ’98. We went to Moab instead of Cancun. I borrowed my boyfriend’s bike and rode the Porcupine Rim trail and loved it.

MF: When was your first mountain bike race? LM: It was a cross-country race in the summer of 2000. It had a hideous ninemile climb, followed by a nine-mile

descent. I was in last place at the top of climb, but found myself in second by the bottom. After that experience, downhill racing started to look pretty good. MF: But you didn’t start racing downhill events until 2001? LM: Right, buying a downhill bike is a big deal, but I knew I had made the right decision when I placed fifth in my first race. Unfortunately it was the last race of the season, but it was so much fun! MF: How did your 2002 season go? LM: Oh man, rocky start. First, I begged my parents to give me back my downhill bike. They took it away in the fall when my grades took a nose dive. So my first race of the season wasn’t until June in Angel Fire, N.M., which was quite humbling. I started training seriously on my DH rig after that, and from the middle of the season on I won just about all the expert races. MF: This will be your third season racing as a pro. What are your goals? LM: I would like to reach the podium again this year in a national race. And it would be great to defend my overall title in the Mountain States Cup series. MF: And you must be psyched for the World Cup at Angel Fire, N.M.? Didn’t you win Collegiate Nationals there? LM: Oh yeah! I love that course! MF: Each season your skills and racing jump up a notch. What’s the secret to your consistent increase in performance? LM: I love being on the bike so it’s easy to improve. I don’t feel complete unless I get to ride at least once a day. My weaknesses are pretty evident so I try to focus on them. Plus, the people I ride with are so darn good, I think it rubs off. MF: So you must be on a regimented training program? LM: No, I had one and couldn’t stand it. Now I listen to my body and keep everything fun.

MF: Do you ever get scared? LM: Sure, but not when I’m riding. Once I start down, I get totally focused. Fear gets you into trouble, so if my head is ever in the wrong place, I’ll call it a day. MF: You’re known as an intense competitor among your peers. Some of the women are even intimated by you. LM: Really? Maybe it’s my race face. I’m actually very approachable. MF: What other kinds of riding do you enjoy? LM: I love dirt jumping and cross-country riding, and going to the skate park with friends is great. It’s fun to push each other. MF: Road riding? LM: The road bike…not so much. But I do have one. MF: Who will you be racing for in 2005? LM: My bike frame sponsor is Morewood Bikes, a new company from South Africa. I'm really excited to be riding for them. Also, Velocity Racing is helping me with MRP Chainguides, White Brothers Forks, Thompson Stems/Seatposts, and Lake shoes. Also, the Colorado company Yellow Designs ( has hooked me up with some great environmental friendly clothing. I hope to be doing some more jumping demos with them. MF: So it looks like you’ll at least have a bunch of loyal equipment sponsors, but you’ll still be paying the bills. It is hard competing against salaried riders? LM: Getting the gear is a huge help. I couldn’t race without sponsorship. But holding down a full-time job takes lots of energy. Being able to focus one hundred percent on racing and training would be awesome. I know I would go faster. MF: Speaking of working for the Man, you’ve got a kinesiology degree. Do you hope to head in that direction some day? LM: No, I plan to stay involved with the

More Q&A Best DH course? Angel Fire N.M., or Sand Point, Idaho Favorite place to ride? Whistler, Canada Best post-race beverage? Margarita on the rocks with salt How many broken bones? 0 Broken frames? 4 Bikes in the garage? 4 Sickest drop? Third drop at Durango Nationals What’s in your CD player 15 hours into a 30-hour drive? Marilyn Manson Who would you want to be stuck in an elevator with? Greg Minaar or Travis Pastrana If you were lost at sea, what book would you want along? The Bible

biking industry. Right now I work for, a web hosting service for bike retailers. MF: How long do you think you will race? LM: I won’t race forever. The world is so much bigger than bike racing, and racing full time is pretty self-centered. I’ll see what doors God opens. But I hope to always be involved in the industry, and I’ll always ride. MF: Who’s your biggest fan? LM: The Super Fan! He’s everyone’s biggest fan and my personal favorite. Mountain Flyer


Training with the Circus Tricks and Tips for Fitting Training into Your Real Life by Susan DeMattei


ast spring I registered for a local mountain bike race, “The Rage in the Sage,” one of the only races that I compete in anymore. The great terrain, proximity to my house and low-key atmosphere make The Rage one of my favorites. My hubby was out of town, but I had made arrangements with a babysitter to come over early enough for me to get a warm-up, do the race and spin home. Perfect. Too bad my babysitter was ill from getting her wisdom teeth out the day before; her mom (a friend and neighbor) had called that morning to say that Sara couldn’t make it because she was still so woozy from the dental assault. She added that she would happily watch my three boys while I followed through with the race. Little did she know that one of my boys had been up all night, vomiting and squirting out of every orifice. I hadn’t slept a wink, but something in me was still looking forward to starting the race. “Are you sure you want to watch them?” I asked her with some hesitation. “Sammy has a nasty stomach bug, so I was thinking about calling it off so no one else would get sick.” Unbelievably gracious as ever, my neighbor persisted, saying it would be fine, “Don’t worry; we can just play outside ‘til you’re done.” Well, I jumped on the offer, sped over to the course, put on my number and 30

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tossed my pump and tool bag into the back of a friend’s car, exclaiming “I never need this stuff.” I headed to the start line with a few seconds to spare. Wouldn’t you know I had a flat about 15 minutes into the race? I was able to finish the race, however, and thoroughly enjoyed myself, but I knew I should get home to relieve my savior, neighbor Kathy, before any

more germs were spread. I may not have gotten the warm-up or cool-down that I was used to, but it was pure quality riding, especially given the circumstances. The aforementioned scenario isn’t unusual for parents or those with demanding full-time jobs, so it’s in our best interest to expect it and DEAL. If you’re into endurance sports, and my definition

Photos courtesy of Susan DeMattei

includes any activity over 30 minutes— seriously—focus on quality rather than quantity, and you’ll be much happier. The old saying, “Quality, not quantity,” has a perfect application for athletes in this day and age. Trying to fit in a job, family, extracurricular activities for kids (and parents), social engagements, household obligations, etc., is daunting enough, but carving out time for a ride, whether training or recreational, can really put us over the edge. How do we fit it all in without shortchanging our families, friends, jobs or piled-up laundry? Before marriage, kids and “real life” came into the picture, training was a job that I was lucky enough to focus on almost every day. These days, I really need to be organized to ensure that I have time to get out for a healthy sweat. Granted, my priorities have changed and I no longer race for a living, but I’ve been on both sides of the “I need more time in the day!” conundrum. I’m happy to report that, even with a seemingly endless list of everyday demands, it’s possible to get some quality time on your bike without compromising your day. Try incorporating some of these ideas into your schedule:

Get Your Ducks in a Row Preparation is key for finding a few extra minutes to spend on your bike. Make kids’ lunches the night before, prep dinner ingredients for the next day’s meal while the kids are in bed, pay bills while your favorite sitcom is on. Check out your bike the night before an early morning ride to avoid a time-wasting flat repair while you’re bleary-eyed. Fill water bottles, have clothing and a snack ready and bring your cell phone if you must. Multi-tasking will free up some time early in the day, giving you more room for an afternoon getaway. That being said, squeezing some type of workout in before your day begins is the best way to make sure that it happens at all. If you’re not an early riser, try to become one.

Do Business on the Fly Commuting on your bike is a very viable option for many. Pack a change of clothes, a hat, some deodorant and you’re good to go. Doing errands in the saddle works, too: trips to the post office, grocery store, retail outlets and friends’ houses can all be done aboard your steed, especially if it’s outfitted with bike racks or baskets. These days I don’t meet girl friends for lunch or go shopping for fun, but I do call up friends when I need a little social time on the bike. I can catch up on all the latest news around town while keeping my heart rate up, feeling connected and energized once we head for home.

Try Something New Health clubs offer a lot of options for people who need to keep an eye on young kids. Indoor cycling classes, Pilates, yoga, treadmills and weights are readily available and childcare is typically on site for a nominal fee. Being outside is preferable, of course, but gyms fill in the void when bad weather is a factor. They’re also handy for people who don’t mind getting up at the crack of dawn for a workout, or those who can muster up the energy for an evening session. Splurging on a nice indoor trainer makes a lot of sense for ultra-busy over-achievers, too.

Be Realistic If you have racing or recreational goals you’d like to meet, plot your strategy for being fit enough to reach them months in advance. If you determine that you have only five hours per week to train, chances are that registering for the Leadville 100 would be unrealistic and self-defeating. Seek out shorter, less stressful events that you’d feel comfortable completing and work up from there. Competitors who have more time to train and recover may post better results than those with full Mountain Flyer


schedules, but not necessarily. I’ve seen many athletes who, upon earning some sponsorship that allows them to devote more time to training, lose focus and put in too many hours and miles on their bikes, erroneously thinking that those extra miles will surely help them produce better results. Remember the mantra, quality not quantity.

Cover the Bases Depending on where you live, the variety of rides available to you on a daily basis will vary, but keeping your rides “fresh” remains an important component for time-pressed individuals. A lot can be accomplished during an hour ride (road or mountain). Giving yourself 10 minutes on either end for warm-up and cool-down still allows for 40 minutes of interval, tempo, time-trialing or technical riding. Find loops from your house whenever possible and bring along partners to keep the motivation high. I have a friend who uses her lunch hour for training time, choosing to eat later at her desk, with her boss’s approval. Have a plan for most of your rides, depending on how serious your goals, and follow it. Enlist a trainer or some reputable training books/internet advice to gain the most bang for your buck. When the weekend comes and you have a bit more time, slot in an endurance ride, knowing that during the week you already 32

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did some speed work or intervals. Having a full schedule means you won’t typically have time for “junk miles,” that extra time in the saddle that some feel compelled to add to their weekly total but that really doesn’t enhance their fitness. Commit to your progress by including family, friends, business associates and even competitors in your routine. The more people who know what you’re up to, the more support and encouragement you’ll get toward accomplishing your goals.

Cheers, Susan

T he Fruita Fat Tire Festival by Brian Riepe


riving into the Grand Valley on Highway 50, my little Honda rice burner is surrounded by steroidal pickup trucks displaying proud bumper stickers exclaiming F*ck Terrorism. The cultural diversity here is observable. Ten years ago I would have never guessed I’d be in homely little Fruita, Colo., to cover an 18-hour bike race that is part of the industry’s most trendy bike festival, hosted in part by one of Velo News’ top 20 bike shops in the country. It’s 6 p.m. and I’m hungry. The race doesn’t start until midnight so I stop for some pizza at Pablo’s, a gourmet pizzeria on Main Street, Grand Junction. I order a Sunshine Wheat with a Thai chicken pizza, grab the local papers and sit down at a table by the window. Ironically both newspapers contain feature articles about the Fruita Fat Tire Festival, touting how cycling and the festival have pulled little Fruita out of economic misery and into a healthy tourist-sponsored boom. One interview with a city administrator in Fruita stated that since Over The Edge Sports (OTE) moved in and began publicizing Fruita’s cycling opportunities, membership in the Fruita Chamber has grown from 150 to 300 businesses. The increase is not entirely from cycling, but that growth rate is unheard of on the western slope of Colorado where many small towns instead have a new blue Wally World Super Center and a Main Street lined with empty storefronts. Part of the success of Fruita and OTE comes from the regular media attention. While in Fruita I saw a journalist from the Denver Post, a group of blokes working on a story for a British magazine, and a scrapbook of previous magazine articles including one in Solo Bici (a Spanish cycling rag). 34

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Troy Rarick, owner and founder of OTE, is no longer surprised by the media attention. “We do really well with the press. I seem to be in something every month if not every week,” Rarick said. “Last year I flew to the Tour and there I was in the in flight mag, this year people flying United saw me again coming to the festival in the United mag. I think they just love my boyish looks…or I meant immaturity!” The story of OTE’s beginning is more complicated than I wish to unearth as it probably involves some sort of scenario parallel to Fear and Loathing in Moab. The simple version is that Troy saw an opportunity and boldly went forth with an unprecedented plan to open a bike shop in a cozy little farming community west of Grand Junction. They say even his mom thought he was crazy. Well, Troy was right. Fruita was perfect for several reasons. The mountain biking is better than anything Moab has to offer and it’s a tempting two hours closer to the major population centers in Colorado. The town has turn of the century class, it’s right off of I70 and the real estate was affordable. Everything fit. The shop opened up and the Festival was started to help promote the riding. Ten years later the little town has changed forever. Fruita now has a local brewery, an awesome pizza joint, una muy bueno taqueria authentico, coffee shops and more charm than Opie. Even cooler - the local Balanced Rock Hotel has a bike wash station out in front. But the setting is really worth going the trip to Fruita. Colorado’s Western Slope is an uncommon transitional ecosystem. The area is named for the leisurely deposit of sediment where the

Rocky Mountains fall away into the magnificent red fragmented scenery of the desert southwest; a landscape molded by the slow but inevitable erosion of the current and Ancestral Rocky Mountains. At a glance, it’s a place seemingly devoid of water where a dry wind continuously whips the persistent vegetation into small twisted shrubs. Rocks the size of VW buses are strewn about carelessly like scraps at a construction site. It is both rugged and magical. It turns out that, complemented by a mild climate, this process has accidentally created a one of a kind playground for cyclists; a complex landscape that contains a network of dreamy hidden canyons, huge prominent cliff bands and flat winding shelves of rock. Perfect for creating a network of scenic and technically challenging bike trails. The worldclass trails combined with quiet country roads and a stunning 40-mile loop of pavement winding high up through the Colorado National Monument has made Fruita and the entire Grand Valley a destination for mountain bikers, free riders and road cyclists. This year’s festival was the best one yet. Ten days of parties, bike tours, trail building seminars, more parties, an official Epic Ride For Advocacy, live music, the 18-hour bike race starting at midnight and of course the infamous liability nightmare – the Clunker Crit in downtown Fruita. Because of its grassroots style the Fruita Fat Tire Festival has always been a favorite hideout for the industry icons and this year was no different. In one hour I spotted Joe Murray, Marla Streb, Shonny Vanlandingham and Jeff Lenosky. (I’ve even heard of a Chuck Ibis sighting.) There are no poster signings or auto-

graph sessions (well, maybe at the Luna Chix expo booth) – these people come to Fruita for the same reason as everyone else: to ride trails like Zippity, Horse Thief Mesa, More Fun, Troy Built and The Ribbon. Kicking the festival off with an 18hour bike race was new this year and it was a huge success. The race was held at Highline Lake State Park – a surprising little oasis (thanks to irrigation canals) in the middle of the farm country west of Fruita. It was a perfect venue for the race – acres of grass for camping (log that into your travel file), shade trees, electricity, bathrooms, and a luge-like 5-mile loop of smooth fast singletrack looping the lake. For a complete race report see page 46. Advocacy has always been a focus at the festival and the Fruita cycling scene. Cooperation and planning are the real factors that make Fruita’s trail system so unique. Accordingly, one of the highlights of this year’s festival was the Fruita Singletrack Trail Summit on “Successful Sustainable Trials,” hosted by Over The Edge Sports and sponsored by New Belgium Brewery. (I think there might have been more beer drinking involved.) The three-day conference included speakers from the Grand Valley Mountain Bike Patrol, Colorado Plateau MTB Trail Association and the Bureau of Land Management. Some of the topics discussed were construction secrets and techniques, successful trails and partnerships with land managers, destination trail design, developing a trail plan and designing a line.Attendees were given valuable hands on experience by designing and completing a reroute on the east side of the More Fun Trail. The final days of the Festival turn into a general celebration of riding with friends and partying. Saturday was the final bash, sponsored by American National Bank, which included a trials demonstration by Jeff Lenosky and live music in the park. The streets were closed off to traffic and the freaks came Mountain Flyer


This year’s festival was the best one yet. Ten days of parties, bike tours, trail building seminars, more parties, an official Epic Ride For Advocacy, live music, the 18-hour bike race starting at midnight and of course the infamous liability nightmare—the Clunker Crit in downtown Fruita.

out to race their clunkers. It’s a spectacle worth witnessing. As with any good evolving business plan, you can expect a few changes for next year. When asked if he was already thinking about next year’s festival Troy responded “Unfortunately, yes! Trying not to. It will go back to its simpler roots with the rides, expo and the big Saturday Party. Ten days was too much! But it was a great 10-year party and I’m glad we did it, the excitement of all the people makes it all worth while. “There are always folks who say, ‘It changed my life,’ Troy continued, thinking back on those 10 years. “That’s all it takes for me, that’s what mountain biking is all about to me. The people who say, ‘I used to be bitter, addicted, stuck, angry… whatever it is and now I’m a mountain biker and Fruita is my homeland, my place.’ I can think of a hundred of those stories; great trails, great times and great people… what it’s all about. That’s pretty damn cool.”


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Photos by Brian Riepe

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Race Report: Tour of Canyonlands 2005—Mountain States Cup No.1

Five riders managed to find the Zen of singletrack and separate themselves from the pack of 380 racers contesting the Sovereign Trail Time Trial at the opening of this year’s Mountain States Cup. by Brian Riepe


hose riders in the meditative groove were Allan Obye, Ryan Artale, Rodrigo Gil Moreno De Mora, Etan Franklin and Matt Simmons. What set them apart and ahead of the rest? Only those riders who cleaned the precipitous 25 meters of technical, loose, twisted climbing singletrack would score the 30-second time bonus. It turned out to be a hard-earned windfall of time that had a major impact on the final outcome of the race; it gave some victory and, in turn, knocked others off the podium. Cycle Cyndicate chose to open the first Mountain States Cup race, held in Moab, Utah, with a new format of two time trials in two days. If the blue skies and dry heat of Saturday was the yin, then the dramatic overcast atmosphere of Sunday was the yang. The two courses were as dissimilar as the weather. Day one ran competitors on the Sovereign Trail: a 10-mile loop of twotrack roads and technical singletrack that traverses a slab of moonscape just northwest of Arches National Monument. At least half of the route zigzagged over a twisting red line of sandstone shelves and undulating waves of slickrock. The trail demanded finesse in a rider even more than raw fitness. Day two treated everyone to the Amasa Back hill climb. Those who have ridden the Amasa Back in years past may remember it as being a series of ramps and ledges. It looks a little different now. Somebody drove a dozer up it to service the gas pipeline at the top. For better or for worse, it’s all rideable now. That’s not to say it’s easy. Pre-riding the course was essential because there were several places where choosing the wrong line could put you in a bad spot further up the 40

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road. Still, riding up it is mostly a test of power and fitness. Results of the five fastest riders on both days are as follows:

DAY 1 Sovereign Trail Time Trial Women 1. Alison Dunlap (Luna Women’s MTB Team) 47 min, 10.1 sec 2. Kathy Sherwin (Biogen Idec.) +2 min, 8.5 sec 3. Jennifer Smith (Tokyo Joes/Golite) +2 min, 29.8 sec 4. Danelle Belengee ( +3 min, 49.1 sec 5. Tonya Laffey ( ` +5 min, 15.3 sec Men 1. Allan Obye (MGtech) 40 min, 43.3 sec 2. Jay Henry (Ford Cycling) +4.3 sec 3. Brian Smith (Trek/Volkswagen) +36.8 sec 4. Travis Brown (Trek/FRS Plus) +41.2 sec 5. Nick Martin (Trek/Volkswagen) +1 min, 22.4 sec

DAY 2 Amasa Back Time Trial Women 1. Alison Dunlap (Luna Woman’s MTB Team) 16 min, 8.7 sec 2. Jennifer Smith (Tokyo Joes/Golite) +5.8 sec 3. Katherine Compton (Cody Racing/Pro Cycling) +36.4 sec 4. Kathy Sherwin (Biogen Idec.) +55.7 sec 5. Danelle Bellengee ( +1 min, 31 sec

Men 1. Brian Smith (Trek/Volkswagen) 13 min 21.7 sec 2. Travis Brown (Trek/FRS plus) +2 sec 3. Jay Henry (Ford Cycling) +12.9 sec 4. Brian Lugers, first Semi Pro +51 sec 5. Lance Runyon (Titus) +59.3 sec

Allan Obye (MGtech) reaching the top of the 30 sec. time bonus section on the Sovereign Trail Time Trial. Obye was the only pro rider to clean it, landing him on the high point of the podium with 4.3 seconds to spare.

Benjamin Kraushaar (Durango Wheel Club) on his way to a fourth-place finish in the Junior Expert class of the Amasa Back Hill Climb.

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Photos by Brian Riepe

Clockwise from left: Sean Cassily suffers up a tough section of the Amasa Back Hill Climb. He gutted out a 7th place in the Expert Men 35-39 class. A rider struggles through the crux move of the 30 sec. time bonus section – Sovereign Trail Time Trial (no, unfortunately, he didn’t make it). Becca Blay (Team DEAN) makes a final push to the top, where the Amasa Back Hill Climb finished. She captured 8th place among the pro women in the race.


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Clockwise from top: Darren Ray ( placed 13th in the Expert Men 30-34 age group in the Amasa Back Hill Climb. Rachel Ouwinga (Boulder Performance) flies through a corner on the Sovereign Trail Time Trial for an 8th Place finish in the Expert Woman 30-39 category. A wetter than normal spring gave the Amasa Back Trail a colorful radiance.

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Feeling the lactic acid burn, no doubt, Danelle Ballengee ( cranks up Amasa Back to 5th place in the pro women’s class.

Tyler Foss (Bingham Cyclery – Ogden, UT) hangs on around a tight corner at top speed. His speed took him to 4th place in the expert men 19-24 category of the Sovereign Trail Time Trial.


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Race Report: 18 Hours of Fruita Endurance Race

Riding more than 165 miles in 18 hours, Fred Marmsater and Cristina Begy showed off their early season form with solid wins in the solo category of this inaugural long-distance race in Fruita, Colo. by Brian Riepe


erfect temperatures and a little luck keeping the rain at bay made for favorable conditions at the inaugural 18 Hours of Fruita Endurance Race, kicking off the 10-day Fruita Fat Tire Festival in fine style. The oasis-like setting at Highline Lake State Park, with roughly 20 acres of grassy campgrounds lined with tall trees, combined with a midnight start set a surreal mood for the entire event. By 7 p.m. Friday night the New Belgium Beer tent had the taps flowing, live music was rocking the whole park and teams were putting the finishing touches on their base camps. More than 250 racers turned out to compete on five miles of mostly smooth and fast singletrack circling the lake. Begy, riding in her trademark cornrowed hair and lacy red knickers, seemed to be riding well within her comfort zone as she ticked off consistently fast lap times throughout the race. When asked how she felt winning in Fruita, Begy replied, “I’ve been in a bit of a funk concerning racing and riding. I took some time to get my shit together and I’m feeling like I’m back now. Fruita was a really great pick-me-up I needed.” Cristina Begy is the 2003 24-Hour Solo World Champion. Thirteen men lined up in the solo category, but Fred Marmsater bested the field by completing 34 laps, two more than his nearest competitor, Marko Ross Bryant. Another hotly contested race was the Duo Male category. With such a short/fast lap (some riders were cranking out the 5-mile loop in nearly 20 minutes), many of the duo teams opted to have each team member ride two laps in a row before handing off the baton. Initially the Trek/VW team of Brian Smith and Nick Martin looked to be receiving some stiff competition from the


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team of Kevin Gillest and Henry Horrocks. Alas, through the night Smith and Martin’s hyper pace was untouchable and after the eighteenth hour, the Trek/VW duo was an impressive seven laps ahead, completing an agonizing 50 laps (roughly 250 miles), notably more than any other team at the event. All day Saturday substantial clouds surrounded the valley, hanging over the nearby mountain ranges and threatening the racers with strings of verga reaching down from their black undersides. For all intents and purposes everyone stayed dry until the very last minutes of the race, when an easy but steady rain moved in, sweeping across the lake in gusty sheets. Regardless of the rain, the band optimistically set up its equipment in the rain while everyone else huddled under the tent in front of the Beer Garden and worked on initiating a cool buzz before the awards ceremony. The rain stopped just in time for the awards ceremony where winners walked away with cash prizes courtesy of the Bank of the West. Notable Results (See complete results at Solo Female 1. Cristina Begy (Maverick American) 33 laps 2. Erika Tieszen 29 laps 3. Erika Marie Van Mete 26 laps Solo Male 1. Fred Marmsater 34 laps

2. Marco Ross Bryant 32 laps 3. Brian Nicholson (Cut Away), 29 laps Duo Male 1. Trek/VW, 50 laps Brian Smith Nick Martin 2., 43 laps Kevin Gillest Henry Horrocks 3. Sports Garage, 42 laps Kelly Magelky Sean Madsen Duo Female 1. Damsels in D-stre-SS Sarah Rarick Anne Spalding Four Person Coed 1. GoLite/Timberland Sprint Keith Bushaw Jeff Oakey Ali Rockwell Chris Boyd Four Person Female 1. Is that Your Ass? Denise Wojcik Heidi Delasantos Sandra Chavez Bonnie Nuttel Four Person Male 1. Two Fast, Two Old, Two Slow John Currier Ben Wagenman Jeff Mozingo Norm Fuccini

Clockwise from top: Racers had a “cyclocross” start on the beach at Highline State Park at a nice early time of 12 a.m. on Saturday morning. Brett Landin (Team Training is Over Rated) gliding through the night leaves a comet trail as he streaks by. Ghost Rider: The oasis-like setting, the midnight start and live music echoing off the lake gave the night a surreal ambiance. Henry Horrocks ( finishing lap #1 of 43, which he shared with his teammate Kevin Gillest. The pair finished second in the Duo Men’s Category.

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Top: Nick Martin (Trek/VW), left, being driven by Trek team mechanic Zack Vestal, just a few laps away from winning the Duo Men’s race. Bottom right: Brian Smith (Trek/VW) suffering like a dog and loving it (as usual), en-route to winning the Duo Men’s race with his teammate Nick Martin. Bottom left: Ripping one for the Fruita TNT team – is that Nick Nolte or Cat Callur?


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Cristina Begy, still pedaling circles at sunrise, won the esteemed solo women’s race with inspiring style.

Photos by Brian Riepe

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Race Report: Chalk Creek Stampede, Mountain Cross, Nathrop, Colo. May 8—Mountain States Cup No.2

Ross Milan, Bobbi Watt and T. Fisker cleaned up and set a high standard at the first Mountain States Cup gravity event of the season. by Brian Riepe


he staff of Cycle Cyndicate, Keith Darner and a small army of volunteers spent all spring designing, building and testing the new mountain cross course on Keith’s private ranch outside of Nathrop. All the work was well worth the trouble as more than 150 racers came to rip it up and have a few laughs with the tight knit gravity crowd. “I’d watch out, those four guys are gonna’ rip through there like 1,000 pounds of mean.” This was advice given to a spectator who got a little too close to the inside line on the second corner of the four cross course. It was the final heat of the day and the pro men’s championship was on the line. Good advice. The course had plenty of room for maneuvering but that inside line in corner 2 seemed to be worth fighting for.

The pro men’s final heat was stacked. In his noticeably powerful style, Ross Milan floated through that key corner, already one bike length ahead of the other three. He never looked back. Equally as exciting, the pro/expert women’s races were tight. Bobbi Watt and Lisa Myklak topped the field.

Final Results Pro Women 1. Bobbi Watt (Fox, Santa Cruz, FSA, Pearl Izumi) 2. Lisa Myklak (Moosewood) 3. Jessica Vogt

4. Wendy Reynolds (Cannondale, Chile Pepper, Sport Legs, T2) Pro Men 1. Ross Milan (Yeti Factory Team) 2. James Stiber (Lenz Sport) 3. Mathew Thompson (Big Crank Racing) 4. David Ziegman (Big Crank Racing) Junior Expert Men 1.T. Fisker (Gravitee) 2. Shane Neer 3. Reed Uhlemann 4. Julian Unger (Lenz Sport)

The Nathrop, Colo., mountain cross course is built for speed. Mountain cross races pit four people against each other on a course that’s set up like a BMX course on steroids.


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Quentin Coffman (Denver Spoke), far left, and Ian McCarthy (Full Tilt/GT), second from left, throw elbows in the second corner of the track.

Junior Expert racers (left to right) Forest Miller (RPM/Yeti), Matt Mason (Over the Edge Sports), T. Fisker (Gravitee) and Julian Unger (Lenz Sport) jump out of the start gate and into the fire. Fisker won this semi-final race and the Junior Expert final later that day.

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Top: Martha Renn lauches ahead in perfect position for 5th place in the Pro/Expert Women’s category. Right: Ross Milan (Factory Yeti), already a bike length ahead and in mid-air, lines up for the next corner. Milan won the Pro Men’s final with a comfortable 1.8 sec. margin. Facing page Top: With the Collegiate peaks as a backdrop, the Nathrop mountain cross course is in a magical setting. Bottom: Junior Expert racers wind it up out of the strategic corner 2.

Photos by Brian Riepe


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Junior Beginner Men – Drew Scott (707) keeps his focus on who’s in front of him, Dylan Stofflet (782), Tyler Linne (602)

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Race Report: Kokopelli Trail Race, May 14, 2005

Jon Brown wins Kokopelli Trail Race. Sets new single-speed record: 14 hrs, 47 min. Mike Curiak’s all-time race record still stands at 14 hrs 17 min. by Brian Riepe


n the morning of Saturday, May 14, at 2 a.m, a few suspicious looking cars are parked at the far side of the Slickrock Trailhead in Moab. (“Yes sir, officer sir, I did notice the No Overnight Camping sign. Who said anything about camping overnight?”) By 2:20 a.m. a few souls begin to shuffle about, their metal cleats clicking on the pavement. They begin stuffing food and gear into hydration packs, testing lighting systems and spinning wheels. At 2:30 a.m. a few more cars pull into the parking lot and people stagger out laughing and irreverently joking amongst themselves. At 2:55 a.m. Mike Curiak, ultra endurance icon and organizer of the Kokopelli Trail Race, passes around a sign-up sheet and makes a brief pre-race dialogue. In essence, it was something to this effect: This race is 142 miles. The route is mostly marked by little signs with the Kokopelli logo. You have to find your own way. There is no support. There are a few streams high in the La Sal Mountains where you can get water if you have a filter with you. You may also get water at the West Water Ranger Station roughly halfway through the race. My truck will be parked at the trailhead near Fruita with a sign-in sheet in the back. When you finish, please register with your signature and finish time. If you need to bail out, there are a few places where the course meets a roadway and you can hitchhike back. If you do DNF, please make sure you go to the finish and sign the sheet so we don’t go out looking for you on Sunday. At 3 a.m. 15 riders rolled off into the darkness (14 male, one female). Only five would finish. 56

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The Kokopelli Trail Race is organized in a fashion that encompasses the great character of adventure cycling. No entry fee, no support, no bib numbers, no hassle, no license; just a group of people out for a long ride. Some ride to get there first (and believe me, bragging rights are worth more than cash – these people will bury themselves to win this race) and some people ride to finish. Most of the racers are from Utah and Colorado but a few traveled from as far away as New York, Alaska and Minnesota. With a total distance of 142 miles, the course is extremely difficult. Starting at the Slickrock Trailhead in Moab, it climbs high into the La Sal Mountains gaining over 4,500 feet in elevation to top out near 9,000 feet. At this point the temperatures can be in the low 30s or colder. After traversing the mountain range, the course drops down a series of gorges to the Colorado River and approximately follows the course of the river back to the Loma exit near Fruita, Colo. This section is an extreme dry desert climate, it is very rough and in May the temperatures can be in the high 80s to low 90s. Once the course reaches the Rabbit Valley area, the trail becomes excruciatingly technical with the last 15 to 20 miles consisting of challenging singletrack riding. Jon Brown (CO) and Fred Wilkinson (UT) broke away from the rest of the group on the Sand Flats Road. These two would ride together for the first five hours until Brown pulled away on the descent into Cottonwood Canyon. At this point Wilkinson made an unfortunate error and missed a crucial left hand turn, skipping a short but demanding portion of the course. Wilkinson managed to rejoin the course farther down the Entrada Bluffs Road and went on to finish the race but was disqual-

ified from the general classification. Nearing the river crossing at Dewey Bridge Brown, a veteran adventure racer, was riding confidently but would suffer several setbacks in the next few miles. First, while descending into Cottonwood Canyon, Brown’s hydration pack (which he had decided to strap to his seat-rack) sprung a leak. The West Water Ranger Station (and its essential water spigot) was still several hours away. “I wasn’t too worried,” Brown said after the race. “I had been drinking a lot but I have a bad habit of dehydrating myself on these rides.” Then, as Brown reached McGraw Bottom, he sliced his tire on a rock and flatted. “I sort of freaked out there. I didn’t know how big of a gap I had so I kept looking back while I was trying to patch the tire.” Brown fixed the puncture and would ride virtually alone for the rest of the race, finally refilling his spare bladder at West Water. At the West Water Road Crossing, after 10 hours of racing, Mike Curiak (also riding a single-speed) had moved into second place, one hour behind Brown. One hour is nothing over a 15-hour race so Curiak kept his focus, trying to reel in the out-of-sight Brown. Curiak would gain some time here because Brown had to stop at the ranger station (a two-mile round trip off of the race course) to fill up on water. While Brown was at the ranger station, Wilkinson (now riding just for the sake of finishing) symbolically moved ahead until reaching Rabbit Valley where Brown regained the overall lead. One hour proved to be too much for Curiak to make up even though Brown, after digging himself into a waterless hole, was severely bonking. Brown finished (11 pounds lighter), signed in, and

drove immediately to Over The Edge Sports in Fruita (his temporary employer) where he purchased a case of Vitamin Water and slipped into an ambivalent comma. He later came out of the coma after eating an obscene amount of sushi. Curiak rolled easily into the parking lot looking surprisingly vigorous, checked Brown’s finish time, clinched his fists together and exclaimed, “Yes! My record still stands.” If this all sounds like a good time to you, the race will take place around the same time next year. Email Mike Curiak at to get yourself on the mailing list. There is also a forum about the race at 69465 Final Results

Jon Brown (Team Crested Butte) setting a record-breaking pace in the early a.m. hours. Brown chose to race his single-speed and later proved it was a smart choice.

1. Jon Brown (CO) (Team Crested Butte) 14 hrs, 47 min 2. Mike Curiak (CO) (Moots, White Brothers) 15 hrs, 30 min 3. Gary Dye (CO) 21 hrs, 43 min 4. Pierre Oster (MN) 27 hrs, 5 min Unclassified Fred Wilkinson (UT) (Poison Spider Bicycles, Zeal Optics) 15 hrs, 2 min DNF (pull out point) Pete Basinger (Rabbit Valley) Sean Smith (Rabbit Valley) Erika Van Meter (Rabbit Valley) Henry Horrocks (Yellowjacket) Kevin Gillest (Yellowjacket) Nate Keck (Dewey Bridge) Jim Ishman (Dewey Bridge) Nate Wilson (Onion Creek) John Weirath (Onion Creek) Rick Hudak (Onion Creek)

John Weirath crosses a bridge over a rushing creek in the La Sal Mountains.

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Top to bottom: Henry Horrocks, right, and Kevin Gillest, both racing for the team, work together just after sunrise. Jon Brown (Team Crested Butte), dehydrated and delirious, is on his way to winning but struggling through the last few technically challenging miles.


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Photos by Brian Riepe

Top to bottom: Mike Curiak (Moots/White Brothers) looks towards Rabbit Valley. The cool air of the La Sal Mountains is now a distant memory. Fred Wilkinson (Poison Spider/Zeal Optics), after 15 hours of riding, enjoys the last few miles of singletrack.

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The Sordid History of Fat Tire Bike Week by Lisa Cramton

Board Member Mountain Bike Hall of Fame


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rested Butte’s Fat Tire Bike Week will celebrate its 25th anniversary In June, with a huge festival and all the traditional events that have made it famous. Where were you in September 1976? What kind of bike were you riding? Now imagine riding that same 50-pound singlespeed Schwinn with ape hanger bars and coaster brakes for two days across the 38 miles over Pearl Pass from Crested Butte to Aspen, Colo. Then stay up all night reveling and causing general debauchery in Aspen. The 12,700-foot Pearl Pass is still not for the faint of heart. It is a gnarly 1860’s mining supply road with 3,500 feet of vertical climbing, boulders the size of watermelons, at least five stream crossings and several miles of schlepping your bike over those watermelons. This was the beginning of Fat Tire Bike Week as we know it today. Fat Tire Bike Week has taken many twists and turns over the years, from a leisurely drunken traveling sideshow to Aspen, to a fall festival and race, then to a summer festival and race separate from the Pearl Pass Tour. I will pedal you through a brief crazy history of this epic event and its metamorphosis into the weeklong festival known today. Back in 1976 the Pearl Pass Tour originated as a touché to the Aspen motorcyclists who rode over the pass to “steal” the Crested Butte women. A crew of Crested Butte “gentlemen” became annoyed with this challenge and decided they could outdo the Aspen motorheads by riding their newly discovered all terrain bicycles over the pass. The tour was a success (according to the men involved), but in 1977 many of the previous years’ riders were fighting forest fires so the Pearl Pass Tour was put on hold. Luckily, in 1978 a few soon-to-be famous Californians read a magazine article about the 1976 Pearl Pass Tour. They showed up in town with fine clunkers in search of the legendary ride. The Crested Butte riders obliged. Thus the Pearl Pass Tour was held again and would soon

become a place where “all terrain bike” ideas were exchanged and tested. Just imagine if the Californians (i.e., Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze, Richard Nielsen, Michael Castelli, Gary Fisher and Wendy Cragg) wouldn’t have made that fateful trip. The Pearl Pass Tour may have just faded away.

But the California contingent kept coming with more soon-to-be famous friends, and in 1980, 90 people showed up for the ride to Aspen and the campout. The Crested Butte Chronicle & Pilot reported, “Five Fairfax riders on ‘Alpine Clunkers’ having the equipment but the Crested Butte riders having the energy and expertise” participated in the Pearl Pass Tour. Infamous Crested Butte resident, Mountain Bike Hall of Famer and early Pearl Pass Tour participant, Neil Murdoch (AKA Richard Bannister), who at that time owned Bicycles Etc., the first bike shop dedicated to mountain bikes, drove the traveling party’s support vehicle carrying the much needed “Midol Martinis,” steaks, donuts and two kegs of beer for the campout in Cumberland Basin. In 1981 the event was renamed Fat Tire Bike Week and the official multi-day fes-

tival began. Because the Pearl Pass tour had become a race, future Ross Bicycle team rider and Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Don Cook thought there should be an official race so that the Pearl Pass Tour could be more of a fun, relaxed ride. For the next several years there would be a stage race of four races, a crosscountry race over Paradise Divide, with a timed uphill and downhill portion within, then an hour after the cross-country race, a criterium through the town’s alleys, combining for an overall result. Herein lies the history of this great event. Pouring over piles of early magazine and newspaper articles on the Pearl Pass Tour and Fat Tire Bike Week, the history of our great sport starts to unravel. In 1983, because of Fat Tire Bike Week gained a good reputation and international recognition, some considered the race over Paradise Divide to be the World Championships, but it would take seven more years for the UCI World Championships, held in Durango, Colo., to become a reality. That weekend in 1983, more than 300 people showed up to ride the Pearl Pass Tour. The racing and camaraderie of Fat Tire Bike Week and the Pearl Pass Tour continued with new ideas tested over the years. The Californians as well as others crazy for mountain biking came to Crested Butte with their innovations. Soon companies were making full production mountain bikes with ideas tested and proven at Fat Tire Bike Week. In 1989 the Festival separated itself from the Pearl Pass Tour, and Fat Tire Bike Week as we know it today began its summer stroll through the wildflowers. That year, the star of our story came onto the scene. Fat Tire Bike Week continued because of the hard work of many people but one in particular, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee Kay Peterson-Cook was there to be sure it kept rolling year after year, earning her right in the famous hall. She and a dedicated crew created a festival that drew thousands of people to Crested Butte. There were bike rodeos, Mountain Flyer


chainless races, bicycle polo, innovators contests, industry trade shows, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, celebrity guests and workshops and both tours and racing through the alleys and mountains surrounding town. 62

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Kay got everyone together as a big happy family. Kay found the sponsors who would give generously to the event, Eliane Wissocq was the tour director, Keith Austin was the race director, Heli Peterson, organized the awards ceremony,

Peg Sharp was the EMT director, Kay’s dog Chelsea was the official greeter and tail guide on tours. (I remember one day going up to registration on the mountain and seeing Chelsea trotting her way up the road because she had been left at home

There were bike rodeos, chainless races, bicycle polo, innovators contests, industry trade shows, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, celebrity guests and workshops and both tours and racing through the alleys and mountains surrounding town.

and was not happy about it! Mind you, it was a 3-mile trot for her.) Don Cook, now Kay’s husband, was in charge of the “honey-do list” of hanging banners, setting start and finish lines, etc. Roxie Lypps collected volunteers and Lisa Cramton was the shop liaison. Everyone had a purpose and was giddy for the event to start. Fat Tire Bike Week was the big kick-off to the summer season, and businesses were excited to get their summer rolling after the long off-season drought. In 1993 Vail hosted the NORBA Nationals the weekend after Fat Tire Bike Week and that meant big names for the Crested Butte race. Fat Tire Bike Week would be a training ride for the Vail National. The start line for the pros was stacked. It would be the greatest race in Crested Butte and Fat Tire Bike Week history. I heard Dave Wiens call the Fat Tire Bike Week cross-country race the Paris Roubaix of mountain biking. It would be a 40 mile cross-country loop of true mountain bike endurance. They wouldn’t be back for hours. In 1996 Kay retired from her helm as queen of Fat Tire Bike Week to have more time to ride her own bike. In 1997 Low Rider Promotions of Vermont purchased the rights to the event and ran it for two years. Then in 1999 Fat Tire Bike Week was returned home to the community of Crested Butte, the Chamber of Commerce and Crested Butte Mountain Resort who still co-organize the event today. In 2003 Kay and Don, now the curators of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum, hosted an Inductees Ride during Fat Tire Bike Week. It was the first time many of the inductees had been back to Crested Butte since the 1980s. It was a time to ride and meet the heroes of mountain biking and celebrate the grand re-opening of the Hall of Fame in its new location in the Crested Butte Heritage Museum. All content, dated material and photographs provided courtesy of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum.

Fat Tire Bike Week 2005 June 22–26, 2005, marks the 25th anniversary of Fat Tire Bike Week, and Sally Palmer, the Chamber’s event organizer, has promised a lineup like no other. Wednesday will host a new event, a poker ride giving participants a chance to get to know their way around town, picking up cards at various locations. On Thursday, gravity fanatics can test their finesse at the World Famous Chainless Race and Costume Contest, with a 9-mile, 3000-foot descent. A Bike Rodeo and Clunker Crit on Friday closes Elk Ave., the main drag of town, for an afternoon of bike carnival fun. All week there are day and evening tours, with scenery, wildflowers and clinics that will make you the envy of your riding posse at home. Friday night’s movie, Off-Road to Athens, documents four men and four women as they compete for a spot on the 2004 Olympic team. The Wildflower Rush cross-country race on Saturday draws hundreds for a race unmatched in scenery and altitude gain. Saturday night the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association will host a 25th anniversary party at the Rafters with two bands and lots of New Belgium beer. Sunday’s downhill, one of the few in the state, will test the nerves of the fearless for more than 2,000 feet of fast vertical plunge. Fat Tire Bike Week has returned to its grassroots origins, meaning small enough to meet your fellow fanatics but large enough to lose yourself in miles of amazing singletrack. If it weren’t for the many community members who believe in this event, it would have died with Kay and her crew’s retirement. Crested Butte is committed to Fat Tire Bike Week and the crazy chance to celebrate its history and place in the world of the fat tire. Come visit Crested Butte, Fat Tire Bike Week and the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum in historic downtown Crested Butte, exactly where it should be, the heart and soul of a mountain bike mecca that refuses to go away. For more information visit or call (800)-545-4505 As for the Pearl Pass Tour, it still takes place every year but is now a separate event that will commence September 17–18, 2005.

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Calendar of Obscure Events The World Wide Web is laden with event calendars. They’re easy to find and crammed with information—sometimes so crammed that you’d need a part-time research assistant to sift through them for the cool events you really want to know about. We’ve picked out a few ultracool, low-hype, new or obscure events that you may not know about but always wanted to find. July 16 Crested Butte, Colo. Second Annual Crested Butte Classic For updates and more info, email Over 85 miles of epic Crested Butte singletrack, beautiful scenery, no entry forms, and best of all, it’s free! This is a great model for an event. No hype, no pre-registration. Just line everyone up in the street and say, “adventure on.” There are no prizes but the bragging rights to this one are good for at least one year. It’s up to you to know the course. You’re on your own. The exact course, date and time have not yet been decided. Tentatively it will start July16 at 6 a.m. in front of the Brick Oven Pizzeria on Crested Butte’s Elk Ave. Make sure you’re in the loop and get yourself on the email list.

Sept. 15–18 Grand Junction, Colo. See box on facing page Sept. 17 Angel Fire, NM Cerro Vista Challenge More info at or 505-377-4333 This is a classic 50-mile point-to-point cross country race winding through the beautifully remote Carson National Forest in the Northeast corner of New Mexico. Described as a grueling and technically challenging course, the Cerro Vista Challenge starts at Angel Fire Resort and finishes at the neighboring town of Sipapu. Race on Saturday–then spend the night in Taos and eat dinner at The Apple Tree restaurant for the best mango chicken enchiladas this side of the Pecos River.

Aug. 27–28 Salida, Colo. Vapor Trail 125 High Altitude Ultra Marathon More info at

Sept. 24 Telluride, Colo. to Moab, Utah Annual Mountains To The Desert Road Bike Tour For more information call 970-728-4454

This ultra-marathon starts at midnight—hopefully you finish in time for dinner The event covers 125 miles of singletrack and doubletrack ranging over the Continental Divide, three 14,000-foot peaks and several mining and railroad ghost towns, all in the high thin air of the Collegiate Peaks. Portions of the course follow rail routes laid down by two railroad companies competing to reach the booming town of Gunnison in the 19th century. Ride the Colorado trail under the summer moon, cross over the infamous Alpine Tunnel at 12,000 feet and cruise the classic Monarch Crest Trail above treeline. This is a truly epic event in the best tradition of Salida trail riding.

Sure to become a Colorado classic, the second annual Mountains To The Desert Ride is a charity event, leaving from Telluride on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 7 a.m. and dropping into Moab, Utah, a breathtaking132 miles later. Organizers Erik and Josephine Fallenius created the event in 2004 to raise money for Just For Kids, a granting foundation providing financial support for kids organizations in the San Miguel River watershed. Cyclists and volunteers raise money from sponsors, friends and family. Last year, for every $100 they raised, participants received a lottery ticket for a chance to win a titanium road or mountain bike from event sponsor Moots, or one of a number of other great prizes. A total of $50,000 was raised last year, which was matched by Just For Kids founder and benefactor, Bill Carstens. Because of logistics, this year only 100 fund-raising riders will be able to take part in the fully supported event.

Entry form available here:


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Oct. 2 Montrose, Colo. Tabeguache Trail, Dry Creek Canyon Challenge For more info email or call 970-244-8877 or check out This is a new event that will celebrate the joy of backcountry trail riding. Choose from 15- and 21-mile rides with lots of singletrack, food, beverages and prizes. Organized along the lines of a traditional poker ride, this ride is a great way to cap off the fall and explore some remote western slope terrain.

Sometime… Maybe in September or October… in a Galaxy Far, Far Away… Well, Near Boulder, Colo … The Intergalactic (yeah, it’s way bigger than the World Championships) Single-Speed Championships will occur. For more info (and a more accurate date) keep watching Fill your Camelbak with 100 ounces of margarita, wedge into your purple one-piece speedsuit, tune up that single-speed (aka: drip a little lube on the chain) and load up into the U-haul truck with the rest of the Intergalactic Pilots for an epic adventure like none other. Prepare for a lengthy ride, hours of sardonic laughter, multiple chances to get road rash and a lasting feeling of rebellion against society, industry and The Man.

Sept. 15–Sept. 18, Grand Junction, Colo.

Fourteenth Annual Colorado Mountain Wine Festival and Bike Tour According to one vintner, it takes more than 10 years for red grapevines to begin producing high quality grapes for making wine. Some wineries on Colorado’s western slope began planting red grapes just about that long ago. Colorado’s wineries, known for their quality white wines for some time, are now being recognized for their award winning reds as well. What that means is that the time is ripe for all of us to take advantage of this resource, especially now that we can bike in addition to enjoying the fruits of the state, all in one event. Grand Junction and its surrounding communities, with the red cliffs of the Colorado Monument as a backdrop, offer a perfect fall getaway—especially if you mix in four days of drinking fine wine, savoring gourmet food from award winning chefs, cheese tasting, golf, a 25-mile bike tour and chocolate tasting as a final temptation. The bike tour starts bright and early at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17. The course will take riders on a 25-mile loop, starting at the Grande River Vineyards Winery, which winds through the vineyards, wineries and fruit orchards of Palisade, Colo. Shortly after the tour, riders can move on to the Festival in the Park to enjoy an entire day of wine tasting, a “rotating buffet,” national jazz musicians and seminars on the advanced qualities of wine making. If you can get out of bed Sunday morning, don’t miss the Winemakers Brunch and Amateur Wine Makers Competition. Cost of the bike tour is $30, with an additional charge of $30 if you choose to take part in the Festival in the Park. The cost of participation in the entire festival varies greatly depending on how many events you choose to attend. To register for the bike tour: go to or call 303-635-2815. For more information on the Colorado Mountain Wine Festival check out Heads up! The word is that lodging gets booked up long before the event. Be sure to plan ahead.

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Will There be Future Cooperation with ACA and USA Cycling? by Dean Crandall


ecently there has been a lot of conversation regarding the relationship between the American Cycling Association (ACA), a local/regional cycling governance body, and USA Cycling (USAC), the national governing body for cycling. About five years ago, ACA—formerly Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado (BRAC)—was the USAC state association promoting cycling in Colorado, a position it held for more than 20 years. At that time, USAC staff determined that state representatives were no longer needed. For Colorado, that was BRAC. The reasoning from USAC held that a restructuring was in the works and state or local representation was going to be handled by a regional representative who would cover a larger area than just a state. In effect, this meant a smaller, more efficient staff. All the existing state representatives were notified via fax that they were fired. At that time none of these 39 district representatives was offered the newly created regional representative position. Only after a huge backlash by the membership did the USAC staff ask some of the fired reps to take on the new role. After working for USAC/USCF for more than 20 years, Colorado’s district rep, Yvonne van Gent, was fired and someone else installed in her place to govern Colorado and the rest of the mountain states. At the time, Colorado was the most influential and successful district association in the United States. Colorado could brag the largest membership outside Northern California with more than 2,100 licensees. Van Gent was a dedicated 66

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Courtesy photo

USAC employee. She always upheld the interest of the members above all else, which she and most other members felt USAC had distanced itself from, instead focusing on elite programs and the Olympics. Why do I mention all this? Because it is the basis for BRAC, later to become ACA, to withdraw from USAC, continue its grassroots programs and remain independent to this day. As fortune would have it, the staff that ran USAC at that time has since been replaced. Most of the new staff at USAC has no history with ACA so there should be a melting of animosity. Throughout these past five years, USAC floundered with its mission statement to serve the membership, instead focusing on its Elite Program at the expense of its non-elite members, particu-

larly junior and master racers. During this time, ACA became even stronger through its attention to its membership and junior programs. Most Colorado racers, frustrated with USAC, withdrew their membership dues and joined ACA. ACA’s programs were so successful that organizations and racers from other states joined in this grassroots movement either out of frustration or desire to help improve grassroots racing. BRAC became the ACA when these out-of-state organizers joined. BRAC was no longer a Colorado-only association, but a New Mexico, Texas, Nebraska, Ohio, Hawaii, Arizona and Wyoming association. In 2004, USAC formed a Colorado Local Association, headed up by Mark Tyson of the Colorado Velodrome Association. Mark and the new USAC regional rep, Tom Vinson, met with the ACA board of directors a few months ago and pitched a plan for re-uniting the two associations. The proposed plan was weak financially and would cost ACA almost one half of its yearly budget. ACA has numerous programs in place that require money raised through sponsorship and member dues. On the positive side, talks have begun and hopefully will continue. As for ACA, the 2005 season was set and underway. I look for more meetings in the fall before the next year’s budget is set. ACA sponsors two junior camps each year, road and cyclocross, as well as a series of skills clinics, a local time trial series, a yearly cycling calendar that is updated monthly and a Best All-Around

Rider and Best All-Around Team competition each season. New this year, ACA started the First Bike Program for juniors who have an interest in competitive cycling but cannot afford a bike. Executive Director Beth Wrenn Estes and Board President Lee Waldman have been submitting grants to Nike and Balance Bar for junior program grants. If these grants and other sponsorships materialize so that ACA will not depend so much on member dues, I foresee a possible re-unification of ACA and USAC. There is a lot of gossip on cycling forums baiting the two organizations against each other. I think these are counterproductive to the goal of a re-unification. Most of the cycling forums’ daily submissions seem to be about “me.” What can each or both organizations do for “me?” They say things like, “I ride a $3,000 bike and am angry at having to pay a $5 fee to the organization I don’t belong to just so I can race.” We need to look at what is best for cycling in Colorado and the West. When USAC implements programs geared towards non-elite members, such as the ACA junior programs, I see a melting of tension and resumed communication.

Dean Crandall has been a road official since the early 1970s, having been the chief official at two Olympic Trials. He started officiating mountain bike races in the early 80s when Ed Zink, of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, asked him to help out with his “little mountain bike race,” the NORBA Nationals. He was hooked on mountain biking. Crandall went on to become a UCI Commissaire and NORBA President. He was a member of the UCI Technical Commission for mountain biking and is currently on the USAC Technical Commission. He is the author of the original rules and regulations for international mountain bike competition. Crandall was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1997.

Photos courtesy of USFS

Our Forests Land of many uses By Lora Schmillen U.S. Forest Service Gunnison National Forest


iding in our National Forests is such a great pleasure, but nothing is more frustrating than seeing the negative effects of misuse. On a daily basis, the Forest Service receives public input about trail damage, user conflict or new routes being discovered. As populations increase, the Forest Service experiences a growing proliferation of multipurpose trail users who are changing the face of the land. In an attempt to address rising problems of recreational users who misuse the forests, the Forest Service is faced with creating new policies and education programs. Recreation forest managers are tasked with signing and researching trails to make sure that the appropriate types of recreation are taking place on the trail. Along with these efforts, education programs are being put in place, and forest managers work with local advocacy groups to make sound trail decisions. In 2001 the Chief of the Forest Service announced that addressing unmanaged recreation was one of four top priorities for our nation’s forests. This means that the Forest Service is working really hard to maintain healthy harmonious forests through addressing trail damage, by not creating new routes and by educating 68

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users to respect the trail and all trail users. The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Its motto is caring for the land and serving the people. Forest managers work hard towards fulfilling the motto in many ways. By following laws that have been historically enacted to protect our resources, forest managers have to balance the needs of the American people with the need to follow the rules. One of the most important laws governing management of national forests is the Multiple-Use and Sustained Yield Act of 1960. It recognizes that our forests are “lands of many uses.” This act emerged at a time marked by growing pressure from single interest groups, such as timber harvesters and wilderness conservationists. It made multipurpose use explicit by requiring equal consideration for all resources, best meeting the varied needs of the American people. The act respects our shared responsibility for preserving our forests. The national forests are to be used for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed and wildlife/fish purposes. Sustained yield means harvest is in balance with growth.

The act requires “...harmonious and coordinated management of the various resources.…” To keep it harmonious and healthy, there are a few ethics that all forest users should keep in mind when traveling on their favorite trails. Following these ethics will help minimize trail damage and trail conflict: Following these guidelines will make you responsible forest users by minimizing trail damage and trail conflict. How can you be even more responsible? Search out those trails that meet your recreational needs and desires, then work with local advocacy groups to decrease user conflict. Contact your local Forest Service when you have concerns or questions about what’s happening in the woods. For more information and to find your local Forest Service you can visit Another educational resource for traveling on the trails can be found on the tread lightly website at or (800) 966-9900. We are all so lucky to have the great resources and multiuse recreational opportunities that are abundant in these great Rocky Mountains. Just remember to get out there, have fun, be safe and be kind to the land and all users.

La Ruta de la Conquistadores by Dave Sheldon


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very November in the small Costa Rican beach town of Jaco, 300 endurance cyclists wake in the early morning to prepare for what may be the most physically demanding event of their lives. Fittingly, the day starts with a taste of things to come: dripping humidity and temperatures in the 70s. In this murk, most riders are engrossed in pre-race rituals. But among the focus, a few newbies bounce around, wide-eyed and eager, in great contrast to the veterans who move slowly, already conserving energy. What speaks to them is the challenge of La Ruta de Los Conquistadores. A three-day stage race that starts on the Pacific Coast and follows the route used by the Spanish to colonize the region 450 years ago, eventually finishing on the Caribbean Sea. It is the hazards found between these two oceans that cause many to rate the Ruta as, “The most torturous mountain bike race in world.� The course contains roughly 30,000 feet of climbing spread across 280 miles of dirt roads and jeep trails and boasts a high point of 11,000 lung-searing feet found on the slopes of the Irazu volcano. Other hardships include the interior’s hypothermicinducing high mountain thunderstorms, an ironic contrast to the crushing heat and humidity of the coast, and countless ankle to neck-deep river crossings, complete with reptilian inhabitants.

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Now add in feces-hurling monkeys, tropical rainstorms, landslides, glue-like mud, lethal snakes and a tricky course to follow—it’s not uncommon for competitors to become lost in the jungle for hours—and it’s easy to see why the Ruta brandishes such a heavy reputation. Jeff Wardell, veteran of numerous solo 24-hour and one-day endurance mountain bike races said, “The Ruta is sort of like doing three, back-to-back, extra long Breckenridge Firecracker Fifty’s, but in the heat and mud of a jungle.” It should be noted that Wardell is as modest as he is strong. His first crack at the Ruta was in 2004, and he placed 24th. Many competitors simply find themselves fighting to beat the daily cutoff, which occurs at sunset. That makes for three 12-hour days. Luckily, or maybe not, anyone who misses a cutoff or does not finish a stage is welcome to stay in the race and start the next day. The catch is they won’t be listed as an official finisher. The inaugural Ruta was billed by organizer and extreme endurance athlete Roman Urbina as a cycling adventure. Its goal: to publicize how the rain forest was being devastated from logging. But it wasn’t long before the course’s brutal nature had riders packing for home, and in the end only three people, Urbina included, finished all three days of riding. The difficulty of the event persists today, and even though the Ruta is considered a race, the goal for most entrants is just to finish. Urbina appreciates this survivalist attitude. “I didn’t design the Ruta to be a cut throat race,” he said. “The people that gain the most from the event are those who focus on the great experiences. Armed with the right attitude, competitors still find reasons to smile and laugh as they move along on this epic journey.” Indeed. But despite Urbina’s veiled warning, many first-time competitors secretly harbor the dream of being the first non-Costa Rican to win the event, but soon find themselves simply trying to survive the first day. The task of winning becomes more daunting if you consider that the Ruta is the biggest event on the 72

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Costa Rican mountain bike calendar and the local teams train to win, as victory brings the respect of the country. A few people have come close to owning the podium’s top spot. In 1999 and 2003, Colombians Freddy Restrepo and Diego Garabito filled the second-place spots. But what is especially impressive is American Tinker Juarez’ second-place finish in 2001, as he was competing against entire teams that were supported during the event by their own vehicles and personnel.

For most, the Ruta is a wild adventure in an exotic land, complete with enough hardship to enrich the memories, but not so much that it detracts from the overall experience. When I asked Wardell if he had any advice for Ruta virgins, he replied, “It’s good to be physically prepared, but in the end, you’ve just got to go down and be ready to suffer.” We asked race veteran Wardell to give us a brief summary of the event and how one might attempt to prepare for the Ruta. Mountain Flyer would like to thank

All photos courtesy of Jeff Wardell

filled in with tennis ball-sized rocks. This evil combination challenges balance and sanity, as the rocks are loose and the tracks laser straight, making it look like they reach to the horizon.

Equipment and Clothing “The Ruta eats bikes. Have as many new parts on your rig as possible,” said Wardell. And still don’t be surprised if you break things. Wardell sheared two bolts off his granny gear 10 miles into the first day. “If I had lost my low gear on day two or three, I couldn’t have finished.” While racing, many competitors ride with a hydration system that has room for extra clothing like a rain jacket, insulated hat, full fingered gloves and leg and arm layers. Without this gear, it’s very easy to become hypothermic during the hours of descending during day two, especially if it starts raining at 11,000 feet. Wardell learned that it’s also essential to carry two or three tubes (patches don’t work so well in 100 percent humidity), a chain tool, four extra brake pads, hex wrenches and a big bottle of chain lube. “At every third or fourth stream crossing, I would dunk my bike to wash all the mud off. Then it’s essential to re-lube the chain. Running a medium width mudclearing tire is also key, as is full suspension. The course is extremely bumpy.”

Wardell for his insight. And he would like to thank the sponsors that make his racing possible: Ellsworth Bikes, SRAM, RockShox and Xybix Systems, Inc.

A Quick Preview of the Ruta Day One: After 20 minutes of riding, the pavement ends and the road tips upward, sometimes getting as steep as 20 percent. Three thousand feet later, the first climb of this 9,000-foot day is over. And just when you thought the climbing was over, numerous short but steep, rotting concrete hills (75 yards long with a gradient of 25 percent) must be ridden or walked during the run into the finish. Day Two: The highlight of this second stage is a 10,000-foot climb up to the Irazu volcano. Ironically, the cold, wet weather of the altitude combined with the wind chill of a three-hour descent (stopping to replace brake pads is common)

Aid Stations and Logistics should not be underestimated, as many of the ill-prepared become hypothermic and drop out of the race. And while flying down the mountain, don’t be surprised by long sections of loose, sharp baby heads and 30 percent grades of decaying concrete road, and then there’s the stream crossing…. Day Three: Along with a fair bit of climbing, the biggest hurdle of this penultimate stage comes right at the end: 15 miles of railroad tracks that have been

The stations are a smorgasbord of fresh tropical fruit like papaya, bananas, watermelon and pineapple. “It’s amazing, you’re riding along in the jungle, and every time you wish for an aid station, one pops up around the corner,” Wardell said. Water, energy drinks and Red Bull are also on the menu. Hotel accommodations, meals, transportation, as well as secure bike box and luggage storage are provided by the race organization. Mountain Flyer


Winning, one engenders enmity Miserably sleeps the defeated The one at peace sleeps Peacefully having abandoned victory and defeat —Dhammapada, The Sayings of the Buddha


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What if the Buddha Raced a Bike? An approach to racing without ego story and photography by Jeff Irwin


hen in the course of human events and bike racing, it becomes necessary for one person to step back, take stock of their current situation, and ask himself, why in the hell am I still doing this? A self-evident truth indeed! I have been told on several occasions that I think too much. Perhaps that’s true, perhaps not, but I did come to the realization a few years ago that I just wasn’t having much fun racing anymore. The notion of beating someone else for the sake of it began to seem pointless to me. This happened during the course of one particular race. What to do then? Well, I slowed down and looked at the scenery instead of what was three feet in front of me. I felt like I needed to take something positive out of the situation because I wasn’t getting it from the race. It did get me thinking though about the bigger picture of racing and competing. What else can be gained by racing other than the place? Can one race, be competitive and yet still maintain a stance of ego-less action throughout? Unfortunately in life we have a tendency to gauge our own success against others. Bike racing is no different. We’re always looking to do better than everyone else. Basically we want to win. The place is how we’ve come to determine a successful race. But is it really? The attachment we have to a simple number can often override the experience itself. Is first really better than eighth or 15th? It’s all a matter of perspective.

All too often fixation on the place itself can become a self-imposed boundary with which we define our successes and failures. This can be dangerous and very easily lead to ego-centered showmanship. We end up clinging to the transient nature of the goal, a temporary gratifying of the senses.

Can we be truly happy for the person who beats us, as we were when we beat them? Once we win, we want to keep winning and as that ends, as it inevitably does, we feel disappointed we weren’t able to achieve the same level of success. Can we be truly happy for the person who beats us, as we were when we beat them? We feel as if we have something to prove, either to ourselves or others in order to justify our own participation. It need not be this way. As the third Noble Truth of Buddhism states,

“Suffering ends when we let go of our attachment to craving and desire.” Once we realize that external forces (placings) are not the approach we need to cling to, we can begin to see that there are things within ourselves we can rely on to create a foundation on which every experience can be a vehicle for growth. The final placing no longer matters because we have moved away from such superficial motivations. In Ethics For The New Millennium, the Dalai Lama teaches us that, “The problem with misperception, which, of course, usually arises because of our tendency to isolate particular aspects of an event or experience and see them as constituting its totality. This leads to a narrowing perspective and from there to false expectations. But when we consider reality itself we quickly become aware of its infinite complexity, and we realize that our habitual perception of it is often inadequate.” Basically stated, there’s more to a race than meets the eye. So how do we ride with this realization, and if the Buddha did indeed race, how would he go about it? The first thing we need to learn and accept is that true satisfaction and happiness come from within. We need to move beyond our perception and clinging to external forces that have created the suffering and disappointment in our own lives and racing. In that vein, I believe the Buddha would use the race as a form of meditation, a challenge to himself to remain in

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The inner journey has become the catalyst for growth instead of the outer journey against others.

single, pointed concentration for the duration of the event, using meditation to generate the inner awakening required for liberation from the event itself. I’m certainly not suggesting anything quite so esoteric as nirvana, just merely an awakening to the immediate truth, which is, that the essential nature of reality is being always at ease and aware of the whole of the experience yet still remaining unattached. The question then becomes; how hard can I push myself and still remain focused? But focused on what exactly? If we are no longer concerned with other racers then we need to find something else to focus our attention on. For example, many Buddhists will use their own breath as the basis for meditation. However they do not keep repeating to themselves, “now I’m breathing in, now I’m breathing out,” but they are merely being present with the action itself without attaching any specific thought to it. 76

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As odd as this may sound it already has some roots in bike racing. The great Belgian climber Lucien Van Impe has said that one of his keys to being a great climber is getting into a rhythm with his own breath. That way his breathing would be in complete synchronization with his pedal stroke. Whether he realized it or not, he was meditating his way up the mountains! Of course distractions will present themselves as they always do. Perhaps I get a flat tire or someone cuts me off. Maybe I just don’t have the legs on this particular day. But if we are able to do this, to remain fully concentrated with our mind, all else will take care of itself and we will get the most out of our bodies. In Buddhist terms, this mind/body unity is called “namarupa”. The place won’t matter as much because our objectives have changed. The inner journey has become the catalyst for growth instead of the outer journey against others.

With this in mind we can never again be disappointed with the outcome because the outcome lies within and is no longer contingent on others. All of this requires us breaking down the boundaries of what we thought to be true and opening our minds to a new and vast realization. The Buddha lies within us all and just needs to have that door opened. As for me now, well, I still race a bit for fun and occasionally like to go fast but it really doesn’t matter anymore to me what the result is. I like to think that I’ve grown a bit for the better and that my priorities are a little more in line with how I want to live my life. So yes, I believe it is possible to race, be competitive and remain ego-less through it all. We just need to apply a few simple teachings to ensure a positive experience every time out. Happy racing!

The Unthinkable Day by Dan Roper


s outdoor enthusiasts, we all take chances to some degree and risk our own well-being. We accept those risks and, depending on our psyche, push our limits. In doing so, we run the risk of facing our own mortality or that of someone close to us. Last spring I was involved with a tragic event in Moab. While competing in a mountain bike race, another racer was struck by an oncoming vehicle. I was only seconds behind him and immediately stopped as the event unfolded. From my experience and training I knew something was seriously wrong and could not in good conscience leave. I stayed throughout the entire event that morning. Time blurred as I and everyone else there helped in any way we could. Unfortunately the injured rider, Samuel “Ben” Hall, died at the scene. I rode back to the start with the other three men who had helped. We talked some but I was in a state of disbelief. It was hard to comprehend what had just taken place. We checked in at the start area and I finished riding back into town by myself. When I caught up with my friends at the hotel and told them what happened, it all started to sink in. The rider who died that day was a familiar face I remembered from past racing seasons. At the time, I didn’t know his name or any specifics about him. I couldn’t stop thinking about his family and friends. I was told he had traveled to the race with a friend but no one was sure who that was. A question kept repeating itself in my mind: Who would find this person and what would they tell him? Even worse: Who would call his family? For more than 10 years now, I have climbed, skied, boated and biked my way across the American West. In doing so, 78

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I have been blessed with countless amazing adventures and have seen some incredibly beautiful country. As a drawback though, I have been witness to serious injury and death. Unfortunately we all have lost someone close to us who was just enjoying what we all love to do—getting outside and living life to the fullest. As you spend more time in the backcountry, your circle of friends who share the same passion for outdoor pursuits grows. If there is one thing I love the most, it is that our small communities become such close-knit groups. But when a group is this tight, it makes the loss of someone special that much more difficult. Over the years the list of friends we have lost has grown. It never gets easier and we all react in a different way. Some like myself close up and hold it in. Some of us may turn to drugs and alcohol. Still others choose to push their own limits and believe they are ready when it’s their time to go. As the days, weeks and months have gone by since the Moab race, I have had my good and bad times dealing with what happened. Never have I ever felt so completely helpless. I know that we did everything we could have, but that doesn’t always help calm your heart. Talking with friends has helped but the questioning of myself has not. I have questioned why I pursue these activities. If it were me, who would call my family? The hardest part about continuing racing last summer was the constant reminder of what happened. Race after race, we would be at the starting line and the announcer would talk about being careful and talk of the tragedy in Moab. The last straw snapped when at a road race in Leadville a racer in front of me

fell and slid across the road and into the woods at over 40 mph. Unfortunately, I finally shut down and didn’t even want to touch a bike. Yet the saying is true, time does heal your wounds. The length of time of course varies for each person. At some point we do need to move on to avoid repeating, self-destructive patterns. I feel the pain of Ben’s family and I know all too well what it is like. Twenty years have passed since my family and I lost my younger brother Christopher. We have all healed in various ways and to various degrees. You never get over it but in some way we have moved on. There is always the lingering thought about what it would be like if Christopher were still here. Thankfully for me, I got some help from outside the family. It has never been easy but helped me go on with life. It is a constant reminder to myself to not close up but continue talking, no matter how hard that may be. If many of us could keep that resolve we would all be much better off in dealing with our loss. Today the healing process continues but so do the questions. How do we move on? What would our friends who passed away want us to do? Where do we go from here? The looming question is, “Do we continue doing the same activities?” It really makes you re-evaluate everything that is important to you. As for continuing with our passion for the outdoors, we have to make that choice on our own. Some of us stopped doing what we love. The trauma was too much and we couldn’t continue. Others slowly went back to being comfortable again. I would like to think that those who have passed away wouldn’t want us to stop doing what we love because they

photo by Brian Riepe

are gone. They would want us to continue chasing our dreams however small or large. We don’t carry on with our pursuits because we have a death wish, but rather a love for life, a love for the land, ourselves and the opportunity to challenge ourselves. To all our friends and family, I pray we will continue to be there for each other. We can help each other through the healing process. We should not be

afraid to open our hearts and minds to those in need and should never be afraid to ask for help. To those of you who are no longer with us, we miss you. We will never forget the good and bad times, the laughs, and the adventures we shared. We know you are all looking down at us from somewhere, smiling and laughing. Your spirit lives on in our hearts and minds.

In Remembrance Christopher Ide Roper–we miss you dearly little brother. Samuel “Ben” Hall–your courage and positive spirit remain in the hearts of your friends and family. Peter Terbush–your enthusiasm and infectious smile will never be forgotten. Mountain Flyer


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Mountain Flyer Number 2  

Mountain Flyer Magazine Issue Number 2, Spring 2005

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