In keeping with my ongoing work at creating a regional travelogue via the medium of mountain bike racing...
Crested Butte is where it all began for me. A magical mix of terrain, trails, views, and flowers are simply off the charts. So when I learned last summer of the "underground" 100 mile Crested Butte Classic the salivating began...but it just didn't fit in the plan last year. It didn't fit that well this year either, but hey, it's way better to regret things you have done than things you haven't, so off to CB I went Friday afternoon for the weekly fix.
I didn't intend to leave a mark at this event. It's one of those things I just had to do 'cause the riding is so good - but in order to have a semblance of form next weekend in Park City, slow & steady was the order of the day. The legs cooperated nicely with the plan as last weekend crackhead Lynda & I put in some big training & just for good measure I did some big intensity mid-week. I had nuthin up the first climb, missed a turn on the first descent, and added a few miles to the route for good measure. I would do that 2 more times before the day was done...
Dave & newly wed Chad promoted the event. Here's Dave giving us the rundown on course details and rules. On your honor, no entry fee, no waiver, no shit! If you were looking for competition, you'd be hard pressed to find a faster hundy crowd - or XC for that matter. This event drew 80+ riders and some with serious horsepower.
A highlight was meeting several folks who I thought only existed in the ether, as well as being surprised by some friends of another lifetime. Dave Nice is back in action after his GDR misfortunes (his bike was stolen while he slept in Montana). He was rockin' the Surly Crosscheck, fixed gear and skinny tires. I have no clue how he could ride that bike on this course!!!
Ed E sporting a sweet 29er. Helium filled and all, that bike can't be more than 20 lbs.
Jesse J, aka "Canadian Stick Boy" was glad he brought 2 bikes. His 6" travel bike's rear shock blew out as he sat on it. Not sure how cause he can't weight more that a buck thirty.
There was a good bit of dirt road on the route - but it was welcome dirt road. The singletrack was plenty challenging, and the dirt roads were sometimes damn steep. Did I mention this course was all within the elevations of 8900' and 11,400'? I clocked about 12,000' of gain on the Garmin. Overall it's a lot easier than the E100, but some sections of the singletrack were much more challenging.
The views and the flowers were going off in fine form. Riders coming in from loops were wearing ear to ear grins.
I got to ride the L'Alpe-d'Huez climb with Fred M. He was rocking the SS 29er up that thing, not a clue how he got up that climb at such a low cadence. It's something over 2k' at an average grade of maybe 15% and tops out at about 11k. Burly. Fred was looking super tough and is planning on Montezuma in August. I think he'll have a good race there...
The final loop takes in the Dyke trail which I'd never seen. It starts out as a mostly semi-tech descent, super fun.
After the fun part, it heads into deep aspen groves and throws a litany of short punchy climbs at you. Tons o' fun in the 8th hour. Just for good measure, the trail drops you out on the back side of Kebler pass, giving about 1,200' of climbing before the final descent. Tailwinds all the way up and down to town for the finale, just rippin.
I'm not exactly sure how the race shook out up front, except that Dave Weins was the first in at just under 8 hours. I came in at just over 9 hours in 10th, but more importantly, had a memory filled day of 100 miles of CB epic terrain & views.
Many thanks to Dave & Chad for organizing the event. If you haven't done this one yet, put on the calender for mid July next year. Primo.
More pics are here.
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