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Entries in MTB (65)

Singletrack heaven | A look back at The Growler

I met a good bud of mine, RSteve, on the street in downtown Boulder yesterday. The guy is a human GPS unit having mentally mapped most of the best Colorado has to ride off road and is a walking lung. A wheel that very few can hold.

“Keller! Dude, why aren’t you writing as much any more?”

Cue in the sad trombone music.

The reality is with everything going on, I just don’t have the time to write…let alone ride.

But I miss it so. Telling stories, ranting, laughing…you know me by now. So, just know I’ll keep trying. And so I am posting. Thanks for re-inspiring me, RSteve!

So with that known…especially the lack of riding part…I headed to one of the most beautiful areas in all of Colorado: Gunnison. A true Western town (yes, I saw horses rambling down Gunnison’s Main Street along with the cars) and home to some great folks like Dave Wiens and wife Susan De Mattei…both institutions of our beautiful sport and the single classiest people you could ever possibly meet. We’ll get to those folks in a moment.

I decided to pull up my big girl panties and zip-tied a number on to my Ahrens 29’er for The Growler… 64 mile (2 x 32 mile laps) of some insane singletrack tied together with fantasmic rock gardens and imagedoubletrack. The Boulder Cycle Sport crew of Brandon Dwight, Pete Webber, their families and myself met up at our home base with the Brown family for the weekend. These guys have known each other for a dog’s year or more so it was great to hear old racing stories and shenanigans.

We prepped bikes the night before…a bunch of kids geeked up on tire  pressure, suspension cush and nutrition. “Are you wearing a camelback? I’m not wearing a camel back. Are you wearing one?”

With the bikes dialed we all woke up at Oh-Dark-Thirty for a 7AM shotgun start to the race. 40 degrees out and it was a careful balance of what to wear before you start hotting up. We did a neutral roll out until we came to the race course area (Hartman Rocks BLA managed open space) where the first thing you experience was a MONSTER climb. The 360 or so participants pretty immediately thinned out with me thankfully making the front 3rd.

From here the day would get…harder. The singletrack imagewas absolutely gorgeous. Buffed and flowy with true berms to rail corners sans brakes. Between these sections of singletrack, you’d hit these insane rock garden sections. For those here in Boulder,  imagine constantly taking on rock challenges like those on the front side of Hall Ranch…both climbing AND descending. Lots of carnage but the Growler folks made it UBER clear that this race is not for the inexperienced.

I’ll make a long story short. An hour and a 1/2 into my first 32 mile lap I develop shifting problems. While I am riding, I start playing with the barrel adjuster to fix it. On a small climb it happened: “PING!” The chain tears off. I pull off to the side of the singeltrack while 100’s of riders zoomed past. I start to use my Crank Bros tool to work the chain. The link is broken so I have to take a few out to try and get ‘er back together. I’m fumbling to get it back together and I lose the pin in the sand. ARRGH! A guy yells at me that neutral service is “right over that hill (in front of me).” So I start my trail run. Bike on back, I start my hike/run. 20 minutes later…still no neutral tent. I then start to mess around again at a trail junction when my friend and savior Jorge comes in after fixing his own issues with his bike. He helps me get the pin in and we’re off. 200ft later: “Ping!”. Chain pops again. Done. I limp it to the tent coasting, etc, and I get help from some great folks. They get me squared away and I finish the day after a lap. In at 4 hours. Awesome. But I’ll be back to ride that insane course again.

Travis and Pete had insane days with a 2nd and 4th respectively. Dubba had a great day even with a torn side wall on his tire, while our Boulder brethren Ward Baker, the Torrance bros, Dave Weber, Rob Batey and Mr. Noyes all drilled it with Mellissa Thomas and Sonya Looney kicking ass in the Woman’s group (motoring past most of the men too mind you).


Afterwards the celebration was absolutely rad. Great people, a full spread of food and beer for the racers and podium celebrations galore. We spent the day there recounting war stories of the race sipping on Mighty Arrow and getting silly on the corn bread and jambalaya. Later that evening our crew convened at a great pub. It turned into a true meeting of old friends and the posse of racers that I so admired when I was racing as a sport in the 90’s: Wiens and wife Susan, Daryl Price and wife Dana, Travis and wife Mary (who raced herself and completed the mission even after a NASTY spill), Pete Webber and wife Sally, Brandon and his new family, etc. Amazing conversations between souls who bleed this sport every day. Whether it is putting on amazing races or making the bikes you ride better, their DNA is in this sport permanently. The part that most don't get to see is that this whole culture *is* their family. Racing and the training…that’s probably a small part of it. It’s about the people they surrounded themselves with all these years that seemed to me to be the draw. The reason to keep going.

image  It’s why I keep coming back too, broken chains and trail runs aside. My friends always seem to be there.

Growler | To Growl long, or short. That is the question

It's coming up fast. The Growler is right around the corner. An epic race put on by Dave Wiens and a crew of passionate Gunni-ites. So looking forward to this as The WB has been talking this race up to me for a dog's year.

There's two loops of 32 miles each. Participants can do the 64 mile original 'double lapper' or the single lap'er. I still don't know where my head and legs are at this time of year. My biz partner and are honored to have been selected to one of our country's most prestigious business incubators for the summer, which means hard hours and crazy schedules. Racing bikes (or getting out to train) is just less of a priority these days...taking a necessary second fiddle to earning money again (ahhh, startups...).

But alas, the call of the woods is a strong one. Just to be able to purge the soul for a weekend with friends will be more than I could have asked for, 64miles with gears...or 32 miles with none. That is the question.

Heil Ranch Fun - Spring has Spring

The snows have gone and the flowers are blooming. Time for the fat tires. Time for smiles with friends.

Bombing the Link Trail | More GoPro HD Hero Testing

One gear. Fully rigid. Very icy. Super fun today toying around for a few hours on my 1x1 up at Betasso. I picked some footage of the Link Trail with my GoPro HD Hero and threw in some Chemies for good measure. Can NOT wait for the Spring!

Bombing the Link Trail - Boulder from Gregory Keller on Vimeo.

The VeloNews diary is live!

What a day, folks. The course for SSWC was super super hard but unbelievably fun. There's no real standings but I was told I was in the top 50-60 of 1000, completed in 2:22 so I can't complain.

I have a diary entry on if you want to geta  small glimpse into the least from my perspective. My hombre Frank Mapel has an awesome photo essay on as well.

Check it! Stay tuned for CrossVegas this week!

Rocking the Discos! | Singlespeed Chain Guide

Check it! My main man Whit-J dialed me into a pair of Discos he'd made (I believe with T-Brown) back in the day. I need to get the whole history of their genesis and I'll update this post. A few years ago, they cranked out these ingenious guides in Ti and carbon (and maybe aluminum?) which all but prevent chains from jumping. I'm honored to have a set! I used a combination of full spaces and 'sliver' spacers as the carbon itself is slightly thinner than the aluminum spacers.

Anyways, friggin' trick! Check it!

My new project | Kelly Roshambo 29’er 1 x 1

Ahhhhh ringk gingk gingk!” That was the sound of the ‘chant’ my buds and I used to make as we threw our paper, rock or scissor on the 3rd and last ‘gingk’. You ALWAYS throw on the 3rd gingk. So many rounds of beers, shotgun seats or general slave-like tasks were won and lost over rounds of Ro Sham Bo amongst my crew…so when I saw this little number for sale on the Pros Closet, and then focused-in on the name of the frame, she had to be mine. It was destiny.

The Kelly Roshambo is a steel singlespeed frame, made of True Temper OX Platinum Steel. She’s old school with V-Brakes, but irresistible nonetheless. I am selling my old 26” Dean singlespeed as I just can’t justify riding on 26” wheels any longer. My 2 years on my Ahrens Revolver 29’er has converted me to big wheels without a need to look back. Seeing what Specialized and Gary Fisher are doing with their full suspension 29’er bikes has also effectively blown up this image in my brain that 9’ers would simply not have a place in the FS market. All that has changed too…

So to the bike, I am building it slowly. Transferring parts from the old Dean including a (I think) 1st generation Chris King headset (bomber!!), 2007 XTR V-Brakes, Time ATAC pedals, Syncros seat post circa 96 and ultra-bomber and stiff Race Face DH cranks. New stuff will include a Thomson 110/0° rise stem, flat bars and bar ends. The wheels will be built up on a set of 1998 Chris King MTB hubs with new Stans ZTR 355’s (for rim brakes) and likely DT spokes. Not 100% sure on rubber yet but those Geax Saguaro’s tread pattern is delicious in their 2.2 and likely I’ll stick with those which I tested on the Edge Composites carbon wheels.

imageAnyways, the project is fun and being done on the super-cheap as a 1 x 1 should! I’ll report back once I get this thing to a completed state and have ridden around on it. And yes, this is what I’ll be rocking in Durango come September

Geax Tires presents 'What's Next' by Aaron LaRocque

Holy shnikees. The photography and angles filmaker Aaron LaRocque is unreal. Absolutely unreal. Follow this link on for more info, but enjoy this trailer with an adult beverage.

Help this boy get his epic in Breck'ic

Have you seen this boy? You may recognize him from such events as the Master's National Cyclocross Championships, the instigator and proprietor of Dopers Suck or as the blogger who brought you Chocolate Waffles and 'Cross!

And now, with a propensity for popping champagne on podiums winning stars-n-bars, our Brandon za Dubba Dwight has since upgraded his habit to Dom and roaming the streets of Boulder ranting about ..."I'm bringin' the pain next season!"...this, to "....I need me one good epic to train"....that. So, like the global group of philanthropists we are, we need to intervene and get this guy an epic under his belt and build up for 'cross this season.  And there's no better way to do that than to help vote him into the...

The organizers of Breck Epic in Breckenridge, Colorado (a multi-day stage race around the same time as the Firecracker 50 National Marathon MTB championships) are doing something super interesting: They advertised for a group of writers/bloggers to come and talk about the event leading up and the community will get to vote for of them to get into the event!

So, if you could, help me help a brother and have a look at Dubba's profile here. Once you've done that, note the 'Cast Your Vote' link on the left side of his profile. Click that and navigate on over to the Survey Monkey site they've created and give a vote for Brandon. Here's the catch: You'll see on the voting for First, Second, Third. Help Dubba under-achieve by voting him for THIRD place. Sounds weird, huh? Trust me on this one. Give 'im a THIRD place vote and I think we'll see him in Breck in July.

You've done your philanthropy for today. Now get back to work!


The Epics Continue: Railing Larimer's Finest

I'm not sure at what point I realized that I had a big ride in the morning. While I was on stage, several cocktails into the evening wailing out Elton John's Rocket Man at Boulder's dive karaoke bar....or watching my wife while on said stage in said bar getting cornered by a gaggle of....well let's just say some ladies playing for the other team. Hilarious.

But it was obviously time to go home....

When my eyes cracked open at 7:30AM....and I surveyed the body for any physical damage...then ensure the evening was 'awesome' by finding my wallet and CrackBerry (those things just tend to get lost on epic evenings...)...I knew I had to hi tail it to get to Amante and meet the crew there. Kiss goodby and car packed, I flew to the meet up point (Amante) and saw that we had a crew...a massive crew....of super fun, super fast dudes.....
Today was going to hurt.

The destination were some of the beautiful county built trails up in Larimer County. Trails like Horsetooth and Devil's backbone would be on the Agenda. It was my first time there but we had some dudes in the mix today who own those trails and would show us a great ride. And yes, it would be epic.

I snapped this late in the ride. Scope out the people and dog on the top!

Spectacular trails interwoven with amazing geography

Preparing to braaaap

The trail systems are insane in Larimer. Well marked and super well engineered. Very flowy. One section was brutally harsh...traversing a massive multiple mile rock field which rattled the fillings out of our teeth. All else was sick singletrack with miner bits of fire road and pavement to hook stuff up.
Even the best of us had to walk some sections. Sick technical twisties...

It was clear the previous night took a lot of wind out of the sails. I needed to absolutely just be within myself on the massive climbs. Nothing to prove, no goals whatsoever other than burning the hangover out of me....but in this part of the year, just to be fit without being near that scary edge of sickness-fitness.

The long road ahead....

Rest stops to fix up some mechanicals

The Trek Team boys were drilling it hard. Great bunch of dudes with obvious talent. They love the mountain bike. That brings me joy to see.
Za author. One lucky biscuit


Matty Opp showing us the finer things

By mid way through, we split....the young single guys (and Batey) going on for another couple of hours, and Longman, Matty Opp, Birthday Boy Bobby, Boups and I still had another hour or more of technical riding ahead of us. So we split the crew and went our ways.
The last stretches....

All said and done, we got back to the car in roughly 4:50 ride time covering lots of extremely technical and cherry ground. I'll be sure to be back. The trail system is a keeper.

More of the day's digital celluloid. Full set found here.