March 22, 2008

'99 Road Trip - Installment #2

Altitude Burn / Location: Steamboat Springs, CO - Vacation

Personalities: Matt McNamara & Matt Meier

Report: This picturesque town in north central Colorado is one of the finest places on earth for riding. Home to Moots Cycles and the Mercury Tour, as well as a stop on the Colorado Off Road Points Series, Steamboat revels in cycling during the summer. We cruised into the Comfort Inn around 4p on Monday afternoon. After a quick lunch/dinner and some rest we headed out to explore.
Our first ride was at the resort. After climbing up the main trails to the mid mountain chateau we were ready for the downhill push and the cold beer waiting at the bottom. Down magical singletrack that wound through Aspen Groves and across steep ski runs we had a solid 20 minute descent back to the base area. What a great way to blow out the legs after a long 5 hour drive from Utah.
The next morning we got started pretty early (10am – hey it’s vacation!) for the torrid climb to the top of the ski area and the resulting HUGE Downhill! 4,000 feet is a lot of climbing anytime. When your start elevation is 7,000 feet and you’re a seaside dweller from Northern California, it’s even worse! To truly push the envelope Matt Meier lugged his Santa Cruz Super 8 DH bike, all 38 pounds of it, all the way up that hill! He even rode most of it thanks to an added triple chainring and his fierce determination. Way to go Mattie! I was aboard my Ventana Marble Peak FS, which was the perfect bike for the conditions at 26 pounds with 3 inches of travel front and rear. After a bit of a respite and recovery session at the top we headed down Pete’s Wicked Trail. Now I’d been hearing about this trail since a good friend had spent the summer in Steamboat in ’94. Everyone talked about how “epic” it was and what a thrill. Whatever! I didn’t really think it was that good. Granted, I crashed pretty hard about 30 seconds into the descent, but still the trail was unimaginative, not that steep and not really that beautiful (of course this is a relative observation!). Valley View, on the other hand, was everything you’d expect from classic Colorado single track. Easy sweepers followed by unpredictable switch backs made for a truly raucous ride. It keeps you on your toes and rewards that diligence with some great launchers, for those into getting air. All of this occurs in the midst of a thick, tree lined forest that had more shades of green than an envious cyclist looking at Matt’s DH Bike. Once at the bottom we grabbed a quick lunch and headed out for Crested Butte.

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