MSC #4: Crested Butte Pedalfest

It’s a bit tardy, but here’s the scoop from the June 25-26 Wildflower Rush in Crested Butte, CO. Warning: This report includes pedaling.


Landing the final booter.

The only thing more prevalent than the pedaling sections was the whining about the pedaling sections. “Waa, waa, waa. This isn’t my type of course …” Hey folks, this is mountain biking. Ride what’s there, and if you have trouble pedaling, try this new thing they call “training.” Pansies.

Sprint down a dirt road then drift a 90-degree left down the fall line. Jog left and right down the 20% pitch, hug the left ribbon, hug the right ribbon, line it up then fist the bars as you double over the water bars, hit the road then jump 30+ feet down the next pitch. You’ll be hauling more mail than U.S. Postal. Whee! Suck up the little rock kicker, then float the million-mile-an-hour double. Rail the slight right, then skim the rockfall into the rutted left. Sweet.

Nail the rutted right, then pedal straight down, across the flat and into the uphill woods. Pump pump pump! Nail your lines. Then PEDAL! Crest the rise, slalom down the ski run then dive into the woods. Hard left. Right switchback into left switchback. Right switchback into speedy traverse. Here’s a blown out left. Don’t trust the dust. Slam the blue groove at the entrance then pull your bike across into the straight. Rail the right against the hill, then the blown out left, then the perfect right, then the blown out left, bam, bam, bam, until you spit onto the road. PEDAL!

Da finish.

Line up wide, arc across the apex, then pedal some more. Brake for the 90-degree right, but carry as much speed as possible, because now it’s time to spend it. “It” being your power, your energy, your soul. Pedal your brains out, uphill, through the trees, nailing the tricky turns, pedaling, pedaling, pedaling. If you feel like you’re going slow, don’t worry — everyone’s going slow. As R.E.M. said, “Everybody hurts.”

Gut it out! Cross the wooden bridge, crank once more then fist your bars through the swoopy turns. Ahh … Get your heart back into your throat, nail three woodsy turns, pedal down the fire road, stick the wide left, pedal then cut hard right into the trees, between those two rocks. Hop the next rocks, then pump the next. Rail and pump the turns. Pedal!

Hug the inside left then hop the rocks, pedal some more then drop onto the dirt road. PEDAL around the long left, then line up for the four jumps. Take the first to the far right and you’ll only fly 20 feet. Suck up the second table. Suck up the third table (if you have the strenght; otherwise just hit the lip and fly wherever). Lay into the foot-side rut, swirling with dust, and fist your grips. Rail the long right, get in half a crank then loft the booter to an endless back side. Wheee! Land it, get in some cranks to the dirt road, then pin it all the way to the line. Pedal! 100 yards. Pedal! 50 yards. Pedal! 25 yards. PEDAL!!!!!!!!!!

Curtis (middle) is wondering how Strommy went so fast. Willy Warren is just enjoying himself. When I told him to have fun, he said, “Fun is all this is. Five minutes or whatever isn’t going to change my life.”

Luke Strom from Newcastle, Australia won pro men in 4:35.5, with Kain Leonard and Curtis Keene a few seconds back. Steve Wentz, who insisted on running his 3-inch slalom bike, ran a 4:56 for 15th place. The little bikes feel faster, but the big bikes are faster (if you have the power). Anything under five minutes was rock star material. I ran a 5:04 in a re-run (I got stopped in my first run), which put me mid-pack in semipro. I coached my monkeys plus I raced hard, so I was stoked.

Michelle Dumaresq trounced pro women in 5:18, with the mighty Lisa Myklak a full 10 seconds behind. Crested Butte is definitely a power course, and the stronger you are in relation to your bike’s weight and your frontal area, the better.

Tough Guy: Dylan does some breathing after his run.

As for my SMBA gravity monkeys, Dylan patterson charged it with confidence and finished fifth in Junior Men 13-14 downhill. Joey Shussler ran strong and was ranked No. 4 in Jr. Ex. There was some doubt about the times, but the dudes rode well, and I hope they focus on that success rather than the piece of paper.

Super D
Another pedalfest. Picture this: Lemans start into wide-open fire road, then rolly singletrack, a mellow dirt road climb, a singletrack climb then a long, narrow, fast singletrack descent. Racers arrowed across meadows and through aspens. Those who don’t run well had to pass in the grass. A huge turnout and good times.

In Open Men, Mike West, Ariel Lindsley and Whitey Debroux piloted their Mavericks to 1st, 2nd and 3rd. West and Lindsley have been killing the Super Ds, and they ran a 9:10 and 9:11, more than 20 seconds ahead of Whitey. I’d like to protest these mugs into a higher class, but they already race pro … Speaking of Mavericks, Ariel’s better half Abby Hippely ran her ML-8 to first in Open Women. She is a total hammer. I say watch out for her in DH and 4X.

Cross Country
Hearing all the downhillers whine about the pedaling, the XC racers started saying the cross country course was also pedaly (unlike all those un-pedaly XC courses). Racers climbed the mountain, descended, climbed the mountain again, then descended some more. Sounds like the DH, only in Lycra!

Nick Gould of Durango and Susan Haywood won the pro classes. Rebecca Kane took Sport Women 40+ by a full minute. Nice work. Sport Women seldom get the props they deserve.

The Wildflower Rush is promoted by Crested Butte Mountain Resort, rather than an outside promoter. The event has been going for many years, but it still felt like amateur hour. All of the courses intersected each other, which limited practice time, and timing problems made the downhill results a mess. Many riders weren’t listed at all, and some were given seemingly random times. I love the vibe of the Mountain States Cup races, but I must say this event didn’t live up to the polish of the other MSC’s, or to its full-retail entry fees.

On the way home. The crew on Cottonwood Pass: Curtis, Kevin, Andrew, me, Dylan and Mike.

Breathtaking. We’re talking huge mountains, thick forests, lush meadows and sweet trails.

For hippy-style pizza action — including sitting on the floor — check out The Stash. The hostess and waitresses have that gorgeous mountain chick thing going, so if you like that scene as much as fancy pizza, you gotta check this out.