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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dirty Side Down at the First Annual Tour de Jeffco

It seems like just about everyone around my home area of Jefferson County says, "Yeti makes the best bikes for Front Range trails."  A few weeks on the ASR-C began to confirm this, but I decided to test the theory with a some friends today at the first annual Tour de Jeffco, a big MTB ride linking many of the popular trails in Jefferson County.

The route:
  • Evergreen to top of Evergreen Mountain
  • Up and down Bergen Peak
  • Across Bergen Park 
  • Down Chimney Gulch
  • Up Apex
  • Down Enchanted Forest
  • Across Matthews Winters
  • Stop at gas station in Morrison for food and water
  • Up Mt. Falcon
  • Down Lair O' the Bear
  • Up Morrison Canyon to Evergreen
  • "Dirty Side Down" Burger (1/2 lb. patty--probably full of pink slime--in between two grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon), fries, and beer at Cactus Jack's 
The concept was simple enough, and it made for a superb day of fun on the trails with great friends!  Andrew Adamowski (vote for him on May 8 for EPRD Board), Colin Booth, Nick Ramey, and Darren Lee all joined for part of the ride, and it was great to meet them out there.  

Nick was waiting for us at the top of Bergen Peak.  I think he slept up there for altitude training.
We saw the guys from Evergreen Bicycle Outfitters on top of Bergen Peak, preparing for the a very similar ride they simply call "The Stupid."  Brooks Beal came from Boulder and did almost the whole thing, including "pausing" his vegan diet for the Dirty Side Down at the end.  Andrew Speers, freshly crowned Teacher of the Year at EHS, proved why he's such an exceptional person by completing the entire ride only two years into his mountain biking career!  Not bad.  He headed home afterwards to play with his four-year-old twin boys, still in a bit of a haze.  Jon Brown came all the way from "Gunni" for the ride.  He pulled in at 10:00 p.m. last night, and demanded over a beer in downtown Evergreen that we ride at least as long as he drove to get here and back for the ride.

Well, Jon got his wish, and he seemed to be stoked about the Front Range trails.

I had a blast out there.  The bike was wonderful, and I was stoked to ride all day over 75+ miles without a single mechanical worry.  It seems to me that just about everyone around is right about the Yeti.

Not sure if the mustache or the sandwich is dirtier.  Andrew,
myself, and JB were stoked to be finished!

Monday, April 9, 2012

5'6" on a 21" Frame: My Journey to the Yeti ASR-Carbon

At some point around 1988, I was the luckiest five-year-old in all of Evergreen, Colorado.  I got to hang around, you see, while my dad (who surely wasn't riding in the Tour that year because he must have had a conflicting race) talked with Casey and Phil (who really were good bike mechanics, which made them the other two of the three coolest people I could think of) at Paragon Sports, which you now may know as Boone Mountain Sports.

I've always liked Paragon/Boone Mountain because its got a hometown feel that exudes quality and community.  I also like other brands that do that; more to come below.

A few years later, I became one of the coolest people I knew.  Not only was I a middle schooler (everyone in this age-group self-identifies as "cool"), but I also had a new bike.  And it had shocks.  The "new" ride was actually my dad's old Specialized Hard Rock, and I spent every cent I had--plus a few weeks of loaned allowance--at Paragon to get the rigid fork changed out for a new one.  And, unlike the forks on any of my friends' bikes, this one compressed when you hit a bump.  The removable, foam bumpers were sweet, and the adjustability therein (different colors of foam for different stiffness levels) made for what was sure to be the smoothest ride that could--or would--ever be had on Evergreen Mountain.  I paid extra to add grip-shifts, which I was sure would be usable for the remainder of my life.

We rode hard that summer.  Trips to Evergreen Lake.  3 for $1 hot dogs at Stop 'n Save.  Fishing rods attached to bikes, and not a care in the world.  Most of it was fun, but we also raced at Three Sisters, Evergreen Mountain, and Bergen Peak.  Every time I ride up Evergreen Mountain, even now, a nice thought pops into my head when I think about my friend, Erik, telling me that a particular switchback marks one-third of the way to the summit.  I thought I was going to die that first time up, and now I'm barely warmed up at that point.

Back to the bike.  Did I care that the frame was made of steel and weighed almost as much as I did?  Nope.  Did I long for tubeless tires and rear suspension?  What?  Why would I need even more suspension?  Did I pretend the 21" frame fit me even though I was 5'6"?  Heck yeah!  Did my dad ignore the fact that he would not have grandchildren if I slid off the seat an onto the cross bar?  I guess so.  Must have been part of the "mental training" regimen he had me on.

A rough count in my head reveals that my sweet middle school ride with bumper-shocks was somewhere around 13 bikes ago.  I've had some good ones.  I've had some bad ones.  And I've had some great ones with excellent memories of racing, traveling, suffering, and celebrating.  

After two days on the Yeti ASR-Carbon, I think I might now have the best one yet.

Thankfully, biking is just as fun now as it was then.  

Thankfully, some companies still work to intentionally maintain a hometown, high-quality feel.  

Thankfully, I've gotten more "sweet bike" comments in the last two days than anytime since my new shocks were installed.  

Thankfully, the view from the top of Evergreen Mountain is still worth stopping for.  

Thankfully, most of all, the frame shape on this bike will decrease concerns about the passing of the family name when I give it to my son when he's still way too small for it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Tour de Jeffco MTB" on 4/22/12: Join for a Great Training Ride!

1. The route:
  • Evergreen to top of Evergreen Mountain
  • Up and down Bergen Peak
  • Across Bergen Park (stop at gas station for water/food)
  • Down Chimney Gulch
  • Up Apex
  • Down Paradise Hills and Frontage Road
  • Across Dakota Ridge
  • Stop at gas station in Morrison for food and water
  • Up Mt. Falcon
  • Down Lair O' the Bear
  • Up Morrison Canyon to Beaujo's in Evergreen for pizza and beer
2.  Who's invited?
You and anyone else who's interested; pass it on.

3.  Who will ride together in a group?
Fewer than the number required for a group permit.

4.  Is this an "event," "race," "ride," or anything else "official"?
NO!  no.  "No."

5.  What time?
Call or text me and I'll let you know when and where to meet.  Plan on early morning in Evergreen.

6.  Who thought this up?  Why should I do it?
Andrew has been talking about it for years.  If riding world class trails all day with your friends is not reason enough, you probably should stop reading now.

7.  Do I have to do the whole thing?
No!  I can shoot you text message updates along the way if you want to meet up.  Doing the first part (Evergreen Mtn) or last (Falcon+Bear to Evergreen or Bear to Evergreen) might work well.

8.  Why April 22nd?
Three weeks should give you time to:
8.1.  Ride like you're in the Tour (example of a real "event") to get in shape.
8.2.  Do nothing and get really rested up.
8.3.  Do something nice enough to get a hall pass, if required.
8.4.  8.2 and 8.3
8.5.  8.1 and 8.3 (three-week hall pass may be hard to obtain)

9.  Is there an entry fee? Will there be prizes?
No.  This is not an "event."  See #4.

10.  Will anyone present at the finish get to dig through my give away box of items gleaned when cleaning out the gear room before we move?

11.  How far is it?  How long will it take?  How much climbing is involved?
I have no idea.  Depending on your perspective, probably something between "a solid day on the bike" and "I hope I survive."  Plan on being self sufficient, and think about coming with at least one person with whom you can ride the entire route.

12.  Can I crash on your couch in Evergreen before and/or after?

13.  What bike should I ride?
A mountain bike.  Drop me a line if you're interested in a deeply discounted price on a new Yeti ASR-Carbon (I'm stoked to be racing on this bike!).

14.  How do I get extra credit?
Ride White Ranch and as many other Jeffco trails as possible on Sunday!