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10 RIDES WE LOVE | THE LOWDOWN ON E-BIKES | STURGILL SIMPSON APRIL 2020

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E L E V AT I O N O U T D O O R S . C O M

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RIDING LIKE A P RO IN PORTUGAL

CYCLE EFFECT: HOW LATINX GIRLS ARE CHANGING THE CYCLING CONVERSATION

B I K I NG A ND T R A I L R U NNI NG W I LL K E E P YO U SA NE

THE HEROES BEHIND THE TRAIL


M O R E A DV E N T U R E . L E S S W O R R Y.

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Eagle County's young Latinx girls start racing mountian bikes, eveyone wins. See page 14.

DEPARTMENTS 7 EDITOR'S LETTER Uncertainty and hope in the age of COVID-19. 9 QUICK HITS Trinidad has big plans for more gravel rides, How to be a more respectful mountain biker, cool lodgings and trout streams in New Mexico, the art of bonking in a triathlon, selling your gear on consignment, and more...

25 STRAIGHT TALK Mountain running champion Joseph Gray is determined to win so that he can inspire more Black American kids to embrace the outdoors. 39 HEAR THIS Sturgill Simpson takes off on a new sonic journey. 40 THE ROAD Wannabe pro rider Aaron Bible lives the dream when he heads to Portugal with InGamba.

14 FLASHPOINT The Cycle Effect is teaching Eagle County’s Latinx girls how to race mountain bikes and change their lives.

42 ELWAYVILLE Peter Kray finds solace in the creattivity of spring.

19 HOT SPOT These new mountain bike rides will fill you with joy when the coronavirus crisis is finally over.

27 MEET THE TRAIL BUILDERS We take the time to praise the non profits, volunteers who build mountain bike trail systems in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. Meet the heroes responsible for your sweet ride.

21 NUMEROLOGY All hail the rising power of the e-bike. We give you all the data on the big trend.

FEATURES

33 FIVE TRAIL RUNNERS WE LOVED Kicksology author Brian Metzler runs down the shoes that make for the perfect quiver. 34 10 RIDES WE LOVED These road, mountain, gravel, commuter, and multi-tasking bikes really turned our cranks. 37 GEAR ACCESSORIES These essential extras will up your ride or run.

ON THE COVER Riders Michelle Zimmerman (front) and Uri Carlson (back) dig into the Wheeler trail in Breckenridge, Colorado. By Liam Doran Website liamdoranphotography.com Instagram @liam_doran_outdoors

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Exploring the trails around my house with my family—and taking the time to listen to less noise and more birds.

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Enjoy the outdoors in a mindful way. Understand that our visits have impacts on the places we recreate and do your best to not add to the chaos as best you can.

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Going for long runs and spending time with people I love.

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Solitary long, meandering trail runs in Boulder and skateskiing sessions on the Mineral Belt Loop in Leadville.

Lindsay DeFrates

Being outside reminds me that we are less important than we think. The snow melts and the rivers rise despite us, and the seasons always change.

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Vent on Facebook, then go outside and meditate.

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My dogs are treating me to a daily regimen of “paw-guided tours.”


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AGE OF UNCERTAINTY W E H AV E N E V ER FAC ED A G LO B A L C R I S I S L I K E COV I D -1 9 BUT THE OUTDOORS AND O U R CO M M U N I T Y H A S T H E P OW ER TO R I D E I T O U T, S TAY G RO U N D ED, A N D FI N D H O P E. by DOUG SCHNITZSPAHN

A

s I write this letter on March 19, 2020, I have no idea what the world and our society will look like when this magazine is in your hands or when the planet finally shakes the deadly novel coronavirus. In that way, I am just like you, just like everyone across the globe. We have never faced a crisis like like this that is affecting everyone everywhere at the same time. I hope that we can see our way through it for the sake of our collective health and well being. One thing I do know is that no matter what state our society is in when the pandemic has passed, the power of the outdoors will be there to help heal and bring us back. This magazine celebrates all the good and joyous things we find when we head into the outdoors. We have embraced solitary meditation, the reintroduction of wolves to Colorado, and the Japanese concept of shinrin yoku, or forest bathing, simply getting into the woods to take in the healing property of trees. We also advocate for conservation, for public lands, for climate change action, for disabled athletes, for people of diverse backgrounds to find the same solace we do in these unfettered spaces. And we promote thriving, sustainable business. Gear, brewpubs, restaurants, travel operators, guides, rock gyms, festivals—all of these represent a community of people who have found a way to make a living doing what they love and standing up for

STAY REFLECTIVE: IT IS OUR CONNECTION TO THE OUTDOORS THAT CAN HELP US FIND WAYS TO MOVE FORWARD AFTER COVID-19. photo by DEVON BALET

those same basic benefits and causes we champion in the outdoors. I worry about how this outdoor economy will survive after the ravages of the coronavirus crisis—because it must survive to speak up for and defend the outdoors. We want to keep proving that clean, responsible industries and caring people can build a world that benefits all and endures. Now is not yet the time to head out to our favorite mountain towns and pump up these economies, or even to just get away and set up camp the way we like to encourage our readers to do. Mountain towns are extremely vulnerable to the virus. They don’t have the medical infrastructure to handle the potential crush of critical patients. But that does not mean we cannot get out and enjoy our nearby trails and parks with loved ones and pets, as long as we are still practicing safe social distancing to slow down the spread of the disease. But when the world is safe again, we have an imperative to get back outside and to rebuild by bringing business back into these mountain towns, by visiting the coffee shops and dropping into the whitewater parks and hula hooping at the festivals. It may sound insignificant but it will be vital. We at EO see ourselves as a community. To that end, we have been mailing magazines for free to our readers, we have been continuing to give our writers and photographers work, and we have been partnering with advertisers who support us. We think we can rise up and continue to build a world where people find enough harmony with the planet to pass on what we love about the outdoors to future generations.

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O F T OV ER LO O K ED T R I N I DA D K EEP S P USH I N G TO B E CO M E CO LO R A D O’ S G R AV EL- G R I N D I N G EP I C EN T ER .

PHOTO COURTESY JUAN ALBERTO DELAROCA

juan alberto delaroca is on a mission

down in Trinidad, Colorado. After working at high-paced creative agencies in Boulder and Austin, Texas, he moved down to the border town that’s better known for dispensaries and a history of being the sex change capital of he U.S. than bicycling. But DelaRoca saw untapped potential for some serious gravel riding in the surrounding hills and he has been busy promoting the place as a hub for cycling’s fast-growing category. He recently collaborated with Trinidad State and the Professional TrailBuilders Association to create a construction-industry-based program that will be the first of its kind. The program is currently scheduled to start in the fall of 2020 and DelaRoca says a prominent corporate donor has already committed towards funding the program for the next three years. “The gravel scene in southern Colorado is starting to pick up steam,” DelaRoca says. “Last year saw big attendance for two gravel events, the Pony Xpress and Hi-Lo Gravel Country. Word is getting out. Some of the best uncrowded dirt roads to explore in the state are in Trinidad-Las Animas County. Things are set to improve even more when a portion of Fisher Peak Ranch opens to the public in the fall.” The Branson Hi-Lo Gravel Grinder race (facebook.com/BransonHiLoGravelGrinder) is on tap September 21, when we all hope biking is the most important thing on our minds again. —Doug Schnitzspahn

TRINIDANDY: THERE'S PLENTY OF GRAVEL TO GRIND AND FEW OTHER SOULS AROUND IN TRINIDAD.


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MTB LNT T H E M O R E FRU I TA CO N T I N U E S TO G A I N I N P O P U L A R I T Y, T H E M O R E W E N EED TO TA K E C A R E O F T H E R E S O U RC E S W E LOV E. THE TOWN OF FRUITA, COLORADO,

Camp with a Plan

A lot of the dispersed BLM camping areas around Fruita have been fully “discovered” in recent years. This means that rolling in on Friday night will not guarantee an open spot, so it’s a good idea to have a back-up location (or two) in mind. Primitive camping requires adhering to Leave No Trace (LNT) principles and always bringing your own water, as well as a wastedisposal system.

Respect Other Riders

Fruita trails offer options for beginner riders and are close to great campgrounds and other family-friendly venues. This means that your chances

of interacting with brand new riders (ages 2-92) is very high. Certain runs are well known for beginners, like the Kessel Run, for example, and should always be ridden in control with respect to the speed and ability of those around you. No tailgating. Welcome new riders cheerfully, but always feel confident when speaking up, kindly, to educate them about how to preserve and protect this beautiful area.

Yield Carefully

Mountain bikers yield to every other trail user. Downhill yields to uphill. But did you know that on a trail surrounded by sensitive soils, the manner in which you yield matters, too? While it may seem extra polite to move far out of the way by stepping a few feet off the trail, this behavior causes significant damage to soils and colonies of crypto-biotic organisms. When yielding, move your tire to the edge of the trail and lean the bike away, putting only one foot down on a durable surface.

TECHNOLOGY SENA R1 EVO

Aside from the usual built-in Bluetooth functions, this helmet features an incredible mesh network intercom system that lets you chat with your fellow riders without having to push any buttons. The speakers also sit above the ear, allowing for more awareness of sounds around you. $159 | SENA.COM

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Build Positive Community

BESTSLOPE : COLORADO'S WESTERN

The reality is that as ridership increases across the state, we all need to become intentional ambassadors for good trail etiquette and an inclusive supportive sports community. Look for ways to give back through organized volunteer work days, or if you live far away, consider donating to groups like Mountain Bike Project, the bootson-the-ground group for sustaining healthy growth in the industry. —Lindsay DeFrates

THE EVERYMAN’S RYE T I N C U P I N T RO D U C E S A N I N S TA N T LY L I K A B L E RY E. TINCUP AMERICAN WHISKY WAS

founded with a mission: Make whiskey approachable for all. Now, the brand has a rye that lives up to that promise. Typically, ryes are considered whiskey 2.0. They are spicier,

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SLOPE BOASTS SOME OF THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKING IN THE COUNTRY—BUT YOU NEED TO BE RESPECTFUL IN THIS FRAGILE ECOSYSTEM.

drier, and pack a bite, hence best appreciated by a more advanced palate. Whiskey and bourbon, on the other hand, are made mostly from corn mash, which yields a high sugar content that makes them easier to drink. “We wanted to make a rye that you don’t have to learn to like,” says Tincup’s cowboy-founder Jess Graber, who also founded Stranahan’s Whiskey in 2002. EO had a chance to try the new label at a recent tasting in Tincup, Colorado, the mining town that inspired the brand, and found it to be easy drinking, indeed. We picked out flavors of wood and leather and a finish of apricot and pepper, and found it had a bit of sweetness to mellow out the heat. Rather than the horse-kick finish characteristic

BOOKS SWIM, BIKE, BONK: CONFESSIONS OF A RELUCTANT TRIATHLETE

Travel writer Will McGough’s comical exposé of the 140.6mile Ironman triathlon treats the über-commercialized race like it’s a foreign country. He chronicles the race’s history, his unorthodox training, the fierce competitors, and his attempt to finish in an easygoing, curious style that offers an outsider’s perspective on the triathlete lifestyle.

PHOTO BY DEVON BALET

is known for many one-of-a-kind attractions, including the Colorado National Monument, a bunch of dinosaur bones, and the Hot Tomato restaurant. The town also happens to be a gateway to more than 250 miles of beautiful singletrack mountain bike trails in the high desert. Sometime in the past two decades, Fruita firmly established itself as a mecca for mountain bikers of every skill level. From the counterclockwiserunning flow trails of 18 Road to the view-friendly Kokepelli Trail to the rocky technical sections of the Lunch Loops, this is four-season mountain biking central. Because of the growing popularity of the sport, and the proximity of these trails to I-70, the number of visitors continues to increase every season. More users means more impact, and riders need to realize that if we want to maintain these trails, we also need to take extra care of them. You already know how important it is to ride dry trails and respect seasonal closures (right?). Here are a few more ways to ensure sustainable recreation.


PHOTOS BY (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) COURTESY TIN CUP, THOMAS HOUSER, COURTESY TIM BURR

of most ryes. “Tincup gives you a little love bite that lets you know you’re still alive,” says Graber in his characteristic salt-of-the-earth style. Graber attributes the drinkability to the “best water in the world,” sourced from Colorado’s Eldorado Springs, and the charred American white oak barrels it’s aged in for three years. The barrels extract impurities, lend a sweet caramel flavor, and tame down the kick, he says. “I’m not a rocket scientist,” Graber adds. “We just make good whiskey.” —Kimberly Beekman

EAT, SLEEP, PLAY: CHAMA, NEW MEXICO T U C K ED J US T S O U T H O F T H E CO LO R A D O B O R D ER , T H I S L I T T L E TOW N H OS T S TA S T Y E AT S , M O D ER N LO D G I N G , A N D B E AU T I FU L L A N DS C A P E S .

EAT

The cabins at Trout Stalker Ranch have kitchens, meaning you can save some cash by dining in. But when your morning calls for a treat, head to Wilder Bakeshop and Espresso

(wilderbakeshop.com). Jazzmyn Cramer founded the shop with a strong commitment to ethical and sustainable ingredient sourcing from companies like Santa Fe’s Iconik Coffee Roasters that are dedicated to sustainable farming practices and fair pay to workers. Other high-quality ingredients come from afar (like thePlugra European butter). Everything comes together in tasty tortes, flaky pastries, and satisfying quiches. For lunch, my family hit up Local (chamalocal. com) located across from the famous Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Dine inside or out on delicious charred brussel sprouts served family style, and chase your veggies with a classic wood-fired pizza like the hot and spicy “The Macho.” But it’s New Mexico. Don’t miss the green chile.

SLEEP

There are lots of places to stay in Chama, but to get off of the main drag and enjoy the solitude of the beautiful surrounding environment head to Trout Stalker Ranch (chamatroutstalkers. com) with recently built, modern, two-bedroom cabins complete with a comfortable living room, full kitchen, and a deck ideal for dining and lounging before, between, and after big days out playing in the landscape. The Chama and Chamita rivers run through the property and feed a number of

ponds—all of which hold fish just waiting to bite.

THE GOOD LIFE: (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT)

PLAY

In Chama, the iconic Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (cumbrestoltec. com) gets top billing. The downtown railyard dating back to the 1880s is full of classic steam engines puffing away, whistling, getting a bath, or filling up with passengers for a trip up into the nearby hills. It takes most of a day to ride the train 64 miles to Antonito, Colorado, but shorter options are available. Just across the border in Colorado, the Rio Grand National Forest hosts a number of great hiking tails like the 2.5-mile shorty to Red Lake, the 3-miler along Elk Creek, or The Continental Divide trail, headed to Canada. And for fun in the water, head to the 69-acre Trujillo Meadows Reservoir complete with a boat launch, toilet, and a nearby campground. —Cameron Martindell

LOCAL HERO: TIM BURR R E T U R N TO D I RT I S M A K I N G B AC KCO U N T RY A DV EN T U R E S ACC E S S I B L E F O R E V ERYO N E. IN DECEMBER 2017, THEN 21-YEAR-OLD

Tim Burr founded the non-profit Return

TINCUP’S NEW RYE HAS ALL THE KICK BUT NONE OF THE BITE. CHAMA, NEW MEXICO, IS STILL AN UNDISCOVERED SPOT TO FISH. TIM BURR IS RETURNING TO DIRT AND BRINGING DISABLED ATHLETES WITH HIM.

to Dirt with the goal of bringing disabled athletes back to the backcountry. As a lifelong outdoorsman from Glenwood Springs who was paralyzed from the chest down in a skiing accident three years prior, Burr found himself in a unique position to help others who, like himself, love to get off the beaten track but can’t always do it alone. “The problem we are trying to solve is that of outdoor accessibility. If you can't walk, run, hike or bike into the backcountry, then the only way to get back there is with motorized assistance,” Burr says. At no cost to the participants, Return to Dirt facilitates the perfect off-road adventure in one of their two Polaris RZRs. The vehicles are retro-fitted with hand controls and extra-supportive chest harnesses. Trips can be mild (view wildflowers in the Flattops) or wild (tear through the Moab desert in search of some hot, dusty speed). Last season, Burr worked with 34 different athletes, and he invites any interested individuals to apply, regardless of their previous experience level. —L.D.

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GEAR GODS T H I S W E S T ER N CO LO R A D O R E TA I L ER I S LOW ER I N G T H E P R I C E O F EN T RY F O R FU N I N THE OUTDOORS. IN THE ROARING FORK VALLEY, AN

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FULLY STOCKED: RAGGED DESERVES YOUR POST-SOCIAL-DISTANCING BUSINESS.

season to season. Owners Steve Denny, Aisha Weinhold, and Tyler Vaughan enjoy helping the community by paying consignment dividends back to residents, and providing an essential resource for everyone living on a budget who still loves the outdoors— especially families with young children. They also support several non-profit organizations including Way of Compassion Bicycle Project (building and fixing bikes for third graders) and the Spring Gulch Nordic Center. —L.D.

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PHOTO BY LINDSAY DEFREATES

average weekend may include any or all of the following activities: mountain biking, rock climbing, Nordic skiing, hiking, snowboarding, snowshoeing, backpacking, fly-fishing, or topping out on a fourteener. To keep up with all these adventurous pursuits, many local residents maintain an extensive personal gear closet. Purchasing new gear is expensive, however, and all too often, those shiny new toys end up in a landfill just a few years later. As an answer to the cost and impact of overpriced and discarded gear, Ragged Mountain Sports was founded in 2011 in the town of Carbondale. A second-hand consignment store for outdoor adventure gear, Ragged Mountain meets real needs for the residents of the valley, offering gear they can afford, and a way to reduce their environmental impact. The shop takes good-condition, outdooradventure soft and hard goods for all ages, and its inventory turns over


Zillmer Canyon Via Ferrata at CMH Cariboos | Photo by Robin O’Neill

CLAIM YOUR ALL TIME CLIMB EXHILARATING MOUNTAIN EXPERIENCES For those who want to amp-up the excitement, CMH has the ticket. Our professionally guided thrill-filled adventures can have you climbing via ferrata next to pounding waterfalls, traversing zip-lines over canyons and navigating sky-high cable bridges. Choose from 4, 5, 7 or 9-day trips

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Taking the Lead THE CYCLE EFFECT GETS L ATINX GIRLS WHO HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED FOR FAR TOO LONG WHEN IT COMES TO RACING BIKES OUT WINNING RACES AND CHANGING THE CULTURAL CONVERSATION WHEN IT COMES TO CYCLING IN COLORADO. by TRACY ROSS

NEW FACES: THE CYCLE EFFECT HAS SHARED THE JOY OF MOUNTAIN BIKING IN EAGLE COUNTY, WHERE 50 PERCENT OF THE COMMUNITY IS LATINX AND RARELY HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO EMBRACE THE SPORT.

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JOE KUSUMOTO PHOTOGRAPHY / INSTAGRAM: @KUSUMOTOPHOTO

O

n an overcast day last fall, before the snows came, though they weren’t that far off, I rode my bike with a group of girls on a trail not far from the Colorado High School Cycling League championship course, at the Haymaker Trail in Eagle, Colorado. Perhaps I shouldn’t call out the fact that the girls I rode with were Latinx. This may signify something about the story I am going to tell, or about the girls, which should not matter. But in the situation I was in, the girls’ heritage did matter, as did the fact that many came from lower-income families. Many were the first girls in their families to ride mountain bikes, and all were the first to race bikes. Many of the girls were faster than I’d imagined they would be. After we met in the Haymaker parking lot, smiled through introductions, and donned our helmets, bike shoes, and CamelBaks, we started riding down a dusty trail to a series of streets, and down the streets to another trail, and on that trail to a hill, where several of the long-blackponytailed girls pumped their legs with concentration, which resulted in them leaving me in the dust with a few of the newer (and slower) riders. Their quickness surprised me. I mountain bike regularly at an elevation higher than we were riding, so I figured I might just dust them. But I had failed to remember one very important fact. The girls weren’t on just any team, they’re on Brett and Tam Donelson’s Cycle Effect team. And if you are on The Cycle Effect team it means that you are required to take mountain biking seriously—as in attend bike practices every week and cross-train on days when it’s snowing. They also race—in the Colorado League and in other events. By October 2019, they had started about 15 races, finished most of them, and had stood on podiums multiple times. But while all of that matters quite a bit, the most important thing about The Cycle Effect is the impact it makes on these girls’ lives both on the bike and off.


The Girls Lead

BRINGING IT HOME: WHEN GIRLS START

Here’s an oft-overlooked fact about the region surrounding the $200-a-day-liftticket resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek. The demographic most people see—in the media and promotional materials— is a white, wealthy, recreationally advantaged one that can afford extravagances like mountain biking along with their second homes and au pairs. But some 50 percent of the population consists of Latinx families who moved to the region for jobs, to join existing family, or for other opportunities, and who often lack a cultural context for outdoor recreation. Once they arrived, many stayed because of the natural beauty, the sense of belonging, and for the opportunities Summit and Eagle counties offer for all children to learn to ski, raft, camp, fish, and mountain bike. Yet in many of these Latinx families, girls are never acquainted with mountain biking due to financial and gender barriers as well as a lack of familiarity with the sport. “One thing you never saw 10 years ago here was a Latinx girl riding a fullsuspension bike,” says Donelson. But he saw the potential. In the mid-2000s, he began thinking of ways to bring his favorite sport to a new population, and started a pilot program in 2010. It wasn’t easy: So many times at the end of a hard day, Brett would collapse at the kitchen table, and tell Tam, “We can’t do this anymore, it’s too emotionally and financially stressful.” But Tam believed that everyone should have the opportunity to ride a bike, “for the fun, the adventure, the freedom, the empowerment, and the [human] connection.” So she’d tell Brett, “[Running a non-profit] is super hard, but riding with the girls is the best part of our lives. It’s what we talk about when we come home.”

MOUNTAIN BIKING, THE ENTIRE FAMILY BACK HOME WANTS TO LEARN, TOO.

"

They kept their project targeted to girls because they believed it was the way they could best help the community. “I fell in love with doing it that way because if you get girls involved [in a sport like biking] automatically the boys and dads think they can do it, too. But if you invite the dads and brothers [into the sport], the girls won’t do it,” says Donelson. Another positive to keeping The Cycle Effect single-gendered: “When girls get involved in biking, the whole family will become bikers,” says Donelson. “And honestly, women’s equity in sports has been lagging for so long that even when we’ve had pushback from families wanting us to include boys, we’ve stuck to our guns, saying we can’t be everything to everyone.” As a pilot program, The Cycle Effect was called Ell’s Angels. Their first year, they had 10 girls, to whom they taught basic mountain biking skills. Soon, they’d amassed significant sponsors, including women-specifc bike brand Liv, and as The Cycle Effect, they offered a yearround, several-day-a-week program complete with a bike, bike kit, race entry fees, pro coaches, and staff support, which valued a whopping $5,000 to $6,000 but which they offered for $140. The price has remained static though they now have 175 riders. Currently, the Cycle Effect is expanding into Mesa County where Donelson expects they’ll attract another 200 participants.

JOE KUSUMOTO PHOTOGRAPHY / INSTAGRAM: @KUSUMOTOPHOTO

yet in many of these latinx families, girls are never acquainted with mountain biking due to financial and gender barriers as well as a lack of familiarity with the sport. “one thing you never saw 10 years ago here was a latinx girl riding a full-suspension bike,” says donelson.

Riding Past the Challenges

Cycle Effect racers start in 5th grade and continue riding, if they want, through 12th grade. A couple of years ago, one A P R I L 2 0 2 0 / E L E VAT I O N O U T D O O R S . C O M

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girl went to U.S. Nationals and now they have girls on three different high school teams and state championship podiums; last fall five attended. They race in the wildly popular Colorado High School Cycling League where they regularly podium. But one of the most satisfying things Donelson sees is when a younger girl watches an older girl break through a barrier, and a younger girls’ eyes light up with the recognition that she can break barriers, too. This ranges from negotiating tricky singletrack to lining up at the start of a race with several hundred other riders. But maybe more importantly, it includes moments when the girls transfer the strength, stamina, boldness, even joy into tricky, complex, or difficult situations in their lives. In a graduate school essay, longtime rider Coco Andrade summed up her Cycle Effect experience, writing that when she started the program with 10 other girls in 2011, each was considered atrisk “whether that was [for] emotional or financial reasons. We were all going through something at that moment… and...Tam and Brett took the time to understand our cultural and social challenges. When they heard the cultural expectations of a woman, they didn’t question it; they simply listened and maintained a straight face. They knew that most of us had never been on a bike and never heard of clipless pedals, but they knew we had the power to do anything. Every practice they would keep encouraging us to do

NO BARRIES: THE CONFIDENCE THE GIRLS LEARN ON THE BIKE ALSO EMPOWER THEM IN OTHER ASPECTS OF THEIR LIVES.

"

better and try harder.” Through the program, Andrade continued, she learned “important valuable qualities of responsibility, respectfulness, and courage.” She now passes these on to younger riders. She knows she must respect everyone’s cultural differences. And she is helping these young girls to discover their own ability to overcome obstacles they face in mountain biking and in real life. As a coach, she says, “you are there to guide them through difficult moments by helping them discover their own power…” But the best part is when she and the girls, along with Brett, Tam, their staff, and volunteer coaches head to the trails at Haymaker as the clouds start to build before a storm. They make big circles in the parking lot, listen to the day’s plan, and then ride out, single-file into the sagebrush. Some girls race their bikes up the hills there, using the strength they’ve been building for several years, while others push with all of their might and still have to hike some sections. As a unit, though, the Latinx girls in their Lycra shorts and brightly colored jerseys command your attention. When I rode with them last October, I could feel their confidence pulsing throughout the team, pushing them onward and upward.

JOE KUSUMOTO PHOTOGRAPHY / INSTAGRAM: @KUSUMOTOPHOTO

“When girls get involved in biking, the whole family will become bikers.” —Brett Donelson, Cycle Effect Executive Director

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Fresh Dirt T H E SE T H R EE CO LO R A D O M O U N TA I N B I K I N G H U B S H AV E E V EN M O R E TO O FFER T H I S Y E A R W I T H N E W T R A I L S T H AT W I L L A P P E A L TO R I D ER S O F A L L A B I L I T Y L E V EL S . by CHRIS KASSAR

A

t some point when the coronavirus crisis eases, we will be out enjoying the trails again. Spring is here. The song birds have returned, flowers have pushed through frozen earth, and our favorite trails are beckoning us to dust off our bikes and ride. It’s tempting to stick with what you know, but each year miles and miles of trails are built around our state. In this season of renewal and rejuvenation, why not branch out and explore some newer, unfamiliar trails in Colorado’s Banana Belt, where thoughtful trail builders have been cranking out the goods over the last few years (see page 27). Just be sure to respect any current social distancing protocols and do not endanger the people who live in these mountain towns.

PHOTO BY ELK RAVEN PHOTOGRAPHY

Buena Vista

A longtime social trail, Vitamin B was officially adopted into the Buena Vista trail system last year. This 6-mile black diamond classic with punchy, rough climbs and challenging features including techy rock gardens and steep rollers is an experience, not just a ride. Views of the Collegiates, extreme exposure, fast flowy sections, and narrow rocky lines merge to make this an unforgettable pedal. Choose your adventure on Unchained, a 3.6-mile trail linking Bacon Bits to Django. Whether you opt for the true double black line or you choose the B or C option, this trail, full of technical climbs, features, flowy sections, drops, and rollers will test your skills and your grit. Due to early October snows, signs and refinements to certain spots still need to be added. Expect these after April 15. Building on the 2.2-mile extension of Camp Elevation (Blue), the 1.9-mile Sausage Link (Blue-Green), and the 1.1-mile Broken Boyfriend-South (Black) has opened up numerous loop options of varying levels closer to town. There are seasonal wildlife closures on Vitamin B and Unchained from December 1 to April 15 for all users! COMING SOON: Scheduled for

summer, a 1-mile extension of the Midland Trail will run from Shields Gulch (where Midland currently ends) to McGee Gulch.

OPEN GROUND: BUENA VISTA’S MORE INFO: Buena Vista Singletrack

Coalition, bvsingletrack.com

Cañon City

Accessible from downtown, the fairly new and varied South Cañon Trails offer big mountain views while winding through piñon and juniper. Start at the Eagle Wing Trailhead to climb easy Mutton Bustin’ and Recycle, then head south toward higher elevation and more difficult trails like Hard Time and The Great Escape. Opening this spring, the Great Escape Extension (named, like many trails here, in honor of the area’s prison history), will connect South Cañon to the historic Temple Canyon area while also increasing access along Grape Creek. Ideal for intermediates looking to increase their skills, this 2.7-mile link cruises through steep terrain with low exposure. Many visitors come to the Royal Gorge for the bridge and amusement park, but few explore the 18-miles of trail winding through the 5,000acre city park surrounding these attractions. Boasting a range of difficulties from flowy to techy, the Royal Gorge Trails offer unmatched views of the gorge, the bridge, and the summits of both the Wet Mountains and the Sangre de Cristos. Begin at the parking lot located on CR3A (with restrooms and picnic area), then wind around panoramic Canyon Rim,

NEWEST TRAILS DELIVER LOTS OF FLOW AND SWEEPING VIEWS.

FAR Out, and Summit View for great views. End on the flowy Dream Weaver or Twisted Cistern for downhill fun, then make the easy climb on Twisted Cistern back to your vehicle. The most recent addition to the trail system is One Track Mind, a strenuous 3-mile trail with some black diamond features that terminates at Point Alta Vista, a historic viewpoint that allows exploration of old train trestles and offers incredible views of the Royal Gorge and even the Hanging Bridge, nearly 1,000 feet below. COMING SOON: Scheduled for

completion this summer, a looped extension to One Track Mind will add an additional mile of technical trail with views of the Royal Gorge and Hanging Bridges. MORE INFO: Fremont Adventure

Recreation, joinfar.org

Salida

Sun Up, a refurbished, but rocky moderate climb accesses Sol Train East and Sol Train West, fun, flowy downhill options on the ever-expanding Methodist Mountain system. Though Sol Train West has slightly bigger jumps, both trails are playful mile-long runs full of berms, rollers, twists, and turns with consistent mellow grades and optional step-downs. Combine these with

Solstice, an equally entertaining 1.3mile route that terminates just above the old cemetery and makes a great finish to any ride, before heading back to town. Please respect the Dec 15– April 15 closure for wildlife habitat. Over in the Arkansas Hills Trails System (on and around S Mountain, aka Tenderfoot), all the buzz is about El Duderino, a super techy, .4-mile, double-black-diamond descent that opened last fall just before the snow hit. With intense exposure, serious consequences, and optional, even more intense lines, this adrenalineinducing drop from Dude Abides to North Backbone demands respect and stellar bike handling Further south, Dream On, a 2-mile intermediate addition with some short, steep, rocky sections, parallels Sweet Dreams and creates more loop options close to town. Utilizing untouched ridgelines and high points where town and mountain views abound, Dream On sparks the adventurer’s imagination. COMING SOON: A connector between

Double Rainbow to Little Rainbow through the Sand Gulch Area.

MORE INFO: Salida Mountain Trails,

salidamountaintrails.org

G E T S TO K ED F O R T H E PA LIS A DE PLU N G E

Interested in a techy, exposed, stunning 34-mile ride that drops from the top of the Grand Mesa (10,700 feet) to the town of Palisade (4,700 feet)? Well, start training, because the bottom half—16 miles from the Land’s End Road to Palisade—will be ready to rock in July, and the whole route, constructed by the wizards at Singletrack Trails singletracktrails.com, will be completed by the end of 2020. Technical flow, picturesque views, nofall zones, and wild backcountry singletrack are sure to make this one of the top mountain bike destinations in Colorado. • A P R I L 2 0 2 0 / E L E VAT I O N O U T D O O R S . C O M

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Summit store the

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2 4 8 8-11 12 18 25 2

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APRIL

Beacon Bowl Dinner 18th Annual Beacon Bowl and Avalanche Awareness Day 31st Annual Enduro and Après Party 5th Annual Enduro Light Beach N’ Egg Hunt Earth Day Celebration and POW Carpool Day Shakin’ at the Basin Spring Concert Series Live Music by Hillbilly Demons

MAY

Shakin’ at the Basin Spring Concert Series and Superhero Day Live Music by Chase ‘N The Dream

9 9-10 16 16 23

Spring Rail Jam #1 Pride Weekend Shakin’ at the Basin Spring Concert Series Live Music by New Family Dog 5th Annual Swimwear Day Shakin’ at the Basin Spring Concert Series and Spring Rail Jam #2

24 30 31

19th Annual Festival of the Brewpubs Live Music by Latin Sol Shakin’ at the Basin Spring Concert Series Live Music by Steve Thomas Band Shakin’ at the Basin Spring Concert Series Live Music by Funkiphino

6 7

Live Music by Wash Park

JUNE

Shakin’ at the Basin Spring Concert Series Live Music by Hobo Village Shakin’ at the Basin Spring Concert Series Live Music by High Five


N U ME R O L O G Y | 0 4. 20

350,000

Feel the Power

Number of e-bikes sold in the United States in 2015, back when they were still considered an evil form of biking by Boulder purists who now tote their two dogs, three kids, Whole Foods haul, and kegs of kombucha between the end of Pearl Street and home.

N O LO N G E R CONSIDERED A N O V E LT Y, E - B I K E S A R E T H E FA S T E S T- G R O W I N G S E G M E N T O F T H E U. S . C YC L I N G M A R K E T. H E R E ’ S T H E LO W D O W N O N H O W T H E Y H AV E F L I P P E D T H E S W I TC H .

1992

by TRACY ROSS

36 million

Number of e-bikes manufactured annually on average.

40

Percent of trails (totaling 60,000 miles) in U.S. national forests and grasslands where e-biking with the motor engaged is currently allowed.

TOP PHOTO COURTESY STROMER, RIGHT PHOTO COURTESY UNSPLASH/TOWER ELECTRIC BIKES, BOTTOM ILLUSTRATION BY OGDEN BOLTON JR./PUBLIC DOMAIN

December 31, 1895

The date Ogden Bolton Jr. was granted U.S. Patent 552,271 for a batterypowered bicycle with a “6pole brush-and-commutator direct current (DC) hub motor mounted in the rear wheel,” according to the internet’s most reliable information source Wikipedia on February 27, 2020. Wiki— and Opitbike founder and blogger Jim Turner—add that the bike had no gears and the motor “could draw up to 100 amperes from a 10-volt battery. Two years later, in 1897, Hosea W. Libbey of Boston invented an electric bicycle that was propelled by a “double electric motor.” In 1898, a cycling inventor named Mathew J. Steffens added a rear wheel drive, which used a driving belt along the outside edge of the wheel. And in 1899, U.S. Patent 627,066 by John Schnepf depicted a rear wheel friction “roller-wheel” style drive electric bicycle.

$81 billion

The amount Americans spend on all types of biking annually, according to bicycle-guider.com.

47%

The amount bike commuting in the U.S. has grown in the last decade (with up to 73 percent growth in the largest cities).

364,000

Number of bicycles produced around the world daily. That’s 15,000 per hour, or 253 a minute, or four bikes per second.

21.8

Percent of cyclists, out of 1,784 people polled by Portland State University, who converted their bikes to e-bikes in 2019—that’s every fifth bike on the street.

The year Vector Services Limited offered and sold an electric bicycle dubbed Zike with nickel-cadmium batteries and an 850g permanentmagnet motor. Yet until the turn of the millennium few electric bikes were available for purchase.

130 MILLION Number of e-bikes expected to sell globally between 2020 and 2030, according to The Verge product-review website.

0

Amount of gas it takes to keep your e-bike going when you blow the bank paying your quarterly taxes and can’t fill the car tank.

2017

The year Colorado incorporated e-bikes into its Bicycle Law. The law allowed e-bike riding on roads, bike lanes, and pedestrian paths. However riders may not engage the motor unless allowed by local ordinance. The City of Boulder is currently the only city to allow motors to be engaged on bike paths. Electric bikes must be ridden on roadways and are prohibited on sidewalks. Also note that Class III electric bikes are restricted to riding on public roads only (no bike paths or pedestrian paths).

$4,500

Starting price for a high-end, full-suspension, e-mountain bike at Bangtail Bikes and XC Skis in Bozeman, Montana (such bikes can sell for as much as $12,000), according to journalist Christopher Solomon.

August 20, 2019

The date the Interior Department ruled that low-speed electric bicycles would be allowed on park roads, paved or hardened trails, and areas designated for off-road vehicles.

0

Number of tax breaks you get for riding an e-bike to work instead of driving. The Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019, introduced to the House of Representatives last March, could change that, however. You can head to congress.gov/bill/116thcongress/house-bill/1507/text for more information.

50+

Age of rider many e-bike manufacturers market their products to, as “Baby boomers, aged, between 52 and 70 as of 2016, accounting for approximately 25 percent of Americans. Many of them already love cycling, but cannot ride a bicycle due to health-related issues such as knee and joint pain, heart disease, or exercise induced asthma. Riding can also put a significant amount of stress on the heart, particularly for an older rider. “The electric motor of an e-bike can help the rider compensate in areas where they might need additional assistance,” says Dave Williams of bike-insurance program Velosurance.

28 to 48

Percent that people in Norway who obtained an e-bike increased their cycling trips in a given year.

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pure passion M O U N TA I N RU N N I N G C H A M P I O N J OS E PH G R AY TA L K S A BO U T T H E D E T ER M I N AT I O N I T TA K E S TO R ISE TO T H E TO P A N D I N SP I R E OT H ERS TO FI N D T H EI R H E A RTS I N A SP O RT W H ER E N O O N E EL SE LO O K S L I K E YO U. by DOUG SCHNITZSPAHN

PHOTO COURTESY OF HOKA ONE ONE

J

oseph Gray’s running resumé is so loaded it would take most of this page to list all of his accomplishments. To pick some highlights, the Colorado Springs-based athlete is an 18-time USA National Champion. He has represented Team USA 31 times in international competition and won eight world titles across the mountain, trail, and snowshoe disciplines. Gray, 35, is also the first Black American to win the U.S. Mountain Running Championships and the first Black American to win the U.S. Snowshoe Running Championships. EO readers also voted him Resident Colorado Trail Badass in 2019. He wants to share his love of running and the mountains with young people of diverse backgrounds and encourage them to take the sport by storm the way he has. With the help of sponsors like Hoka One One, his ongoing Inspire Diversity

project (@joegeezi #inspirediversity) reaches out to these kids and supports them. He took the time to talk to us just two weeks after the birth of his second child and as the novel coronavirus pandemic began to close down most of the country. What was the impetus behind the Inspire Diversity project? A lot of it reflects back on my own career. When I was young, I didn't have a lot of money to get really nice gear and running stuff. I remember a couple of times in my young career when someone gave me a free product and I remember how much it motivated me and inspired me and got me excited about the sport. I wanted to provide that same opportunity to this next generation of kids. I understand that it's hard to stay motivated in a sport where nobody really looks like you and where it’s not popular in your community. What was it specifically that brought you to mountain running and kept you there despite the barriers and the difficulty of not seeing anyone else who looks like you in the sport? I just love running. I love being outdoors. It's very raw and very pure. You're just outdoors running on mountains and trails. It’s rugged, and I love that physical challenge, but I also love the peace that you find out there in your thoughts and

seeing the beauty. This is for you. You were born into this. All this beauty is in our earth.

FACE OF A CHAMPION: JOSPEH GRAY PUTS

Why is mountain running a good way for young Black kids or other underserved populations to find their place in the outdoors? It's a relatively cheap sport. It can be tough to access from some urban areas where you see bigger populations of Black people but it’s also something you can travel to and it's pretty easy to participate in and train for compared to other sports where you're spending a lot of money on gear. I mean you can have Payless shoes—I wouldn't recommend doing that for the longterm—but all you need is a pair of shoes. But, then, you might get teased for mountain running in your community because it's so different and so new to the Black community. But when it comes down to it, trail running is just something fun. It’s not a white sport. It's not an Asian sport or a European thing. It's everybody. Humans. We are our purest form of humans when we are mountain running.

can’t just be sixth place. In order for me to get attention or sponsorships, I have to be great and I have to win consistently. The same goes with inspiring the next generation. You can't just be a mediocre Black trail runner.

What challenges do you face as one of very few Black athletes in your sport? I have to do my due diligence, making sure I'm healthy and fit. And when I go to the start line I need to make sure I’m doing something that's going to be impactful for my community. Being Black in this sport, I can't just be mediocre. I

PRESSURE ON HIMSELF TO CONTINUE WINNING AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS.

In the next five years, what changes would you like to see in the sport of mountain running? I’d like to see more diverse athletes getting more sponsorships. There are talented Black runners and Hispanic runners who are not getting sponsorships. The majority of sponsorships still go to white athletes. Maybe we can spread the love and help inspire more folks and represent for a diverse country like the USA. Is there something you want to say to someone who reads this story and feels inspired by you? Follow your heart. If you see trail running or mountain running and your heart yearns to do it, do it. Don’t let race or a fear of being accepted stop you from moving forward with that passion, because, ultimately, you only have yourself to blame if 10 years from now you regret not making that decision. Life is short. If you have a passion for something, go after it.

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If you’re like us, you came to Colorado in search of a bigger, wilder experience. Something that reconnects us with the dreams, adventures and spirit that few destination resorts offer. A place that reconnects us with each other, as remote as you want it to be, and as invigorating as you can handle. A source of relaxation, exhilaration, breathtaking vistas, unlimited exploration, and natural healing waters. We’re Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. Welcome to one mother nature of an experience.

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The Dirt Deities Great trail systems don’t just appear out of thin air and good intentions. They take dedication, planning, navigating government bureaucracy, and lots of hard work to build. To praise that effort, we honor the folks responsible for providing you with these sweet rides. by CAMERON MARTINDELL

I

t used to be that mountain bikers could just follow whatever trail unfurled before them. But to be good stewards and users of the land, designers must build wellthought-out trails properly built to mitigate rutting from erosion and to minimize any impact on wildlife. The greater Rocky Mountain region has a number of groups and organizations with thousands of people, a few paid and the majority volunteer, working as trail designers and builders to provide mountain bikers the most fun and the most ecological riding experience possible in their areas. Here are a few of our favorite trail heroes. Maybe it’s time you become one, too?

Buena Vista, Colorado

Trail Hero: André Chalifoux, 56, moved to Buena Vista four years ago from Lyons, Colorado, and has spent many hours on his own and leading crews to build and maintain trails. He retired three years ago and immediately became WFR certified and joined the Chaffee County Search and Rescue chapter. When BVSC started in 2016, Chalifoux saw it as an opportunity to give back to the local community as a trail runner and avid mountain biker who’d been using and loving the local trails. He organized and led crews on the newly approved Vitamin B system and on the new Camp Elevation Trail. He logged many hours installing seasonal wildlife closure gates and new trail system signage. BVSC Executive Director Nancy Andersen says, “I can't even begin to guess how many hours André has spent on his own out building new trails and maintaining existing trail. BVSC, like most other trail orgs, could not function without volunteers like André!” And it’s not just for Chalifoux’s own use. “It is very rewarding to see trails built with thoughtful design and scenic views in a sustainable

DIRT DOGS: ANDRÉ CHALIFOUX INSTALLS A SEASONAL CLOSURE GATE ON THE VITAMIN B TRAIL IN BUENA VISTA (TOP). NEW TRAIL CONSTRUCTION ON YOUNG GULCH TRAIL (BOTTOM).

way,” he says. “An additional bonus is seeing trail users having a blast on them.” Favorite Trail: “I like the epic vibe of Vitamin B, but my favorite trail is Unchained—a beautifully designed technical trail with flowy, rocky sections and challenging drops,” says Chalifoux. “It’s possibly the best trail that we have built yet, and an indication of what is coming next.” New Trails: Vitamin B, Sausage Link Lend a Hand: bvsingletrack.com

Western Slope, Colorado

Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA) Trail Hero: Scott Winans, 54, grew up in Arizona where he first recognized the value of volunteer efforts by watching his dad agent a 4-H group. When Scott moved to the Westen Slope in the early 1990s and started working at a bike shop, he and a small group of other mountain biking enthusiasts started riding cattle trails in the area that would eventually become the 18 Road trails. At first, they built and improved

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PHOTOS BY SCOTT ANDERSON (TOP), MICK SYZEK (BOTTOM)

Buena Vista Singletrack Coalition (BVSC)


trails on their own—heading out early in the morning to build, then ride, then head to work. Sometimes, they were back at it after work in the evenings. COPMOBA was founded in 1989 but it wasn’t until 1993 that Winans got involved and had the ah-ha moment of understanding the need to work through the structure of the organization in coordination with BLM and the Forest Service and to stop building unapproved and damaging rogue trails through the desert. Winans joined the COPMOBA board in 2009, and his interest runs deeper than just having fun places to ride. “COPMOBA is an economic development organization that masquerades as a trail crew supporting jobs and attracting tourism,” he says. Favorite Trail: “The Palisade Rim Trail on the flank of the Mesa is the ride that centers me,” says Winans. “Views include the Brook Cliffs range, the Colorado National Monument, the agricultural fields, and the green band along the Colorado river.” New Trails: Finished late last year and ready to ride now are a few additions to the Kokopeli network with extensions of The Wrangler Trail, Steve’s Loop, and More Fun. By the end of summer, the first half of the Palisade Plunge (see page 19) should be ready and the rest of the trail should be rideable in the spring of 2021. Lend a Hand: copmoba.org

Northern Colorado & Southern Wyoming Trail Hero: Mick Syzek, 67, grew up an Army brat but has lived on the Front Range for decades. He was involved in Scouting, which he credits with instilling a love for the outdoors and recognizing the need for volunteering, specifically trail building. He first started volunteering in 1992 with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) to save himself from becoming a workaholic and to build a social community. He moved to Fort Collins in 1997, when his wife’s job moved them there and he was able to retire and get more involved in his volunteering efforts. He continued working with VOC, but also discovered a group of ski patrollers who formed the Diamond Peaks Mountain Bike Patrol to have something to do when the snow melted. In 2008, that group evolved into the Overland Mountain Bike Club (and later Association). Mick says that as he gets older, he loves having a way to stay active. Now that he’s gained experience over the years, he’s enjoying passing his knowledge down to the next generation of trail builders and stewards. Mick is the Trails Committee Chairperson for OMBA and still volunteers with VOC, Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, and is a HENRY’S WORLD: HENRY LANMAN SHOWS OFF A MAP OF THE NEW LOOP IN NEW MEXICO’S GALISTEO BASIN PRESERVE THAT FELLOW TRAILBUILDERS VOTED TO NAME AFTER HIM.

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PHOTOS BY BRENT BONWELL (LEFT), DAVID OCHS (RIGHT)

Overland Mountain Bike Association (OMBA)


Tire Society. He is a leader representing the trails community at meetings with many of the organizations interfacing with the Forest Service, and the city and county of Santa Fe. According to Brent Bonwell, who’s in charge of Government Relations for SFFTS, “Any Santa Fe bikers or hikers who use local trails have benefited from Henry's behind-the-scenes work.” Favorite Trail: “I love technical Rio en Madio in the Santa Fe National Forest,” Lanman says, “even though I can’t ride all of it.” New Trails: Fellow trailbuilders voted to name a new 2-mile loop in the Galisteo Basin Preserve Henry’s World. It’s moderately flowy through the pinon, juniper, and grasslands terrain, and it runs into a technical rocky area with multiple lines for various rider levels. Lend a Hand: santafefattiresociety.org BUTTE BUILDERS: DAVID OCHS (LEFT) AND ROBBIE ROBINSON (RIGHT) TAKE A QUICK BREAK.

member of the Colorado Addicted Trail Building Society. Favorite Trail: “Limber Pine Trail at Hermit Park Open Space, managed by Larimer County near Estes Park is a fun, intermediate trail that connects with Homestead Meadows and Lion Gulch Trail, both managed by USFS,” he says. New Trails: A new, 1-mile flow trail in Curt Gowdy State Park, Wyoming, with berms, rollers, rock drops, and wooden features. Trails in the Canyon Lakes Ranger District have been upgraded after 10 years of neglect—limited rollout this year with more to come as funding becomes available. Lend a Hand: overlandmtb.org

Santa Fe, New Mexico Santa Fe Fat Tire Society (SFFTS)

Trail Hero: Henry Lanman, 75, grew up in Santa Fe but relocated to the Bay Area to work as a fire department captain. He started riding while in California and now has about 40 years of experience. He returned home 20 years ago and has been involved in leading crews in the building and maintaining of trails across the county including the Galisteo Basin Preserve, the Dale Ball Trail system, the La Tierra trails, and Alto Park. Henry learned about trail engineering while grading fire trails in California. When he returned to Santa Fe he took a Forest Service Trail Crew Leader Course to get involved with fixing the trails that he thought needed some help. He works with the Glorieta 2.0 organization, is a member of the Santa Fe Trails Alliance, the Santa Fe Conservation Trust, and he’s a founding member of the Santa Fe Fat

Crested Butte, Colorado

Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) Trail Hero: Robbie Robinson, 67, was born in Virginia and graduated from CU in 1975 but didn’t make it out to Crested Butte until 2004 to visit an old friend. Years later, he spotted some local folks doing trail work and he was instantly inspired to volunteer himself. Robbie was at a low point in life and the camaraderie, physical effort, and sense of accomplishment gained through the trail work “helped me physically, mentally, and spiritually,” he says. In 2014, an off-handed invite to stay after a summer of work was all he needed to permanently move to Crested Butte, and that October, he was named CBMBA’s volunteer of the year. Robbie appreciated CBMBA’s core culture, and after 30 years in a thankless cubicle job back in Virginia, it meant a lot when someone told him “good job” while working on the trails (even if that person had to go back and “touch up” spots). “Robbie volunteers for so many things, but he is incredibly dedicated to trails both here in Crested Butte and in Gunnison,” says David Ochs of the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association. Favorite Trail: “Gunsight Connector is moderately difficult and a fun downhill ride through the Aspen forest,” says Robinson. “I worked on it from start to finish and learned a lot of humility in the process. After it was laid out and the deadfall was removed, 225 volunteers worked on it over one weekend to set two miles of trail in place. It’s a real community trail.” New Trails: Middle Cement Creek was finished at the end of the season last year—a moderate/intermediate trail that makes a great “lunch loop” with Walrod and Lower Cement Creek Trail. Riding it clockwise (down) is recommended. Lend a Hand: crestedbuttemountainbike.com

EPIC IS OVERRATED. You could go shoot rapids, get wet, get cold, and spend an hour hanging on for dear life, all for the low cost of…that’s a lot of money. Or you could float. Sitting in lawn chairs, in a cattle tank. Sure it’s a different way to go, but if you’re looking for a leisurely way to get eight friends and a big cooler down a river, tanking is the way to go. Epic is overrated, adventures aren’t. Find your next adventure. Come to Western Nebraska.

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Featuring ‘more space for trail snacks’ technology.

FLUX™ 1.5 L For long thru-hikes, the items you carry must earn their space in your pack. Lucky for the Flux, it packs down smaller than a deck of cards, weighs only 97g, and threads into 42mm water filters. Add in a spill-proof, drink-through cap, and it’s all that with extra space for kettle chips.


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AdVeNtUrE Prominent climbs of 2020 y mountain ck Ride The Rockies include: o i n the r Lizard Head Pass: 10,222 feet (Day 3) Dallas Divide: 8,983 (Day 4 and 5) Red Mountain Pass: 11,017 (Day 6) Molas Pass: 10, 910 (Day 6) Coal Bank Pass: 10,640 (Day 6)

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E LPhoto E VAT I Oby N O UTDO ORS / APRIL 2020 Whit Richardson

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A LT R A K I N G M T 2

SH O E S

Five Trail Runners We Love B E C AUSE T R A I L RU N N I N G I N T H E W E S T O FFER S A SM O RG A SB O R D O F EN D L E S S O P T I O N S , YO U H AV E TO C A R EFU L LY C H O OSE T H E R I G H T K I C K S F O R YO U R Q U I V ER . T H E F O L LOW I N G SH O E S W I L L B O OS T YO U R SP R I N GT I M E O FF - ROA D RU N N I N G A DV EN T U R E S—A N D M ATC H T H E T ER R A I N A N D CO N D I T I O N S . by BRIAN METZLER

ALTRA K I N G M T 2 N E E D TO K N O W

This lightweight, low-to-the-ground shoe is built for running over soft terrain, competing in obstacle races, and gobbling mountain miles.

T H E LO W D O W N

Do you often run on wet, muddy trails? The toothy, ground-gripping King MT 2 will keep you from slipping in the slop. In addition to aggressive lugs made from super-sticky Vibram MegaGrip outsole rubber, it also features smartly placed drainage holes, a responsive dual-density midsole, and a tear-resistant, quickdrying upper. As with every Altra model, the King MT 2 was designed with a level (or “zero-drop” platform) and a foot-shaped toe box so the foot can move naturally just as if you were barefoot. Or, in this case, barefoot with a grippy tread pattern on the bottom of your feet. $140; altrarunning.com

HOKA O N E O N E SPE E D G O A T 4 N E E D TO K N O W

This maximally cushioned trail runner is built for long-haul races and adventures on smooth and technical terrain.

NEW BALANCE FRESH F OA M H I E R R O V 5 HOKA ONE ONE S P E E D G OAT 4

T H E LO W D O W N

Although Hoka radically changed the way trail runners were made when it debuted its first maximally cushioned shoes a decade ago, it seems quite logical nowadays to want copious amounts of foam between your feet and the trail surface. The Speedgoat 4 features aggressive, Vibram Megagrip sticky rubber outsole lugs and Hoka’s rockered geometry, which creates a smooth, rolling sensation. This year’s edition has been fine-tuned with a more breathable upper, a springier midsole foam compound, and a more spacious fit in the forefoot. And, yes, there’s loads of luscious cushioning in the midsole. $145; hokaoneone.com

L A S P OR T IVA JAC KAL N E E D TO K N O W

Here’s a protective, durable trail running shoe in a surprisingly lightweight package ideal for running on a wide variety of terrain.

T H E LO W D O W N

Typically, trail running shoes loaded up with protective features to guard against rocks, roots, and other obstacles are heavy and sometimes even clunky. Not the Jackal, which is a lightweight, agile, and sure-footed shoe that is adept at tackling both smooth and rocky terrain. The sticky rubber outsole is secure and reliable in dry, wet, and sandy conditions. The upper has

L A S P O R T I VA JAC K A L

reinforced sidewalls and a durable toe bumper but it’s also well-ventilated with a gusseted tongue to provide a cincheddown fit. That’s all encased under a light and airy upper that keeps feet cool in warmer weather. $140; sportiva.com

NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM HIERRO V5 N E E D TO K N O W

S A U C O NY P E R E G R I N E 1 0 N E E D TO K N O W

This versatile, all-around trail shoe dishes out all the comfort and smoothness of a road runner.

T H E LO W D O W N

trail running shoe in your bag, make it the versatile and reliable Peregrine. $120; saucony.com

If you’re new to trail running or an infrequent participant, this might be your shoe of choice. The Peregrine has a low-to-the-ground feel and just the right mix of cushioning, traction, and protection. It’s ideal for smooth, rolling dirt paths, moderately technical routes with some rocks, roots, gravel, and other obstacles, and sloppy trails with a lot of mud and moisture. It lacks sufficient protection and girth for long, gnarly, rugged routes, but it’s agile enough to handle shorter segments of rocky trails. If you want to have just one

This supportive, well-cushioned trail runner sports a fresh aesthetic vibe.

T H E LO W D O W N

Anyone who says it doesn’t matter what your trail running shoes look like hasn’t worn the latest edition of the Fresh Foam Hierro. This shoe is lit, and we’re not just talking about the eye-catching paint-splatter graphics package. With a cushy and stable Fresh Foam X midsole, and a grippy, Vibram Megagrip outsole, the reconfigured Hierro can tackle moderate to intense terrain with aplomb. The updated version has a soft, gusseted tongue, an improved durable, mesh TPU-coated upper, and a more secure heel that helps ensure a locked-down fit. And, yes, we love that slick paint job, too. $135; newbalance.com

S AU C O N Y PEREGRINE 10

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T HE G O O D S | 0 4. 20

LIV PIQUE A DVA N C E D P R O 2 9

10 Rides We Loved W E P R E SEN T T H E TO P B I K E S I N O U R FAVO R I T E C AT E G O R I E S TO G E T YO U R I P P I N G D OW N S I N G L E T R AC K , G R I N D I N G G R AV EL , C H E W I N G U P PAV EM EN T, A N D J US T G O I N G A B O U T YO U R B US I N E S S . by DOUG SCHNITZSPAHN

MENS’ ROAD

G I A N T TC R A DVA N C E D PRO 1 DISC

Meet the perfect Colorado road ride. The composite-frame TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc is still and supple enough to

tear up big climbs and feel stable on ripping descents—and you can bomb down with confidence thanks to the the disc composite wheel system. All that versatility tallies up at a decent price for such a high-performance ride. $5,400; giant-bicycles.com

WO M E N ’ S R O A D

C A N YO N E N D U R A N C E W M N A L D I S C 7.0

Tipping the scales at a mere 2 pounds, 12 ounces this aluminumframe, women-specific machine offers up race-ready performance without breaking the bank. Aksium Elite Disc wheels keep you safe on hairy descents and the Shimano 105 groupset componentry proves reliable on big rides far from home. $1,699; canyon.com

SALSA SPEARFISH CARBON GX E AG L E

PRIORIT Y C L A S S I C P LU S G OT H A M EDITION

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MEN’S MOUNTAIN

SALSA SPEARFISH CARBON G X E AG L E

Salsa’s Horsethief trail bike won an EO Peak Gear Award and it’s XC cousin the Spearfish is just as impressive and even better when it comes to tackling grueling climbs. The key to this 12-speed 29er’s ability to suck up descents and still motor uphill is the Split Pivot suspension, which allows for smooth pedaling without much bounce. $5,199; salsacycles.com

WO M E N ’ S M O U N T A I N

L I V P I Q U E A DVA N C E D P R O 2 9

Women-specific brand Liv crafted the geometry of this do-it-all, fullcarbon mountain bike to both fit the female form and provide race-ready handling out on the trails. That’s not

G I A N T TC R A DVA N C E D P R O 1 DISC

just marketing speak: Liv amassed thousands of data points about women’s anatomy, sizing variations, and muscle energy and outputs to dial in the Maestro suspension so that the bike responds with precision on both grueling climbs and fun descents. $12,300–$5,350; liv-cycling.com

COMMUTING

P R I O R I T Y C L A S S I C P LU S G OT H A M E D I T I O N

The beauty of a belt drive is that you just don’t have to worry about it when you are busy trying to get to work—no grease and no breakdowns. Tipping the scales at just 26 pounds this Gates Carbon Belt Drive-powered ride spins smooth and steady on the path and rings in at a very nice price. $549; prioritybikes.com


STROMER ST 1

BIKES

D I A M O N D B AC K H A A N J O 7C CARBON

M O N TAG U E A L L S TO N

G R E Y P G 6 .1

REEB LICKSKILLET

E-BIKE COMMUTING STROMER ST 1

Swiss brand Stromer revamped its flagship ride to deliver smooth pedalassisted power up to 28 m.p.h. on the street with a range of 55 miles on a battery charge and the ability to stretch that as far as miles thanks to regenerative breaking, which puts energy back into the battery. Plus, a Bluetooth system allows you to lock and find the bike from your phone. $4,500; stromerbike.com

E-BIKE MOUNTAIN G R E Y P G 6 .1

An absolute beast out on dirt roads

and trails where it’s legally allowed, the G6.1 eats up gnarly climbs thanks to a componentry package that includes SRAM, Crank Brothers, and RockShox. But the real revolution here is the connectivity: The bike connects to the Internet via T-Mobil and includes builtin video cameras and a USB port. $7,999; greyp.com

G R AVE L

REEB LICKSKILLET

Lyons, Colorado-based Reeb wowed us with this svelte gravel grinder that's just the ticket for the Front Range's labyrinth of dirt roads and doubletrack. Available in a steel or titanium

frame, the bike can be spec-ed with a ride range of options to suit your riding and racing needs and budget. $4,699–$7,699; reebcycles.com

C Y C L O C R O S S A N D B E YO N D D I A M O N D B AC K H A A N J O 7C C A R B O N

This multi-tasker of a ride can handle anything from a casual cyclocross race to a training ride to a day-long spin up into the hills. The carbon frame and fork are light, tough, and puts you in the perfect position to comfortably hammer out long miles on pavement, gravel, and dirt. Endurance geometry and a relaxed headtube angle make

it easy to spend long hours cranking this steed and a componentry package that includes HED Tomcat tubeless rims that can handle a range of tires make it even more versatile. $3,000; diamondback.com

P A C K I T AWAY

M O N TAG U E A L L S TO N

This easy-to-pack foldable bike is no slouch once it’s assembled. The combination of Gates Carbon Belt Drive and a Shimano Alfine 11 internal gear hub deliver easy power on the bike path or street without the worry of breakdowns or a mess. $1,895; montaguebikes.com

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July 11 | Silver Rush 50 Run, 15 Mile Run, Kids Duathlon | Registiration Now Open July 12 | Stages Cycling Silver Rush 50 MTB, 15 Mile MTB | Registration Now Open Camping - Live Music - Food & Drink LeadvilleRaceSeries.com 36

E L E VAT I O N O U T D O O R S / A P R I L 2 0 2 0


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ACCE SSO RI E S

Essential Extras FRO M A P PA R EL TO A N T I - C H A FI N G B U T T ER , T H E SE ACC E S S O R I E S W I L L G I V E YO U R R I D E O R RU N T H AT E X T R A B O OS T. by DOUG SCHNITZSPAHN

BIKE SHORTS

P E A R L I Z U M I E L E VAT E

The key to the fit of these sleek-but-casual bike shorts is a Boa closure system, similar to what you see on snowboard boots. As odd as that may sound, it dials in the waist perfectly and is easier to fine tune during a ride. Water-shucking Cordua nylon and a soft chamois inner liner seal the deal. $175; pearlizumi.com

JACKET

F LY LO W DAV I S

This do-it-all windbreaker proves its worth when you break above treeline on a big mountain bike ride or epic trail run. It won’t protect you from a downpour but the stretchy, airpermeable nylon keeps out a stiff wind. $125; flylowgear.com

RU N N I N G S H O R T S

T R AC K S M I T H VA N C O R T L A N DT

Nothing gets in your way when you hit the trail in these super-light shorts with a 4-inch inseam from this Boston-based racing brand. Sweat in them all you want; the anti-microbial fabric sucks up the stink. $60; tracksmith.com

HELMET

S W E E T P R OT E C T I O N T R A I L B L A Z E R M I P S

This bike lid from core Norwegian brand Sweet Protection is simple to adjust to your noggin thanks to an Occigrip turn-dial system. Plus, the visor can be adjusted on the fly. And MIPS technology minimizes the chance of a concussion should you go down. $180; sweetprotection.com

SHOES

A D I DA S F I V E T E N W O M E N ’ S T R A I LC R O S S

Melding hiker and bike shoe, the Trailcross is a mountain biker's best friend—it’s stiff and responsive when you need to turn the cranks but nimble when you hop off the bike for a quick push or post-ride stop at the brewpub. $140; adidasoutdoor.com

COMFORT

CHAMOIS BUTT’R COCONUT ANTI- CHAFE CREAM

Go ahead and snicker now, but you will sing the praises of Chamois Butt'r when you start to chafe (or better yet before) in the midst of a ride. The organic coconut oil and shea butter here will not only stop your shorts from abrading your skin but also heal up any existing hot spots. $18; chamoisbuttr.com

BIKE COMPUTER

S TAG E S S TAG E S DA S H M 5 0 G P S

This full-color-display bike computer mounts to your handlebars and will deliver data including maps, speedometer, and calorie count. Want to go deeper? The device will calculate how you should be training each day according to your stored workout data. That all adds up to a machine that helps make you more at one with bike and body no matter your geek level. $249; stagescycling.com

RU N N I N G VE S T

CAMELBAK ZEPHYR

With the ability to keep two 1-liter water bottles at your fingertips during a big, committing trail run, this vest won't bounce around and annoy you during that big endeavor. Best of all the women’s specific fit means it won't restrict you in the wrong spots. $150; camelbak.com

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The Nashville Outsider

S T U RG I L L S I M P S O N H E A DS O FF O N A S O N I C J O U R N E Y O N “ S O U N D & FU RY ” by JEDD FERRIS

PHOTO BY SEMI SONG

I

n the murky electro-fuzz stomper “Make Art Not Friends,” a standout from his gonzo-rock fall-released album “Sound & Fury,” Nashville outsider Sturgill Simpson sings, “This town's getting crowded/Truth’s been shrouded/Think it's time to change up the sound.” Indeed, with each of his subsequent albums, the Grammy-winning artist seems intent on keeping his listeners guessing. He embraced the bluegrass of his native Kentucky on his 2013 debut, “High Top Mountain,” took a journey into trippy outlaw country on the breakout “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music,” and ruminated on fatherhood through gritty, horn fueled soul-rock on 2016’s “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.” Simpson’s latest album, though, is an extreme creative deviation from his expected shades of dusty twang: The kaleidoscopic sonic overload features squalls of distortion and colorful synths. With “Sound & Fury,” Simpson stated he was trying to make “a sleazy, steamy rock n’ roll record,” so he set the vibe by taking his band to a motor inn outside of Detroit to record. He emerged with a set of 10 tracks that can at times be hazy, jarring, and fiercely enjoyable. The opening “Ronin” is an atmospheric, creeping instrumental with muscular shredding that sounds like Pink Floyd meets ZZ Top. “Best Clockmaker on Mars” loudly exaggerates howlin’ blues traditions. And “A Good Look” pulses forward in a hyper disco-funk frenzy. The album soundtracked and was released in conjunction with a Netflix-released Japanese anime film of the same name that Simpson produced, so cinematic flourishes are abundant—especially in the gliding psychedelia of “All Said and Done.” The experimentation should add new dynamics to Simpson’s live show, which has grown into arenas this year. On his latest tour, which, as this magazine was going to print, is scheduled to stop at the Pepsi Center on May 10, Simpson will be joined by fellow Kentucky troubadour Tyler Childers, whose latest album, “Country Squire,” was co-produced by Simpson and Johnny Cash’s former engineer David Ferguson. In the past two years, Childers has developed a fervent fan base of his own, evident by his sold out Red Rocks show last September.

RECO M M EN DED LIS TEN I N G

B E S U R E TO C H E C K O U T T H E S E A R T I S T S W H O H A D P L A N N E D TO U R S I N C O LO R A D O T H I S S P R I N G LILY HIATT “Walking Proof” Guest appearances are plentiful on “Walking Proof,” the upcoming album from twangy roots-rocker Lily Hiatt. The follow-up to the lauded breakout effort “Trinity Lane” features appearances by Amanda Shires, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and Hiatt’s dad, ace Americana tunesmith John Hiatt. The record, which was released on March 27 and produced by former Cage the Elephant member Lincoln Parish, is full of personal introspection, with Hiatt using gritty countryrock to make sense of her struggles with sobriety and her

mother’s suicide. The positive message on standouts like the distorted lead single “Brightest Star” show that Hiatt is coming out on the right side of strife. Her tour in support of “Walking Proof” had been planned for the Globe Hall in Denver on April 30, the Armory in Fort Collins on May 1, and the Lulu’s Downstairs in Manitou Springs on May 2. BILLY STRINGS “Home” Billy Strings continues his mad tear though the worlds of jam and progressive bluegrass. The frenetic flat-picking guitar wiz has been selling tickets at an

impressively rapid clip (a threenight stand at the Boulder Theatre, originally scheduled for April and now set for late June, sold out instantly), as crowds flock to his wild live shows that boost frontporch tradition with psychedelicrock expansion. Backed by an impressive band of pickers, Strings’ axe prowess is a sight to behold, as his mesmerizing fingers scamper up and down the fret board. He’s also a damn fine songwriter, as showcased on last fall’s “Home,” a sturdy studio effort that tackles topics ranging from family conflict (“Away from the Mire”) to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan (“Taking Water”). He’s on the bill at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which, as this magazine goes to press, is still set to take place June 18-21.

G. LOVE “The Juice” G. Love is taking the guest-heavy route for his new album “The Juice,” which was released on January 17. Produced by Grammywinning blues ace Keb’ Mo’, the record still finds Love—real name Garrett Dutton—blending free-flowing hip-hop lyricism with foundational American roots music styles, but on his latest, the Philadelphia native gets instrumental assists from some well-established guitar heroes, including Robert Randolph, Roosevelt Collier, and Marcus King. Love hit Aspen and Telluride last month with his longtime supporting band, the Special Sauce. They are currently scheduled to open for the Avett Brothers at Red Rocks on July 10. —J.F.

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T HE R O A D | 0 4 .2 0

GIVING BACK TH ROUG H WO RLD B IC YCLE RELI EF

Riding in the Know E V ERY OV ER AC H I E V I N G ROA D I E I N YO U R LO C A L P ELOTO N AC T S A S I F T H E Y ’ R E SEM I P RO. T H E AU T H O R J U M P ED AT T H E C H A N C E TO R I D E I N P O RT U G A L A N D FI N D O U T W H AT I T R E A L LY FEEL S L I K E TO T R A I N A S I F T H I S I S YO U R L I FE. by AARON BIBLE

When given the opportunity to cycle almost anywhere in the world among InGamba’s luxe offerings, Portugal was my first choice. I initially became obsessed about visiting Portugal a few years ago when I watched the documentary “Where to Invade Next” by Michael Moore, and learning about Portugal’s social policies and national priorities. Despite the country’s increasing trendiness (some dub Lisbon the next Paris), it hasn’t come close to blowing up. The laid-back Portugese way of life feels especially civilized compared to the U.S. And the country has a deeply rooted bike-racing culture that suits the rolling landscape. Each night, our mechanics meticulously washed and detailed our bicycles. They did this because it’s their job, whether the boss is there or not. They care about the details, the little things that make all the difference in this sport of nuances. Our bikes were perfectly staged with pedals attentively aligned at 90 degrees when we stumbled across cobblestones each morning in our cleats to begin the day’s ride. And our water bottles were filled—the white cap with water, red cap with hydration mix—setting the stage for the day’s kilometers.

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This is the InGamba experince. I have spent almost 20 years of training and riding with all the “semi-pros” in my home of Boulder, Colorado, and around the country as a journalist. But when I learned of a special cycling opportunity that replicated the Pro Tour experience, my heart leapt at the chance to get closer to this dream. When I got to Portugal, I felt like a kid walking out onto the field before the Super Bowl. InGamba is completely unique among bike tour operators. It offers roadies the pro experience that every competitive amature cyclist glimpses of but can never attain. You ride on the same bikes, kit, and gear as the pros and spin down the same fabled routes of the European Grand Tours, with full support and guides, many of whom are famous cyclists themselves. You get personalized luggage tags and laundry bags (your team kit is washed every night), bike handlers, actual pro-tour mechanics, and soigneurs (yup, massages every night).

IT IS A BOU T T H E B I K E It may sound cliché, but InGamba started as an idea scribbled on a paper placemat in a cafe, and a single Tweet, and it has since become an outlet of continuous flow state for global cycling enthusiasts, those who can afford it anyway. In the words of former InGamba employee Jim Merithew, “it’s for people who know the brand of their bike.” In fact, InGamba is more of a family than a company, more of a brand than a tour operator. It’s a publishing company disguised as a bike company, says Merithew, bringing a focus beyond the product to the substance of what cycling actually is. “It’s having the pedals turned the right way every morning, the right stickers, right socks, a clean bike…” he says. When they say the devil is in the details, InGamba nails it, connecting to the customer in every way, down to the personalized custom leather luggage tags each rider receives. They are crafted by Jaoa’s favorite shoe maker in Lecchi, Tuscany, where the company was first founded, where Jaoa lived and trained in Italy with the Cervelo team. At first all of this might

InGamba is the largest donor to the World Bicycle Relief Fund, and has given more than a million dollars to the group over the last decade. They started out with a One Guest:One Bike program that has evolved into a percentage of sales, and they also host a trip for World Bicycle Relief each year. Let’s face it: We can make a massive difference with just the amount of money we spend on Skratch Labs each month, so why not give the gift of two wheels that can literally change someone’s life? WORLDBICYCLERELIEF.ORG

THE GRAND TOUR: PORTUGAL SERVES CYCLISTS A WELCOMING BLEND OF CULTURES AND RELIGIONS (MUSLIMS, CATHOLICS, AND PROTESTANTS), MEDIEVAL HISTORY, MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATES, AND MOUNTAINS.

feel a little over-the-top, but you quickly realize you’re not getting any special treatment—because the real experience begins when you get on the bike. Fortunately for my group, InGamba founder João Correia is himself a Portugese native and a former Junior National Champion in his home country, although his parents immigrated to New York City when he was a teen. Meeting him for the first time, the mix of New York and European personalities is immediately obvious. He’s warm in spirit yet firm and hardened from years spent not only as an immigrant kid and competitive athlete, but also as a salesman. And while he endears himself to many, let’s just say you don’t get to the top by being a pushover. Around 2006, Correia was dissatisfied with corporate life—and his corporate waistline—and he clawed his way back into professional cycling as a rider for the Cervelo Test Team. He later transitioned into a rider agent. These pieces of the puzzle are important as you peel back the

PHOTO COURTESY JARED GRUBER (LEFT), INGAMBA (RIGHT)

R

iding from town to town on a bicycle across the northern Portugese landscape is like something out of a Hemmingway novel. You feel as if you are having an out-of-body experience, as if you’re watching yourself in the Tour de France on an old black-and-white television in a dusty European cafe. Sweat pours off your forehead and soaks your cap. It runs down your back as you try to keep the wheel of the jerseyed teammate ahead of you, hammering up cobblestoned roads. Then you pause momentarily for a drink out of a red water bottle before shifting gears and settling into the dropbars for one of the most dramatic descents of your life. Really now, when was the last time you woke up, stretched into a fresh Giordana kit, enjoyed a sprawling European breakfast, and hopped on your $13,000 Pinarello for a spin around a landscape dotted with stone castles, medieval villages, sweetwater springs, and vineyards—with full rider support? Add in a group of cyclists with the same fitness and goals—and repeat, for eight days.


I N TH E K N OW

IN THE FAMILY: INGAMBA HAS A MORE THAN 60 PERCENT RETURN RATE. IT’S AN ENVIABLE EXPERIENCE BOTH ON AND OFF THE BIKE.

PHOTOS COURTEY INGAMBA (X2), PHOTO COURTESY JARED GRUBER (LEFT), INGAMBA (RIGHT)

layers of InGamba, where each session is imbued with not only a Pro Tour experience, but includes a smattering of pro riders (and pro mechanics and soigneurs) who will join you along the way. The tour leaders, in my case was Andre Cardoso, a Portugese pro rider, and Raul Mattis, former Portuguese national champion. In Italy, you might be led by Eros Poli, famously known in the cycling world as “Monsieur Ventoux.” By far, the coolest thing for any roadie is the way these guides can simultaneously push you and hold your hand, depending on what you need on that day’s section. They quickly, expertly, and subtly gauge your fitness and make you feel like a hero, lending a wheel, a gel, and an encouraging word…or a side eye that says work a little harder, gringo, which motivates me.

FLOWER

EDIBLES

InGamba is Italian slang for “in the know,” and that is about as accurate a description of this style of cycle touring as anyone could conceive. Traveling with João Correia through Portugal for 10 days is like riding your bike 90 miles each day to a massive family dinner each night, drinking wine (as much as works for you) around a sprawling, ancient table, and recanting the day’s scenery and antics over grilled meats (the best octopus I’ve ever had), stews, fishes, and produce, accompanied by the local’s local. His father even showed up and rode most days on our trip, which for me was a special part of this experience. With them, we had no language barriers, just welcoming tables at cafes and beds in some of the most interesting boutique hotels in Southern Europe. There’s a reason InGamba has a 60 percentplus return rate, and only two of us out of 10 were first timers on my trip. “It’s more a matter of will I do two trips next year— not if I’ll come back,” says Chase Kohn, a friendly Ohioan who was in our group. “It’s a professional training camp for amateurs.” “This is my religion,” says Chase’s buddy Dave. And it wasn’t the first time I had heard that on this trip. I was starkly reminded of what matters most in life. An InGamba tour is uncommon, something you cannot replicate through a Lonely Planet guidebook or Internet research–yet universal for cyclists in many ways. No matter your religion or from where you hail, you meld with the culture like the rubber of your tires in sweltering grooves of the cobblestones beneath you, leaving a trail of your own sweat, blood, and tears behind on the roads, and dreaming of coming back just as soon as you get home.

TINCTURES AND TOPICALS

CONCENTRATES

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be a published book. Someday…

The Act is the Art

The Writes of Spring W E C A N FI N D C R E AT I V I T Y I N T H E SE T I M E S . by PETER KRAY

O

ctober is my favorite month, with the sky all gold and gone, and the long mountain shadows creeping down from the hills. And winter is my favorite season, especially with the big dogs on the bed with my wife and me at night, and each day a new adventure out on the slopes. But spring is when I am most creative. Even, or perhaps especially, a spring of crisis like this one. It’s when I am most productive with my writing. Eight years ago, during a gray, snowy May, Catherine ‘banished’ me to a little cabin in Leadville, where I spent ten solitary days doing the hard work that it took to turn 15 years of notes into a working draft of my first novel. I had brought my skis, thinking I would drive over to A-Basin one or two times for a little on-hill inspiration. Instead, I worked each day from morning to dusk, then cracked a beer or poured a whiskey and kept working. Driving home, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction. Not because I had written something good—that is up to the reader—but because at last I was living that dream. Something about the longer days of April and May stretching out into the future makes it easier to dive into a project. The freedom of feeling there is enough time to do what you want to do. Of course, Ernest Hemingway said it best, writing in the book that every writer and lover of the simplest beauties of life should read, A Moveable Feast: “When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits.”

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A Notebook for Thinking

A memoir of Hemingway’s early days in Paris with his first wife Hadley, A Moveable Feast celebrates the taste of a cold beer after a creative day, the timeless elegance of a city in the rain lighting up like a carousel at night—and the transformative magic of a good book in your hand. More than anything, it teaches you about writing. Hemingway shares some secrets of his talent, such as the imperative to “Write the truest sentence you know,” and the magician’s gift of how leaving out some detail or point of pivotal action can often leave the reader with a deeper sense of understanding. I learn something new every time I pull the book back off the shelf in spring or fall. Most importantly, it reminds me to always carry a notebook

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ILLUSTRATION BY KEVIN HOWEDESHELL KEVINCREDIBLE.COM

to keep me company while I sit on a chairlift, barstool, downtown on a bench, or by some hotel window. I am addicted to them, filling pages like I am counting some imaginationfueled money. I put a title on the cover the moment I crack open another set of three 3½-by-5½-inch, 64-blank-paged Moleskine Cahiers packets, using the separate colors to code by theme, project, or chosen line of reverie. I fill pages on the right with narrative, and keep bold or bulletpointed call-out notes on the left for specific quotes or additional details. And when I am done, I have a working template that I can begin to transcribe onto the laptop for what I hope will

In this age of the Internet and one zillion digital options, whenever I sit down at my laptop I quickly find any number of distractions. On longer projects, I do more editing than writing, constantly changing the phrase of this sentence or that back to what it was before. My little process for writing keeps me moving forward though, working from A to Z on the plotline instead of chasing my tail. I have the makings of at least eight incomplete oeuvres languishing on those notebooks or on my computer as they await some breath of fairy dust and hard editing to help them down the trail. The one I hope to publish this year entitled The Ghost Hotel is a short memoir of a time when the media company I dedicated a decade to was falling apart at the seams, and in South America, one friend and I watched another ski into an accident that would slowly kill him over two years. It is about a trip to Switzerland with that other surviving friend, to Andermatt, avalanches, church bells and lovely cows. Covering the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, where the U.S. Ski Team won an astounding eight medals. And how the following spring, at the legendary Pollard Hotel in Red Lodge, Montana, I found this Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quote at check-in on the wall: “Look not mournfully into the past, it comes not back again. Wisely improve the present, it is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future without fear and with a manly heart.” That is the beauty of spring—the idea of something more. —Elevation Outdoors editor-at-large Peter Kray is the author of the God of Skiing. The book has been called “the greatest ski novel of all time.” Don’t believe the hype? Buy and read it here: amzn.to/2lmzpvn


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