Friday, September 18, 2009


Single Speed World Championships 2009
Durango, CO

This 6 day trip was probably, no check that was definitely the most action packed and greatest week of my whole freaking life! Better than graduating college, yes. Better than getting married, Hell Yes! (No longer married, FYI ha ha)

There is just too much to tell and besides words don't do these experiences justice. Plus there are a few parts I will omit to keep this saga PG-13. Well I'll give it a shot anyway, if your reading this you obviously want to know what went down.

So here's my
SSWC09 story...
4 of us (Sir Vandy, C Dizzle, the Cookie Monster & myself) rolled out of Conway @ 5pm on Tues afternoon. We took turns at the wheel and drove almost nonstop pulling into Durango, Colorado at 11am Wed morning. While in town we grabbed some trail maps & tacos before heading to the MTNs. On the way to Silverton we picked up an Irish hitchhiker and grabbed a 6 pack of IPA to drop in the Animas River, knowing it would be waiting on us to celebrate when we returned from the Wilderness (the beer not the hitchhiker :). Pulled into Silverton just in time to catch the train and off into the Wild we went. Got dropped off at Needleton Point and packed 6.5 miles into Chicago Basin @ 11,000 ft alitutude. This put us deep within the Weminuchi Wilderness and over 15 miles from the nearest road.

Woke up long before the Sun Thurs morning & headed for the big MTNs. Soon got lost and trekked up the backside of Mt Eolus which led to losing my brand new digital camera, finding the perfect crystal, and being caught in a near white-out snowstorm on the Southern spine of a 14er aka 14,000 ft MTN (there are 54 14ers in the great state of CO; my goal is to one day summit them all. Check out my peaks at
Took me a good 3 hrs to reach the Southern Spine of Mt Eolus. Kept thinking I had reached the summit only to find myself on another false peak; later I found out I was on the hardcore Class 4 unmarked Mountaineer's Route which is hardly ever climbed. Pretty good I think for my 3rd 14er, not gonna lie though there were a few "Oh shit" moments, but being chilled and believing in my abilities got me through unscathed. Finally summitted (after nearly freezing to death), walked the "Catwalk" (500-1000 ft vertical sprawling spire connects Eolus to N Eolus is only ~2 ft wide in some spots) & then bagged North Eolus the hard way on an unmarked route. Found Ryan & Chris as we yelled back and forth from MTN to MTN. We then explored around and found hidden alpine lakes and snowfields, Vandy was on his own adventure at this time discovering the Twin Lakes area. We all fought off the altitude sickness pounding headaches and crashed out for hrs upon hrs, think I slept ~14. Next morning, as my boys headed back for the train, I headed up Eolus again to search for the lost camera, looked for 3 hrs and never even found the right hillside. Had to make the fastest 6 mile sprint of my life down the trail to catch the train. I'm sure I looked pretty comical in my hiking boots with six layers of clothes tied around my waste. Just barely caught the train with seconds to spare, as my friends screamed at me to "Hurry Up!"

Back in Silverton we met up with Mom & Dad for pizza. They were on the train that passed by before I made it to the tracks. I later found out my Mom was a lil more than nervous that I wasn't present; Dad knew I'd be OK, he's been with me on a few of my adventures. After the great food and refreshing company, C Block drove us back over the MTNs to Durango. Vandy navigated as Ryan & I peered out the windows and daydreamed of our last few days in the wilderness as well as our unknown futures. That night we grabbed some Himalayan food and we took Mom out to a local pub to catch some live music (my Mom introduced me to music at the age of 13 by sitting me in front of the stereo, facing both standing speakers at me, and blazing out Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody), so I try to return the favor and take her to great live music every time I get the chance. Dad relaxed in the hotel as we hit up Derailled for a crazy night of dancing, live music, and DJs. The pub was great with its energetic music and excellent Colorfest beer. The dozens of dancing divas and wacked out biker dudes didn't hurt either. Well that was my pre-race training.
SSWC09 Day: The Party is On. Never seen such an amazing race atmosphere. Over 1000 crazy bikers in attendance and I'm dawned in a 70s inspired hippy outfit complete with silk shirt, suede vest, skin tight plaid pants, knee high bike socks, and a blue Performance headband. Promised my Dad I would ride with him so we took off nice and steady. Stopped at all the beer tents and gave my Dad major props for being a wily 50 yo accountant from AR racing his SS @ the World Championships. At the top of the biggest MTN after the 1 hr hike-a-bike, I realized that this course was much crazier than we had expected; so I did the only thing a good son could do: sent my Dad on to get a headstart and hit up the delicious hometown party favors with the locals at the aid station. Didn't take long for the race to go from awesome to best ride ever on the amazing super techy downhill that followed. Stopped a few times to soak up the beautiful views from the cliffs and led my Dad down the MTN to make sure he didn't kill himself. We rolled up to the 1/2 way point in 3 1/2 hrs. Dad wanted to go on, but the course was just too much, he looked like he might be swallowed by the high desert at any second. Told the Old Man I loved him and was proud of his warrior effort (he really is a Badass), then took off solo into the desert with one bottle of beer and one of H2O. Found a few people riding the course for fun but never caught up to another racer. Heard the dirtbike sweep in the distance and knew I had to be closing in. Came to the last pitstop as they were closing shop. They provided true Colorado hospitality and after that I was in the zone as I ripped down the trail on my fully rigid steel green-glowing UFO. Wheeled up to the finish line just a couple min behind the last rider. Only took me 1 1/2 hrs on the 2nd half of the course, which I was told was pretty solid. Had been hoping to catch up to the pack, but really didn't care since I had just consumed more beer than I usually do in a month. At the finish line the Guru from Durango Cyclery (thanks Russell) told me I won DFL, which I thought was pretty funny. Later when he told me to make sure I hung around the awards ceremony, I started to get a little excited but never imagined such an amazing and generous gift. I almost lost it when the announcement came I had won a custom Ti frame from
Black Sheep Bikes. Craziness, best ride & trip of my life. Thanks for everything.