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how did colorado get to be such a hotbed for cycling?(29 posts)

how did colorado get to be such a hotbed for cycling?tarwheel
Feb 28, 2003 5:21 AM
It strikes me as odd that the two of the biggest mail-order cycling stores (Excelsports and Colorado Cyclist) are both located in Colorado, as well as a number of respected frame builders (Anvil, Sampson, Dean, etc.) Is it just coincidence, or are there other factors at work? I know that Colorado is a very outdoorsy state with lots of outdoor enthusiasts, but that's true for other areas as well. The weather and terrain in North Carolina, for example, are just as nice in a different way -- but we have no frame builders (that I'm aware of). I was gonna say we had no big cycling shops, but then remembered that Performance Bike is based in Chapel Hill, but there not really of the same caliper as Excel or CC. I have spent a lot of time in Colorado, visiting family and doing a lot of hiking and camping there. Although CO certainly has outstanding hiking, skiing, etc., it doesn't strike me as any better for cycling than any number of other places. Just curious.
Everyone moved there to ride with LFR. nmMB1
Feb 28, 2003 5:53 AM
Its been said that..........RickC5
Feb 28, 2003 6:23 AM
training at high altitudes has its benefits (note that the US Olympic Training Center is in Colorado Springs).

Before trails began getting closed in the mid-1980s, Colorado had the BEST mtn biking in the country. In many respects, we still do, but we may have to work a bit harder to get to the trailheads.

The Coors Classic stage race originated in Boulder and was managed from there until it died.

A multitude of professional racers live here and train here (maybe the altitude thing again).

Lastly, the weather here can allow riding year around, given proper clothing. Not today though, as its snowing pretty well.
Boulder in the 80sBipedZed
Feb 28, 2003 6:29 AM
I was still living in the east coast in the 80s but Boulder was/is a hotbed of cycling, particularly in the 80s. Many of the original 7-Eleven pros (Phinney, Hampsten, Keifel) lived and trained in Boulder. The Coors Classic stage race was a huge event which eventually morphed into the Tour DuPont in the 90s after Coors pulled sponsorship.

Today there are numerous pros that call Boulder/Denver home (at least part of the year) including Vaughters, Moninger, Vandevelde, Michael Barry, and Will Frischkorn to name a few.

I also remember reading that in the 80s Boulder had the largest percentage of licensed USCF racers per capita in the states.
Boulder in the 70sDale Brigham
Feb 28, 2003 9:05 AM
It's all coming back to me, as if through a hazy (smoky) veil. Ah yes, Boulder in the late 70s, where I seem to recall residing for about two years of my extended adolescence.

Back when we were still busy eradicating mastadons and saber-toothed tigers from the Pearl Street mall, there was a little bike race called The Red Zinger, that evolved directly into The Coors Classic. I never rode the event, but I do claim a lifelong friend and training partner who was KOM one year.

My fave memory of the Zinger was seeing this young kid named LeMond duke it out with Boulderite Davis Phinney and Aussie Phil Anderson in a miss-and-out (AKA, "devil-take-the-hindmost") on a glorified driveway/cart-path around a part of the Vail ("Vile," to us Summit Co. ski-trash) golf course. Greg flatted (or rolled) a tire during their 3-up sprint for survival, but kept it upright and away from the ominous boulders surrounding the pavement. (I later that day saw one of the gals in the women's crit on the same course "eat" one of those rocks in a big, bad way.) I believe Davis took Phil in the sprint finale, but I might be mistaken.

In those days (late 70s), the most prominent cyclists in Boulder (IMHO) were the aforementioned Davis Phinney and Bob Cook, the climbing sensation, now deceased, for whom the Mt. Evans race is named. My only direct competitive brushes with those boys (I was taking a hiatus from racing bikes then) was cross-country ski racing against Davis, who was much, much, (MUCH!) faster on skis than I was. My subsequent encounters with Davis in bike races (e.g., Morgul-Bismarck in '81) confirmed what many of you already know about him -- he is one of the nicest, most humble, and overall likable persons you could ever meet.

Dale
Dale, if you haven't already,...JS Haiku Shop
Feb 28, 2003 10:07 AM
you should write a book or three. what an amazing writing style and manner of communicating your thoughts and "visions" into words. truly enjoyable.
Thanks! (Geez, I'm blushing now)Dale Brigham
Feb 28, 2003 10:47 AM
JS:

You flatter me too much. I'm just glad to be able to add a mite to all of these fine folks' postings here. If I could only convince my wife that I'd be better off working at home...then I'd write my masterpiece.

On a much more important topic, are you doing the 200 K brevet in Edwardsville (IL) this Saturday? If so, you are one tough hombre, in my book. I'm waiting for the KC brevet series on the other (left-hand) end of big MO. The 200 K is set for March 29, when it won't (fingers crossed) be snowing/freezing.

If I can schedule it, I may do a "bonus" brevet from Edwardsville later this spring. Please keep me informed of your schedule for same, so that we might possibly ride one together.

Bonne Chance et Bonne Route!

Dale
right back atchaJS Haiku Shop
Feb 28, 2003 10:55 AM
yep, driving up tonight. latest weather report is snow in the early morning, temps getting up to 35 midday and back below freezing afternoon, for 1-2 inches of snow around 2-3 PM.

RBA just e-mailed me: "...conditions are bad but roads are
passable. Plan for the worst. We may have 32 and rain
tomorrow."

sounds like a fun ride! :) :) :)

my schedule loosely:

3/1 st. louis 200k

3/29 st. louis 300k

4/26 st. louis 400k

5/3 chattanooga 3 state 3 mountain century

5/24 st. louis 600k

5/26 one of those construction helmets with beer can mounts and giant straws plus a 12-pack of fosters
You Da Man!Dale Brigham
Feb 28, 2003 11:51 AM
JS:

I'll pray for you! I hope the weather treats you better than the forecast indicates it might.

I really like your 05/26/03 schedule item. This year, I'm going to break out the old-school West Texas method of distance riding: get a beer (or two) at every stop, if possible. Depends on weather (not in rain) and terrain (hard to hold the 24 oz. can of Busch and shift a lot), but that practice should hold me in good stead for PBP, since the only real change I'm making for this PBP compared to '99 is to drink more beer (at least one at every control). Sure, that's a high goal, but it's one that I gladly embrace.

Bon Courage, Mon Ami!

Dale
Because we stopped letting new residents in Wyomingmoneyman
Feb 28, 2003 7:30 AM
That's where they really WANT to live. We do allow them to visit occasionally, but only with a premit applied for from the Governors office. He judiciously reviews wach and every application and decides on its merits if the applicant should be allowed to ride in the most desired cycling areas of the world, the high plains out of Cheyenne. Who needs mountains when a 40mph headwind is constantly present?

If you'll check your map, you'll see that Wyoming is the big box state directly north of those ba$tard greenies ... errr, I mean our good friends from Colorado.

$$
How about Jackson Hole/Wilson?ColnagoFE
Feb 28, 2003 7:46 AM
Getting just as yuppified as Boulder these days. My father in law has a place across from the Stagecoach bar...I hear they have disco night there now a day or two a week. I bet the hats love that.
It's all a lieColnagoFE
Feb 28, 2003 7:44 AM
They are just using fake PO boxes to appear to be from here. Nobody rides or races here. We all drive big SUVs and eat Krispy Kreme donuts. Stay far away!
It's all a lieBrad S
Feb 28, 2003 2:14 PM
Well, the SUV part seems to be correct unfortunately. I have counted about 3 Hummers in Boulder, and it's not like Boulder is some big town or something!
You must not have been trying hard...ColnagoFE
Feb 28, 2003 2:38 PM
I probably see that many on my way to work in the morning. There are tons of Hummers in Boulder. More now that the price came down on them.
population made up mostly of ex-consmohair_chair
Feb 28, 2003 7:48 AM
The Feds shipped them to Colorado to do their terms. With nothing to do in prison, many of them started riding stationary bikes. When they escaped or were released, they stuck around, bought real bikes, and the rest is history.
Colorado - hot bed for cycling? Are we thinking about ...sacheson
Feb 28, 2003 8:30 AM
... the same Colorado? Not many people ride here. We're too busy trappin' furs and concentrating on westward expansion to be riding bicycles.

If you want an average of 300 sunny days a year, I suggest you go someplace else. If you're interested in a place with a very temperate climate, and often allows for close to year-round riding, don't think of Colorado. And the hills? There are no +13% grade hills within a half hour ride of town, and it really sucks. Plus, on days you don't want to ride a bike, don't think about other activities ... you can't trail run, hike, kayak, snowshoe, skate-ski, resort ski, or anything. The recreational opportunities are really limited.

And the beer sucks, too. There's no restaurant called Wynkoop's that offers $1 pints on Sundays. No quality Microbrews (New Belgium and O'Dells are really located somewhere else). And no cool places to see in this state.

Also note, there's no public land - no place you can put up a tent for free, or next to nothing price and do amazing rides any weekend you want to get out of Dodge. There's no pass called Cottonwood Pass ... and if there was, it wouldn't have an awesome 8 mile switchback ascent to the 14,000 foot summit on a wonderfully paved road with no traffic. Independence Pass doesn't exist, either.

The racing scene sucks, and we don't have a cool bunch of rogue USCF members that branched out and started their way awesome, successful governing body. And they don't support the racing and training scene, either.

So, as you can see - the quality of life sucks, there's nothing to do, so really cool people who do a really cool sport wouldn't want to take advantage of the other opportunities in the region and live here.

And if any non-Colorado person is ever visting, contact me and I won't take you to see any of this awesome stuff that really doesn't exist, anyway.
Okay, okay, enough already...noveread
Feb 28, 2003 8:43 AM
Stop it, I don't want to dream about a place that doesn't exist...

On the bright side, we're finally gonna get above freezing this weekend and the first group ride of the year is scheduled! Wohoo! I bet you're jealous! :)

Noveread
nope - I got a set of skate-skis and it's SNOWING -woohoo!lonefrontranger
Feb 28, 2003 8:46 AM
Getting a little bored on the bike. Took the 'cross bike out for some slushy fun yesterday.

4 weeks to the first serious race of the season :)
Very cool!BipedZed
Feb 28, 2003 8:56 AM
I've always wanted to try skate skiing but then I discovered the Highline Canal which winds its way through Denver down towards Chatfield. On snowy days I can ride my cross bike from my house and get in 4 hrs all on a snow covered dirt trail that is a refreshing change from pavement.

Are you doing any of the March crits? I have very high hopes for the Roubaix this year.
I am a skate ski motor moron but it's still funlonefrontranger
Feb 28, 2003 9:14 AM
I have to admit, a lot of my skate skiing right now comprises of bumbling a few wobbly strides, hooking a tip and going on my face.

Our team is using the Stazio March crits as test training events this year. I talked to the Sherpa last night and he's going to try to make it out to at least one. Have you seen his new Ducati?
DucatiBipedZed
Feb 28, 2003 9:28 AM
Haven't seen the 748 but I rode with JV a few weeks ago and apparently Sherpa hasn't been on his bike much this year. At least the one without the built in V-twin.

From someone that just sold a Ducati Monster, those things are money pits, most of the hobby is just buying stuff for it to make it look faster. Not to far off from cycling actually...
sick and injuredlonefrontranger
Feb 28, 2003 9:31 AM
Yeah, when I talked to him last night he was in the second iteration of a really nasty bronchial flu. He sounded horrible and is really going nuts not riding. His busted rib isn't helping.
"Eyes, Knees, Toes, Skis"Dale Brigham
Feb 28, 2003 9:45 AM
LFR:

That's the old ski-skating mnemonic I used to drill into the kids I coached (and myself). It's a way to visualize (and realize) a complete transfer of weight and momentum from one ski to the other. After pushing off one ski and onto the other, make sure your head ("Eyes") is lined up with the ski's direction of travel, square your shoulders and hips so that they are perpendicular to the ski (NOT the track), and put your knee directly over the front of your ski boot ("Knees, Toes"). It helps to cut down on wobbling and promotes a "flat ski" for good gliding.

Available upon request, I have about a dozen other useful "mantras" that were passed on to me, a fledgling Level II USSCA Nordic Coach, by my betters.

Or, just get thee to Devil's Thumb for a half-day lesson, and you'll learn to skate from an instructor who knows much more than I. Take your significant other/boyfriend and make a day of it.

Best of luck! You'll be V1-ing, V2-ing, and Gunde-skating in no time.

Dale
wow, thanks!lonefrontranger
Feb 28, 2003 9:53 AM
Thanks a lot for the tip, I'll remember that; correct visualisation is the key to a lot of my breakthrough learning.

I'm your average bike racer: remove me from my static-state crouch and put me on anything requiring independent-leg balance and I am about as graceful as a turd on a stick. Been working on this all winter in fact :) - yoga balls, bobble boards, I'm getting better but I'm no Barishnykov.
Skating is soooo fun!rockbender
Feb 28, 2003 10:13 AM
I have been skating quite a bit this winter too. You are going to get way addicted - as soon as it starts to become natural and flowing, it is amazing how fast you can move.

I have actually been going out with some slower skiers, which has been great. Not only do I have time to work on technique, but I am usually able to do several laps on the hills for a decent interval workout while they are going on cruise control.

The beautiful thing is that, after being off the bike and just skiing for a month, I really felt strong cycling - especially short sprint efforts up hills.

I skated last nite after work, and as I see little flakes of snow spitting out the office window, I'm thinking I should cut out early today and ski too.

LFR - ditto on the lesson recommendation. A few hours of instruction will be priceless.
nope - I got a set of skate-skis and it's SNOWING -woohoo!noveread
Feb 28, 2003 9:16 AM
Oh come on, admit it, aren't you just a little jealous? A bit? A smidge??? ... No?! Well fine, you take all your glorious weather, beautiful terrain (if it truly does exist) and go... go... go ride a bike. Or skate-ski or whatever. Doesn't bother me. Nope, not a bit. I mean how could it?! ... Could it??? Is it really that nice there? Or were you folks being sarcastic with your descriptions or something....

I guess on the bright side, it's the end of February and none of us are "bored on the bike!" :)

Noveread
Nah, there's nothing here ... REALLY!sacheson
Feb 28, 2003 9:54 AM
Cottonwood Pass:
http://www.cycletourist.com/Scenes/Cottonwood_Pass.html

Independence Pass:
http://www.pointandsquirt.co.uk/justin/colorado_11.html

Here's a climb that's on the north-west side of town:
http://www.stanford.edu/~zaharias/LookoutMtn_3.jpg
http://www.stanford.edu/~zaharias/LookoutMtn_2.jpg

I moved out here from Iowa about 10 years ago ... I get my jealousy out of my system in my annual weekend visit to the family.

One last thing - here's me in a somewhat typical post race recreation:
http://community.webshots.com/photo/17118844/17118964tEPwbxDDtD
drool! (nm)JS Haiku Shop
Feb 28, 2003 8:44 AM
they were coming to Calif, but couldn't get over the mtns :-) nmDougSloan
Feb 28, 2003 9:41 AM