Come summer, Alex Deibold likes to cross train by riding his road bike. Straight from his personal blog (click here to check it out), Alex tells the story of his attempted 237 mile bike ride on a stormy Colorado summer’s day.
“On Tuesday I attempted to ride my bike 237 miles in one day and I still haven’t come up with a very good reason why. I had plenty of time to think about it, 16 hours to be exact. It wasn’t a race, it wasn’t part of a tour or a group ride or fundraiser. It was just a route through the mountains of Colorado that my friend and I arbitrarily came up with.
With minimal planning and almost no training (Cam was pretty much straight off the couch) we headed North out of Buena Vista in the pre-dawn hours after what felt like a quick nap. We had no support and would have to carry everything we needed: food, water, tubes, and rain gear. We weren’t going to be exploring some far off mountain range, in fact we would be going though some pretty well to do ski towns, but there were some pretty remote stretches of road in between and needed to be prepared. 7 miles in I ran over a piece of discarded truck tire and got my first flat of the ride. After I finished replacing the tube and got the tire re-seated the valve stem broke and just like that, I was down to my last tube. I had gone through more tubes in the first 25 minutes of our ride than I have in the last two years and 3000 miles of road riding. It was apparent early on that it was going to be truly epic.
Independence Pass was our first of 4 major mountain passes and we quickly realized that the lack of oxygen was going to be one of the biggest challenges of the day. The rain that greeted us as we descended down into Aspen had held off longer than expected so we donned our gear and settled in for what looked to be a pretty wet day in the saddle. 7 hours and 90 miles in we pulled over in Carbondale to refuel before the longest and most difficult leg of our planned route. Cliff bars and Gu-packets were never going to cut it for an outing like this and we wanted some real sustenance. After we powered down full sized meatball subs we stopped in a used sporting goods shop to try and find a tube and some extra layers; even in July the mountain summits were colder than expected and we were now soaking wet. As much as I try not to be, I am a bit of a bike snob. I was riding a bike that is worth more than twice what my car is and wearing a kit that isn’t available to the public yet – taste I had acquired after working along side Cam for the past 3 summers. I never thought I would see the day when he would be so stoked to pull on a pair of used motorcycle rain pants, but we were willing to do whatever it took to stay warm and finish the ride.
The rain let off a bit as we rode south into the small town of Redstone and the mountains poked out from behind the low laying clouds. At this point we were around 115 miles in, just about half way, and our bodies were reminding us how hard this was actually going to be. I’ve lived in Colorado for almost 10 years now, Cam 3 times that, and we were both still easily amazed by the beauty of this incredible state. There were certainly easier routes we could have chosen, but we were reminded of why we had picked the hard way, there is something almost inexplicable about being out in these remote sections of nature with nothing more than a bike and your own two legs to get you there. That John Denver is most definitely not full of shit.
McClure Pass was relatively short but the 9% gradient certainly felt like being kicked while you were already down. We tried to coast and enjoy the next 16 miles of downhill knowing that Kebbler Pass leading into Crested Butte would be one of toughest sections of the entire route. Cam and I had split up near the start of the climb when he pulled over to shed layers and I had wanted to just keep moving, agreeing we would regroup in Crested Butte if we didn’t pass each other sooner. The views were absolutely amazing, with one of the largest Aspen tree groves in the world spreading out as far as I could see, and I tried to enjoy the solace of the Gunnison National Forest. It wasn’t the highest or the steepest, but Kebbler felt like it just kept going up and up. To make it even tougher, almost the entire 30 miles from its base to Main Street in C.B. were dirt. The rain that had soaked us earlier made the usually well-maintained road just muddy enough to cake my bike with what felt like a few extra pounds of grime. Just past half way up the pass and around 150 miles into the ride I ran out of water. When the mountain kicked up yet again, my tired legs could barely turn the pedals over, I found myself walking my bike; I didn’t want to sit down and take a break for fear that I wouldn’t have the will power to keep going. Looking back, this was definitely tbat moment; I was having internal dialogue telling myself I just had to get to CB to refuel and then it was the home stretch.
When I rolled into town I headed straight for a shop to wash off my rig and get some extra tubes for the final 70 miles. At the suggestion of one of the guys at the bike shop, I headed down the street to get a burrito. Just as I was sitting down with my much needed fuel, Cam rolled into town. We traded stories about the previous 3 hours over Mexican Coke’s that tasted like they had been crafted by the hand of God and tried to work up the courage to get back on our bikes. Finally, we walked outside to remount and ride into the evening. Looking South we saw ominously dark clouds and could hear the distant sound of thunder. We agreed that our safety was more important than finishing, Cottonwood Pass had 4 miles of road above tree line and the risk far outweighed the reward.
I took a shot in the dark and called a friend I knew used to live in town that I hadn’t seen or spoken with in several years, and by some miracle she not only answered but insisted that we come over to shower and spend the night. In hindsight, she really saved our asses. The storm that rolled through brought heavy rain, lightning and thunder that would have had us bivied under a tree out in the wilderness. We were able to shower, wash our disgustingly dirty kits, and borrow clothes to sleep in. It’s in moments like these that I am reminded of how important friendships are and I hope that down the road, I can do the same for one of mine in need.
As we got back on our bikes the following morning, we gained a massive amount of new found respect for the riders that make up the majority of the peloton at events like the Tour de France. They may not have leg hair, body fat or sweet tan lines but the amount of pain those guys endure on a regular basis makes them true hardmen. Rolling past Taylor reservoir we looked off into the distance and could see our final and major hurdle: Cottonwood Pass. 14 more miles of dirt up to 12,126 feet, then it was down hill all the way back to the car. My knees hurt, my legs ached and my sitsbones were rubbed raw. Even with all the suffering, I was still able to look out across the valleys and appreciate how lucky I was to be out just riding my bike.
When we finally got back into town and rolled up to the car, there was no finish line, no friends or fans to greet us, just a the 3 hour drive looming a head. And that was just fine with me. I didn’t agree to join for a bike jersey or ribbon that would tell fellow cyclists what I had done. I did it purely for the sake of trying to do something that I wasn’t sure was possible. If you don’t ever try to push past your limits, you’ll never know what you’re fully capable of. I don’t know if I will ever finish the loop, I may or I may not, but either way I’m not left with a feeling of disappointment I didn’t accomplish the goal I set out to do. I was proud that I tried. Failure is inevitable on the road of life. As any true hardman of the peloton will tell you, that’s okay as long as you keep riding.
Thanks for sharing, Alex!
Over the past few months, WEND has been preparing for winter by beefing up our already-impressive team. We’re stacked with slopestyle athletes, pipe slayers, racers and aerialists. We’re proud to sponsor the very best skiers and snowboarders in the industry across a variety of disciplines!
The WEND Word has been catching on throughout the ski and snowboard industry, and since spring we’ve beefed up our team to include more heavy hitters and rising stars.
Check out our Team Page to see all the fresh new faces!
As summer is coming to a close, and you are counting down the days until the snow season comes around again, I bet you are wondering how to never have this long between ski trips again. The solution? Summer ski and snowboard camps! You don’t have to go 6 months without putting those boots on. Start planning now for next summer and you, too, can have an endless winter. And summer camp is not just for kids, I myself attended a summer snowboard camp as an adult and it changed my life. I then went to work at that very camp the next summer and the following 6 summers after that. Trust me, it’s worth it!
Top 3 Tips-
GO. Please go to summer camp. It will be awesome and fun and totally worth it! Guaranteed.
If you are under 18… pay for it yourself. It will be super rewarding, teach you some life lessons, and make it way easier to convince your parents to let you go! Let’s say you need $2000 to attend summer camp. That would be setting aside $167 per month, or about $40 a week. With planning and determination, you can do it! Babysit for 3 hours a week, or save that lunch money your folks give you and make yourself a PB&J instead. So easy!
Pack A LOT of socks. And underwear while we’re at it. You will use at 2 pairs of socks and underwear per day. After a day on hill you will be soaking wet, and while you can set your socks out to dry after you get off hill, no one likes putting crusty socks on in the morning, worse yet wet socks because you forgot to bring them in at night and they got wet all over again.
What to expect-
Lots and lots of new friends. No matter what level you are in skiing or snowboarding, you will meet people at your ability level who are just like you, super amped on skiing or snowboarding! You will also make friends with people better than you who will help you improve and inspire you to keep pushing yourself. Everyone who attends camp loves snowsports and is there to have a blast and improve their skills. This makes for an awesome ambiance around camp, and it is so fun to be around others with similar passions.
You will do lots of things other than ski or snowboard! You will hike, you will bike, you will skate, you will watch movies, you will play dodgeball, you will eat snacks, you will do arts and crafts, and you will most likely get some free stuff. So it is a summer camp after all. Try these new things out, don’t just sit after your morning on the mountain and watch TV, do that at home.
Your life after camp will never be the same. You will meet so many new people, have so many awesome experiences, and it is so amazing 24/7 that regular life will feel a bit dull in comparison. But no worries! Start saving again and next summer will be here before you know it!
My Top 3 Camps- (check online for dates, details and current pricing)
High Cascade Snowboard Camp- Government Camp, Mt. Hood, OR. In my biased opinion, one of the best summer camps out there. They have adult camps, grom camps, photo camps, all amazing! Located in the village of Government Camp, there are a few shops, great food stands and two watering holes. Plus the resort is 20 minutes away, great hiking is up the street and the lake is 5 miles down the road. Snowboarding only. $1795 The Lodge option, $2095 Chalet option, $2245 Adult Chalet. http://www.highcascade.com/
Windells Camp- Welches, Mt. Hood, OR. Located in the middle of the forest, Windells has that quintessential summer camp feeling. Plus they have ski, skate and BMX camps, unlike HCSC. Their indoor and outdoor skate facilities are incredible and their location is a bit closer to civilization. This camp also has adult sessions all summer long! And if you go and fall so in love you don’t want to leave, you don’t have to, just enroll in the Windells Academy, learn and ride all year. $1699-$1799 depending on the session. http://windells.com/
South American Snow Sessions- Catedral Alta Patagonia, Argentina. Now, I don’t know much about SASS, only that it is awesome. If you want to have an out of the country adventure and some incredible skiing and riding, this is for you! Their session dates are super flexible, so you can customize your camp/vacation experience. Stay on the slopes, and have the world’s top skiers and snowboards as your guides. $2595 over 18, 8 day session, $2793 under 18 8 day sessions. http://www.sassglobaltravel.com/argentina/
Runner Up- Camp of Champions – Whistler, BC, Canada. Premier ski and snowboard camp (and mountain biking too!), located in the heart of the adorable and super fun Whistler Village ski town. $2395 deluxe camp (includes coaching). http://campofchampions.com/
Parting Words- My 10th suggestion regarding summer snowboard camps, is to make sure and wax your board!! Seriously. Conditions are so different in the summer than in the winter. Make sure you use a warm weather wax, and hopefully you will be able to get the speed you need in the slush, won’t damage your base as much if you run over the occasional lava rock, and will slide better on those wet boxes and rails. Good luck, and God speed!
This past weekend, the WEND crew packed up our gear and headed to the Rockies to cheer on our team at Winter X Games in Aspen. We set up shop in the waxing room of the athlete lounge to make sure the skiers’ and riders’ equipment was competition-ready.
More and more athletes and techs are using WEND products to help reach the podium and bring home some serious bling, but our team in particular crushed it with two gold medal wins. BoarderX star Lindsey Jacobellis finished first in her event, earning her 8th X Games gold medal and becoming the most decorated female in X Games history. In ski slopestyle, defending champ Nick Goepper threw bangers like a switch right dub screamin’ seamen and a triple cork 1440 mute, raking in a huge score of 95 and becoming the first skier since 1994 to earn back-to-back golds in this event.
Members of US Snowboarding and the US Ski Team also found success with WEND on their bases, with many of their athletes taking home medals too.
These big wins come right before the athletes head to Sochi to represent the US in the Winter Olympics. If the X Games is any indication of how our athletes will perform in Sochi, we’ve got high hopes. We’re stoked to see what they do with the momentum they’re carrying and we’re sure they’ll make us proud!
WEND Wax announces the signing of Freestyle Moguls Skier Heather McPhie to their Elite World Team. #RoadtoSochi #WendWaxWillGetYouThere #MadeinCalifornia
McPhie, 2013 National Freestyle Champion, Olympian and third overall for 2012/2013 joins WEND Elite Team members Daron Rahlves, Lindsey Jacobellis, Kazu Kokubo, Nick Goepper, John Teller, Anais Caradeux and Travis Gerrits.
“I am thrilled to be teaming up with the WEND family. Before working with WEND wax I’ve known very little about taking care of my own equipment. WEND wax and their staff have been incredible with me, in terms of teaching me how to use the product and how to take care of my skis! The hot wax is great, and they have liquid wax that I use while training. Waxing regularly has made my skis feel smoother, and more consistent, and I have gained a lot of peace of mind from understanding how to use the product myself, and keep things consistent from day to day”, stated Heather.
”It’s fantastic having Heather onboard. She’s a great fit for WEND with her high standards, positive attitude and love for the sport”, said John Dahl (Wax Research President). ”I see us achieving great things together.”
About Heather McPhie
Olympian Heather McPhie came late to moguls, but she’s been making up for lost time. In 2010, the Bozeman, Montana native found a new gear and accelerated to her first four career World Cup podiums, including one win in her current hometown of Park City, UT. Her breakout results earned her a trip to her first Olympics in Vancouver. The 2012-2013 ski season was Heather’s most successful to date, with three World Cup wins, as well as two other podiums. She finished the season ranked third overall in the world and defended her title at the National Championships.
WEND, a brand owned by Wax Research, Inc., is a sophisticated line of Fluoro and Natural racing waxes, overlays, bars, pastes and a full range of tuning shop waxes and base treatments. Wax Research, founded 1972 in California, is a family owned company as well as a global market leader in the action sport wax and accessory business. They have produced private label snow waxes since 1972 for some of the top brands of the sport.