Rhythm & Rides recap and looking forward….

Last weekend was the inaugural Sun Valley Rhythm & Rides Festival.  The idea for the festival was “hatched” back in January and I was proud to be contacted to be involved from the start.  The festival started on Wednesday and ran through Sunday and consisted of a Cruiser Criterium, MTB Poker Ride, Sawtooth Century, and the ID Pump Track State Championships.  On the non-cycling side of things, there was also live music scheduled for Friday night and Saturday afternoon.  Being involved in 5 of the 6 events in some capacity kept me busier than I like for the whole weekend.  Nonetheless, the festival was a great way to showcase some of the cycling options available here in the Wood River Valley and tie it all together.  The weekend ended with the ID Pump Track State Championships on Sunday and I was lucky enough to get out there and throw my hat in the ring.  Actually, I had no excuse since the pump track is about a block from where I live….    The vibe at the event was great.  There were at least 30-40 kids out there ripping it up and the only real crashes came from us, the adults!  Despite being dealt a “no show” by their main sponsor which was incredibly lame and disappointing, Julian and Brendan did a great job of pulling off a super fun grassroots event that undoubtedly has a great future!

When it was my turn to “give ‘er” I dropped in and, for some reason, rode much more aggressively than I normally do.  I almost kind of look like I know what I’m doing in there, even though I am sure that I would crash if my wheels came off of the ground!  The format is this:  you drop in off of the starting hill and your time starts when you cross over the line on the first roller.  After that, you do two laps and no pedaling is allowed (it is a “pump track” after all).  Your time is the average of your two laps and every pedal stroke is a 4 second penalty.  I had a 2nd place run in the bag until the half pedal stroke that I took just 10 feet from the finish line.  That little mental slip took me from 2nd to about 6th or something.   My run , and subsequent “brain fart” were documented here:

Now it’s time to focus on the racing ahead for the rest of the season.  This weekend, I’m in Breckenridge, CO for the Firecracker 50, which is also the USA Cycling Marathon National Championships.  I’m using this as the start to my training block for some races later in the summer and am looking forward to spending more time on my bike in the coming weeks.  I’m really looking forward to a few great road trips with friends to some really fun events in ID, OR, and MT and possibly spending a block of time back here in CO.

Right now I’m sitting in Proven Grounds Coffeeshop in Leadville, CO.  Reba and I came through here to meet with the Leadville Trail 100 organizers to discuss the 24 Hour MTB race that they’re organizing for later this summer and to see the start of the Leadville Marathon (& 1/2 marathon) this morning.

Runners line up for the Leadville Marathon

The Leadville race organization story is a great one.  This crew puts on 6-8 events each summer that are all growing in popularity.  This morning, there were nearly 700 people lined up for the start of the marathon, which is nearly double the turnout they had last year.  The best part of the story is what these events mean to the community.  Leadville was once one of the richest mining towns in the country and was the capital of Colorado.  Mining has slowly declined and the last major mining operation closed nearly 20 years ago, laying off nearly 3000 people.  Leadville went through some tough times shortly after as people moved away and businesses closed their doors.  Ken Chlouber, a CO senator at the time, took an interest in helping this town.  He met with local business owners who told him that, if he could just draw people here for one night, it would help all of the local businesses survive.  Ken saw recreation as the answer and held the inaugural Leadville 100 MTB race.  That first year, 45 participants showed up and no one really knew if riding 100 miles at 10,000-13,000 ft. elevation was even possible.  Today, that same race draws over 1,200 participants and includes the strongest cyclists in the world.  The Leadville races collectively keep this town busy throughout the summer season and undoubtedly have been a major factor in the survival of Leadville as a town.  The “icing on the cake” so to speak, is the endowment fund that they’ve created to help send local kids to college.  Just this year, that fund granted nearly $60,000 in scholarships for education to kids that otherwise probably would not have that option.  Kudos to Ken, Merilee, and the entire Leadville race series crew!!!

OK, time to go for a ride and start thinking about racing tomorrow!


~ by ketchumgreg on July 3, 2010.

3 Responses to “Rhythm & Rides recap and looking forward….”

  1. Greg. Good luck to the both of you over the next few races and thank so much for all the help in making the riding scene in the Wood River Valley better then ever. Look forward to some rides when you finally get back town.


  2. just subscribing, wants me to leave a response. Ok…

  3. Yeehaw! I was super impressed with your pump track state championship ride! Even if you did pedal just a little!

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