It may come as a surprise to some but at Moots we don’t just meticulously craft bikes day after day. Talk of weekend ride plans and newly thawed trails produce a constant hum that rivals the drone of a tired Bridgeport. Though the grandest of plans usually make their way upstairs and even outside the factory walls by the time the last morning donut is finished, one department seems to have nothing else on their mind. If one were to retrace these reverberations across the shop floor, chances are the miter shop was the epicenter. The miter shop, affectionately called “Club Miter” by its inhabitants, is not only where frames first leave pen and paper. In recent months it has become a breeding ground for wild ideas and in-depth adventures. Continental divide crossings are counted on the second hand of “quick overnight” ideas and county road numbers are rattled off as every granule of gravel is eeked out of a weekend epic.
In typical Moots fashion, this year’s company camping trip had been talked about since the last Eurovan rolled out of Curt Gowdy State park last June. In our struggle to organize 24 different families a date was randomly thrown on the calendar and that was final. Coincidentally, the Friday kicking off the festivities was “Bike to Work Day”. Not to be out done, Nate and I refused to tarnish our perfect commuting records due to a slightly longer commute to Salida. I’ll be the first to admit my stubbornness, but I believe we both feed off the words “you can’t do that!” After all, how hard could 192 miles with 11,000 ft passes be? As long as someone would take our mountain bikes, we were committed!
We had several options for routes, but most concerned about fueling we opted for a direct shot with key stops: Steamboat, Kremmling, Silverthorne, Leadville, Buena Vista, and Salida.
You can check out the ride on STRAVA: Steamboat-Salida-Epic
Stage 1: Steamboat to Kremmling
At 4:15am I saw Nate’s lights hit my dark driveway and we began to discuss the events of the coming day, more specifically just how cold it was. The sun rose as we climbed up Rabbit Ears’ West Summit and we settled into a comfortable rhythm. The frigid morning descent on the backside of Rabbit Ears forced us to stop at one point and stand in a beam of sunlight that was just peaking over the mountains. Upon arriving at the Big Shooter Café in Kremmling, I found myself waiting for my hands to regain feeling so I could turn the knob on the bathroom door.
Stage 2: Kremmling to Silverthorne
By this point it was hard to believe that we would ever warm up. Fortunately, miles began to tick by, and as the sun climbed higher we finally found ourselves to be content. After the breakfast burritos in Kremmling our plans to stop at Smash Burger in Silverthorne proved to be too much. We settled for a quick stop at Natural Grocers to refill bottles and share a package of peanut butter cups. I believe this was the only point in the ride that I was truly warm.
Stage 3: Silverthorne to Leadville
Dark moments. We had seen Freemont Pass on the maps and I had driven over it just weeks prior. However, until you are clambering over 11,300ft and 130 miles into your ride it’s difficult to fully comprehend. The grinding climb weighed on us as a snow shower escorted us past the Climax Molybdenum Mine. We crawled into Leadville, feeling as though we had conquered our biggest hurdle of the day. “Its all downhill from Leadville” had come out of Nate’s mouth multiple times. We rode straight to High Mountain Pies, a must-stop pizza place. Sitting completely silent, we devoured our pie. I broke the silence when I looked down at my front wheel and noticed some bladed spokes weren’t exactly bladed, but rather paddled. Luckily our friends at Cycles of Life, Brian and Chris, threw the wheel in a truing stand as we traded stories and asked questions about local trails and all-things-Moots.
Stage 4: Leadville to Buena Vista
Fat and happy after being stuffed with pizza, we were ready to fly. Predominately down hill and the wind in our favor we tore down the road spending much of the time over 30mph. Evergreen stands and shear cliffs soon gave way to golden plains and stronger gusts. Friendly honks greeted us as coworkers began to pass by in cars. By the time we reached Buena Vista there wasn’t a bar, gummy, or gel that was the least bit appetizing. We rolled right on through.
Stage 5: Buena Vista to Heart of the Rockies KOA
Moments of silence became more frequent and the durations longer. More coworkers passed with words of encouragement and Poptart hand ups. Scenery that was once ever changing decidedly moved in slow motion. “1 mile to campground” signs seemed to suggest the impossible.
We rolled into camp just as the sun set, found our seats at the campfire and sat. Amy, Sam, and Ned served us a wonderful meal as we told tales and shared cold brews. Thankful for the smooth journey and the hardest “commuter dollar” I’ve ever earned, I retreated to the comfort of my sleeping bag. It was a good day.