Super Walker

Super Walker
By John Weiler

“Morning!!”, I turned around to see who could possibly be in such a good mood. After all it was such a dreary morning, the sun was hidden behind an enormous dark wall of fog, as thick and dense as my mom’s mashed potatoes. I clamored out of the car and noticed only shadows, making it impossible to discern who was acting so joyful. As I put on my gloves I was starting to question my sanity.

As I heard the the confirming “chchchchchchch” sound of a ratchet I felt the weight of my bike in my hands while I set it to the sodden ground. The moment it touched the cold asphalt I heard another engine cough to life.  As the engine faded away I walked across the mushy soil.  I stopped at my name “JOHN!! over here!!!“.  It was then I saw my good friends Alex, Aidan, Bjorn, and of course our ever present leader Rudy. We had barely hi-5ed when Rudy jumped on his bike and pedaled off in to the mist. Us being the intelligent beings we were we decided to follow him.

The rain pelted our Camelbaks making it feel like we had hippos on our backs while we rode along side Boulder Creek in Boulder, Colorado. As we rode past the river I watched its bubbling froth race past us. Soon we left the busy city and my group climbed hard up into the hills. The fog seemed to come meet us. We entered the thick moist clouds as we struggled up what was definitely the steepest fire road I had ever been on.  It instantly grew dark and the mist started to surround us. It seemed to fill in all of the ditches and trenches, it was as though we entered another world. As we climbed up and up the temperature dropped by the meter.

After  90  grueling minutes of climbing we popped out on one of the steepest  paved roads on the front range, Flagstaff Road. The moment we ground to a halt the cold  bound us like a straight jacket.  After a quick break we unanimously decided that we had better move on, in an effort not to freeze to death. Unfortunately the hard part lay ahead of our panting figures. Up ahead of our spinning wheels lay 7 miles of slick, steep, and unforgiving asphalt. Our mindset changed completely. From navigating ruts on a loose dirt road we now prepared for this treacherous climb.

As we neared the top the greatest sight beheld us, sunlight. “YEA SUN” Aidan sang! We put on a new burst of speed, something 10 minutes ago I would have shunned the thought of. The shivering slowed down and we rocketed down the backside of Flagstaff. Riding by the pines at the speed of a cheetah we saw our goal, Walker Ranch, Boulder, Colorado.

Dirt and rock flew up like a flock of chickadees as we skidded to a halt at the illustrious Walker Ranch trail head. The bike computers all read 12 miles. Only 2 of it had been down hill as of yet, and it wasn’t like that was going to change. Already tired from the early morning ride we were slowing down as we climbed the relentless switch backs of Walker Ranch. It felt like we had climbed for hours to get to see our lunch spot, then we noticed something we hadn’t been told; “What is that?” Alex exclaimed as we gazed up what had to be the longest, steepest, and rockiest set of stairs I had ever seen. We gazed up the steep face, the boulders taller than us.

Bjorn said in a questioning  tone “We are going around that, right???” As if the gods sent a response another rider came up behind us, leaped of his bike and started hiking up.

After 20 min of heaving, ho’n, and sweating we finally had made it— Half way through our ride.  To our right we could barely see the river toss and tumble over the rocks, although we could hear its march to the death. To  our left we could see even more switch backs, as we hefted our bikes once again they didn’t feel like the 26 pounds they really were, it felt as though we were carrying elephants.

“Finally” Rudy exclaimed as he set his bike down. In front of us was just flat trail…..or so we thought…..

We quickly wolfed down our lunch and finished the loop, then we were told the most painful words I have ever known. “You have to go back up, all of the way”. Every last inch of that murderous pavement we had flown down not 60 minutes ago was calling our names.  We reluctantly saddled up and started pushing our pedals like dead men on the march, not that we were much different.

We made it to the top of Flagstaff in record time (or at least that is what it felt like) and celebrated with a picture and a swig of what little, warm, plastic tasting water we had left. Then we got a warning from Rudy. We would FINALLY be descending the 10 miles that had been such a pain that very morning. But with 10 miles of downhill at 40 mph our brakes would be come so hot the hydraulic fluid would boil. As it started to boil we would slowly loose the breaking power until we would have no breaks. To solve this potentially deadly issue we were told to stop half way down and dump every last drop of water we had on our disks, hopefully cooling them down.

It worked, Sort of. By feathering our brakes and maintaining a break neck pace of 40mph we made it to the bottom of the dirt road. Barely. When we felt our disks it was as though we were touching a stovetop. “Youch!!!” I exclaimed, the searing heat traveled traveled the fibers of my bike gloves, through my skin, in to my nerves, and to my head in a microsecond. I thought my hand was on fire. Us being boys we all tried it in turn and finally decided (after a lot of thought) we would never do such a silly thing again. To prepare for more downhill we squirted what remaining water we had on to the brakes. It never hit the ground.  Instantly turned to steam by the scalding disks it was floating up to the clouds before anyone could blink.

When we rolled back into Boulder and to the place we had started we fell to the grass. Even before our tires had stopped spinning I was half asleep. “34@5200” was the phrase that kept me up. Aidan repeated it again “34 miles and 5200 feet of elevation gain.” The longest ride I had ever been on. It had taken only about 3.5 hours but had been so much fun I would do it again in a heart beat. Maybe.

As I fell asleep to the sound of the crickets outside of my window that night I finally got the name: Super Walker.  One super bike ride, one heck of a lot of walking. All I know is that it was very fun and it is something I will never forget.

ColoRADo Trail

SMBA helped prepare me for all kinds of riding, racing, careers and adventures but perhaps my greatest accomplishment, to date, was attained this fall when coach Sandi and I completed the Colorado Trail by mountain bike.

Together we successfully concurred 500 miles, ~8o,000 feet of climbing and 16 days on the trail. We could have picked a flatter state to ride across but that would not have been as much fun.

It was not easy. We spent entire days above 12,000 feet, savored jelly beans like they were the last food on earth and for the first time in my cycling career, I wished for a slightly downhill perfectly smooth trail.

One of the common questions we get is, “how did you train for this trip,” The answer is simple; SMBA. Riding everyday, and loving it, is the best training. Each day we would bonk at about 3:30, and it is no coincident that this corresponds with the end of the SMBA day. We knew from years of riding with SMBA, exactly what to do: grab another snack put on a big old smile and keep rolling.

Skills from a life filled with adventure were vital to reaching our goal. We used our SMBA skills, camping skills, wilderness first aid skills and knowledge taught to us over the years by coaches, friends and family.

– My first SMBA camp taught me that the “the eye of the tiger” is always the best song to sing to yourself when faced with an impossible climb.
– My dad taught me to cut the end off my tooth brush to save weight.
– Matt Tomasko taught me that 7.5 hours is a perfectly reasonable amount of time to be on a bike every day.
– Sandi taught me that girls can do anything (as long as we have gummy bears).

The accumulation of all the being awesome we have done, and all of the awesome people that support us, lead us to accomplish even more awesomeness.

I can confidently say that we put the rad in ColoRADo Trail!

– Special thanks to Sam Seward, Max Neuman, Matt Stienwand and the Howse’s for all the supplies and advice. Thank you to my mom and dad for being our support along the way.

SMBA Bhutan

Bhutan is a small country located between China and India. It is best known for its concept of the “Gross Happiness Index (GNH)” and the fact that its king is an avid cyclist. Sonam or ST, as the kids call him, shadowed the SMBA program, in the fall of 2013, and sat down with the SMBA Executive Director and Program Director to brainstorm ways to bring a similar program to Bhutan. The SMBA Bhutan program now has 24 riders with ages ranging from 10 to 16 years old. “I Started this SMBA Bhutan in December, 17th 2013 after inspired by SMBA in Colorado. With permission from Matt to use the name SMBA I formed the club here in Bhutan as SMBA Bhutan. I run this club on volunteer basis, I don’t charge the kids for any training fee, I survive this club on small funds from local and from HRH the Prince of Bhutan. The program system is very similar to SMBA.”

SMBA could not be more proud of our sister program and all of the work that ST is doing to strengthen the cycling community in Bhutan. The value that mountain biking brings to each rider and community crosses all boarders and cultures. ST was quoted in a recent write up in the New York Times, “The feeling that you get when you’re riding on the trail, alone in nature, surrounded by all those nature sounds, it is one of the greatest feelings you can ever have. My happiness — my own personal G.N.H. — is the mountain bike and the forest.” All mountain bikers know this feeling and are bonded together by this common love. By providing opportunities for all people to experience this we can create happy people, strong communities and bring together the world. Thank you ST!

Check out the New York Times article.

 

Check out SMBA Bhutan on Facebook

Yellowbelly ‘YUM’raiser

SMBA Yellowbelly Night! Thursday, July 31.
Raise funds for youth mountain bike scholarships and programming at Yellowbelly.

On Thursday, July 31st , bring your friends, family, and neighbors, to the restaurant, mention you are there for SMBA and Yellowbelly will donate 15% of all proceeds to SMBA! 

Location: 2525 Arapahoe (next to Boulder Ski Deals). Open 11:00 – 9PM

Enjoy amazing natural fried and rotisserie chicken, and sides, while giving back to the program you love. Everything is made in-house, from scratch, everyday using premier ingredients and sourcing non-GMO and organic products when possible.
Healthy Food, Happy Families, and Great Program Support! Yum!

yellowbellychicken.com

Beti Bike Bash

SMBA Girls Rule the Beti Bike Bash Boy’s may not drool but the SMBA Girls definitely rule. Each year SMBA comes out with the girls team in full force and 2014 was no different. For Ashley and Emily this was their first race ever and they impressed everyone with their bike handling and fitness out on course. In the little bellas 1 lap race race Emma rocked it, coming in with big smiles. In the 2 lap race Izzie crushed it with a 4th place finish and Grace wasn’t far behind with an impressive 9th place finish.

This year many of the SMBA girls in the Little Bella race category for riders 8-14 stepped up and rode with the 15-18 age category to push themselves. The coaches could not have been prouder as they choose more riding and a bigger challenge. As always they stepped up to the plate and did great. Ari and Sasha walked away with fourth and fifth place, respectively, despite being well under 15. Emily in her first race was not far behind them in 7th place. Some of the SMBA coaches and alumni jumped in on the fun as well.

Molly, a veteran of the Beti Bike Bash walked away with another win, this year in the Sport 15-18 category. The girl’s cheered coach Heather on to a 8th place finish in the Pro/Open category. Past SMBA rider Ksenia finished in 15th in the Pro/Open category.

The girls had an amazing support crew of SMBA coaches, riders and parents, including Program Director, Jessie, Girls Coaches Sandi, Cassie and Molly, as well as, SMBA Team members and captains Jacob and Quinn. Perhaps the biggest winner of the weekend was coach Rudy who cheered on the team in full glitter and face paint camo. Our Cheering section was nothing short of impressive.

Great Job Super Stars!

 

Girls

SMBA Girls programming is one of a kind offering a chance for riders of all ability levels the chance to build confidence, gain new skills and have fun. Last year we had record numbers of girls out riding and we have even more fun planned for 2015!

GIRLS MOAB SPRING BREAK TRIP Ages 9-17 Kick of the mountain bike season with an adventure trip to what is quite possibly the greatest place to ride in the good old US of A! Join us as we get pumped for the 2014 season with epic riding, desert camping and of course Smore’s. Expert coaches will guide athletes through this unique landscape and teach valuable skills in a safe, fun and supportive environment.

CYCLING SISTERS Ages 7-11 It wouldn’t be a SMBA girls program without tons of glitter, stickers, crafts, games and of course sweet singletrack. These 4 day summer camps introduce girls to the sport of mountain biking and build their skills and confidence in a fun and supportive environment. Girls ages 7-12 of all abilities are welcome. SMBA coaches are experts at assessing each girl’s ability level and helping them to improve.

DEVO TEAM (co-ed) Ages 7-14 The Devo program offers three and a half hour training rides with a flexible schedule for athletes that want to build skills, increase fitness, make friend and go on adventures. The SMBA Devo Team is perfect for the girl that loves to ride and enjoys being a part of a team. Riders will meet and pick up from trails around Boulder and will get to participate in fun team building days and skills days just like the Girls Team.

GIRLS TEAM Ages 9-17 The SMBA girls team is perfect for the girl that loves to ride. The team gets to ride all over the Front Range and beyond. The team is split by abilities letting each girl progress at their own pace. Team camaraderie is a focus for the team and the girls will get to participate in all the fun group activities the team has to offer like fun days, “big buddy, little buddy mentoring,” optional racing, epic rides and skills sessions.  The SMBA staff will work with each girl, whether they are new to the sport or they are looking to be professional racers, to be their best and have fun.

SMBA FUNdraiser Celebrity Bios

This years SMBA Fun Day FUNdraiser offers riding food and entertainment for the whole family! The day will start with the Celebrity Ride featuring some of the best local athletes of our time. Take a ride with Heather Irmiger, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Joey Schusler, Ian MacGregor, Deidre York, and Brian Buell.

CELEBRITY PROFILE: HEATHER IRMIGER

Heather worked her way into a professional mountain bike career, while holding a position as a researcher at the University of Colorado, where she earned her Master’s in Integrative Physiology. She has grown into a multiple U.S. National Champion and full-time international competitor. Some of her accomplishments include a World Championships Single Speed title, multiple Pan American medals, top 10 World Cup finishes and a 6th place finish at the 2010 UCI World Championships. Heather is one of the most diverse and talented athletes of her time. Learn more about heather heatherirmiger.com

CELEBRITY PROFILE: JEREMY HORGAN-KOBELSKI
Jeremy is from Boulder, CO. He has 20 years of MTB racing experience including 15 seasons as a professional. He was a 2004 Olympian, multiple time U.S. National Champion and World Cup podium finisher.
His academic accomplishments include graduating with high honors from the College of Engineering at CU Boulder. He also earned an undergraduate research award in Applied Mathematics department. Jeremy is a leader both on and off the bike. Learn more about Jeremy jeremyhorgan-kobelski.com
CELEBRITY PROFILE: JOEY SCHUSLER
Through SMBA Joey began racing Downhill competitively. He raced the World Cup Circuit, attended 3 world championships, and won 6 National Championships for the University of Colorado. He now works at Yeti Cycles and races enduro professionally, where last season he placed 6th at the Winter Park Enduro World Series. Learn more about Joey joeyschusler.com
CELEBRITY PROFILE: IAN MACGREGOR
 Ian won back-to-back Under-23 Road Cycling Championships and raced professionally for five years before retiring due to Iliac Artery Endofibrosis. Along with Timmy Duggan, Ian founded the Just Go Harder foundation, a non-profit organization that creates scholarships that give kids an opportunity to get involved and find mentors in the extraordinary sports of cycling and skiing. Ian has a Mechanical Engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines, and is currently the CEO of Skratch Labs. Learn more about Ian justgoharder.com
CELEBRITY PROFILE: DEIDRE YORK

Deidre started riding mountain bikes when she was just 8 years old. She quickly moved to the top of the ranks through the junior system, earning spots on the US National Team as both a junior and U23. She has traveled to Austria and Italy to compete in the World Championships. She has now been racing professionally for the last 5 years.

CELEBRITY PROFILE: BRIAN BUELL
Growing up in the mountains, above Boulder, Brian was introduced early and proceeded to ride with family and friends throughout his upbringing. He got serious about riding once he discovered downhill racing. He spent a few years figuring that out, and now he will be competing in his 8th season professionally. Learn more about Brian geronimoracing.net

BMA Dirt Riders for Kids

Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance (BMA) has teamed up with Singletrack Mountain Bike Adventures (SMBA)  to specifically develop a social ride for young riders. These rides are a perfect introduction to the fun sport of mountain biking. This series will ride on easy to moderate trails, allowing young riders to master new biking skills. Rides are oriented toward the beginner rider where safety, fundamental skills, and basic bike maintenance are presented.

This 4-week series is designed for riders ages 7-12, and will repeat throughout the summer.

Tuesdays
4:30-6:30 p.m.

BMA Members: $96
Non-Members: $120

 All riders must provide proof of BMA membership to receive the BMA discount

Signup open for:

2014:
Session 1: May 6 – May 27 – SIGN UP NOW SOLD OUT
Session 2: June 3 – June 24 – SIGN UP NOW

Trails/Trailheads: Riders will meet and be picked up at the trailhead.
Week 1: Marshal Mesa
Week 2: Flatirons Vista
Week 3: Doudy Draw
Week 4: Betasso.

Early Bird Registration

NEW for 2014!!! Early Bird Registration! Make sure you take advantage of these deals & don’t miss the deadlines!

Early Bird Discount Deadlines:
March 1:  Spring and Moab
May 1:  Camps, Adventure Trips and SMBA Team Session #1
June 1: SMBA Team Session #2
August 1: SMBA Team Fall Session

Team Meetings

Camps

Questions about SMBA? We have answers.

 

Team Info Meeting, March 18: Whether you are new to the team or a veteran of the program please join us to talk about the season and answer questions.

Team Launch Party, May 16: This event is mandatory for all current and prospective SMBA Team athletes and parents.

This meeting will go over all of the awesome summer programs we have planned for 2014. We will be discussing what to expect, program dates, race dates, sponsors, team captains, community stewardship, as well as, introducing the 2014 SMBA coaching staff.

Don’t worry, it’s not all business. Tin Shed will be hosting and leave it to them to make the night a million times better…

Tin Shed will have Pizza! and, wait for it…Discounts! That’s right, if you did not have a chance to take advantage of Tin Sheds generous discount window for Team athletes this will give you one last chance to stock up on tubes, socks, derailleurs, hydration packs and everything you will need for the 2014 season!

If you ordered a bike from Specialized you will be able to pick your bike up at this event!