2014 Butter Gold Ride Photo by Ian Reid @bouldermoto
Grinding gravel. Gravel grinding. I dunno, to me the labeling all just sounds a bit too cliche'. I'm not normally the type to just nay-say a trend, even though I did, because riding dirt™ (Doesn't that sound better? I'm trademarking that post haste) is not a trend to us here in Colorado. It's....well it's just bike riding.
Michael Robson is my kindred soul. We're both essentially border collies without fur. Perennially wagging tails and smiling souls....put us to task and we'll go and slog after it, like a 100 mi bike ride in the rain, simply because it's like the tennis ball we need to get after. Michael has this gene about 10x more than me and frankly anyone else I know. Alas Michael, in an effort to evangelize the burgeoning brand he's developing called, Butter, developed the sort of tennis ball any dirt rider would jump through plate glass windows and forge streams to chase after: The Butter Gold Ride. 100 miles of some of Colorado's primo dirt.
Before I get into the meat of the ride, let's talk about this Butter 'thing'. Simply put, they 'churn the butter' in this industry and this lifestyle we all love and adore. Fine craftsmanship on the essentials we need to succeed at our passions and sublimely exposing us to the details of the sport and the lifestyle to remind us every day why we do this. And now, why our kids are crazy enough to follow in our footsteps. That's Butter.
2014 Butter Gold Ride by Kristin Weber - @sugardesigninc
On to the ride. First of all why? Well, naturally to be a bigger man to laugh at another man who's suffering at mile 98, but sincerely to bond as a core group of friends and support Boulder Junior Cycling as a sort of fund and awareness-raiser. Michael's 'big loop' took us from Boulder out East to Longtucky, up North to Fort Fun and then back on South home to The Bubble. It was a fully USAC-sanctioned ride and had a mix of folks from Tour de France veterans, national elite road champions, masters world and national cross champs and a sordid cast of cyclocross freaks who'd rarely set their 28c Clements on pavement. The ride generally looked like this on The Stravas...
Michael and his beautiful wife Wendy had the course dialed. Bail out points for the under-ridden of the crew and phenomenal food stops if you needed to stop and scarf down some gluten free goodness, Skratch Labs rice cake or a high octane doughnut. Way too #PRO for chumps like us as we're used to stopping off at 7-10 (not even good enough to be 7-11) stores in the high mountains and shoving a microwaved burrito, Gatorade and a Hostess pie in our mouths simultaneously. What Michael and Wendy did was to frankly destroy our reputations with quite possibly the most elegantly organized pit stops I've ever seen for this rolling mass of bandits.
The ride was kept 1000% safe. We tolerate no bullshit amongst our core crew of friends. No Cat 5 'low-T' AndroGel-lathering mopes with hair on fire to "win!!!" and cross yellow lines, half wheel and puff chests. We rode as a unit, pushing hard but we marshalled the 40 or so folks into solid pack riding. The Wizard-cum-patron Pete Webber laid down the law. Luckily, the Butter crew quite honestly knows each other intimately so there was no "who's that guy...he's gonna take me out" nonsense. They'd be marshalled if we saw those types of antics. Dirt riding to us is our means of driving bikes in an immensely more safe environment (from cars that is) and ensures the cyclist has to drive the bike well at all times....in the corners, on the washboarded straights and over rocks.
What we felt collectively was bliss. Even with 25-40mph gusts and spitting rain, the weather could not penetrate the warmth of the souls on the ride. All believers in the dirt. All old friends...and some new friends like Embrocation Journal's Brandon Elliot who made the trek down from Chicagoland to come see what all the fuss was.
The satisfaction of completing a 100mi ride over the dirt on skinny tires was rewarding, and we're blessed with endless supplies of it here in Colorado. So looking forward to the 2015 edition and maybe a "1/2 Stick of Butter" route in the high country this summer....whatchothink, Michael?