Rendezvous Mountain Bike Capital USA™ Weekend
If you are having trouble finding things to do this summer, you are not looking very hard. It seems like there is something going on every weekend here in Winter Park, Colorado. Whether it’s a concert, festival, race, etc. finding something do should not be hard at all. Last weekend was definitely a packed one. I could probably write this article under any of our Summer Adventure Series categories. My weekend started Thursday night with camping at Kite Lake Campground next to Alma, Colorado. A friend from Denver and I camped out Thursday night at Kite Lake so we could hike four 14ers, Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Bross Friday Morning. If you live in Colorado, I would definitely recommend this trip. That hike was so much fun, but it is not the reason why I’m writing this article.
Last Saturday was definitely the hi-light of my action packed weekend. If you are not familiar with the Rendezvous Mountain Bike Capital USA™ Weekend it is a FREE Mountain Bike Skills Camp paired with a bunch of other actives like the Epic Singetrack Race, Tequila & Tacos Festival, Live Music and Yoga. It all started Saturday morning at 8:00 am with the Strong Balance Exercises class. Unfortunately due to my bad planning skills and how tired I was Friday night after my hike, I missed the exercise class because I hadn’t rented a mountain bike yet. After some research I found that Icebox Mountain Sports was scheduled to open at 8:30 am which was at least 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the rental shops. I knew I had until 9:00 am before they split us up into our groups, so that was the plan.
To make up for the fact that I forgotten to rent a bike the night before, I left the house a little earlier and got down to Icebox Mountain Sports around 8:10 am. To my surprise, someone road up on their bike within five minutes of getting there. I got out of my car asked “Are you here to open shop?” She replied “Yes, how can I help you?” I then explained my situation. She responded with something along the lines of “come on in, and fill out our waiver and I will get you setup with a bike.” Less than 10 minutes later I was bookin’ it to Hideaway Park with some time to spare, thanks to Icebox.
When I arrived at Hideaway Park there were tons of people all geared up to ride. Between the Skills Camp and the Singletrack Race there had to have been at least a couple hundred people there. I first walked over to the registration tent to pick my wristband and swag bag. The draw string backpack was chalk full of T-shirts, sunscreen, snacks, discount passes and more. Already, this FREE Skills Camp was paying off! Soon after my swag bag excitement they called us over to introduce the group leaders who were teaching the different level skill camps. Then they split us up into our groups: Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced.
I chose to be in the Intermediate Skills Camp. Even though I have not ridden a ton, I knew I would push myself more in that group. Once we spilt up the five Intermediate group leaders talked for a minute then they lead us over to Grand Park behind The Foundry. From there they split us up into smaller groups depending on how comfortable we felt on the bike, and what we were interested in learning. A couple of the groups were staying and working on some cone drills. A few others were headed straight for the trails. You can probably guess which group I went with. If you guessed the trail group you are right. We took off up Kings Crossing Road then took a right after the rail road tracks onto Winter Park Northwest Loop Trail towards Sun Dog Trail.
There were about ten of us in the group plus the two group leaders. Once we got on to Sun Dog Trail we stopped near a tree that had two big roots going across the tail. One of the instructors started talking to us about how when they originally built the trail there was only one way past this obstacle and that was over the roots, but over time some riders have made an alternative route off to the right around the roots. The instructor continued on to say that they were going to teach us how the ride the trails as intended. The farther up the trail the harder the obstacles were.
Eventually we split off into two separate groups. Four of us and one of the instructors were moving a little faster through the obstacles than the others. We learned how to ride on roots, stumps, rocks, switchbacks, and wooden features. Around noon we stopped and turned around to do an awesome downhill run over all of the features we hit on the way up. It was great way to practice all that we had learned throughout the skills camp. Once we all got to the bottom of the trail we made our back to Hideaway Park for lunch.
For lunch they provided chips, cookies, sandwiches and a beer or soda and water. Once all of the groups got back and started eating, guest speaker Alison Powers talked about her experience of growing up in the Fraser Valley. She explained how she came to love mountain biking, and her journey with the sport. One thing that I noticed that day was the huge female presence of both participants and instructors. It was awesome to see a stereotypically male dominated sport like mountain biking have such a high female turn out.
After the Alison Powers talk was over we had the option to go back out for another ride or check out the Tequila & Tacos Festival. As much as I wanted to go back out and ride, my body was telling me otherwise. It might have been the six and a half hour hike I did the day before. Plus, Tequila & Tacos was calling my name. If you want to read about how the Tequila & Tacos Festival went Click Here. After I was done stuffing my face and getting my drink on I still had to ride the rental bike to Icebox. This was actually kinda handy even though I didn’t have much to drink. (More tacos than tequila for me!)
I forgot to mention earlier but during the Skills Camp I fell on one of wooden features and skinned up my left hand and shin, but nothing too bad. If you’re not falling, you’re not trying, right? Unfortunately when I fell I broke one of the gear shifters on the rental bike. Oops! Fortunately, when I returned the bike to Icebox I told them what happened, and they were super chill about it. They only charged me what it costed them for the part plus $10 for labor to replace it. I was so surprised and relieved with how friendly and helpful they were that morning, and when I returned the bike in the afternoon. I would definitely recommend them for your summer adventure needs.
Rendezvous Mountain Bike Capital USA™ Weekend is one of many events sponsored by Rendezvous!
Click Here to learn more about all Rendezvous’ Run for Independence Race Review
The Patchett Family
Katie, Jason and their two boys, Katon and Jackson, love all things outdoors. Originally from the Sunshine State, this family of four loves the Colorado mountain lifestyle. Both Katie and Jason are former collegiate runners who still enjoy being very active. Jason is currently an Art Director at O2 Creative in Fraser and Katie is currently a “stay at home” mom, who is rarely at home.