Wednesday’s shots are from my Sunday ride in Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Evolution bike park where I introduced my good friend, Bruce, to single track mountain biking. Bruce is a master of riding on two wheels (the guy still loses me in the twisties on a street bike), but he’s always prefered his two wheeler to have a BMW logo on the side and foot pegs, rather than pedals for his feet. So to say that Bruce was apprehensive about the idea of trying out some single track on a bike without a motor would be an understatement. After a couple of years of hearing remarks like “No Way!” and “what do you think, I’m nuts?” and “that’ll be the day,” I was just about ready to let it go. He’s adventurous and all, but he has at least ten years on me (with me being 40—ouch, it still stings to say that—I respect the no learning new tricks factor) and . . . well, I should leave it alone. But when I found out recently that his son had left a 29” wheeled mountain bike with disk brakes at Bruce’s place this summer and that Bruce had started taking it out for evening rides in the neighborhood, I turned up the heat.
“It’ll be easy—we’ll take the lift up and ride down—no pedaling!” and “we’ll be on super-easy, smooth and buffed-out trails—they’re even rated green!”, followed by “I see little kids out there all the time and they can handle it fine—why couldn’t you?” I wasn’t sure I was getting anywhere with this, but finally, late last week, I had the breakthrough I’d been waiting for . . . Bruce said he’d meet me Sunday at the resort with a mountain bike to try it out. I told him he’d be fine if he showed up in his motorcross helmet and sunglasses . . . while he didn’t know that I was on the fence about letting him up there with sandals and no gloves, I knew we’d be taking it pretty easy and I knew that this was probably my only chance, so away we went.
And we had a blast!
We started out easy, making our way to the pedally Painter Boy trail, connected that into Warming House and before we knew it, we were back at the base area, unscathed and grinning. With the first lap out of the way and ready for more, our next lap was the bermed and rolling Primer trail down to the Warming House trail. Lap two found Bruce starting to feel the rhythm of the trails, getting more comfortable carrying a little speed and enjoying the berms and rolls. He also started to notice that for bump absorption and traction while braking, a rear shock would come in handy. But the hardtail Canondale was doing the job for our speed and intensity.
By our third ride up the lift, I started hearing comments like, “I can see how this might become a little addictive once you get used to it” and “maybe I should look into getting a bike with rear suspension.” And that, my friends, is when I had done a good thing and also knew that the hook had been set.
My point in all this is, if the EvolutionBikePark at Crested Butte Mountain Resort turned out to be fun for Bruce, even if you thought that it’s something that you would never consider trying, you should reconsider. Christian Robertson’s team has done a stellar job with the trails at the resort and is putting more cool, user-friendly routes at the rate of one every couple of months. Come see for yourselves and you won’t be disappointed. While I highly recommend wearing the proper protective gear from your head to your toes (you can find helmets and pads galore at Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s and the other bike rental shops in the base area), I also highly recommend you get out and try it. The resort even has lessons available to get you started. You’ll impress your kids, dazzle your lady and humble your buddies, so get on it!
What’s perhaps coolest of all is that I have an email sitting in my inbox from Bruce, asking for recommendations on a full-suspension bike. The seed has been sewn! See you on the trails!
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