Rider Name Ford Isbey
Team Formerly First City Cycling
Category Road and MTB riding
Occupation International Sales Manager for Feedback Sports
Years in the Fort 17
Hometown Asheville NC
After over a decade of leading the Wednesday and Saturday Open Rides, Ford Isbey is stepping down. Fort Collins Riders have been looking forward to Ford's email updates since 2006 when the ride was known as the Lee's Ride and left from Lee's Cyclery on Lemay and Harmony. I personally would like to thank both Ford and Rod Wahle for leading the rides and for their efforts to keep the ride safe and organized.
YGR: When did you start doing the WOR ride? What was it called then?
: It originally was the County Cork ride, it started in 1992.
YGR: When did you start leading the ride? How did that come about?
: The Cork ride stopped at the pub because the County Cork owners sold the business...the group moved to a start at Lee’s South parking lot in 2003. The Wed ride was eventually put on by Laurel Street Racing in 2004….then two other teams that evolved from Laurel Street continued to lead the ride. Eventually, the ride started being associated with FCCT. It was around that time that Rod and I were asked by FCCT to lead the Wed and Sat rides.
YGR: Who led the ride before you took it over?
: It was led and put on by the owners of the County Cork Pub.
YGR: Do you think you'll continue to do the ride?
: On occasion Rod and I will do the ride.
YGR: When was the ride at its height (number of riders/strength)?
: The County Cork ride had a minimum of 80-90 riders show up each week and it would swell some weeks to 110-120 riders.
YGR: How has the ride changed?
: The Cork ride was totally a group ride which stayed together for an entire route. As it grew in numbers and riders at differing riding levels started showing up in increasing numbers, eventually, along the route, groups would develop according to the speed and effort preference they wanted to do that evening.
YGR: How many people are on your list serve?
: 100-120 ?
YGR: What have some of the challenges of leading the ride been?
: The Wed. rides at some point along a route would increase in effort and speed, so it was understood at some point it would become a fast-paced weekly event. The Saturday ride was always a GROUP ride….which stayed together and always stopped for riders that may have had a flat or mechanical. It was an endurance pace / talking pace for the entire route….no sprints or tempo where it no longer became a group ride… That format has now changed, it’s the way the ride has evolved.
YGR: What do you see as challenges for the ride’s future?
: Numerous riders have commented they feel the SOR ride has turned into a Wed. night WOR format or, WNW or TTH, etc. It depends on what the group wants to do as formats and effort each week and finding consensus amongst all the riders.
YGR: Has anyone agreed to takeover leading the ride?
: I’ve heard there are riders are trying to put together a group of ride “leaders” to forward routes each week and they’re targeting sharing the ride responsibilities.
YGR: What tips do you have for whoever takes over leading the ride?
: Obey the traffic laws, emphasize each week the group ride smartly.
YGR: If you were to continue leading the ride, what changes would you make?
YGR: Favorite memory from leading the ride?
:The lasting memory of the ride is the camaraderie of riding together and seeing people you enjoyed riding with week in and week out. More favorable memories when it was a different theme when the group stayed together for an entire route….and then many riders would meet at a bar/restaurant and enjoy, dinner, laughs and swap ride de-briefs, it was a super atmosphere, lots of laughter and humor in the air and solid friendships and riding mates….that was a CORE aspect of doing the County Cork ride and the ride when it moved to Lee’s South….there were 30-40 people every week that would end at the Cork and have a great evening….the owner reserved the deck outside every week….those rides were a blast and the best hands down.
YGR: When did Rod Wahle start doing the ride?
: Rod started doing the County Cork Ride….1992 or before.
YGR: How and when did he start helping to lead the ride?
: When Laurel Street Racing was formed and the rides left from the Lee’s parking lot he and I were asked to be the ride leaders.
YGR: Favorite WOR route?
: WOR: Glade Rd. clock-wise direction… SOR: Red Barn route.
YGR: How did you decide on routes?
: We did our best to mix up the direction and terrain of the route each week: Climbing one week, flats and rollers the next, etc.
YGR: How many route options were there?
: 25-30 ? for the Wed and Sat. rides
YGR: Are you handing over your Map My Ride account to (new ride leader) or how does that work?
: The new ride leaders are creating their own routes.
Fort Collins' Georgia Gould raced the 2016 mtb season with the best fitness of her life and was in the best place mentally since 2012 unfortunately, lady luck and the UCI start grid don't care about those things. Although she raced well in the States she wasn't able to get the illusive World Cup win that she's be fighting for for years. That combined with an Olympic Team snub by USAC, Georgia was ready for the 2016 season to be over by late summer. Instead of racing a few fall CX races before prepping for the 2017 mtb season, Georgia took the whole 2016 CX season off. She and her husband, Dusty Labarr, spent nearly a month riding motorcycles across much of the Central and Eastern United States. In the following interview Georgia discusses the trip, and big changes in her race schedule and team for 2017.
Occupation Pro Cyclocross Racer
Years in the Fort 10
Hometown Baltimore, MD
Type of Racer/Strengths Being heckled and not DNFing
YGR: According to the Facebooks, you and the hubs just got back from a pretty epic moto tour. Where all did you guys go?
: We took a northern route back east and a southern route back out (South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania,Maryland,Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas) we were gone 24 days, 14 days of riding, and 4792 miles.
YGR: What were you riding?
: Moto Guzzi
YGR: When did you pick that up?
: early Sept
YGR: How long have you been riding?
: I've had a dirt bike for about 5 years, but this is the first street bike I've owned
YGR: Do you think it helps your mtb and cx skills?
YGR: Have you ever done a tour like this before?
YGR: Can you still hear the hum of the motor?
YGR: How long have you guys been planning that trip?
: we threw it together pretty quick. Tried to take advantage of some free time we both had.
YGR: Where ya going next?
: Staying put for awhile!
YGR: Favorite place along the route?
: Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Huge, 400+ year old trees. Amazing.
YGR: Weirdest experience during the tour?
: talking to all the old guys who like talking about motorcycles
YGR: Where did you stay at night?
: hotels. Also with family.
YGR: At what point did you decide enough was enough?
: Dusty had ridden from the east coast to CO before and he said Kansas cracked him. So we decided to learn from past mistakes, rented a truck, packed up bikes and drove the last seven hundred miles home. I don't regret it.
YGR: So, what you’re saying is, no CX for you this season?
: yes, sadly.
YGR: Missing it yet?
: of course!
YGR: Sticking with Luna for next year?
: No, I'll be moving on.
YGR: Wow, so after 10 years of riding with the Luna Pro team, you’re moving on. Do you know who you’re riding for next year?
: not yet
YGR: How did your departure from the team come about?
: It was just time to move on. It was my choice to leave the team. I had a great career with Luna, but I am also looking forward to the future and new opportunities.
YGR: How about Dusty? (Georgia's husband Dusty Labarr is a mechanic for the Luna Chics)
: Dusty is moving on too.
YGR: Are you looking for a team or are you going to build a solo program?
: I'm open to either at this point.
YGR: So what’s the plan from now until the racing starts?
: well, after 3 weeks off, I'm easing back in. I'll be mixing it up (as usual) with some running, xc skiing, etc.
YGR: Have you considered doing any xc ski racing?
: maybe for fun. I'm usually up for trying new things.
YGR: What’s is going to be your first MTB race?
: not sure
YGR: What does your 2017 season look like?
: not sure
YGR: Was it hard to give up the World Cup schedule?
YGR: 2017 CX?
YGR: As a primary goal or after a full MTB season as per usual?
YGR: Well, that's very interesting. Why the shift?
: A change, I've never had the opportunity before.
YGR: Domestically or Euro?
YGR: Your 2016 mtb season must have been terribly frustrating. You appeared to have good fitness but horrible luck all season. Poor call-ups led to crashes and mechanicals which led to even worse call-ups which led to more crashes and mechanicals. Correct assessment? With such large and competitive fields, how do you stop that slide once it starts?
: haha yes, you pretty much nailed it. I was pretty bummed that I wasn't able to really show my fitness at all those world cups. I was hoping to end my World Cup career with some solid races, but it was just frustration after frustration. Stopping that slide? I think the call-up system should go back to World Cup points. Or at least have top-30 be World Cup points. I started behind people I had been beating in every World Cup because they had more uci points. At the end of the day, I didn't feel like I was ever RACING at those races, and that's why it was easy to walk away from that.
YGR: The Olympics were on the line all season. Did that add pressure to perform or were you out there strictly to win a WC?
: Of course the Olympics was a huge goal for me, but I didn't really feel more pressure. I knew that things can always happen (mechanicals, illness, bad luck) so I just went into it with the goal of preparing the best way I knew how. And I did. Again, the fact that I didn't really see the fruits of that labor was frustrating and disappointing, but the thing that matters most to me is I know that I was very prepared, the fittest I've ever been, and in the best spot mentally and motivationally since 2012. That's what I'm proud of.
YGR: We’re a couple months past the Rio Olympics, how are you feeling about not being selected?
: I'm disappointed, but I’ve moved on.
YGR: Do you think the course suited you?
YGR: Tokyo 2020?
YGR: So you’re saying there’s a chance. Nice.
This week YGR catches up with the current road and criterium Pro, 1, 2 Colorado State Champion, Taylor Warren. Taylor is a bit of an anomaly here in the Fort. He's lived here for 5 years but we know very little about him. The facts that he rides for a Littleton based team with a heavy travel schedule and prefers to do longer endurance rides during the week means that we seldom see him at our mid week races and group rides. Next week we'll review is 2016, Cannodale CAAD12.
Rider Name Taylor Warren
Team COGA Elite Team
Occupation Cycling coach, wannabe pilot in training
Years in the Fort 5
Hometown Orlando, FL
Type of Racer/Strengths Long hilly road races, sprinting against tired people.
YGR: First off, congrats on the string of wins, form is pretty good right now. Were State Crit and Road Championships a season long goal?
: Thanks! The state champs weren’t necessarily a target, but getting those back to back wins felt super sweet!
YGR: How did Northstar, Dairylands and Elite Nats go for ya?
: All 3 went reasonably well! Took a rough start in Northstar but ended up 38th overall in a very respectable field. Was looking for the podium at Nats, but had to settle for 25th in the Road race and 14th in the crit. I’m still learning tons at the national race scene!
YGR: What’s the rest of the season looking like for you?
: Everything is winding down, I dusting off the ol’ mountain bike and my training is becoming a lot less structured. As for racing, just a couple local crits, Steamboat Stage race and hopefully Reading120.
YGR: What do you do in the ‘off season’ to stay fit?
: Run a bit, hike a bit, do some gym work, curl donuts, get gnarly on the b-ball court,
YGR: What does a usual training week look like for ya?
: Usually my coach lays the volume on thick. I’ll do maybe two or three 4-5 hour rides, hopefully with treks into the mountains. Some weeks, I’ll reduce the volume and do some race specific intervals for whatever’s next. I get a lot of my intensity just racing on the weekends though. I’ll usually take a couple days in the week where I just ride as slow as possible to recover from the training stress, those are the best days.
YGR: You’ve been a long time Fort Collins resident, how come we rarely see you on local group rides or at grassroots races?
: Haha,honestly don’t have any good excuses. I love the Oval in the winter, hands down best group ride I’ve ever done. I usually try to hit up a couple Taft Hill tt’s as well, just because I’m horrendous at time trialing and need the practice. I guess I usually skip out to keep the intensity lower most weeks.
YGR: Favorite local training ride?
: I really love the Red Feathers loop; going up Rist, up the Poudre, climbing the dirt over to Red Feathers and then it’s all downhill to Fort Collins. I think this fall, I want to up the ante and add in Pennock Pass to that loop, now that would be an epic ride!
YGR: Favorite CO race?
: I think I’m going to go with the Steamboat Stage Race. It’s usually one of the last races of the year, so everyone is pretty relaxed, the courses up there are super rad and the town just brings out a cool atmosphere.
YGR: Favorite National race?
: I think that’d have to be the Joe Martin Stage Race. I love the courses, it’s super well put on and Fayetteville is a really awesome town!
YGR: How did you get started racing?
: That credit would have to go to my dad. Him and his brother (who actually coaches me now) have been riding/racing for the last 25+ years. He never pushed me into the sport or anything, but I think it was just a matter of time before I pulled the ol’ lycra up.
YGR: Do either of them still race?
: My uncle races quite a bit still, you can usually find him crushing the Master’s 50+ field out in North Carolina. My dad doesn’t race much anymore, but can definitely still put me in the pain cave.
YGR: Your dad is still a pretty active supporter of your racing, yeah?
: Both my parents are incredibly supportive of my racing and I most definitely would not have gotten to where I am in the sport without them.
YGR: Is going pro the goal?
: Perhaps maybe a year or two ago, but not necessarily these days. I don’t think I would hesitate at a contract, but it’s definitely not the end all, be all. I’m learning to just have fun and take in the experience at these bigger national races and I think putting less pressure on myself has helped my racing this year. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do for a career and trying to figure out where training and racing fits into all of it.
YGR: How did racing for CSU influence you as a cyclist?
: It definitely put the fun in racing and made me realize you can still train really hard but also keep it lighthearted and have a ton of fun. The camaraderie in a collegiate team is huge and it was great to just be able to travel and race with all your best friends. I learned a lot too about racing from some of the more experienced guys like Zack and Logan.
YGR: Ever do any CX or MTB stuff?
: I race at least one CX race a year, just for fun and I’ll take my MTB out for a spin every now and again. Usually I just like watching other people suffer in cross races though.
YGR: What do you do when you’re not racing/training?
: Fly airplanes, run a small coaching business, take long walks to the fridge, watch Game of Thrones, do Coloradoan things such as snowboard, hike, and swim in Horsetooth.
Rider Name Steve Lacey
Category Mountain Expert depending on gravity
Occupation Semiconductor layout engineer/ manager
Years in the Fort 27
Hometown East Lyme, Ct.
Type of Racer/Strengths Slow up, fast down, the more technical the better.
YGR: Steve, I saw your Monday Evening Trail Work page pop up on Facebook a while back, how long have you been organizing those projects? How did they get started?
I think the first projects I personally help start, then with Diamond Peaks MB Patrol, were the skinnies at Bobcat. After rangers destroyed all the alternate log lines that had been created illegally, Doug Cutter and I asked how we could create them legally. “Just ask”, they replied. So I drew up some plans and we got them approved through the City and Thursday evening trail day was started.
YGR: What land agencies do you work with?
I work mainly with the City Natural Areas because they seem to welcome input from mountain bikers but would I/we would work with any land agency if the opportunity presented itself.
YGR: What trails do you work on?
I tend to gravitate towards working on expert level or advanced trails at the moment until current projects are completed.
YGR: What sections of trail have you worked on?
The skinnies and other upgrades to the Ginny Trail at Bobcat. Started building some alt lines on Maxwell, but the area proved to be very complicated with the high amount of traffic, abilities and opinions. Presented and got approval, with help from OMBC, for the Rimrock steps alternate ramp line which many user groups helped out on. West side of Reservoir Ridge alternate lines and re-route. Foothills trail from CR23 down below Soldier Canyon Dam and then back up to Reservoir Ridge Trail. Many alternate lines built and general maintenance or upgrades while still keeping the trail at an advanced level.
YGR: Do you think that adding an easier alternate line would increase the number of people riding that section (Foothills Trail under soldier Canyon Dam) therefore decreasing the congestion on Michaud and perhaps Maxwell?
Of course making an easier line on that section of the Foothills trail would increase the traffic on it but since you can really only access that section of the trail from the top it would not do anything for the Maxwell or Michaud congestion. That is why this section is perfect for an expert/advanced trail. If there was a connector along the bottom of the ridge between Maxwell and Michaud, say on the service road, that may be an option but the terrain is still such that an easy route would be very hard to accommodate in that area and hard to sustain. I personally don’t have an issue with Maxwell and it’s congestion for the amount of time I’m on it compared to the rest of my ride and think for the amount of use it gets it does very well. Stop, say hi and enjoy the company for 2 minutes!
YGR: What projects are up next?
I plan to continue/ finish the alternate lines on the Foothills trail and then help out with Michaud area upgrades and new advanced line. Continue to push for approval of “On the Rocks Trail” at Bobcat Ridge, a trail proposal started while working on Ginny trail. This is a multi use trail proposed for trail runners and hikers as well as mountain bikers taking users on some of the most unique rock formations in Fort Collins.
YGR: How many people do you usually get?
Usually 6 - 8 people show up on Monday’s but the more people that start showing up the more the City sees that they can rely on volunteers to help with maintaining new trails.
YGR: How can people get involved?
To get involved with Monday evening trail work all people have to do is check on Mondayeveningtrailwork Facebook page for location and times and show up. Any and all user groups are welcome to help and provide input. Whether it’s moving rock or trimming overgrowth there’s usually something for everyone.
YGR: Have you proposed any modifications that the city didn’t buy into?
Actually there has only been one rock outcropping on Reservoir ridge the City did not want to allow an alternate line on for safety concerns.
YGR: Aside from On the Rocks, do you have any other big projects that you’re working on?
This year concentrate on completing advanced alternate lines on Foothills trail. Some good ones planned.
YGR: Has there been any thoughts about making Foothills Trail under soldier Canyon Dam more mtb friendly?
Personally, I love the Foothills trail as it is now. It is still a challenge to ride in both directions but everything is rideable. Linking everything together for a no dab run, up or down, is the challenge. My personal goal this season is to ride that section both ways without dabbing. To make that section of trail more MTB friendly would go against everything I’m trying to build around the area….technical, expert level trails or features where speed is secondary to actual bike handling skills along with having a high degree of fitness.
YGR: What’s your favorite local trail?
My favorite local trails are…..Foothills trail, Upper Timber and Howard, West Ridge, Ginny. Horsetooth Rock trail was, and still is, a favorite as well and a great example of our mountain bike community not speaking loud enough to keep it multi-use.
YGR: For those that don’t remember, what happened with the Horsetooth Rock Trail and when?
About 8 - 10 years ago Larimer County had a survey asking about the HTMP area. Despite a very small number of user conflict complaints between bikers, hikers and equestrians they went ahead and closed the Horsetooth Rock trail to Bikers to limit user conflict complaints. If they conducted the survey today I’d bet you’d get and increase of user complaints between user groups mainly centered around the service road which they force bikers to use, so closing the trail did nothing. Also, if you spend time on that trail you will see that trail maintenance on that trail is still an issue despite decreased MTB usage. I think with the increased pressure to close more trails to MTBs this would be a very good case study to open back up.
Page 93 deals with conflicts…...more dog related conflicts than Mountain bikes! They never had a conflict issue!!!!!!
YGR: What’s your favorite type of trail to ride? Favorite feature to build?
I like trails that challenge a riders skill and fitness or trails that you have to align all the stars to ride them without dabbing. The skinnies on Ginny were really a challenge to design and build and have to be my favorite but hauling the timbers up there was a chore.
YGR: What’s your favorite trail system to travel to?
I don’t have a favorite trail system per say. National, More Fun, Holy Cross, Amassa Back are trails I wish we could build here in FC.
YGR: What trail system should should the NoCo system strive to be like?
I’ve always said or used to believe “if you can truly ride all the trails around FC you can ride anywhere”. The issue we face in NoCo is our soft surface trail system is not growing and keeping up with the demand quick enough. Our local leaders do not see a big enough economic impact or advantage to expand our trails like other areas with growing trail systems.
YGR: What location in NoCo has the most untapped potential for trails?
The Mayor’s office and City Council office…..we have to force them to take notice of our trailheads and made aware of the potential and demand for soft surface trails for all skill levels and user groups in the area.
Final thoughts from Steve:
Many people complain that the trails in and around Fort Collins are being sanitized, made easier, with respect to mountain biking. I started mountain biking when Maxwell was the “A” trail and as rough as you could find. None of the trails at that time were designed for mountain biking or the traffic they are seeing now and sustainability not as big of a priority as it is today. Fort Collins trail usage is continuing to grow at a record pace, look at the trailheads on the weekends. Our trail system has to keep pace with that growth. Trails need to be designed for multi use, high traffic and longevity. This tends to lead to trails that are low maintenance, less inclined, less technical and promotes higher speeds by mountain bikes. A lot of these trails are also managed by people with little experience of what mountain bikes can do. I want to keep the trails challenging, exciting and new each time you ride not just try to ride them faster. I also like the thought of a group of riders of varying abilities having the ability to ride the same trail at relatively the same pace and one rider be just as challenged as another and still be within 20 feet of each other because a trail has been designed with multiple lines. Or more experienced riders riding challenging lines until less experienced riders are able regroup.
Last week I had the opportunity to have Trent Newcomer and his mechanics swing by YGR World Domination Headquarters with his two new VeloFix vans. The vans operate as fully functional bike repair shops that can come to your home or office. The guys were able to take my Veloforma single speed cx bike that was pretty much completely seized up after State Championships and bring it back to life with all new bearings, brake pads and Stans in about a hour. The best part is, I never had to leave the house. The convenience of having a bike shop come to you is pretty unprecedented.
The vans are fully functional and taking appointments and taking appointments right now.
Check out the photo essay and interview with Trent below.
Rider Name Trent Newcomer
Category 3 CX, Expert MTB
Years in the Fort 16
Hometown Kansas City
Type of Racer/Strengths I have been told that one of my strengths as a cyclist is my ability to push myself and suffer. I suppose I am a fairly well rounded jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none kind of rider/racer. I have done a number of endurance mountain bike races and have really enjoyed them, but it is pretty hard to beat a good cyclocross race as well.
YGR: How did you hear about the VeloFix franchise?
: My wife actually saw it in Entrepreneur Magazine last year. It was one of a few mobile franchises that was featured in an article, and she left it open on the kitchen table with a little note that said she thought that it sounded like something that I might be interested in. Little did she know what that would lead to… I checked out their website and entered my information as being interested in franchise information, and the following day I was on the phone with the president of the company. In subsequent conversations, I grew more and more excited about the business model and, more specifically, the company itself.
YGR: What exactly does VeloFix do?
: Put simply, we are a full-service mobile bike shop that comes to you so you can have your bike tuned and/or repaired while you wait, without having to load it into your car, drop it off, and be without it for sometimes up to several days. Our goal is to save you time so you can ride more.
We also love working with companies that see value in promoting healthy and active lifestyles to their employees, recognizing that a healthier employee also tends to be a happier and more productive employee. Such companies can contact us to schedule a day for us to come out and, as a company-provided benefit, service their employees’ bikes while they work. For those companies that are interested, we can also offer lunchtime learning sessions to their employees, during which we can teach bicycle safety as well as basic bicycle maintenance. Fort Collins is home to many such companies, as there are more certified Bicycle Friendly Business here than in any other city in the country, regardless of size. We look forward to the opportunity to contribute to this tremendous aspect of our community.
YGR: What does your wife think about all this?
: A great question, and I sometimes wonder if she now regrets ever sharing that article with me. Seriously, though, she is very supportive. She knows how passionate I am about cycling and has seen how excited I have been through the entire process with Velofix. She understands that it takes a lot of time to start a new business, especially while I am already operating another existing business, but she is behind me 100% and I can’t put into words how much I appreciate her for that.
YGR: You hand kind of a rough start to this endeavor. Do you want to go into some of the van drama?
: Well, our initial start up did not go according to plan, to say the least. Only two days after we picked the van up from South Carolina, where the custom outfitting was performed, we had a little mishap. Brandon, my mechanic who was driving it back, was just pulling away from a gas pump at a station in St. Louis, when a car came speeding into the gas station, totally out of control. After pinballing off of three other cars as well as a gas pump, it slammed into the back of the van. Of course, the driver was not insured. Fortunately, the van was still driveable so we got it out here and were able to work out of it for a couple of weeks, until we could get it into the body shop and get two new fully functional vans on the road. It was definitely an unfortunate start to things, but it is also something that we will eventually be able to look back on and laugh about.
YGR: Tell us about the van. Year, make, model, motor. Where did it come from? Who outfitted it?
: The vans are 24 foot-long, 2016 Mercedes Sprinter vans with turbo diesel motors that have surprisingly efficient fuel efficiency. The vans are built in Germany and then are customized in Charleston, South Carolina.
YGR: You’ve got Fort Collins/Boulder and Denver metro. How long until you take over the rest of the State?
: I am very excited to have the franchise rights to all of Colorado, so the eventual goal is definitely to be able to service bikes all across the state - or at least along the Front Range. Of course, demand will dictate our rate of growth but within a year I would love to have a second van in the Fort Collins/Boulder territory and multiple vans throughout Denver. I anticipate opening Colorado Springs around this time next year, if all goes well.
YGR: What are some common misconceptions about VeloFix?
: The idea of a mobile bike shop that is truly full-service is new to many people so we have, indeed, encountered a number of people who have misconceptions about what we do. One misconception is that we are are only focused on race and event support. Though the van does lend itself very well to these things, and we do plan to participate in such events, they do not make up the core of our business. The most common misconception that we have encountered, however, is that we are like the AAA of bicycles in that we will come out and change your flat tire on the side of the road. If we happen to be driving by someone that is in need of assistance on the side of the road, of course we will stop and help. However, our model is to have people go on our website, select a level of service (basic tune, major tune, full overhaul, or a la carte), and schedule a specific day and time for us to come out and service their bikes at the location of their choice.
YGR: What is your favorite part about the vans?
: That is tough to answer because there really is nothing I don’t love about them. They look great from the outside, but they are even more impressive on the inside. It is hard to believe that we can fit an entire bike shop inside a 24-foot Mercedes Sprinter van, but it is so well-thought-out that it works great. There is a complete tool set that can service pretty much any problem with any bike, the storage is so efficient that we are able to stock about any part that we will need, and we even have a good selection of tires, grips, cycling computers, sunglasses, power meters, and more. The work stand is mounted on the inside wall of the van, we have an air compressor, a circulating solvent tank to clean components - really everything we could ever need to keep our customers’ bikes on the road and performing at their best.
YGR: Who are your wrenches?
: I am so excited about our two mechanics, Brandon Taylor and Adam Gipril. Not only are they fantastic mechanics, but they are also great guys who love working on bikes and talking about them to anyone who wants to listen. They have both been mechanics since 2009, are both certified through USA Cycling, and are constantly seeking additional training to ensure that they stay up-to-date with the latest technologies. Their goal is to do everything they can do to help others get the absolute most out of their personal cycling experiences - whether that is racing, commuting, or just going for a leisurely weekend ride with the family.
YGR: This is pretty much a dream job for these guys, no? What makes it so appealing to them?
: They love working on bikes, talking about bikes, and educating people about bikes. With Velofix, they have the opportunity to do this with each and every customer, so that they can make sure they get everything perfect and address each and every one of the customer’s questions and concerns. The vans are outfitted with a flat-screen TV, wifi, and a coffee maker - we encourage anyone who is interested to stick around and watch as their bike is being repaired. They are welcome to ask questions and even learn about what Brandon and Adam are doing to make the repair, as it is being done. Of course, if the customer would rather just drop the bike off and go back to work or whatever else they want to do, that is fine too. Regardless, both Brandon and Adam love working with Velofix because they enjoy the increased personal interaction that they have with our customers, and they also feel that it provides a better opportunity for a top-quality bike repair and overall customer experience.
YGR: What do you with the vans in the off season?
: Fortunately in Colorado, there are not many days that are unsuitable for cycling. Having said that, there is definitely a degree of seasonality to the business as more people spend their winter weekends on their skis or snowboards rather than on their bikes. For this reason, starting next winter, we will be offering ski and snowboard repair and tuning services out of the van. Those who ride bicycles tend to be the same people as those who ski or snowboard, so hopefully they will see the value in scheduling us to come out and service their skis and snowboards, just like they do in having us come out to take care of their bikes.
YGR: Why is having Velofix come to you more appealing than taking your bike to a shop.
: We are not trying to take the place of local bike shops - and there are some great ones in our community. What we offer is simply a different experience, and an alternative for those people who would prefer the convenience of having their bicycles serviced at their homes or places of work. Velofix’s motto is: “Save time. Ride more.” And that is exactly what we try to provide to the people who elect to use our services.
YGR: Is it really a full service repair shop?
: Yes, it truly is. Each van is equipped with the same tools as any bike shop, and maintains a comprehensive inventory of parts sufficient to repair the vast majority of bicycles on the road, no matter the problem.
YGR: What about parts? Can I order parts from you?
: Yes, we work with multiple parts suppliers - the same ones used by most bike shops in the country. We can get most parts within 2 business days, and some even sooner. If anyone has any specific requests for parts, we would encourage them to go to www.velofix.com and schedule a service (it is a very simple process) and, in the comments section, make us aware any specific requests so that we can make sure to have what we need in time for the service. To reiterate, though, the parts that we regularly keep in inventory are sufficient to completely service the vast majority of bikes out there.
YGR: What does it mean for Front Range Veterinary Clinic in the short/long term?
: I feel very fortunate to be able to work as a veterinarian and also be involved with Velofix. I get to spend my days around animals and bikes and that is pretty tough to beat, in my book. My roles are very different with the two companies, though. At Front Range Veterinary Clinic, I am in and out of appointments throughout the day, and managing things there is done before, after, or between appointments. With Velofix, I have two certified and very skilled mechanics that are doing the work, leaving me with more flexibility to take care of the management side of things. Admittedly, it has been a bit hectic as we get things started with Velofix, but I am enjoying the process and loving the variety that both of my different roles offer.
YGR: What events can we expect to see you at this year?
: We are excited to provide support for a number of cycling events, both locally as well as around the state. We are still working on finalizing our event schedule, but a couple of events that we are already committed to include Bike MS, the Courage Classic, and of course we are planning to be at the YGR time-trial series. We are in discussions about participating in many other events as well, but our final event schedule is still a work in progress.
This week YGR digitally sat down with mountain biker, Chris Ellmer. The Ellmer family is among the most active in the Fort Collins cycling community, especially when it comes to riding on the dirt. It's very rare to attend a cycling event and not see Chris, Tiff, Jack and Alex. They truly love riding for the love of riding and it's infectious. Chris is a CYF coach, 1st City Cycling Team member and one hell of a volunteer.
Rider Name Chris Ellmer
Team Stab City Bicycle Club, First City, Ciclismo Youth Foundation
Category Rodeo clown, 40+ Cat 9 adult strider
Occupation Firefighter / Paramedic with the City of Greeley & CEO at Stab City Bicycle Club
Years in the Fort 10
Hometown St. Louis, MO
Type of Racer/Strengths Having fun in the dirt
YGR: How did you end up in the Fort?
: It was a 20 year journey that began after college in Columbia Missouri. There were stops in Denver, Arvada, Windsor, Loveland and then eventually Ft. Collins. We chose this area specifically because of the lifestyle offered here. I wanted somewhere that offered good job opportunities, great quality of life for my family and the ability to ride from my house to MTB trails, oh, and top shelf coffee and beer.
YGR: How did you get started riding?
: I started riding as a way to lose some weight when I was about 15. I was a pretty hefty teenager and didn’t really fit in with any of the ball sports. My family bought me a trek 560 road bike (1987 ish) and I started riding it out on the county roads around St. Louis. I found that it provided me with the fitness boost I needed but also allot of fun. I loved riding alone and still do, it’s an important part to my sanity. Somewhere around 1990 I purchase my first mountain bike. A Raleigh technium I believe then a Cannondale, next a Klein...
YGR: You worked in the bicycle industry a bit before becoming a fireman. Tell us about that?
: I started at a shop when I was in college. Columbia has many similarities to Ft. Collins and in the early 90’s mountain biking was really catching on in that area. The shop I worked at had all the cool shiny MTB jewelry and carried the latest and greatest in bikes. We went to school, traded bike work for coffee and beer and….stuff and played like kids in the dirt with new tonka trucks. After a semester or two of riding, listening to Uncle Tupelo and wrenching on bikes (everything broke all the time back then) I was hooked for life. When I moved to Denver I worked for the Denver Spoke and a frame builder called Clark Kent. There was a long break from all that and then about 6 years ago I dove back in with Ciclismo and the High School MTB league.
YGR: Why did you decide to leave the industry?
: Money, period.
YGR: How come you don’t have some sort of a van? You seem like a van guy.
: A man ain’t no kind of man unless he’s got a van...man! Well, honestly, I would dig a van and Tiff is actually more into it than I am (yeah, that’s a cool girlfriend) but, I also have a solid reliable 4runner that we nicknamed Jesus Curtis Christo and I hate to give up on a good vehicle. Maybe someday.
YGR: Believe it or not, many people really look up to you and the way your family embrace cycling as a lifestyle. You, Tiff and the boys seem to truly love riding and racing your bikes regardless of the type of bike, result or destination…. I forgot my question.
: Thanks for saying that. I do love the lifestyle that mountain biking has provided for my family but it goes deeper than that. Honestly, bikes are an excuse to spend time together. There isn’t much that makes me happier than all of us piled in JCC with the bikes on the back heading to spend some time in the dirt. I don’t even really care what we ride but the experience of being together and seeing my boys ride is indescribable. It could honestly bring me to big happy tears just talking about it. Burning dead dinosaurs pointed out of town with my crew - money.
YGR: Word on the streets is that you’re the fastest guy on a 1985 Raleigh Crested Butte in the state, maybe the nation. Is that ture?
: Possibly by pure default. The Raleigh has actually moved on to a new owner out of state, it was time. My mid 80’s Diamondback Ridgerunner is my new favorite. It truly has more miles than anything else I own. Slack head angle, lugged steel, fifty bucks, boom.
YGR: So, you’ve got a thing for vintage bikes. What bike are you always keeping an eye out to restore?
: I used to have a Fat Chance, wouldn’t mind having another one of those. Also something from Cook Brothers or an old Joe Breeze would be super cool. I have run out of hooks in the garage a long time ago and have been trying to avoid new projects - trying.
YGR: You don’t currently seem all that interested in being fast, just enjoying the ride, has that always been the case?
: Oh I have interest in being fast, just maybe not the motivation it takes to get there! I went through a period where I paid for t-shirts and number plates but I’m not driven by that these days. It wasn’t the best fit for me and it took me a long time to realize that. I like to mix it up on the trails and the occasional race course but my bike money goes towards road trips and other forms of bike adventure these days. If you can call Single Speed Worlds a race I guess that’s about my only steady race anymore.
YGR: Oh yeah, how did you instill your love of cycling on Jack and Alex?
: that has happened fairly organically in our household. My goal for both of them is to have the choice to add cycling into their lives in whatever way it benefits them. Both boys enjoy racing and have done quite well at it but I want them to first and foremost have tools in their life to escape the stress of normal life and the bike is a good choice for that. If racing provides that outlet then we support each other and work on those goals. Mostly I think they are growing up to appreciate their community and how something like the bike can be pretty damn fun. I’m proud beyond words at the way my boys represent our family and the sport. I think they demonstrate true sportsmanship on the race course and really get what this is all about.
YGR: The boys don’t seem to be all that interested in the latest and greatest bikes/components. How the hell did you pull that off?
: I’m pretty lucky that both of my boys understand that it’s not about the coolest new toy, those things are fun but riding what you already have to the best of your ability is the way of the bike ninja. I mean, come on, who doesn’t get a little thrill out of outriding your buddy and his new bike when you’re still sporting your tried and true machine? The dogma of the Ellmer household is the hardtail mountain bike, that’s my jam.
YGR: Have you ever yelled “you’re weak and I’ve never loved you!” at the boys to get them to ride harder, further or faster?
: We start each day with that exact phrase! Actually, I’ve yelled worse at cross races before and they seem to appreciate it.
YGR: How much longer are you going to hang on to that mustache thing on your face? Does TIff approve?
: It was Tiff’s idea and it’s really not my choice anyway, this year my mustache applied to become it’s own entity. I really have no control over it.
YGR: Has becoming a Ciclismo Youth Foundation coach changed the way you ride?
: Absolutely. I tell people all the time that the single best investment you can make in your biking is to take a real MTB skills clinic. Working with Ciclismo and the Colorado league has afforded me the opportunity to train with Lee McCormack and other coaches that know how to teach you to ride better. There is truly a right way to ride your bike if you want to ride fast and it can be tought. You don’t have to just keep crashing and hope you figure it out. I really feel like I just learned to mountain bike well over the last few years. I had to unlearn a lot and follow the guidance of those that know better. I’ve got a long way to go but I love to practice the bike kung fu now. Taking that instruction and teaching the kids also teaches you in return. I work with some amazing people in the Ciclismo group and our rides together have definitely made me a better rider.
YGR: What do you bring to the table anyhow?
: Our little Ciclismo gang has a diverse base of talent. We have some folks with impressive race resumes and that’s not me so I really try and focus on the fun of riding and racing. I also work hard to teach our riders about stewardship and being responsible in the backcountry and responsible on local trails. Overall I think our kids do at great job at these things but it’s something we all need to work at regularly. Seeing our riders challenge themselves and ride with a smile is a huge reward for me and I hope that they see the value in mountain biking as a lifelong sport and mental escape.
YGR: Who’s getting more out of that relationship?
: Clearly - me. Honestly, coaching the kids breathed new life into my cycling hobby. I love riding with young riders and other coaches. When we load up for a race weekend and head out with the kids you know it’s going to be a lot of work but the reward is huge. If you haven’t been to a high school mountain bike race yet, you should stop by. It’s a huge part of the future of our sport and seeing 600+ kids racing the bikes off road is just friggin cool.
YGR: Favorite local MTB trail loop?
: I like the Mountain Park stuff. Wathen, Carey Springs, Sawmill would be the faves. I rarely run into anyone up there during the week except for Kacey Campell.
YGR: Favorite alltime MTB ride?
: I’ve had the privelage to ride in some cool parts of the world. Ireland, south Africa, Japan, Alaska, Canada, etc. and there are some trails that are forever etched in my mind. Hands down however it was last summer’s trip to Whitefish Montana and Fernie BC. My eldest, jack, had just returned from a year abroad in South Africa. The four of us loaded up with bikes, camping gear and coffee and headed out with no set destination. We ended up in Fernie and if you haven’t been there you need to put it on your list. Filtered sun through old growth, my boys together. The four of us riding through amazingly constructed trails. A moose or two. I can still remember what that felt like to rip through the forest with all of us together. It’s about the trail but it’s also not about the trail if you know what I mean. Riding with my family is my podium spot. Damn I love those guys.
YGR: Still trying to sell your road bike?
: Sure, whatever, I guess. I could see Alex adopting it now however.
YGR: What bike do you no longer have that you wish you did? Please don’t say your 1984 Ross Mount Whitney, because you can't have it back.
: Ha!, no, the Ross is yours. I don’t know, sometimes I think the memory is better than the actual bike. There are a bunch of old bikes that I “wish” I still had but honestly, they probably weren’t as cool as I thought.
YGR: Fat bike, yea or nay?
: Sure, why not, whatever makes you happy. I think they’re pretty cool actually. Alex has been working with James at Black Sheep on a project for school and if you hang around that shop long enough, you’re going to dig fat bikes. For me, there’s not one in the garage but if a stray wandered in I probably wouldn’t turn it down.
YGR: What’s your take on gravel bikes?
: Again, whatever makes you happy. I just build up a RLT Steel and really enjoy the ride. I think the gravel bike and cyclocross world are just evolving road bikes back into mountain bikes anyway so i’m in favor of that. All jokes aside, I think for most riders looking to train on the road and dirt / gravel that style of bike makes a ton of sense.
YGR: What is missing from the Fort Collins cycling scene?
: There’s a couple of things that would make a great bike city into a super rad bike mecca. A venue for off-road events that would facilitate cross racing, MTB racing (especially one suitable for Highschool MTB) would be great. Cutting a few more trails to add to what we have (hats off to our trail builders but more is always good!). I think our area has relatively difficult trails and it would be great to see longer flowy intermediate trails in the future. Maybe that’s in the works already, I kind of live in a bubble.
YGR: I see you drink a lot of beer but I’ve never seen you drunk. Why is that exactly?
: You leave early (Editors note: very true).
In this weeks 20ish Questions we catch up with local cross racer and mountain biker, Kacey Campbell. He's the guy you see klanking heads at the local races wearing 'jorts' and a flannel. The interview goes about as you would expect from Kacey, awesome.
Rider Name Kacey Campbell
Team Teamjorts. Teamstag
Category pro mtb & cross, cat 5 everything else
Occupation Good question
Years in the Fort 21ish, roamed around for a few years
Hometown Jort Collins
Type of Racer/Strengths Steep climbs, technical, FUN HAVING
YGR: First off, why you gotta wear the jorts? (Cut off jean shorts for those of you not in the know)
: Maximize leg movement, THEY ARE NOT WHITE TRASH. Honestly I think it’s fun to lighten up the mood around a local race. Might be stepping on some toes but I think it’s funny when people are so serious at a bike race that they can’t crack a smile. You won’t see me wearing jorts at bigger races
YGR: Seems like you’ve been diving into this CX thing pretty serious. What brought that on?
: There’s just a lot of buzz surrounding cross right now. The races are fun to go hang out at and people generally have good attitudes. I say this quite a bit but it’s the closest I’ve gotten to racing motocross since I quit years ago. Going bar to bar with riders, picking lines and battling it out for an hour… the only thing missing is a throttle to twist.
YGR: Favorite race?
: New Belgium short tracks
YGR: How did you get into riding?
: Grew up racing motocross but never cycled until I went to college in Grand Junction. I went there to play soccer actually but all my friends were mtn biking so I tried it out and loved it. Shortly after I dropped out and had no real direction with my life (lived in Winter Park for a while). After my 21st birthday I did a 5 week bike tour up to the Northwest as a ‘vision quest’. Ended up living in Seattle, working at Madfiber and just like that I was engulfed in the cycling industry. Met some amazing people (Justin, Tamara, Brian, Peter, Tyler) who brought me out to the races, here we are 3 years later. Probably worth noting that I moved back to Colorado in the summer of 2013. Showed up to a New Belgium short the following Spring in jorts… people still refer to me as the guy in jorts.
YGR: Favorite road ride?
: Don’t do much of the road riding but Pennock Pass is a good one. Oh, going up Highway 1 on a packed down Schwinn has been my FAVORITE road ride
YGR: Favorite MTB ride?
: Fort Collins has so many great trails it’s hard to go wrong. Give me 3 hours in horsetooth mtn park and I’m groovy. If I’m in the Northwest a Toby Swanson adventure ride takes the cake. They always involve a heavy, waist deep river crossing.
YGR: Favorite cross course?
: It’s funny thinking about this, I feel like for most courses people put tape up in a field and let us go. I don’t really like Jay Zorn but Cross of the North courses are always fun. If it rains or the conditions are challenging the course is fun regardless of the layout.
YGR: Do you have dress jorts?
: duh.. bought some ladies dress pants at a thrift store this year and cut em up. They are some of the best riding shorts imaginable while being quite classy at the same time.
YGR: What is your personal philosophy for riding and racing bikes? You always seem to be having fun.
: BIKES ARE FUN!! And if you’re not having fun, why are you doing it? There are some awesome people that ride bikes and you can open up a lot of doors by not being a dick. At the end of the day we’re all just riding bikes; if you can’t look back on how much fun it was you should probably do something different... I hear video games are all the rave these days.
YGR: Goals? Factory team or independent?
: I’m hoping teamjorts goes factory but it doesn’t look promising. Really, I think everybody dreams about riding bikes for a living or just being a professional athlete in general. Unfortunately it’s hard to get to that level and even then it’s sustainable for a few years. I’m still relatively new to this cycling stuff and as of now, I think it’d be fun to keep reaching for that next level. The day I get burnt out and stop enjoying what I’m doing, I’ll take a step back and do something different.
YGR: Favorite genre of bikes?
: Riding wise, mountain bikes. There’s nothing like going out on a solo ride and forgetting about everything else out there. Those days where you’re ‘on rails’ and can’t make a mistake are especially fun. As far as racing goes, I like cyclocross the most. They’re quick, (mostly) affordable and have a healthy atmosphere. It’s funny, I actually follow motocross racing more than anything else. I can nerd out about all the latest happenings.
YGR: Who do you look up to in that genre?
: The euros are so good at cyclocross, it’s really fun to watch. Kevin Pauwels has an effortless style that I’d say I look up to. For motocross, my favorite rider is Marvin Musquin. Again, a smooth, calculated riding style that’s easy to watch.
YGR: So, you grew up racing motos?
: My dad was a local pro so I grew up going to races and spent a lot of time out at the motocross track as a kid. I idolized my dad and his friends, so once I became old enough to ride that’s all I wanted to do. I raced from 50’s up to 80’s and got pretty fast for awhile. By the time I was 12 I’d broken a bunch of bones and had gotten scared away from it. It’s embarrassing how bad I am at moto now.
YGR: How has that shaped your bike riding?
: The biggest part is just having a passion for two wheels. There’s an empowering feeling behind riding and it can be therapeutic. I feel fortunate to realize that at a young age as riding has given a positive influence to my life. I guess my riding style may be a bit different. I tend to ride more upright and whip the bike around.
YGR: Can you manual?
YGR: You’ve been doing some coaching with CYF, hows that going?
: Last fall I took a semester off and had the time to help out. It’s an awesome program that gets kids on bikes. The kids are always excited to ride and have a good attitude. The races are insane. Seeing 500+ high school cyclist is a little overwhelming but it’s also exciting to see a sport grow. It’s cool watching the kids develop skills and become better riders. I don’t help out that much anymore just with time restraints but I try to join their rides as much as I can.
YGR: What’s your area of expertise with the kids?
: Don’t know if I have one. The kids have such a great group of coaches in place already. Andy has a fun way of teaching skills to the riders and it sticks with them. I coached the faster riders in Group 1, so for practice I would literally ride with them. My guidance is really minimal instructions like “get your elbows out” or “look ahead” because they are such great riders already. There have been instances where I am amazed at the stuff some of the riders pull off. Brannon Fix has obviously come out of the program but there are some really good riders in there that I hope stick with it. To me the best part of the program is if the kids don’t want to be a serious racer, completely fine. They are taught skills that hopefully build a lifelong passion for cycling. To any parents reading this, GET YOUR KIDS IN THE PROGRAM. Cycling is unique in that you can go so many different directions with it and make a healthy, lasting lifestyle. The sooner you build that passion for riding, the better.
YGR: Word on the streets is that you prefer to race indy rather than on a team. What’s up with that?
: Haven’t found one that’ll take me in yet. I wouldn’t say I prefer to be independent but if I’m going to be on a team I want it to feel right. I want to know everybody on it and keep everything fun. I get some help already but racing independent is expensive so I’m trying to join up with somebody next year.
YGR: MTB goals for next year?
: Trying to graduate this summer so there won't be much if any mountain biking.
YGR: 2016 CX goals?
: 2016 cross will be the focus. i want to utilize having a uci point as much as possible. having a call up at the bigger races is HUGE!
YGR: You're heading to CX Nats on Wednesday, what are your goals?
: Goal is to be top 5 in collegiate and top 30 in elite.
The Overland Mountain Bike Club is perhaps Fort Collins most underrated bicycle organization. Much of what the advocacy group does goes unnoticed or gets misconstrued. The club takes part in trail planning, construction, and maintenance in Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming but they also run the Diamond Peaks Mountain Bike Patrol program, donate money to high school mountain bike teams, promote the 40 in the Fort mtb race and assist with Stone Temple 8, Laramie Enduro, Gowdy Grinder and the McKee Classic road ride. In order to continue to grow these programs, increase funding and membership, the club has hired its first ever Club Administrator, Kenny Bearden. In the following interview we'll get to know Kenny and Overland.
Rider Name Kenny Bearden
Team Overland Mountain Bike Club
Occupation Club Administrator - Overland Mountain Bike Club
Years in the Fort 16
Hometown Houston, TX
YGR: First off, congrats on the new gig with Overland. What’s your official title and when did you start?
: Thank you! Official title is Club Administrator. The contract was signed on Oct 21.
YGR: How long have you been with Overland and what positions have you held?
: I’ve been with Overland for 6 years. I served on the Board of Directors for 2 years, have been Director of our patrol group for 2 years, and a member of our patrol committee for an additional 2 years.
YGR: Is the the Club Administrator position your full time job now?
: It is.
YGR: What did you do before you took the job as CA?
: Immediately prior I was working as an independent financial investigator. Prior to that I held management and operations roles in the commercial finance industry with Textron Financial and TCF Inventory Finance. And as you'd expect, my degree from Texas A&M is in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences, so naturally I ended up in finance.
YGR: You’re the first person to hold this position, right? Why did Overland decide it needed it?
: Yes, this is the first paid position Overland has had. This has been talked about within Overland for years. When the rebranding took place in 2009 to move from Diamond Peaks Mountain Bike Patrol to Overland Mountain Bike Club, the club went through a pretty significant level of growth. This coincided with the rapid growth of Tour de Fat as well. In the last few years, I think Overland has sort of plateaued. Our membership has stayed fairly steady. The revenue structure of Tour de Fat has seen some changes. Regional population and the corresponding level of trail-use is increasing significantly. Overland recognized that we needed to take that next step to improve the health of our organization, to achieve our strategic vision and long-term goals, and to improve the overall mountain biking experience in this region.
: Depends on the season. If it's cold and there’s snow on the ground, I’m usually up at Breckenridge, A-Basin, Vail, Beaver Creek, etc on my skis. Also flyfish quite a bit, play some golf, do some bird hunting...kind of the typical Colorado mountain stuff. I’m also an avid nature photographer, so a lot of times I simply head out with the camera just to see what I can capture on that given day. I do some planned photo trips and shoots, but mostly it's just heading up into RMNP, Poudre Canyon or a local natural area to catch a sunrise or sunset.
I also love live music and the occasional night out in Old Town. Music will range from seeing The Good Time Travelers or 12 Cents For Marvin at Avo’s to heading down to Denver for the Colorado Symphony.
Oh, I do get out on my mountain bike from time to time as well...
YGR: What do you ride?
: Scott Genius 27.5
YGR: Favorite local trail?
: Blue Sky-Indian Summer-Devil’s Backbone and back...you get a little bit of everything.
YGR: Favorite all time trail?
: The Whole Enchilada...hands down. Ripping that trail with my buddy Justin Schmidt on a warm spring day, followed by a couple tacos and a beer or two...can’t beat it!
YGR: What are some of the changes you’re going to make as CA?
: As Club Administrator and independent contractor, I’ll be making recommendations for changes to our Board of Directors. First, and a somewhat significant one, is considering the possibilities of becoming an official IMBA Chapter Club. IMBA has a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping regions expand and improve their trail networks. Being able to tap into that knowledge could provide some big benefits to our organization and the community as a whole. Also, they are basically the sole advocate for mountain biking access on a national level. How we can best support them should be considered as well.
Another is increasing the level of cooperation among all mountain biking organizations in this region. As volunteer organizations, we all have very limited resources. We focus on member-engagement, events and club operations. We naturally tend to focus on our part and what we do well. We all want more trails and better trails for mountain biking. We all probably have our own ideas and opinions about how to make that happen. Obviously bringing people together to determine shared goals and a common focus will make this a more efficient process.
The other biggest change is improving the overall image of Overland. This club does many, many good things. I know a lot of people outside of our membership don’t realize the amount of things we do, or they have an inaccurate understanding of how we operate. Improving the visibility of what we do and why we do it will happen.
: I think some members have had a desire to “keep it local”. Some feel we wouldn’t gain enough based on what we give up. There would be an increase in annual membership dues...$20 currently for OMBC to $35 as IMBA Chapter Club. My opinion, a lot of that has come from a lack of information as to how the Chapter Club process works.
YGR: How many members does Overland have?
: Current membership is around 275.
YGR: Can people be members of Overland and other cycling teams/clubs?
: Absolutely! We’re not a race team, nor do we have any sort of exclusivity requirement. We have club members who do race, but there is no organized race component of Overland. We’re just a group who likes to ride mountain bikes and give a little back to the community however we can.
YGR: Where does funding come from?
: The vast majority of our funding currently comes from Tour de Fat. We get additional funds through membership dues and 40 in the Fort. The biggest role in this new position will be finding additional sources of revenue.
YGR: What is the biggest challenge facing Overland as an organization right now?
: Biggest challenge...organizing and finding our direction going forward. This is a big transition for the club. We are investing in some things and there needs to be a significant payoff. Specifically, we need to find additional sources of revenue to be a healthier non-profit organization. We are financially sound to maintain our current level of operations. But it takes serious financial resources to make significant trail projects happen. Our goal is to have a world-class trail network in this area. We already have it in Gowdy. Glendo is well on its way as well. But when you look at the terrain and resources we have right at the edge of town, we shouldn’t have to drive 1-2 hours to get to world-class mountain biking trails or IMBA Epic trails. Look at what’s happening in Fruita, Moab, Steamboat, Crested Butte, Jackson, Bend, Sedona, even Duluth, MN, and many other towns around the country. There is no reason those types of things can’t happen here as well. Fort Collins prides itself on our outdoor lifestyle and recreation opportunities. We have a lot of trails. We have very few really good mountain bike trails. These types of trails SHOULD be here! To make that happen it takes money, leadership, and a shared focus of the mountain biking community. Overland can do a better job of increasing member engagement and attracting new members. We can do a better job of getting this message out to people. We can do a better job of working with and helping organize this mountain biking community...clubs, race teams, bike shops and businesses, tourism agencies, etc. And it’s not just mountain bikers either. There are trail runners, hikers and equestrian groups who would all benefit from this as well.
It’s pretty easy to get this information out in an interview, but the challenge is actually making it happen. And this is not just Overland’s challenge. This is the challenge of everyone who reads this interview and rides a mountain bike in this area.
YGR: What big projects are in the works right now?
: The biggest project is the new Corral Center Bike Park at Lory State Park. Overland will be involved to some degree with fundraising and maintenance. Estimated cost is around $95,000. This project is being led by Lory State Park and Friends of Lory State Park. This is scheduled for completion in 2016.
The Spring Canyon MTB Skills Park is another. Work began on Halloween with the upper skills lines being installed. We have another 5-6 work days needed for completion...or about 700 more volunteer hours. A secondary goal of this project is for it to be a model for other parks around town. Hopefully we can end up with 5-6 of these smaller skills parks around town so they are easily accessible to all residents.
A new and improved 40 in the Fort event is looking like a big project. We will have a new Race Director this year. One of our new board members, Andy Tomaszewski, will be taking the lead on this. Can’t get into too many details because it’s still in initial discussion stage and needs to be approached to the land agencies...but a multi-day event is being considered with the same 40 we all know and love taking center stage.
YGR: Overland does a lot of good for the Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming cycling community, how do you intend to get the word out about all you do?
: We are currently working on a new marketing plan. My goal is to use video resources to make short clips of every trail project (what’s being done, why it’s needed, who is involved, etc) to give a before, during and after visual and description of the changes. Something similar can be done with each event Overland hosts or participates in. We can create a YouTube channel and post links on our website, Facebook, Twitter, YGR, mtbtime...whoever is willing and interested in sharing our info we are willing to work with.
We are also in the process of redesigning the Overland website to make it more appealing and user-friendly. Better visibility of events, sign-ups, meetings, projects, photo and video gallery, patrol reporting, etc.
YGR: What are the biggest challenges facing Overland as an advocacy group?
Currently the biggest challenge is volunteer resources. It takes a lot of time meeting with land agencies, attending land use board meetings, city council meetings, soliciting funds, writing news articles and getting our info out. We partner with 5 separate land agencies...the City of Fort Collins, Larimer County, Lory SP, WY State Parks and the US Forest Service...each agency has trail maintenance needs. Planning trail days for each agency takes a toll on resources because you have to plan the scope of work, the calendar date, a back-up date, manage sign-ups, day-of logistics, food for volunteers, etc. This is all the work of volunteers.
With our increasing population and huge increases in overall trail-usage, the demands for trail maintenance are going up quickly...let alone getting new trails approved and built.
These are all reasons why this full-time administrator position was needed. Not just to maintain what we are currently doing, but to bring us to a higher level as well.
YGR: What 3 new trails are likely to come to Northern Colorado in the near future?
: Excellent question!!! Will let you know as soon as they’re determined.
Actually, Overland has been working with Larimer County on a new trail out of an expanded trailhead area of Devil’s Backbone...the Hidden Valley Trail. This will allow for separation of bikes and hikers along the first couple miles of DBB. It’s common to see 200+ hikers and 100+ bikes on this trail on the weekends, so separating the users with an additional trail will be a huge improvement.
Although not an actual trail, Overland will be working closely with Lory State Park and Friends of Lory State Park to develop the new Corral Center Bike Park. The initial conceptual design has been put together by Scott Gordon with ContourLogic. We had an initial walk-through and design review last week that went very well. It won’t be as expansive (or expensive) as Valmont in Boulder, but it will have many similar features and style. Some things to look forward to with it: approximately 4,000 sq ft medium-large pump track, approximately 17,000 sq ft for jump and flow lines, multiple progressive skills trails with drop-in entries, Tot Trak and skills area, community/viewing areas. Specific features are likely to include skinnies, boulders, bridges, switchbacks, steps, ledges, etc...with some of these specifically designed to mirror certain features encountered currently in the Lory trail network. There is still plenty of work to do for it...fundraising, selecting a contractor, build-out and training volunteers for maintenance. I’m very excited to see the finished project!
Larimer County is also developing a new trail in Hermit Park Open Space near Estes Park which we will assist on as well.
Construction on the re-designed Youngs Gulch trail should begin in 2016. Unfortunately, Overland did not have any input into this design and routing process, so there’s nothing I can really tell you about it. We will be providing some financial and volunteer support, however, and look forward to it re-opening.
We do have some things moving, but trust me...I would sincerely prefer to be telling you about the 3 new, awesome trails we are working on right at the edge of town that will blow everyone’s minds. But, it’s just not happening. And that’s in part why I was hired. I cannot guarantee any new trails, but I will be doing my very best to make some things happen. I do have some ideas, which are my personal ideas and not yet being pushed by Overland. We will present some of these ideas to our area land agencies to discuss the possibilities.
: Easy...land agency constraints. Any time a new trail or a re-route of more than about 10 feet from the old route takes place, or is proposed, multiple environmental impact studies typically have to be conducted. These can range from several months to several years and cost a considerable amount of money. You hear a lot on blogs and social media, “well why can’t we just build another trail?” That’s why. For example, Lory State Park is home to the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse. The Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Any new trail or significant re-route must first undergo a study to determine potential impacts to the mouse.
These decisions come down to the individual land agencies. Another example, Overland has an additional 5-6 alternate lines designed to connect with the 1 we put in on Sawmill in 2014. The county has identified other projects which they deem of higher importance than the alt lines. We have to find the balance point of meeting land agency needs vs having our requests met. Although challenging at times, it still remains a rewarding and productive process. Overland continues to maintain excellent relationships with all 5 land agencies we partner with.
There are many obstacles out there that prevent new trails from going in...environmental, financial, legal, political. It’s my hope that we can help organize this entire mountain biking community in order to speed up some of these processes and to continue building on these strong land agency partnerships.
Once the land agency challenges are met, you then have the challenge of meeting expectations of riders. What ability level is being targeted? What terrain constraints are present? If updating a section of existing trail, you want to maintain the overall character of that trail with the new section. Flow is the popular buzzword. And as we all know from the Michaud discussions recently, flow for one person can be very different from another.
YGR: We know Overland works hard to maintain and build new trails but what other programs does it administer?
: The single biggest program we have is Diamond Peaks Mountain Bike Patrol, which is how the club was originally founded back in 1995. Each patroller must go through and maintain a certification process including basic medical, volunteer and bicycle maintenance training, as well as pass an annual background check. We have operating agreements in place with 5 different land agencies. Our patrol territory ranges from Estes Park to Glendo, WY. We assist with medical and mechanical issues, provide trail assistance and information, speak with trail users about etiquette, “Rules of the Trail” and any other local trail issues. We also keep track of trail-user statistics and log a trail conditions report for each patrol ride. There is no enforcement role at all...strictly assist, educate and inform. In 2015 we have logged over 320 patrol rides, observed over 10,700 trail-users with over 4500 trail-user contacts. We currently have about 50 certified patrollers.
I think most people know about 40 in the Fort. Look for more info after the new year because we could be having some exciting changes coming to this event in 2016.
We schedule 2 Take-a-Kid-MTB’ing events each year where we lead young riders on the local trails and talk about basic skills and proper trail etiquette. This is always a great event that is well-received by the kids, parents and volunteers.
We donate money annually to high school mountain bike teams in Fort Collins (Ciclismo), Cheyenne and Laramie.
We donate money and provide volunteers for the 8-day Granite Ridge & Stone Temple Mountain Bike Camps for kids at Curt Gowdy State Park.
Races/rides we assist with include Stone Temple 8, Laramie Enduro, Gowdy Grinder and the McKee Classic road ride. We will be taking on a larger role with Stone Temple 8 going forward.
YGR: Hot button question, Michaud, what is your personal take on the trail? What is the club’s position?
: Personally, I kind of like it the way it is. It’s a difficult trail. Not one that I would call “fun”, but it's definitely a challenge. I think removing 4-5 specific rocks would make it a bit better and reduce some the braiding taking place while maintaining its current character. There are a couple sections where the addition of alt lines could provide an easier route for those looking for it.
I was part of the group that reviewed it on-site after this whole fiasco developed. We all pretty much agreed with the above.
As for Overland’s “official” stance...I think everyone should come out for the Overland Season-Kickoff Meeting in early March to hear about it in person! ;-)
With the help of Teresa Garcia YGR had a chance to interview local mountain biker, Ben Parman. Ben came out of nowhere to become one of the strongest riders in the area especially with regards to ultra distance mountain biking. Over the past few years you've probably seen his name popping up at the top of leader boards and allover Strava.
Rider Name Ben Parman
Team Northern Colorado Grassroots (NCGR)
Category Races Open/Pro, but does not hold a USAC license
Occupation Project Manager
Years in the Fort 9 years (also lived here as a kid)
Hometown Fort Collins
Type of Racer/Strengths Endurance Mountain Bike, All-Rounder
YGR: How long have you been mountain biking?
: Five years
YGR: How did you get into mountain biking?
: When I bought my first mountain bike, I was overweight and not very healthy, and thought it might be a fun way to get in better shape. I had no intention of actually mountain biking, but just wanted to ride around town and didn't want a road bike. I started out just riding the paths around town, but eventually got bored with that so I attempted to go ride Coyote Ridge and failed miserably. I remember getting to the first rocky part of the trail and saying to myself "there's no way anyone actually rides this!" I kept going back, and with a little persistence, slowly started getting better.
YGR: How did you branch out and start meeting people to ride with?
: For the first few years I mostly just rode alone. Late in 2012, I had met a few riding buddies that were going to do a local race called '40 in the Fort' and got talked into signing up for it myself - this was my first mountain bike race. I went on a few organized course pre-rides before the race, and did a big group ride put on my Redstone Cyclery that went from Eldora to Winter Park and back, and really enjoyed the social aspect of it and that's when I started trying to get more involved with the cycling community and riding with other people. A few weeks later, I ended up getting 1'st place in Sport Class in 40 in the Fort and 7'th overall. I was pretty thrilled about that realized maybe I could actually be good at this and started trying to ride with people who pushed me a bit.
YGR: Do you have a coach, or do you coach yourself?
: I don't have a coach, but have loosely followed pre-packaged training plans. I used Lynda Wallenfel's base and 100 mile PR training plan early this year which helped give me some direction and motivation early in the season. I've also read The Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel and have learned a lot from that. I've considered working directly with a coach, but have been pretty satisfied with my results from self-coaching so far.
YGR: Do you ride all year long or take a break from the bike?
: I ride all year.
YGR: What does a usual training week look like for you?
: It varies a lot depending on the time of year and what kind of races I have coming up. This time of year, I ride with no agenda and do whatever sounds like fun at the time. Early in the year, I try to put in a lot of base mileage and begin adding more and more structured interval days as I get closer to my first race, usually dialing back the volume but increasing intensity. Mid-season gets kind of hectic and often find myself just trying to recover between one race and the next, but if possible try to match my training to the demands of whatever I have coming next. My long weeks are usually a bit over 20hrs on the bike, and short weeks just shy of 10.
YGR: Favorite training ride?
: Definitely some combination of trails in Horsetooth Mountain Park and Lory State Park. I like to ride from home and hit the foothills trails before making a big loop around the reservoir, often doing something that resembles a lap of 40 in the Fort.
YGR: Hot topic right now, what are your thoughts on Michaud?
: I personally don't have any problems with the way it is now, but I think it could definitely be improved. There are several stretches of the trail that consist of oddly spaced, pointed, off camber rocks that are challenging in their own right, but also probably not what most mountain bikers daydream about riding. I met with several other local riders there just earlier today to discuss ways to improve some of these spots, and it seems there is a lot of natural terrain that could be better taken advantage of to create interesting, challenging obstacles that would likely satisfy more people than the way it's currently configured. Ideally, I would love to see some additional trails built in that area as well to give people some additional options and maybe help ease the congestion in other areas of that whole trail network as well.
YGR: What race wins or results that you are most proud of?
: I got 3’rd place at the Vapor Trail 125 this year, less than two minutes behind second, that’s something I’m pretty proud of. I also won the Cougar Slayer (a 68 mile race that is part of the Colorado Endurance Series) this year and was really happy with that result as well. I intended to use this as one last big training race before the Vapor Trail 125 and had no plans to finish near the front, much less take the win. Around 15 miles into the race, I found myself riding the wheel of the guy who was in first and passed him when he made a mistake on a technical section and just decided to see how long I could run with it, and ended up taking it all the way to the finish line over 20 minutes ahead of 2'nd. I hadn't trained with any priority on this race and didn't taper for it at all, but somehow it worked out to be a good day for me.
YGR: Tell us about the Vapor Trail 125.
: The Vapor Trail 125 is a big loop that starts and ends in Salida, CO. It's 125 miles long with close to 20,000' of elevation gain, climbing to nearly 13,000' through the Collegiate Peaks. The race website describes it as being like doing the Leadville 100 twice, back to back, one of them being at night - and I think this is probably pretty accurate. The course is extremely difficult with several enormous climbs and descents that seem to never end. The race goes through the entire night and for many racers, most of the next day. I finished the race in just over 14 hours, which is pretty close to the time I was shooting for.
YGR: Tell us about the Colorado Endurance Series.
: The Colorado Endurance Series hosts underground, self-supported, adventure type of races that are mostly 100 milers and require self-navigation, and carrying everything you need from start to finish. The venues are typically on technical, challenging, unsanitized backcountry trails that people aren't necessarily going to learn about by walking into a local bike shop and asking for recommendations about where to ride. These kind of races really capture what I love about mountain biking, and I really enjoy long endurance races like these because I get to spend a lot of time on my bike. I like shorter races too, but if I'm going to devote a lot of time training for something, I'd rather it be for something that's not over after just a few hours.
YGR: Rumor has it that you’re planning to do the Colorado Trail Race (CTR) next year, is this true?
: Yes it is.
YGR: How are preparing for the CTR?
: I originally intended to do it this year, but wasn't quite able to get all my gear together and make it work out with other things I had going on. Instead, I spent this year focusing on a lot of big endurance races, particularly Vapor Trail 125, which has given me a lot more experience with endurance racing and a better idea of what I'll be up against. I still don't have all the equipment I'll need, such as some custom made bike bags and lightweight camping gear. I've spent a lot of time figuring out my nutritional requirements for something of that duration as well, and think I have that pretty well dialed in at this point.
YGR: What are your goals for the CTR?
: Ever since learning about this race, it's been a dream of mine to do it. I hope it's something I will enjoy enough to do more than just once, and for my first attempt would really just like to have a clean run at it and finish without any major issues. So far, my body and mind seems to tolerate this endurance stuff pretty well, but having never done anything quite this big, I don't really know how I'll react to it. In terms of time, it's hard to say, but I would be happy to finish in under 5 days.
YGR: What bike do you plan on riding with CTR?
: My Niner JET 9 RDO. I've been really happy with this bike for the big endurance races I've been using it for so far and think it will be the right tool for the job. It's not the best frame for carrying cargo, but I think I will be better off with a full suspension bike and a little more weight on my back than riding my hardtail for the sake of being able to carry more on the frame but getting bucked around for over 500 miles.
YGR: How are you going to spec out your bike for CTR ?
Niner JET 9 RDO
SRAM XX1 1x11 drivetrain with a 28t chain ring
120 mm RockShox Pike
Tires: Maxxis Ikon 2.35 rear and Ardent 2.4 front ; I used this setup for the Cougar Slayer and Vapor Trail 125 and was very happy with how well they performed. Not what most would call a fast, “race tire” setup, but a little extra traction and confidence translates into a faster average speed for long distance races like this with a lot of technical terrain.
Light Setup: My handlebar light is an Exposure Six Pack. On a single charge this will run for 36 hours on low, which is still plenty of light for most situations. That’s enough burn time for 6 nights at 6 hours per night, so I shouldn’t have any issues there. I also have an Exposure Diablo helmet light which I probably won’t use that much, but will be nice to have when I need it and as backup.
What kind of shoes do you plan to use? I found a shoe I really like for this kind of riding called the Specialized Rime. They are a softer shoe with a vibram sole that are really comfortable, and much better for walking in than my carbon soled race shoes. I used these for the Durango Dirty Century in which there were several river crossings and they did great on the wet rocks, and in Vapor Trail 125 they were really nice to have for the long hike a bike section.
YGR: What will your repair kit look like?
Everything I'll need to repair tires and tubes, and I'll definitely throw some extra sealant in my tires to start. Lots of chain lube, spare master link, derailleur cable and hanger, spokes, brake pads, multi-tool, zip ties, and duct tape to name a few. I'm very meticulous about keeping my bikes in top notch mechanical condition which helps prevent a lot of mechanical issues, but you never know what might happen.
YGR: What’s your sleeping plan for the CTR?
: I’ll ride for as long as I can, and sleep as little as I can
YGR: What is your nutrition plan for the CTR? How do you plan on getting from Buena Vista to Silverton (the longest section of the race; 200ish miles without a restock)
: I've been using a variety of homemade rice bars for race fuel so far this season which have worked out really well for me, so I plan to start the race with that. I'll have to depend on gas stations/convenience stores to resupply for the most part, so I'll try to go for calorically dense, whole foods as much as I can. For the long haul between BV and Silverton, I'll probably end up carrying more than I need, but the last thing I want is to run out of food along the way. Being a bigger guy though, fortunately, the weight penalty of a few extra frozen burritos won't hurt me as much as it might a smaller person.
YGR: Do you plan on riding any sections beforehand?
: I would like to, but it's not a huge priority. I've ridden several sections and pretty much know what to expect, and don't necessarily need to know what's around every corner - that's part of what keeps it interesting and exciting for me. I've spent a lot of time familiarizing myself with the route and marking waypoints for water stops, resupply points, and places to take shelter, so even if I haven't seen it all first hand I'll at least have a good idea of what's ahead of me.
YGR: Any other goals besides CTR?
: I would like to continue pursuing big endurance races, but really just want to keep getting better at everything I do on the bike. I would like to do Vapor Trail again and continue doing more of the Colorado Endurance Series races, and maybe some other multi-day bikepacking races.
YGR: Any words of wisdom?
In terms of riding and racing, I think it’s really important to make sure whatever you are doing is fun. I’ve found myself getting too caught up in the training and competition side of things at times and it’s hard to stay motivated if it’s not fun anymore. There can be a fine balance between the two, but when I find it, that’s when I race the best and also enjoy it the most.
This week we're getting to know local rider, Teresa Garcia. I don't know Teresa very well but every time I see her out riding or one of her Facebook posts, it seems like she's up to something epic/zany. I enlisted the help of her friend Melinda Stefko to conduct a Q&A with her. I have a feeling we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg here.
Name: Teresa Garcia
Category: Dirt bag/Student
Occupation: Vet Student
Years in Ft Collins: 6
Hometown: Boynton Beach, FL
Disciplines: I have ridden mountain, road, and track at the competitive collegiate level, but prefer mountain biking now.
Strengths: Big-ring mountain bike climbs and climbing at altitude
Favorite type of biking: All day alpine mountain bike rides with a group of friends.
-Won Division 1 Women’s A Overall Mountain Bike in the South East Collegiate Cycling Conference in 2004 and 2005
-2nd girl to finish the Colorado Trail Race in 2013
-Won the “Fall” event of the 4 Seasons of Horsetooth in Sept 2015 (will compete in the other seasons to follow)
YGR: Wow! 2nd girl to finish the CTR, how did that make you feel?
It was one of my greatest accomplishments on the bike, but to be honest, even though I was the 2nd girl to finish, I finished the race dead last. There were 70-some people to start and only 40-some finished that year. During the race, I got really sick and lost a lot of weight. I finished, but didn’t feel great. I still have unfinished business with that race and I want to try it again. I think now that I have learned how and what I can eat on the bike, I could cut my time significantly.
YGR: What do you eat on the bike?
What I have found works the best for me is to bring turkey and cheese sandwiches, gummi bears, and use NUNN electrolyte tablets in my water bottles.
YGR: What was the craziest thing you experienced during the Colorado Trail Race?
The Indian Trail Ridge incident was by far the craziest and scariest. Indian Trail Ridge is an exposed ridge comprised of five or so little summits between Kennebec Pass and Hotel Draw. From what I remember, it’s one of the only places in the Colorado Trail guidebook where they explicitly warn you not to get caught in a lightning storm. So, of course, about 10 of us got caught along various points on the ridge hours after starting the race. It was one of those storms that seemingly built up in minutes. There were some small “builder” clouds over the ridge when we started, and some distant thunder, but it really looked like we had a clear window to make it over. I was stuck between summits two and three with Dax and Jeff when the hail started. We ducked under a stand of squat, sub-alpine fir trees we were lucky enough to be next to when the more intense, painful hail started, and this was followed by flash-bang (extremely close) lightning. I was so scared. I am grateful to have been with Dax and Jeff, though, because they are really goofy and their commentary made the incident somewhat bearable. A little later, it looked like we had a little window, so we continued, but, of course, it wasn’t a real window, there was another cell with more lightning, but at this point I was surging with adrenaline, so I high-tailed it down to the trees near hotel draw (I think if I had a little lightning cloud behind me during the entire race, I could’ve finished in 5 days with destroyed adrenals). There was so much hail that it looked like it had snowed about 3-6 inches in places, and it was hard to ride in a straight line. A fat bike would’ve been fitting here. I was lucky enough to have brought along my ski shell. It kept my torso pretty dry and warm, and I’m sure that I would not have been able to finish this race without it. I also think we were all incredibly lucky to not have been electrocuted!
After that, I was incredibly cautious with the weather. I spent lots of quality time eating cheese sandwiches under various shelters (barns, willows) while suspicious clouds passed by. But, the CTR doesn’t let one of the hook easily, and I got caught in a lightning storm on another exposed ridge in the Buffalo Creek burn area about four hours before the finish. This time I got lucky and flew down the ridge in time to miss the worst of the storm, but I definitely cried the entire way down that ridge, because I thought I was going to be barbequed 15 miles from the end. I get a great big F in meteorology.
YGR: What’s your favorite memory from the Colorado Trail Race?
This question is too hard to answer; there are so many. Cresting Blackhawk Pass under a full moon, riding over Georgia Pass at dawn, watching storms engulf distant peaks under the alpenglow from the overlooks in section 16, all of the awesome people I met along the way.
Here is a link to an article I wrote about my CTR experience:
YGR: What is your biking claim to fame?
I did a gap jump using a borrowed bike, during a down hill mountain bike race at the Eureka Springs Fat Bike Festival in 2004, and ended up winning!
YGR: Was it difficult to get into cycling as a female?
I’m a bro at heart, so there was never any issue with riding and keeping up with the guys. I was never afraid to ride with people better or faster than me. I always made sure to tell them to keep going if they dropped me. If they didn’t have to wait, then they could ride their workout. I would try to keep on their wheel as long as I could and that made me a faster and more confident rider.
Since I competed at the collegiate level, I was able to gain more experience with each race.
YGR: Strave Name: TRexa Maria
YGR: How did you come up with that name?
YGR: Since you are new to Strava, has using Strava changed how your ride?
Well, now that I am on Strava, I want to get all the climbing QOMs, but some lady named Georgia Gould has them all!!! ;) But seriously, before Strava, I never knew how fast or hard I was going, or how I compared to other people outside of my friends. Now I can see how I stack up. I can also set small goals for myself since I don’t have a lot of time to ride with vet school.
YGR: Why do you ride with platform pedals?
I used to use clip-less pedals for about 10 years but injured my knee. After I went through physical therapy to fix the knee pain, I didn’t want to chance having a problem again. So I switched to platform pedals. They seem to have a more natural feel and it doesn’t seem to hold me back too much. I have been told I have a wider than normal stance on the pedal and move my feet around a lot. That’s probably why the platform pedals feel better for me.
YGR: Who is a local role model to you?
-The best woman downhiller I know and ride with is Marie Walsh. She has done some crazy descents that I would never think of trying!
YGR: What is your favorite ride in Ft Collins?
It’s a special ride that Marie and I made up called “All The Good Mountain Bike Trails in Ft Collins in One Day”. It ended up being around 70 miles.
YGR: What's up next?
I'm going to try to do the CTR again in the summer!
YGR: What's your goal for the CTR this go around (besides not getting zapped)?
To finish in a healthy way (not losing too much weight), and I really think I can do it in 7 days or less if the stars align for me....we'll see : )!
but I definitely cried the entire way down that ridge,
That made me laugh pretty hard by the way.
YGR: Do you ride all year long or do you have take a break from the bike in the winter?
I usually ride all year long, although in winter I sometimes do some backcountry skiing and running if the trail and road conditions are bad.
YGR: Any words of wisdom for other cyclists?
Treasure who can stand riding with you because they are precious, precious gems!
Rider Name Dwight Hall
Team First City Cycling Team
Category Rd 1, Mtn 1, CX 2
Occupation President CooperSmith’s Pub and Brewing Co.
Years in the Fort 49
Hometown Fort Collins
Type of Racer/Strengths dumb enough to keep trying
With the help of Tommy Taylor, YGR was able to digitally sit down with Dwight Hall of the First City Cycling Team. Dwight has been racing and winning on the road and trail for 33 years. If you think of him strictly as a roadie, I'll offer his recent win of the Dakota Five O mountain bike race as proof of his trail abilities. That being said, you'll rarely find him outside the top 3 or 4 on a Wednesday night at Worlds. Having started riding Worlds over 30 years ago, I'd be willing to bet that he's ridden and won more Worlds than any other person in Fort Collins. Not only is he a heavy hitter on the bike, he's also a very accomplished backcountry skier, husband, father and business owner.
YGR: You reached a pretty elite level in cycling at a young age - tell us what team(s) you were racing for and what kind of racing you were doing. Both on the road/mtb.
I started racing as a junior at 16. At that time I was exclusively focused on road racing (mountain biking wasn’t even really a sport then). I worked my way up to Cat. 1 over the course of a few years. I have always been on local teams, Bike Broker, Poudre Racing Team, Trek Allstars, Rio Grande, FCCT and raced for Mongoose mtb team. With PRT, we tried to hit the big stage races, Mammoth SR, Tour of the Gila, Tour de Toona, Casper Classic, Bisbee. In the mid 80s till early 90s most of the Colorado mountain towns had stage races. I had up to 80 race days and over 12,000 miles a year a few times.
YGR: Is it true that you raced in the Saturn Cycling Classic against Jonathan Vaughters? Who else of note was in that field?
Yes, I was there to ride support for Travis Brown on the Trek team. For the record, fetching water bottles on a brutal mountainous road race was stupid hard. I broke a wheel and ended up dnfing but it was a good experience. If I remember correctly Vaughters “out sprinted” Scott Moniger and won the new Saturn suv. That was a little fishy because even I could beat Vaughters in a sprint. Vaughters is a bit a of controversial character but we were on a couple composite teams together when he was young and I’ve always liked him. On a side note, I was a bit sad when George Hincapie retired because prior to that there was always at least one racer at the Tour de France that I had competed against.
YGR: Tell us about finishing second to a young Levi Lepihiemer in the 200 mile ride/race in Utah.
The LoToJa race goes from Logan Utah to Jackson Wyoming and is 204 miles long. The first year I did it I won with a 60 mile solo. The next year, everybody was just sitting on my wheel which really sucked. Levi had just returned from racing in Europe. About 5 miles to go he slipped away and no one would chase. I ended up super frustrated in second. The third year I got 3rd. I didn’t like the trend so I never went back. (Dwight’s LoToJa results: 1990 1st, 1991 2nd, 1992 3rd)
YGR: Favorite defunct road race?
The Buckeye Road Race was a true hard man affair. It was in early May so it was almost always really windy. It wasn’t the most scenic race but if you got a good result it was something special (my best was 3rd). State roads used to always be at the Air Force Academy. It was a very hard course and all senior men, regardless of category, started together. It was not unusual to have 200 -250 starters and 20 finishers.
YGR: Who did you train with back in the heyday of road racing?
Forrest Newman was my roommate for a couple years. We would regularly battle like all hell on training rides. Mike Hegdal routinely joined us. Estes was a typical Tuesday ride. One particular Estes ride Forrest dropped Heggy and I on Stadium Hill. We chased him all the way to Estes and back and never caught him. There was a mutual understanding when I rode with Forrest that “this is going to hurt”. I got to tag along with Randy Whicker a good bit too. He would take us on these 5-6 hour death marches out northeast on dirt roads, complaining was not tolerated. Randy’s nickname was “The Wrecking Ball”. In retrospect it should have been “The Flaming Wrecking Ball of Death”. He was insanely strong and wiley.
YGR: Is there a group ride that no longer exists that you miss?
There are no organized rides that I miss but I do miss riding all day with other good riders. I also miss how quiet the roads west, north and east of town used to be. 25 years ago you did not need to go far to get away from traffic.
YGR: How about a race you never did but wish you had?
Killington and Super Week are races I would have loved to do but I didn’t have the money. I have tax records that show and I was living on about $8k/year. Winning $200 was awesome and would pay gas and race entries for a month.
YGR: What year did you start doing Worlds?
1982, no helmets, downtube shifters, steel frames, 10 speed meant 5 gears in the back, toe clips, my first jersey was wool, chamois was leather and caused unspeakable problems, banana in the jersey pocket was state of the art nutrition, we would get the results for European races from “Winning Magazine” 2 ½ months after the race. Trying to make the first group at WNWs was easily the biggest factor in any success I had as a cyclist. Why is this interview making me feel so old all the sudden?
YGR: Who was your local racing mentor when you first starting racing?
Probably my biggest lament about my racing career was that I was generally clueless of what I should be doing to be successful. John Duesing was a year older than me at Fort Collins High and he got me into bike racing. Randy Whicker, Jim Dickerson, John Holcombe, Brian Miller, Snake and Randy Black were the best riders in town. There was not much mentoring it was more of a watch and learn environment and progress came painfully slow. We mostly just tried to do what we heard the Euros were doing, LSD (long slow distance) rides all winter, eat mountains of pasta and race a lot to be race fit. The only fitness tool we had was the bathroom scale. “Training science” was a bit medieval and we rode more on passion than any kind of structure. Don Spence was a teammate later in my career and was a fountain of knowledge and inspiration. I can still hear Dondi’s voice “where's your water bottle?” “don’t stand if you can sit, don’t sit if you can lay down” “use the power of the pack” “we’re going to get these f***ers to pull us around all day and then slit their throats” “are you ready for battle?” Dondi was a cunning tacticians and got big results that far exceeded his physical ability.
YGR: It’s well know around town that you are an old guard of the FtC group ride scene. What are your thoughts on the current ride formats? What changes have you seen, good and bad?
Wednesday Night Worlds and Saturday Oval rides were some of the most fun and hard days I’ve ever had on a bike. 20 years ago it was the only game in town and you could test your abilities against some of the top riders in the country. It’s a little sad that WNWs could not be sustained in the old format but I’ve had some good fun with the new ride and I applaud Dan and company for keeping it alive. It’s great to remember how rewarding and fun those old rides were but it's clearly time to look forward and evolve new formats. Even though I can’t stay with the best, I really like the dams finish, I see that as the new classic. I don’t have much interest in the other rides around town. In general I don’t feel as safe with the rider mix and the routes. The explosion of grassroots racing is fantastic. I absolutely love being able to ride to a good hard race from home. I believe that if bike racing thrives it will be because of the growth from grassroots events.
YGR: Your two boys are starting to poke around in the local bike racing scene. How old are they and whad’ya think about that?
Sinclair is 14 and Malcolm is 13. Sinclair is racing in the high school mountain bike league for Rocky right now and Malcolm is riding with Ciclismo middle school program. It’s pretty awesome because they’re both developing really good handling skills. I feel like they understand braking, cornering and body position better than most adult roadies. My wife, Erin, really enjoys mountain biking so that is something we do as a family. As far as racing goes, I like seeing them race mountain bikes because you go out and just do your best but I’d rather they didn’t race on the road for a few more years just because if you do it well it's such a cutthroat sport. I’ve always, half jokingly, said you have to have “daddy issues” to compete at the top level of road racing. You need some demons to train that hard and take that much risk. I guess we’ll see in a couple years how good a dad I’ve been. If they excel at road racing there is probably a good chance I messed them up.
YGR: You’re starting your 5th decade of life - what does the next 10 years have in store as far as cycling training and racing? Any big plans/goals?
I’ll be 50 soon (yes I know I look 70) and I’m looking forward to not having to race 40 year olds every weekend. It feels like an opportunity to be the young guy in the bunch so I’m very motivated to do my best. I’m looking forward to a couple road races, Koppenberg being a favorite, and then mostly mountain bike racing adding a couple new events in the mix. I’m keen to see where mtb nationals are in 2016, I could get excited about doing that. Because I’m not trying to do anything “great” with my cycling, I’m enjoying it more than ever. Honestly though, I’ve seen some friends and family get sick and even die recently so I feel like any chance I get to go ride hard is a gift.
YGR: You’re also an avid skier. What types of skiing are you into and where are some of your favorite places to go?
I backcountry ski first and foremost and ride lifts with the family. Initially I tried it as off season training but it quickly became a passion. A powder day is better than anything on earth (technically not better than sex but I can ski for 10 hours). I’ve made regular trips to Selkirk Mountains in BC Canada. The terrain and snow there are unreal. The Wasatch in Utah is fantastic but there are a lot of people. This year I got to spend a couple weeks skiing in Japan. Hokkaido has the best snow I’ve ever seen.
YGR: How does skiing complement your riding and vice versa.
Backcountry skiing is very demanding. It requires a big engine to hike and ski for 7 hours. The fitness and muscle developed from skiing is nearly 100% transferable to the bike and provides an incredible base fitness. A few years ago I set out to ski over 10,000’ in a day and decided to wear my heart rate monitor. For 8+ hours my heart rate averaged 168 and estimated calories burned was over 9000. Steve Stefko is a big backcountry skier - need I say more? The only thing I don’t get from skiing is top end speed but I refuse to miss a ski day to ride my bike.
YGR: Is it true you rarely ride your bike until March if the skiing is good?
Actually March is often the best snow month so I often don’t get going on the bike until April. It can be tough jumping into a group ride for the first time in April because all the hard cores have been training hard for months but I usually transition pretty quick and I refuse to miss a powder day to ride bikes.
YGR: Thoughts on Nordic skiing?
It’s a great idea if you have no mountains. We have mountains so I say embrace gravity. Seriously though, Nordic skiing is a great way to get exercise and wear a unitard win/win.
YGR: Do you think you could have earned a living racing bikes?
No, I made it into the top couple percent of cyclist in this country but I don’t have the talent of the very best. I was racing nationals in Park City the year Lance won as a 19 year old. He crushed the entire field. I was 26 and at the peak of my abilities. On a good day, I always thought I had a chance to win but after seeing that I knew there was another level that I could never achieve.
YGR: Any regrets in choosing to avoid that path?
No regrets. I’m really glad I wasn’t living in a crappy apartment in Belgium getting paid $400/mo getting my brains bashed in at the races and having some DS pushing “vitamin injections”. I don’t think I would have had the maturity to say no. Looking back now I’m glad I never had to make that choice. I did make some good money in the early 90s racing mountain bikes but that was because the mountain bikers then had no idea how to train (to be fair my skills were horrible).
YGR: The past few years you’ve really gotten into long distance mountain bike racing. How did that happen, and how is it going?
Except for a few years in the early 90s when I was a mountain bike mercenary, I’ve always been a roadie and mountain biked for fun in the off season. In 2010 I got a modern full suspension 29” mtn bike. That changed everything. I now feel like a mountain biker that likes to occasionally ride on the road. The endurance thing is where the sport has gone but for me the most fun races are in the 2 to 5 hour range. Longer races require you to constantly calculate every energy expenditure. Every little thing you do starts to really add up. It becomes a mental chess match. I just won my age group and got 10th overall at the Dakota 5-0 so I’d say it’s going OK. The technical aspect of mtn biking is what has kept me excited about racing the last few years. You have to have the fitness but the skills are what separate the top riders.
YGR: For a while you got really into rock climbing. What level did you achieve in that sport? What type of climbing style; Trad or sport? What was your scariest moment?
I “retired”from racing when I turned 30. For the next 5 years I threw myself fully into climbing. Long alpine trad routes were by far my favorite. I never led above 5.10. Climbing is often scary but one of the scariest moments was summiting Spearhead peak in Rocky Mountain National Park in a lighting storm. The rocks, the rope, even the inside of my helmet were buzzing loudly from the electricity. We had to summit, collect 400’ of rope, find the rap anchor and descend one at a time. I have never been more “in the moment”. I gave up climbing when my first child was born which is what brought me back to racing. I will say that the most all around fit that I’ve ever been was when I was climbing a lot and riding for fun. Cycling is a little one dimensional that way.
YGR: If you could go for a spin with any pro cyclist, present or past, who would it be and why?
Bernard Hinault, he rode so hard and with so much panache. He was the stone cold killer I dreamed of being.
YGR: I heard that you recently signed on with a coach. Have you ever done that before? Notice any improvements yet? Any surprises with that experience?
It may not be noticeable to others but I try to change something in my racing every year. I think it's important to keep mixing it up or you risk being stale. Coaching wasn’t a thing when I started racing. I always suspected I might be better with a coach but for a variety of reasons never pursued it. Earlier this year I was talking with my friend Andy Clark and he offered to work with me in a way that fit my needs. This summer I’ve set a number of good Strava PRs and had some great race results. He definitely has changed my approach to training. I ride less but with more specific goals and really focus on rest. I’m sure there is room for more improvement and the longer we work together the better he will understand what works best for me. I’d love to report that the old school hard man approach is better but it’s not.
YGR: I know you need a little down time between cycling and backcountry skiing, but have you considered giving cyclocross a real go?
I’d love to, it is obviously a really fun time but I have a house with four cyclist to keep rolling, I can’t add anymore bikes to the fleet. Besides, October and November is the only time I have to shore-up my marriage and do the yard work I put off all year. Because I’m a cat. 1 road and mountain my license says I’m a Cat. 2 CXer even though I’ve never done a CX race. If I actually raced they'd probably have to down grade me so it's best I don’t.
YGR: How many bike frames have you broken in the past year?
Only one so it’s been a good year.
YGR: What is your preferred weather conditions for racing?
57 degrees and overcast. I’m of eastern European descent so I don’t like the heat.
YGR: You and two others recently bought out Cooper Smiths. Has being a business owner changed things for your?
It’s been really good but it is stressful. I’m lucky to have great partners and employees but I do feel very responsible for the 150 people that work for me. It's not that much different than bike racing, you need to have a plan, be very aware of what’s happening in the moment while constantly looking ahead and dealing with an ever changing situation. Oh and my shirts often have a collar now.
YGR: Favorite road ride?
The Masonville-Stove Prairie-Rist loop. 25 years ago we would ride that when it was mostly dirt and our smallest gear was a 42 x 21. It feels like cheating now that it’s all paved and I have a 34 x 25. Such an awesome ride!
YGR: Favorite mtb ride?
If I’ve got 90 minutes, I like to make a loop from my house up Coyote Ridge - Blue Sky - home. The 4 Seasons of Horsetooth course is super fun. Dakota 5-0 is an awesome course. Park City, Summit County, Fruita… there is just so much fun mtn biking to do. I have a fantasy that when I retire from work, my wife, Erin, and I will get a little rv and try to mtn bike in all 50 states.
The following questions were added after the article was originally published.
YGR: Most memorable race (win?)?
I have two favorite race wins. The first was the "Inner Loop" stage of the 1993 Tour of the Gila. I jumped away just as the break was caught with 1k to go, got a gap and hung on like grim death over the last 400 meters with just enough time to throw up my arms. I also got 3rd on Mogollon stage that year, was 4th on GC 'till the Gila Monster when I cracked and ended up 19th. I can picture the exact moment I lost the leaders- crushing.
The other was "The King of the Rockies" mtb race in Winter Park 2012. In 2011 I was leading that race and took a very bad fall over the bars, clipping a tree with the top of my arm, badly breaking my shoulder with a lot of soft tissue damage. The repair/recovery was long and painful. I worked hard to get back to my former level and in a hard fought battle won that race a year later.
YGR: Most memorable training ride?
Most memorable training ride? Not really a training ride but when I was 10 I told my brother Brent (who was 17) that I wanted to go on a long bike ride. He said OK and we set off with me having no idea where we were going. I was riding my sparkly blue Schwinn Varsity with chrome fenders and a steel rack (I weighed that thing years later and it was 45 pounds). We lived east of town, when we got to Horsetooth reservoir I was completely blown but he wouldn't let me stop. He would take off and disappear in the horizon waiting for me on the side of the road every 1/2 hour or so. We rode to Masonville and on to Loveland. When we got to Hwy 34 and I-25 he let me stop long enough to drink a little carton of chocolate milk, most delicious thing I've ever tasted. We did the last 10 miles getting home just in time for dinner. The first 3 or 4 miles were totally fun, the next 40 were sheer hell but in some demented way I liked it. I had another "fun" day when I was 16. Randy Bristol, and I had the brilliant idea to ride to Cameron Pass and back. At 8:00am, on a borrowed 60cm Zuess (I ride a 56) with tennis shoes and homemade cycling short (no chamois), we set off. I had one water bottle, 2 honey and butter sandwiches and an apple. We ate our lunch in an outhouse while it rained, took a nap on the side of the road about 1/2 mile from the top cause we were so exhausted, shared a cheeseburger with the little money we had in Rustic and got home a little after 10:00pm. My dad had come looking for me and drove the last 2 miles behind me with his headlights giving me light- he was not happy. 140 miles/ 14+ hours, every ride I've done since has been easy. I must have liked it cause I did again with another friend later that summer when I finally had my own bike and made it in 10 hours.
YGR: Biggest racing rival from back in the day? Did he know you had it our for him?
Rival? The "Library Park Crit" in downtown Fort Collins was my first race. I had no idea what to expect but got in a 2 man break losing the sprint to Forrest Newman. That was the first time I met Forrest. He was an elite high school runner briefly holding the state record for the mile. We both ended up joining the Bike Broker team as Cat. 4s, became roommates for a couple years, trained and traveled together often, partied together, dated sisters and were teammates for most of my P1/2 career. For whatever reason, even though we shared much, we battled fiercely up until a couple years ago when he stopped racing. I'm not smart enough to understand the psychology of our relationship but I do know we both had a never say die spirit that brought out the competitor in us both.
YGR: How did you get into riding in the first place? One does not just start doing world at 16 years old.
I got into bike racing because my parents made me go rollerskating one time. I guess they wanted me out of the house so my dad told me I was going rollerskating, I said "thanks but I don't really want to" to which he replied "I didn't ask if you want to." I was unceremoniously dropped at the rink. It was all a bit awkward until they did the "fast skate" when I found my calling. After the song was over an adult approached me and asked if I knew they had a speed skating team and would I like to come practice with them. I was immediately hooked on the sport but track time was limited so under coaches directions I started riding bikes to train for skating. Skate races were between 500 and 10,000 meters so 50 seconds to 9 minutes. Skating was great because I got to travel to exotic place like Springfield MO, Spokane WA and Tulsa OK and even got to live at the Olympic Training Center for a short time but cycling was a much better fit for my physiology. Brian Durnsworth and Mike Keifer were bike racing classmates at Fort Collins High and I thought they were cooler than. They did the Broker ride (WNWs) so I did the Broker ride. To quote Paul Harvey "and that is the rest of the story".