THE WHIRLWIND HAS SUBSIDED!

by Dave Wiens

The whirlwind has subsided. Not really but at least now I’m not on the road and attending events in Gatling gun fashion. Last weekend, Susan and I attended the CycleFest Fundraiser in downtown Denver. CycleFest introduced the Colorado League, the third league of NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association), which is high school mountain bike racing. The other two leagues are in Northern and Southern California and are wildly successful. Colorado is making its debut this fall and Texas, Wisconsin and Washington state are on deck for 2011 and NICA’s goal is to be coast to coast by 2020. All kinds of cycling luminaries were there and the event was a smashing success.

And the Colorado League fun didn’t end with CycleFest but continued on the next day in Boulder with a group road ride followed by an amazing Italian lunch at Bácaro Venetian Taverna. We got lucky with the weather on the ride as storms were all around.

Then we located all of our boys who we had farmed out to various friends and family around Denver, loaded up and headed back to Gunnison. A quick turnaround found me hitting the road at about 4am Tuesday for meetings and a training mission in Grand Junction.

These were followed by an inspection of a newly constructed singletrack on BLM public lands near Delta, Colorado. This was very cool as I got to ride on fresh trail that I laid out the corridor for last fall. Only about two miles were finished, open and rideable but that combined with a long approach and stiff winds from the west made for a great ride. This 20+ mile trail should be completely finished sometime in 2011. After the ride, I hit the public library in Delta to get online and work for a couple of hours before spending the night in Montrose, as I was catching the 6am flight from there to DIA the next morning. Gunnison only has one flight per day right now and, as I was flying into Atlanta for the IMBA World Summit, this was the only way I’d make it to the venue in Augusta, GA in time for the opening ceremonies.

IMBA is so vital to our sport and I cannot express enough how important their role is in mountain biking. If you’re riding singletrack, chances are, IMBA has played some part in that trail being there and you being able to ride it. I spent all day Wednesday networking with other trail advocates from all over and hearing new ideas and information from people who are immersed in various aspects of trail advocacy. Then it was off to an amazing trail system called FATS for an evening rip around some killer trails.

They were in prime shape and fellow Topeak Ergon rider, Eddie O’dea, myself and others, rallied the smoothness and rollers for a couple of hours until almost dark.

Then, it was a 3am wake up for the drive to Atlanta and the flight back, not to Montrose, but into Gunnison, where I retooled and added the family and drove the four hours southwest to Cortez, Colorado for the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde. This event takes place on a trail system called Phil’s World and the lap was 16 miles of uninterrupted, very fun singletrack.

I was on a four-man team that consisted of John Tomac, Travis Brown, Daryl Price and myself. Our wives raced, too, under the moniker of The Better Halves. We battled hard and were back and forth all day with the tough Directory Plus/Zia Team from Durango. I was lucky enough to be able to ride our last lap and I needed to make up about a minute and a half for us to take the win. I gave it my all, rode a pretty good lap – I couldn’t have gone any faster – but ended up actually giving them another minute or so. They deserved the win and we all had a great time racing, riding and catching up. This a a fantastic event and if you ever get the opportunity, you should check it out, or if you’re ever in the four corners area, give the Phil’s World trails a go, they’re awesome!

Yesterday, still being in the four corners area, we took in Mesa Verde National Park, something my parents took me to see as a youngster. It is a truly amazing place and something else you should see while you’re in this part of the world. After our tour of Cliff Palace and a hike, we headed back for Gunnison, stopping at the Montrose airport along the way to retrieve the vehicle I’d left there last Wednesday. We rolled up in front of our house at about 10pm, got the kids in bed and took a deep breath. And then went out to unpack the car!

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