This past weekend I opted to sin mightily and skip the U.S. Gran Prix races that were going on up in Fort Collins. Instead, I stayed close to home and hit the first Boulder Ultra Cross "non-event". I had been feeling a bit sick through the week, and this was going to have a bit less intensity. Plus, it was just plain going to be fun to do a massive cyclocross loop, with a bunch of others in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. And I figured it would be a fun experiment on the single speed bike, especially given that the course was over 50 miles, with nearly 6,000ft of elevation gain!
The first climb was a real brute, beginning right at the start line, half paved, half dirt, and climbing over 1000ft. But it was just a warmup for the second climb, measuring nearly 20 miles, and climbing to a bit over 9k feet in elevation.
This second climb had a great mix of everything, pavement, then dirt, then fireroad, then rocky double track and finally some singletrack.... conditions deteriorated as the climb went further and further! Ending ultimately with a steep hike along a bank where we came back out to "civilization". Civilization being a real, dirt road.
PBR, bacon, some power gel, and a quick break after topping-out.
We were met there also by some fans, providing bacon to the riders. It's pretty funny looking back, how there you are with a couple new friends, carrying your bike along a cliff, when you come up to someone offering you bacon from some tupperware. Rather than asking perhaps "who the hell are you", "why do you have bacon", "are you trying to seduce me"... instead you just happily grab a strip, thanking your fans and start chewing. You have to love non-events like this.
It was so nice to finally go down hill again, the only issue was that the next climb was going to be up Lickskillet. I've gone down it a ton, but I've never even bothered riding up it, because it's miserable. Climbing nearly 1000ft in a single mile, on loose, bumpy dirt road... it was bound to torture on the single speed. I was psyched that I was able to ride up half of it though - even if my knees were still feeling it on Wednesday! Plus, I knew that after getting over that, the ride was gravy from there. With just two more short-ish climbs and a great descent back into Boulder.
I couldn't stop laughing on the final climb... I knew the road quite well of course, but you just KNEW that you were getting close to town, when you started seeing other cyclists again and well over half of them were all out "training" on their carbon wheels. Ahhh... Boulder.
Meanwhile... the rest of the Gates Team was up in the Fort riding the USGP. Some, not as well as others. Taylor made a proper bet with Raleigh Sally, which he lost 45 minutes later. But he proudly made good on his bet wearing nothing but tighty whities, some sharpie;
"Lance Never Doped"
...and being a super-fan before the start of the Pro Men's race!
Good on ya' Taylor.