Skieologians: Racing in Elephant Rock

The final round of the Elephant Rock Century took place on June 5, ending an impressive 35-year run.
Ryan Cederquist / Phil Daily

Since moving to Colorado in 2015, I’ve caught myself in the back of a few rallies. The Broncos Super Bowl, the current Avs Stanley Cup and even the World Crystal Championship during my first winter on the job (skate lovers, don’t yawn!).

My last hop on the Elephant Rock wagon was – just in time, too. The country’s first run of the last century kicked off with great fanfare on June 5th, capping a 35-year chapter of cycling festivities.

I was there to enjoy the perfect weather, quiet, flawless roads, and most importantly, the wonderful faces and warm culture of the most vibrant Colorado bike community ever.

take off

The Fanny Runner’s Friday night spot was the perfect spot for a Colorado Van Life Walmart outside Exit 251 in Evergreen. Tall, secluded pines between the rows, and their famous $1 fresh French baguette—a pre-race staple Cederquest—topped from my carb stores. I consumed the entire loaf (no judge) and drifted off to sleep, counting revolutions of spinning like a sheep.

Too soon, my 4:48 alarm suddenly turned me off – that extra 12 minutes built in is often life-saving – and almost turned everything off to sleep in. Then I remembered how diligent Vail Daily readers would be I’d be on fire if I quit, and instead of creating hundreds of different email excuses for angry Sports Page sponsors, I switched on autopilot and drove to Jenny’s Market—another hidden treasure, because the coffee is hot at five in the morning—and filled a FeedCo-sized the factory. 52 oz. travel mug.

After – I’m not doing this – heading west on I-70 for one mile, I wiped my eye snot for good, corrected course and turned toward Castle Rock. It was by far the biggest problem I would have that day.

Signing up for a parking lot at the Douglas County Fairgrounds with the other million draped in spandex (I’m going to use that phrase on every one of these features, so get used to it) Rodents, I tried crafting a cover letter in writing while looking for more coffee. Fortunately Outside+ took care of me – they have everything on these events – and I checked in and got off the starting line around 7am

Some readers wondered — dare I say, ‘I hope’ — for more encounters with colorful characters — or cartoons — on this second stop of my Summer Outer-Inspired series. Elephant rock did not disappoint.

First, there was Chad. “Chad” We didn’t actually confirm his name Chad is registered on the 100 mile track and I don’t do this one day after doing the 12-hour Outside Elephant Rock mountain bike event. You may remember that this was actually my original plan as well. Unable to fulfill the pledge of psychological endurance, this serendipitous recording alongside “Chad” made me freak out about myself, as Chad is known to be. I yelled “Oh! Good for you” in a Christian Bale fashion They rushed away while the confused spectators held their breath (none of that happened).

Twenty miles or so, I met someone else. A rider recognized my Floyd leadevil jersey and yelled, “If you get it, use it” while I was faster past. Unsure if he thought I might have a CBD product on hand – for what it’s worth, I’ll likely call NASA for a trip to Mars – I slowed down so he could catch up.

“I tell Tinker I say ‘hello,’” he said, referring to David “Tinker” Jaurez, the ageless mountain biker who has won endurance riding since turning pro at age 16 in the mid-70s. Entertaining, I asked more questions, thinking that this The guy, who really didn’t surprise me because he’s the type to confuse things with Jaurez – at least not lately – could be a great story.Unfortunately, while things were getting better, he took a detour on the 45-mile road, and was out of my life for good.

Still, hope was not lost for Arthur “Artery” McVeins, whose foot bowls resemble a topographic map of the Amazon River Basin, was waiting for me – and presumably anyone else who wanted to see the Ninth Wonder of the World – in the rest of the second stand. There are usually one or two Arthurs at every serious cycling festival; It’s a picture of what every mileage monster aspires to be. Nervous that my hydration needs could catch up to me, I decided the look of a popping leg vein wasn’t worth the risk of tipping over from the wrong fluid restriction, and I consumed my lemonade from Scratch Labs and toured a group of pups.

That’s right – puppies. The sponsors of this rest stop were Guide Dogs for the Blind from Highlands Ranch Puppy Raisers. I thought of my wife back home, taking care of a baby and our crazy dog ​​while I was enjoying a perfect horn ride. I said a prayer and jumped back into the saddle.

The second leg break sponsors on my 100-mile trek were some hardworking four-legged friends.
Ryan Cederquist / Phil Daily

At this point, I decided to lock in the cadence of the ride. My rhythm was almost permanently lost when I peeked at one of the beautiful farms along the way and saw a sign that said “barn sale”. This baffling temptation undoubtedly convinced garage-sale connoisseurs and antique stores and my farming twin brother to quit cycling at that very moment, but the sound of rubber ripping across the runway brought a daydream of racing Mac Dorph back to life.

Unlike my 29er mountain bike, which weighs nearly a Tesla battery (and looks 1/1000 of the latest Tesla model), my rig — the Trek Madone 7 series — is so light that I can literally hold it between my pinkie and thumb. He flies.

Knowing the reasons for the eventual closure of Elephant Rock – Castle Rock’s exponential growth from 10,000 citizens in 1987 to 80,000 now and a population projected to reach 150,000 in ten years – I fully anticipated the busy roads and potentially a bumpy road with construction. I didn’t find either of them. As I walked around, I flew about 20 miles per hour through each section of the course.

It is difficult to choose a favorite extension; It was excellent. Most horn rides involve the inevitable fist shake in the sky – usually the uphill part against the wind that destroys all your hard-earned average speeds. She had waited for this desperate and shocking moment to introduce herself, but it never came. As we ran over South Perry Park Road near Palmer 75% done, I really gained strength and went on a brisk, brisk sprint for no reason, taking in some confused and poor elderly runners who obviously couldn’t see I was making a move on Stage 12 of Le Tour.

In its first year, 1,200 riders showed up at Lewis Palmer High School for the opening of the Elephant Rock Ride. In 2008, the largest group – 7800 – rode the course. The governors signed bicycle laws here, $1.3 million was raised for different groups, and over the course of 35 years, 150,000 people have performed this event. including me.

“Elephant Rock — so many people riding in the first century or just going out on their bike — mean a lot to the cycling community,” event director Scott Olmsted said at the event as I ate a delicious roast chicken and cole slaw after the ride.

“We wanted to be a little forward-thinking and experiment – it’s such a hard and fine line – that it becomes very difficult to put this event together.”

“We’ve been very happy to work with Castle Rock and Douglas County over the years. It’s kind of bittersweet that it’s shutting down,” Olmsted told Denver 7 after the event.

Along the way, many of the knights I passed were wearing Elephant Rock jerseys. If you’ve ever been to the November Velo Swap in Denver – the world’s largest cycling show – you’ll undoubtedly find old Elephant Rock loot. I was hoping my tires would magically mesh with an Elephant Rock lifter—someone who did each one—but I wasn’t very lucky.

However, Christian Lopez was from Denver 7.

“It’s sad to see this is the last,” Bob Schaeffer, who has ridden in the event since its debut in 1987, told her.

“Growing is hard, especially for someone who has spent their whole life living here. It is really a problem because our infrastructure was not ready for it.”

The bike show at the Elephant Rock event is legendary.
Ryan Cederquist / Phil Daily

In the Wildhorse Gravel, my first summer series event, the slow sections gave me plenty of time to chat with people. At Elephant Rock, I found myself engulfed in the fast-moving wind hitting my cheek as I leaned in, striving to get the most aerodynamic pose on every straight line.

I won some high class appetizers after my 100 mile effort.
Ryan Cederquist / Phil Daily

As I was touring through the vibrant Finish Line Bike Show, I thought about the theme of this event. For me, it was never a day to talk to people, listen to music, or listen to a podcast, as I usually do while cycling.

Professional cyclist Starla Tidgerren walks around Colorado women’s and girls’ biking at the Post-Ride Show.
Ryan Cederquist / Phil Daily

Today was a pure celebration of all you can love about a perfect bike ride. For that, I needed to soak in the breeze, the sun, and the harmonious undulation of my flaky, salty legs.

Although a century has passed down the road, Olmsted said another event is in the pipeline for the same weekend. I think I’m going to plan to be at the front of that show.

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