One of the oft-debated subjects of mountain bike lore is where the sport began. Most old-schoolers will tell you it all started with a few hippies drifting clunkers down Mount Tamalpais in California’s Marin County, and while we don’t debate that fact, around the same time there was a culture brewing in Crested Butte, Colorado that laid the foundation for two of mountain biking’s most recognizable traits; single-track trails and mountains. Few places can boast these traits coming together as vastly and impressively as this corner of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. One of the original Crested Butte mountain bikers that mapped, built and linked hundreds of kilometers of single-track is Don Cook, the star of our third installment in Return to Earth: The Series, The Pioneer
Don’s lifelong dedication to mountain biking has also kept relations positive with local landowners and the U.S. Forest Service, helped spur the biggest mountain bike event of the time (Crested Butte’s Bike Week) and played a key role in forming one of the world’s first MTB trail associations. “The Pioneer” chronicles the most notable junctures of mountain biking’s origin story in Crested Butte and how that affected the sport worldwide, decades before Internet sharing was a thing. The episode also features behind-the-scenes footage of local riders enjoying some of Don’s trail legacy, which was a big part of the community segment in Return to Earth
Today, Crested Butte continues to be a pilgrimage for mountain bikers around the world. Lung-busting climbs, a 360-degree network of alpine trails around the town and an unrivaled local culture were just a few of the reasons we traveled there to film. Every mountain bike community in the world has, in some way, benefited from the hard work by Crested Butte pioneers like Don.
Watch the full 22-minute episode now on the Outside TV app.*
Shooting the creek crossing scene of Return to Earth
with the cable camReturn to Earth: The Series
was developed in partnership with Freehub Magazine. Animation by the talented Taj Mihelich. Photos by Anthill Films.
*Outside TV app is available in Canada and USA only.