Sunday, July 19, 2015

Visiting Copper Mountain - Strictly Business, of Course!

 Due to the graciousness of Giant Bicycles (and my own employer), I was invited to attend "The Link".  It's a yearly thing where Giant gathers dealers together to see and ride the new stuff.  It's always an amazing shindig.  I visited The Link in Park City, Utah in 2013.
 For 2015, The Link was at Copper Mountain, Colorado.  That meant arriving at Denver International Airport on Sunday.
 The drive up highway 70 was different this time around.  When we did our family vacation in Colorado in 2012, we drove up this same stretch of highway and it was brown, brown, brown from the dry weather.  This time, it was green, green, green except for some of the pine trees that have been damaged by the Japanese beetle.
 The view from my incredible hotel room.  Green.  Mountains.  Ahhhh.
 First order of business on Monday was to ride bikes.  I busted through the killer catered breakfast and hit the trail with this Anthem.  A carbon fiber version of my own bike, it also sported the new Shimano Deore XT 1x11 drivetrain and carbon wheels.  Excellent.
 I climbed up the Colorado Trail from the Copper Mountain resort.  I stopped quite a bit on the way up to snap photos, as well as catch my breath.  Copper starts at 9700 feet.  Altitude kicks my ass.
 Super thoughtful sections of wood keeps the flow.  What an awesome trail, and, at least in this section, it's very well maintained. 
 Would you love to flow an awesome machine down this stuff?  Don't worry, it's not all groomed like this.  There are rocky sections, roots, pine needles...
 Pine needles.  Grippy.  And they smell good, too.
 Right-click this photo and view it in it's largest state.  That little creek is overflowing from all the rain.  It was raging.  The killer little bridge over it was icing on the cake.
 Lacking even more air as I closed in on 11,000 feet, this view took more breath away.  That raging little creek is calmer here as it comes down this pass.  That bald mountain up there is above the tree line.  Looks so close...but it's so far.
 I finally turned around as I heard thunder rumbling in the distance...and I ran out of steam.  And air.  Coming down was a blast.  So much fun.
 I snapped a great view of the bikes as they were gathered.  There were so many top-of-the-line bikes.  Giant really, really spares no expense so that it's dealers can try out the best.
 Tuesday afternoon, I wanted to ride the lift up and try out some of the "downhill" trails.  I hate chair lifts.  I hate heights.  But the top of this mountain is at 11,500 feet, and there isn't any way I was climbing all the way up there to bomb down.
 This was my Tuesday ride, a carbon Trance with more XT 1x11 and lots of travel. 
 At the top of the lift, this is what greeted me.  Right click this one, it's beautiful.  From here, the Elk Alley trail took me back down to the lodge.  I am not one to extract all of the downhill goodness from a bike with long travel.  But I was grinning ear to ear.  After reaching the bottom, I decided to hit the Colorado Trail again, this time with the Trance.  It climbed very well, despite inches more of travel than I can possibly use.  I got about 40 minutes up...
 ...and then the crack of thunder raised the hair on my arms.  No rain yet, but the air turned a blue color.  Very, very eerie.  I booked it back down, which was super fun on the Trance.
 And more rain came.  Still a beautiful place in the rain.
 I was able to hang for a few minutes with BMX Hall of Fame member Perry Kramer (of PK Ripper fame!)  He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the first days of BMX.  An absolute treasure and a pleasure to talk with.
 Blue skies on Wednesday.  I only rode a little bit, as the trails were quite soggy.  So, I took in the beauty of the resort and the mountains.
 This could be a post card.
 That big snow mound at the base of the mountain is used by the Woodward people.  There are little practice jumps for snow boarders.
 Another picturesque view from the grounds.
 What would life be like if our trails looked like this after it rained...every day?  It's crazy, it rained every day, and only early in the morning would the trails really be soggy.
One last view.  The beauty and the beast.  That should be beasts, as the mountains AND the weather can be beasts.  Love this place.  Loved the trip.  I hate flying, but it was more than worth it.