Summer Road Trip - Post #2

We made it to Vail, Colorado where the resort town lit up the Colorado sky. We were in the land of $30 overnight parking and $10 slices of pizza. We parked the jeep and lugged our gear up to my friend Brendan’s condo. His parents rent a condo every year for the Go Pro Games. I met Brendan in college and knew he was a good climber but I didn’t know to what extent. When team USA’s climbing team came to the condo to party and have dinner I started to understand just how good this guy is at climbing. His dad then showed me pictures of Brendan shaking the president of Guatemala’s hand after winning a climbing competition at the age of 14.

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We were in the land of $30 overnight parking and $10 slices of pizza.

After a night of homemade spaghetti and Mexican beers, we awoke to the sounds of megaphones and large crowds. The Go Pro Games were in full effect and boy was there a lot of free stuff. Have you heard of Bang energy drink? If you were at the games then you couldn’t miss these guys. Dressed like Globo Gym fitness coaches with perfect physique, they would shoot a smile your way as bright as a thousand suns while their 8-pack abdominals glistened in the high-atmosphere heat. Surely this drink had to be good. Nope, it was pretty shit. We stuck to coffee and made the rounds.

I couldn’t help but notice how many new-age devices there were at the games. People were rolling around on one-wheeled electric skateboards that topped out around 20mph. I was intrigued. Especially since all I had on me was a chipped up skateboard with half the bearings broken. And to think I’m a sponsored skateboarder. These guys were on to something. They could cruise through town and chug bang energy drinks while checking their apple watches all at the same time. What world had we entered? I wanted to be a part of this world so I went and demoed a board.

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What world had we entered?

I signed up and asked my “one wheel” instructor “do you wanna bang?” She was pretty taken back. I don’t think she realized I was just trying to offer her a Bang energy drink. I thought she was going to slap me. The demo went great. My instructors board broke down far away from the booth while me and Landon raced each other through the streets of Vail. We pulled her back on her board and got her number. Like I said, the demo went great.

The next day we woke up and rode our bikes to the top of Vail mountain. Wow. My lungs still hurt and I’m writing this in November. The uphill was satisfactory but the downhill made the climb worth it. We zoomed through the trees and pumped up and down the dirt mounds that descended down the mountainside. It was exhilarating. This was our first taste of high speed downhill on this trip and we were loving it. As we sped towards the bottom of the hill we kept looking back up the mountain, “damn, we climbed that.” That was a good feeling and fortunately for us, the trip had just begun.

Summer Road Trip - Post #1

I picked up my friend Landon from his mom’s house in the hills of Bella Vista, Arkansas. We were about to embark on a life changing adventure through the United States. The plan was to head west, taking 3-4 weeks to hit some amazing spots that would fuel our mountain biking addiction. We packed into my Jeep Wrangler and headed to Colorado. We were meeting up with some of my friends that attend the University of Arkansas in Vail. Because we were a couple days ahead of schedule, we cruised to my friend Cole’s place in Boulder where we would sample the different coffee and beer flavors that the Rockies had to offer.

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It felt like I was trying to breathe cold air out of a plastic bag.

Somehow, our sea-level bodies made it to the top of the mountain.

We slept well on Coles floor - well equipped with sleeping mats and sleeping bags that far exceeded our needs. It felt like a 5-star resort compared to what we were going to experience in Wyoming. We chugged some coffee, scarfed a couple donuts down and headed to the Antelope trail just outside Boulder. Our lungs weren’t prepared for the 3-4 mile climb at the start. It felt like I was trying to breathe cold air out of a plastic bag that kept recycling itself. Somehow, our sea-level bodies made it to the top of the mountain. Now was time for the fun part. A steady descent to the backside of the trail system that offered rock drops, garden crawls, and plenty of speed with a couple jumps scattered in there.

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Needless to say, the ride was epic.

Antelope Trail, Boulder, Colorado

Photo: Landon Kennedy

Needless to say, the ride was epic. The ground was packed well with a thin sandy dirt that gripped the tires just enough and released through turns when we wanted to slip our back tires out and spit up dirt. We had no serious falls, just a short slip up when we were frolicking through a flat going no more than 7mph and I was looking off in the distance trying to take in the beautiful views when all of a suddenly my bike stopped dead in its tracks and I front-flipped over my handle bars and back-flopped straight onto a boulder. We laughed about it and headed back to the truck.

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Suddenly my bike stopped dead in its tracks, I front-flipped over my handle bars and back-flopped straight onto a boulder.

The ride was over and we were toast. To our dismay, we managed to get ourselves lost on the ride back. We ended up about 3 miles away from my jeep on a dusty county road that seemed to wrap around the entire mountain. I told Landon I was certain that we needed to head…lets say north. (I had no clue). Luckily, I was right, which isn’t often. We made it back and enjoyed the room temperature canned chicken breast that awaited us, along with some Powerade. It was a feast.

We went back to Coles, drank some beers and took off the next morning for Vail, Colorado where we would party in luxury for the Go Pro Games.