Brandon to Boulder: Intro

By: Brandon Apr 24

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This was thrown together pretty last minute. Though, to me, last minute means I did have a couple of weeks to plan. Typically traveling with kids means plans are made months in advance, but when it's a solo road trip, not a ton of planning is really needed.

It was only about 2 weeks ago that I learned about butterGOLD, a ride put on by Michael Robson of Butter. Designed as a sort of Gentleman's Race, dubbed a course civilisée, butterGOLD is a 160km (100mi) ride leaving from the Butter Studio and hitting as much gravel as the course will allow.

As much a celebration of the Spring Classics as it is a ride, I couldn't miss the chance to join in. With the wife giving me the green light, work commitments covered by an exceptionally understanding coworker, and lodging offered up by the ride organizer himself, I was off.

Time will tell how this ride goes for a flatlander coming from sea level, but no doubt it'll be fun. The plan is to sit in the pack, out of the wind, and pretend like I belong there for as long as possible.......we shall see.


Tucson Training

By: Grayson Smith Apr 23

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I had five days to ride my ass off with some friends and get back into shape. We pedaled for about 300 miles and climbed 18,000ft. Not bad, its more than I had ridden over the course of my miserable damp winter up here in Seattle.

If you get a chance check out the Shootout on Saturdays. It’s a big fat group ride full of competitive guys. I had the opportunity to ride a large chunk of it in two man group after a mechanical, but thats ok, we avoided a few crashes that way.

The “queen stage” was Mt.Lemmon, despite the fact that I couldn’t catch my breath and had to stop several times to summon my inner demons as fuel to keep going (plus I was tired from the previous day of headwinds) its a very solid climb, challenging but easy to find a rhythm. Followed by a nearly brake-free descent.

A friend of mine, Joe (on the right), was in Tucson for about a month to train for Marathon MTB Nationals in Idaho this summer. The rest of us did all we could to hang on to his wheel. I did all I could to hang on to theirs.

I also had the pleasure of riding with some fast guys from NYC, Deux North. They can haul and had great spirits when we all got lost in the middle of nowhere on what can barely be considered dirt roads. You know, desert stuff.


Spring Has Sprung and It's Time to Think Ahead

By: Brandon Apr 5

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I’m scared to do so, but I’m going to put it out there: spring is here. There was a point this winter where I assumed it would never happen, but the temperatures are very slowly rising, the sun is staying out longer, and the roads are clear. I’ve had a few rides recently that weren’t cut short by toes feeling frostbitten, and recently my skin hasn’t felt in danger when stepping outside.

After what has been months of record-setting cold and a winter that saw more snow than any other in recorded history, I’m having a difficult time conveying my excitement for this spring. Rides outside that don’t require 4 layers of clothing, that don’t require a fear of ice covering all roads, and don’t require hours of warming up post-ride have me running on a high matched only by some excellent coffee and maybe New Bike Day.

Unfortunately, the effects of being forced indoors and relegated to the trainer have left what are sure to be long months of riding back into some type of fitness. Seeing a sky-high heart rate accompanied by woefully low wattage numbers are a stark reminder that riding the trainer while watching Game of Thrones isn’t the best for off-season training.

The disappointment of low output was far from my mind this morning as I rode solo under blue skies. Very little traffic, ample doses of sun, and cyclists all over the roads reminded me that turning myself inside out isn’t the only reason to be on a bike. Fighting for my next podium, trying to grab a prime, or creating a breakaway all have their place in my world of riding, but as I rolled along today I realized how much more there is to enjoy.

This year my bike goals involve riding with new people as well as my go-to training buddies. Find new local routes. Stop and take more pictures. Explore some new neighborhoods. Beyond that, it’s time to travel more. Ride the local routes of others, enjoy the roads they’ve mapped through the years. Maybe 2014 is the year I crash on the floors of some friends, visit some new shops, climb some new mountains, or explore the b-roads all over the country.

When fall rolls around I’ll no doubt be looking to grab some holeshots, bunny hop a barrier or two, maybe try to not get lapped in a 1/2/3 race. Until then, it’s time to enjoy my time on the bike.

Hell, I might get real crazy and not even use a Garmin here and there…..

photos and words by Brandon Elliott


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