I need to thank three great guys for helping me get into mountain biking and bike packing, two whom I’ve known for almost thirty years.
First, a little ancient history. I’ve been riding wheeled things all my life, back to growing up in upstate New York, riding my trike around and climbing trees.
In middle and high-school I rode a sweet Schwinn Caliente 10 speed to throw papers every morning at 5:30 am. Much to my kids chagrin, I still wake them up around that time to do hikes on summer weekends.
When I graduated from UT Austin in 1988 I felt the need to get back to Colorado and was lucky to land a software engineering gig with Digital Equipment Co (DEC) in Colorado Springs. There I met Jon and Greg who introduced me to this new thing called mountain biking. This was the stone age, pre-suspension and clipless pedals, but instead hard tails, hard fronts, toe clips. And fanny packs and mullets. Yes, don’t forget the mullets.
My first mountain bike was a Nishiki Pinnacle. Made of steel, I think it weighed like 1000 lbs.
Jon, Greg and I had a blast climbing Barr Trail up Pikes Peak and bombing down the forest trail catching air off each “whoop-dee-do.” Or climbing up Cheyenne Canyon and riding the granite marbles and sand down Captain Jack’s.
In ’93 Cris and I moved to Portland, OR, then to San Jose, CA during the dot-com boom, and back to Colorado in 2000. During this time we were all riding whatever we could, as much as we could with growing families.
Jon himself got into biking with the help of his older brother Joe, who worked at Pedal Power, a bike shop outside of Vail. Joe tragically died on a bike when hit by a cement truck in September, 2000 at only 37 years old. Jon and Joe were training for 24-Hours of Moab at the time and less than 2 weeks out. One of the Pedal Power shop mechanics joined the team to ride for Joe, and they took 5th out of 120 open teams.
Last year I contacted Jon for advice on the Colorado Trail and he hooked me up with Nick Thelen, a racing buddy in the Springs who had completed the CT race. Nick is a wicked fast rider who raced with Jon and Greg as team Monumentally Afflicted and dominated the 24 Hours of ERock event between Castle Rock and Colorado Springs, winning seven out of eight years.
Nick was kind enough to give me a complete walk through of all his equipment, how it was packed, and where it went on the bike.
Nick has been a major help over the last six months with advice, and I know I wouldn’t be as prepared to ride the CT without him.
Thanks to you all for being such great friends.