and then there were 3

yep. 3 showed for what could prove to be the final thursday ride of the year. we (heyride and bobB) witnessed the return of meriwether. 3 riders and 3 bombers headed out for the “standard”. up the road – down rbv – up to the group w bench where the drinking commenced. bobB’s downfall from last week – pliny the elder, arrogant bastard, and dugana. all were good but the ipa’s went quickest. with darkness rapidly approaching we were forced to quickly consume the bastard and then it was game-on, back to town. the darkness induced hauling of ass was fun. i think bobB wadded it up in a corner but this cannot be confirmed. food and beer followed and then we parted ways.


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glorious forecast

the fine folks at noaa are predicting some pretty-nice weather for thursday. yet another reason to join us for the steel*wool ride.
nederland park ‘n ride
cyclocross bikes
beer…lots and lots of beer

it’s a great way to prepare for the colorado ‘cross cup races this weekend.

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cb classic

I headed down to Crested Butte on Friday, fully intending to sleep in the Van-again. Some last-minute texting with Este scored me a far-better sleeping arrangement. Sweet house, huge bed, shower – all just blocks from the 4-way stop (meeting/start location for the CB Classic).

After getting the tour of my new domicile for the next 2 nights and catching up over a few PBR’s, we headed downtown for some food and more beer. With a full belly, it was time for sleep – the 6:00am meeting time would make for an early awakening.

It was dark and chilly (but not too cold) when I arrived for the pre-race sign in and instructions. A neutral rollout up Elk Avenue to Old Kebler Pass brought us to Kebler Pass Rd proper and it was game on. Being the early riser that I am, I settled in at the back of the pack, searching for a decent-sized group riding at a pace that worked with my sleepy self. I found the perfect group and hung at the back as we rolled up the pass to the Irwin town site. After discarding my jacket, I made my way to the entrance of the Dyke. Still half asleep, I damn near wadded it up within the first 20 meters of singletrack.

Now awake, I enjoyed every minute of the first downhill section of the Dyke. The trail was riding wonderfully with several spots blanketed in aspen leaves. Approaching the mean-middle section, I opted to try to ride as much of the climb as possible. No need to walk so early on. I managed to clear 80% of the climb and then gave in to a bit of walking. Back on the bike for the final ripping descent to Horse Park Camp and then the climb back up Kebler to the Wagon Trail. Kept a reasonable pace up Kebler and then cruised back into town. 2.5 hours into the race and loop 1 was complete.

After checking in with the official-unofficial timers, it was straight out to the Lower Loop and then up Slate River Rd. Slate starts our mellow enough, but then takes a hard right and so begins the Slate d’Huez. FOK! I’ve never accessed the 403 via Slate and now I know why. It may be the most horrible (but rideable) climb in the world. I was hoping for a mechanical just so I could walk…stupid properly working bike.

Climb over and time to descend the 403. This is not a descent that is conducive to recovery. It loses a lot of elevation in a short period of time. It’s fun, but you have to remain focused. Safely down the 403, Stubbe is there with a cooler full of baby Cokes. Baby Cokes rule! The route now heads up Schofield Pass to the 401. A mellow-ish gravel road climb followed by a steeper singletrack climb.

About 1/3 of the way up the road, I’m passed by two very-chipper fellows, absolutely hauling ass – thankfully they assured me they had driven to the Rustlers parking lot and were not doing the “hundo”. I felt much better about my leisurely pace.

The 401 descent brought some much-needed recovery. This downhill is always fun and allows for a little less focus. Out at Rustlers for the 10-mile “descent” back into town. A few guys hammered by on the road, but I continued at my own pace in attempt to recover from the efforts of the big climbs loop 2 had dished out. After checking in, it was to the van to prepare for the final loop.

Refill Camelbak, eat 4 ibuprofen, drink baby coke, eat bagel with avocado and cheese, shot of whiskey, and lay down. Then the voices in my head began debating next steps. I could just take a nap and be done…HTFU and get back out there…the climbs up Strand and Deer Creek are going to hurt…the downhills are sweet and the leaves/scenery are awesome. Lube the chain, another shot of whiskey and I was on my way out of town for loop 3. A tailwind helped keep the pace reasonable and I was making good time right up until I was greeted by a cattle drive coming at me on Brush Creek Rd. I can now check – riding through a cattle drive – off the list. Once beyond the cows, cowboys and cattle dogs it was time to climb the Strand Hill Rd. It’s a steep mo-fo and once again I was looking for any excuse to walk, but managed to stay on the bike for the entirety of the climb. The painful climb was followed by yet another sweet descent back down to Brush Creek Rd – where Stubbe was waiting with more baby Cokes. From here more climbing ensued – getting steeper all the way. I was looking forward to the mandatory hike-a-bike section so I could take a break from pedaling for a while. Hike-a-bike complete, it was now time for the final descent of Deer Creek singletrack and then 8 miles of road back to town – nothing like another super-fun descent to block out the pain of the climbing. I checked in at the Brick Oven with a time of 11:04. Was hoping for better but am satisfied with my first attempt.

Beer followed by a shower and then more beer and then a solid nights sleep. I rolled out of town happy that I finished and still liking my bike. I’ve done several “difficult” things on a bicycle and this ranks up there with some of the most difficult. While I’ll probably never revisit a few off that list, the CB Classic has left me wanting more. I would highly recommend giving this event a try. I’m sure I’ll be hanging out at the 4-way, next fall.

If you’re one that enjoys photos and videos, you can find them here (, as well as a great write up of the event by Chris Miller.

A Note of Gear and Food Selection
I completed the ride on a brand new (4 rides) bike built by Meriwether Cycles ( The bike performed flawlessly – zero mechanicals, zero flats, zero crashes. My geared bike for the past 3+ years is a 6” travel Specialized Enduro SL. The Meriwether is a hard-tail 29er. Being a new bike (and a hard-tail at that), I expected to acquire some subtle aches and pains over the course of 100 miles. The anticipated lower back pain never materialized. My shoulders experienced a bit of soreness, but that’s to be expected after 11 hours in the saddle. The bike climbed very well (it was sure nice to be able to climb out of the saddle) and was lively on the descents. It’s hard to describe, but it almost springs out of corners, similar to a full suspension bike.
I travelled to Crested Butte with enough food for a 7-day stage race. Thankfully I was able to store it in the van and only carry what I thought I would need for each loop. My nutrition “plan” was to eat what I normally eat on the bike, with a few special items to balance things out a bit. Breakfast was yogurt and granola, and caffeine. On the bike I downed a mix of chocolate-dipped Mojo bars (5), vanilla Power Gels (3), water (144oz) and Gatorade (2 bottles/loop). I also had 3 baby Cokes, a bagel with cheddar and avocado, potato chips and 2 shots of rye whiskey. It seemed to work for me as I never experienced the bonk and woke the follow day with no signs of gut rot.
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the day after the first snow of the season

usually means igssc. so after meeting at the top-secret double-a-ranch, three hearty steel*wool pilots headed out on their singlespeed cyclocross bikes to hit up some local singlewide trails. ‘cross bikes are fun. they’re even more fun on blue dot/reboot/etc. when they’re covered with a few inches of light-fluffy snow. for some reason, it seems there are a lot more rocks on blue dot after it snows.

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39º and light snow

greeted us in the parking lot. 3-hearty souls showed up for some steel*wool fun. bobB and heyride aboard ‘cross bikes and tiller on a sweet, old-school schwinn homegrown (bass boat blue) cobbled together as a singlespeed. beers safely tucked away in packs, we rolled up the dirt road to rbv. the trail was covered with aspen leaves that were covered with, what seemed to be, ice. made for cold shins. no reload this week as we wanted to get to the bench and commence drinking as soon as possible. up to the bench and into the weeks selection. stone ipa, ska local something-or-other ipa, russian river pliny the elder. all good! just before all the beer was gone, toop – astride her brand new ridley – came climbing up the hill…in search of beer. she finished off what was left and showed off her new steed. then it was on to bobB’s favorite part of every ride. descending after beer. we had to hustle as darkness was setting in. i’m pretty sure we were hauling ass. back to town we said our goodbyes to tiller and then off to the gluten factory for food and more beer. the brit joined us, but i’m pretty sure he had no beer…very strange. we’ll do it all again next week, so if you’re in the area, please join us. no photos this week. you’ll have to let your imagination do the work.

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thursday ride

thursday is comin’ in hot. we’ll be riding.
nederland park ‘n ride
cross bikes
perfect training for the usgp races in ft. collins this weekend.
you can rest when  you’re dead.

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the night the girls took over

sounds like the ride time exceeded the drinking time. we’ll remedy that this week.

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‘cross bikes are fun!

small turnout last night, but we witnessed the return of the tiller fellow. apparently we’re not as mean and scary as we think we are. must try harder. 3 on ‘cross bikes (the powers, bobB and heyride) and one 6″ travel mountain bike. took it easy for the first night on skinny tires. up the road and down rbv then up reload and back down rbv and then over to mud lake to get our drink on. 78oz of beer with an average of 8% abv shared between 4 people mid ride. bobB summed it up best – we’re a drinking club with a bike problem. drinking complete, everyone was feeling the flow. the perception at least is we were hauling ass. the reality…nobody really knows. back to town for food and more beers. some arm twisting by spencer had us ending the evening with the dog fish head 90 minute. it’s good, and even better on tap. ‘cross bikes again next week. if anyone is selling a 54/56cm cross bike, let us know…i think we convinced tiller that he needs one.

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‘cross bikes tomorrow

tomorrow (thursday) evening ride is a go.
nederland park ‘n ride
we’ll be riding cyclocross bikes…
gotta train for the first-annual verymale uphill/downhill cyclocross challenge.

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another quality ride brought to you by s*w

the seasons are changing but the s*w mountain bike crew is still getting after it. another solid turn out of some regulars (heyride, the powers, mt, bobB, toop and the brit) and a return appearance by the other jh – one more ride and he may achieve regular status. we went “easy” this week as we checked on some trails due to be ridden as part of the caribou classic this weekend. of course and easy ride must begin with the 21 switchbacks of the alpe d’ned – we did the entire version of this climb…all the way to the elementary school. no cutting out at the highway for this crew. a little mud lake fun and games brought us to the climb of reload. it appears the sherwood slasher heeded the warnings posted on some trees and has decided to leave things clear…at least for now. a brief respite on some two track and then the ridiculously fun descent of rbv. rumor is someone crashed, but i’ve not seen any photographic evidence of this – and if it is not captured on film, it never happened. back to mud lake for some climbing to the group w bench where much beer was consumed. not sure if i remember all on offer, but it seems like there was a lagunitas 13, a deschutes hop in the dark, a lagunitas little sumpin’ sumpin’, a chocolate stout, a maui ipa and i think that is all. some quality discussion about poo, the poo stick, bears with big feet and dress code for some upcoming nuptials, kept us entertained for a bit then is was back on the bike for some more mud lake fun then over to ridge road where the sprint competition began. yellow leaves on trees or yellow signs were the sprint lines. i think i’m still recovering from the first sprint. as mt and toop sprinted for the ned town limits sign, the rest of us headed back to the elementary school for one final downhill. it was fun. there is a high likelihood that next weeks ride will not happen. also, the decision has been made to switch to cyclocross bikes for the september 22 ride.
photos to come

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