Adam Craig’s 10 reasons Colorado kicks ass

From Adam Craigs news on the Giant bicycles website….

I just spent ten days in Colorado without wasting a single one. Here’s a bit of insight into just how each and every day was made special in it’s own little way…

June 4- Off The Couch kayak racing isn’t the best idea. Or, how to make lemonade out of getting smoked… Lizzy English and I drove to CO on a whim so we could compete in the Homestake Creek Race at the Teva Mountain Games. She reckoned it’d be a good way to run the brown and make some cash. I figured I was from the East Coast and could shred manky some low water Class V kayak racing. We decided riding bikes in Salt Lake with Tom Daigle on the way over would be a better use of time than “practicing” on the creek. Turns out if we’d “practiced” more than one run just before racing I might not have tipped over in a few inopportune spots and she might have paddled fast enough to make gas money. Oh well, at least we know the lines at 72CFS for next year… Some people were amazingly fast and precise, so that was a good example for us, embracing the lazy kayaker ideals isn’t always the go.

June 5- I’m way better at bike riding. Carl and I pre-rode the Teva Games XC Track, which used some of the 2001 World Champs terrain and was strangely familiar. Unlike the perfect first tracks we found on some freshly melted out North Loop across the Vail Valley. Fortunately, our awesomeness at riding through the woods was catalogued for the next people to ride there by perfect dirt with perfect tracks freshly laid. I hope they appreciated the amount of backing it in that went on…

June 6- Racing at 8000 Feet isn’t THAT bad… Somehow after a week of driving, playing and generally not being very professional, which is normally a sure way to suck at racing in the mountains, I didn’t ride like a total amateur in the SoBe X-Country Bike (such clever names and promotion at the Teva Games). Sure, Jeremy and Todd beat me by a solid five minutes, which might be a bad sign for Nationals in five weeks, but at least Carl and I stayed ahead of most of the other Colorado Superstars and made some gas money. Then got really tired. Maybe it is hard…

June 7- If you don’t like the weather, just drive somewhere else. Sunday dawned grey and lazy for the Fun Giant Team. Lizzy had left at the crack to solo the 16-hour CO to OR drive in a day, taking Whitewater out of the equation for lack of equipment. Just as we got Vail Valley singletrack beta from Jay Henry it started to hail. So we loaded up the rental and bolted for Rad Ross’s place in The Grand Valley. Surely it’d be sunny there. It was. And the Schnell Family was eager to pawn off a couple pounds of last fall’s Elk on us in the form of burgers and sausage. Combine this with an epic evening shred down the Ribbon Trail and Gunny Loop and you can indeed turn gloomy mornings into perfect afternoons with just a little petroleum product consumption.

June 8- Dude Day is a necessity to offset the sissiness that is racing bikes in tight pants for a living. We declared Monday Dude Day in honor of the fact that Ross can’t ride with a broken hip but sure as hell can hang out in the garage and work on motorized things. He baited us into the resurrection of some old, supposedly “80mph” Go-Karts with the prospect of racing said Karts on the local track that afternoon. Only after spending a solid few hours with little knowledge and even less specialized tools did we give up and call the track for professional advice on our project. They were closed. New project. After the Trek/Volkswagen team folded Ross Had to give his 2008 GTI back and retaliated ideologically by getting a super sweet Enduro Downhill racing gig and buying a cheap old sleeper Audi Turbo Sedan. It obviously needed a better exhaust system so we installed that before heading off into the sunset and the general direction of Gunnison.

June 9- Turns out mechanics SHRED trails too… Our arrival in Gunnison was well timed. Joe informed us that one of his favorite rides was melted out. Doctor’s Park. We climbed a dirt road along Spring Creek for a few miles before turning down a side road that dipped through said creek. Carl immediately looked concerned as the rest of us started taking shoes and socks off. Joe promised it’d be worth it and it was. The steadily falling snow (note June 9 above) didn’t deter us from the five miles of shred that awaited. Starting with high-meadow bombing that fell away into steep rocky switchbacks and eventually dumped us next to a small creek at concerningly high speeds gleefully gapping moto’d whoops. Not to be outdone by, um, itself, the last mile dropped to the valley floor through a series of perfectly built switchbacks interspersed with granite rock-drops and gratuitous skidding. Joe and Mavic Dan led the way, riding fast enough to keep me cackling with laughter the whole way down. Kick-Ass defined. To top it off, after I did a little Gunnison River Whitewater Park shredding Dan had us over for the kind of barbecue you can always smell somewhere in the ‘hood but are rarely walking down to sidewalk to. This time it was indeed our destination. If we could have only known that the chili-peppered chicken scent would give way to S’mores before the night ended before we walked through the door… Thanks, Dan and Kathy.

June 10- Dave Weins is still the MAN. The local trails in Gunnison loop around an area called Hartman’s Rocks. It’s a plateau of Granite. People ride dirt bikes there. And pedal bikes. This makes this place yet another example of how it doesn’t matter how the wheels are propelled, so long as there are two of them the trails will be spot-on. Who better to show us than our favorite Tour Winner Slayer, Dave Weins. I’m pretty sure that in three hours of the man pushing the pace we rode most of the 50 miles of trail at Hartman’s, roosting most of it solidly. Weins was pretty entertained with the riding style I’ve picked up over the years of traveling. Commit to most things that appear to go and use the air as plan B when necessary, which was often on this gloriously entertaining day of riding. I love it when a plan comes together at the last possible second over and over again. Maybe someday I’ll get to race there for a Growler…

June 11- Pit stops and punching the clock. I leaned to kayak in Maine. There was this kid, Dustin Urban, who was a bit of a ninja in his kayak.. We paddled together a fair bit and had a good time before our lives diverged. He went to Princeton and I globetrotted. He also got really good at kayaking, a Bronze Medal from last year’s Freestyle World Cup came as proof. Somehow Dustin ended up in Colorado, working on the South Main community project in Buena Vista. A outdoor-oriented village centered around the Arkansas river. It being on the way to Colorado Springs I swung by to meet his wife Katie and Son Heron, and, obviously, have him teach me a new trick or twelve. We shredded and it was fun. But, duty called and the trek to a “Dealer Ride” and dinner in The Springs continued. Little did I know it would go down as the best Dealer Ride and Dinner in history. Kelli made the call to ride Williams Canyon off Rampart Range Road. This ride wasn’t known when I lived at the OTC many moons ago but has become a stalwart. That’s because it’s friggin’ awesome. Good call on the sloppily wet, rocky, perfect trail dropping through a rad sandstone canyon, Emmett. The fact that Amanda’s Fonda Mexican Restaurant was a mile from the end didn’t hurt…

June 12- Short Track racing is still hard. It’s been since last August that I’ve toed the line for twenty minutes plus three laps. This one was sugar coated with a helping of flowing fun singletrack where one could coast and rest a bit, but that didn’t go very far to making it easy. I tried to make it extra hard midway through with an attempt to bridge up to the lead duo of Jeremy and Todd (noticing a theme?) that didn’t last very long. Carl and I used our usual team non-tactics to finish 4th and 5th. Good exercise at least…

June 13- Somehow the Sand Creek Series folks figured out how to make a time warp XC Course for our race on Saturday. Unfortunately, I was too tired from the week of rad riding to capitalize on the fact that you somehow climbed for about 15 minutes per lap and descended for almost that long. Perfect. If you’re Max Plaxton, who roasted said descent to the win. I, on the other hand, was engaged in a (not very) epic battle with Sam Schultz for the final podium spot on the third lap. Since our battle wasn’t that interesting, we were just riding around together, I decided to start entertaining him with skids in corners and clever rock drop lines. On one of these I burped my tire. Oops. He laughed either way. Then I had to stop for a NASCAR pit change at the hands of Joe Staub which slid me back to seventh spot. Fortunately, I got a glimpse of Carl in his own battle for 8th with a bunch of dudes. They had all been “drinking” for the whole race though, which he’d decided for some strange reason to forgo. 12th was his negative reinforcement for that approach… Good thing for him we only raced four laps, good thing for me too as it meant I got a shower on the way to the airport for the second Time Warp of the day…

Anyway, CO is a nice place for bikes. We’ll be back soon for Nationals in Winter Park mid-July. In better shape hopefully… Carl is counting calories and I’ve just purchased an Altitude Tent system from Altitude Tech, it’s ON!

Oh yeah, cut and paste this link to Teva Mountain Games Film School student Stephanie Pearson’s first-ever video production project which I was somehow chosen as the subject for. She did a good job…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be-sHD-A4pM

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One Response to Adam Craig’s 10 reasons Colorado kicks ass

  1. Colin M says:

    AC is the man for sure. I like the title Renaissance Maniac, the dude lives the dream. He has as much adventure and fun in a week as I do in two months.

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