My travels took me from Port Angeles Washington, where I hit up the Fluid Ride race, to Sol Vista Colorado for a Mountain State Cup. This didn't and wasn't going to happen without a stop in Crested Butte for some more good times with the radest folk in town.
Two days always goes by too quickly, but we managed to fit in an epic ride from the top...Red lady that is!I hooked up with my hombre Jeff Ceffa, owner of the Secret Stash pizza shop for one of the most epic rides I've been on. Jeff and I shuttled, then hiked...then dragged my ass to over 12 000ft.
Derek on the long push up
Jeff making some distance on me
Red lady towers over Crested Butte and gives you one of the most epic views I've ever seen. We packed up the Jeep, Jeff double checked with me that his helmet was in the truck..twice..and we get half way up..Jeff triple checks...and..well..Jeff's helmet wasn't in the truck. What a ride to not have a helmet for. Jeff being the super trooper that he is, decided to keep going. "I'm going to raw dog this one d-rock" "are you sure?" I said..."I'll just walk the gnarly bits"..."ok then, if you think so?". So we kept on trucking. We 4X as far as we could with the Jeep, then set out on foot for another hour and a half of hike a bike, and pushing.
The pizza man himself
The view at the top of Red Lady was incredible,and the traverse across the knife edge ridge line that took us there was a pretty intense experience too. It seems like if you started to fall, you wouldn't stop until the valley bottom...a few thousand feet down. I swear I saw your helmet in the truck Jeff...honest! Once we arrived to the top it was time to pad up, man up and drop in. Jeff decided to drop in first, raw dog style, and show me where the trail lead. This was tough because there wasn't really a trail, just a raw ridge and a steep drop off each side.
My bad ass ride and Jeff at the summit of red lady
At the top, with CB in the back ground
Derek riding the moon
I really didn't like taking the few pics of Jeff dropping in, I had a bad feeling this might be his last picture...not cool. Jeff drops in, and is being very cautious, then starts skidding a little..."oh SHIT!...wow dude nice work" I said, then I screamed like a lunatic, stoked that he made it.
Although there was a sheer drop for most of the top of the ride, I managed to keep it together and it was a pretty low stress ride down the mountain. Well there were a few moments when I stopped to smell the roses, and to look down. I was quickly reminded that I wasn't just riding some line, this is some big shit up here...now focus Derek!
This is such a sick ride
Nice shot Jeffery
Once we got down a few radical ridge lines, it mellowed out into a bolder field that made your bike feel like you had an extra foot of travel.
I'm just picking my line
The big rocks would float around underneath you as you rolled over them, a pretty unique feeling on a bike. Once we hit the tree line it was time to find the trail...ok now where is the trail. Unfortunately we couldn't find the trail, so we started bush wacking our way down. "It must be around here somewhere" We spent most of the ride down "raw doggin it" through the bush, traversing back and forth trying to link up with the trail. I guess we took one of the wrong ridges near the top and likely had a first decent on two wheels. Whoops! It was actually really fun. The forest was treed, but you could pick your way down while coasting on your bike. There was a lot of side hill so Jeff and I got lots of off camber practice on our red lady adventure. I forgot your helmet..you got us lost, i think we are even - Haha! But in reality, the top was epic, and that made the ride. Thanks for the great adventure Jeff. Once we made it out of the bush, we coasted down to the stash for some Za....mmmmm I love the secret stash pizza! Now that I've been to CB a few time, I'm realizing that I eat at the stash everyday I'm in town, like a lot of my CB friends...I just can't get enough of that pizza and not to mention all the hot servers working there!
After our epic ride down the red lady, it seemed like a good idea to go out and get liquored up. We had to leave at 5am to make our way to Sol Vista, so obviously it seemed like a great idea to drink all night, not sleep more than two hours and then drive 5 hours to the race. Ahhh brillant! We managed to hit the road on schedule...feeling like ass, then managed to drive for about 45 minutes before I had to pull over and have a power nap. The party was worth it, and the so was the power nap.
The Monkey mobile
Again I wasn't really sure what to expect with the Sol Vista Mountain state cup, having never been there. This was also my first G3 race, and I was really excited to try it out. 3 races on 3 different courses, fastest combined time wins the weekend. I show up hung over...big time. And was instantly, pleasantly surprised with the courses. It was sobering I guess you could say. Pretty rough, very loose and had some big moto style air's that definitely scared the crap out of a lot of people. The first course of the weekend had a big gap near the bottom that required a full on mach chicken sprint into. Rarely do we ever need to pin it into a jump on a race course like that, just to make it. Luckily I manned up and hit it before training was over that day, otherwise I think I would have lost some sleep over that one.
Saturday`s race was awesome. A really fun course, lots of tech riding, some fun jumps and that big bastard monster gap I just mentioned. My race went pretty well, I didn't make too many mistakes, and I ended up in 6th place. Honestly dropping in for my race run, I was all amped up and had one thing on my mind, and my thoughts were only on that big bastard air. It was sooo fun. We rarely get to hit big gaps that fast, and it's just a great feeling. Nice work on the race course guys!
The Crested Butte Monkey's decided to keep up with their general theme of drinking lots of tequila, lots of beer and eating like kings every night of the weekend. These dudes know how to do it right! Jeff proudly sponsors the team with food and drinks from the Secret Stash, and you will have to just trust me that we were quite spoiled all weekend long. Jeff you are the man!
One for me..one for you
Matti Rob getting diner done
was the most mellow of the weekends courses. The trail was a lot like a-line. Much looser, and rougher, but the same idea, burm after burm and some smaller jumps. With that said it made sense to do it chainless. It was cool, each category got together the night before the race, had a vote, and majority ruled. So come race day almost all categories owned up and took their chains off. It made the race more challenging and more interesting.
Pump it real good
Just a dust and twidle
Unfortunately the course was on a pretty mellow grade, and a little dabble of brake lost you a lot of momentum and inevitably cost you valuable time. I made that mistake, a couple unfortunate dabs and I paid the price. Wicked awesome good time though.
One more bottle of tequila down the hatch! The monkey's are true die hards. I guarantee we drank more, screamed more (that was mostly us) and had more fun than anybody there. It is awesome hanging with the CB crew. If you ever see a monkey...you know they are good people! Trust me:!
The monkeys talking strategy
was the radest of the baddest of the courses. It was very short, (2:14 seconds winning time) but a lot more tech than the other two. Being so short meant that there was a much smaller margin for error. It's a was really fun course.
Matt the course builder sending it
It had some loose terrain, rock, a few decent gaps in the woods with sketchy tech landings and another big bastard jump. This BB (big bastard) was definitely less intimidating than the first courses jump, but this one had it's own flair. It seemed like the theme of Sol Vista bike park is full on commitment or don't bother. This jump was no exception. There were a few long high speed bumpy corners into a long floaty air. It was a nasty one to come up short on. On my first day I was heading up the chair to train the first course. This kid rocking a Yeti comes in hot, and sends this air, making it look huge...very nice! His buddy training him into it scrubbed a bunch of speed, but still goes for it...and comes up nasty short. He hits the up side of the landing blowing both feet of his pedals, shataking his baby maker into his bike seat, then rebounds so hard off his nuts that his feet are now above his head making it look like he's doing a super man. He manages to hold on to the bike with one hand on the bar, then comes down misses the bar, bags himself again and get tangled up in his frame finally spanking the ground, almost hitting a piece of rebar that's sticking out of the ground. Holy sheep shit! I look over at the kid next to me on the chair "that course isn't until Monday right,Yup...perfect, I am too hung over for that one right now". So that was great for the confidence. Luckily all my jumps where successful, no shataking my nuts, and I finished the weekend unscathed...dynomite!
Unfortunately I made one mistake near the top of the course, and that bit of time cost me. At the end of weekend I ended up 9th overall, so that's not bad at all. My first G3 experience was awesome! I highly recommend people to knuckle down and go the distance to this race. I drove 30 hours to be there and I am completely satisfied. Great job to the MSC crew and to the Sol Vista builders, you all did an amazing job.
Derek in his race run
Enjoying a cold one at the awards
The next unfortunate thing was that I had to leave Colorado shortly after the race..well the next morning because we had to finish the Keg off with the MSC dudes and dudettes first. After our sloppy night at the MSC mansion, I had to pack my car up, say a sad goodbye to the monkey's and head north to Canada. This was a sad realization, because that marked the end of my season, and now I need to head to the arctic for another winter of work. It's a rad place, but it's so hard to say goodbye to my true love. Another cold winter is and will always be worth another amazing summer on the road with my bike. A very special thanks goes out to all my sponsors for the amazing support they have generously given me, nothing I do would be possible without you guys
-derekchambers.pinkbike.com Derek Chambers and the rest of the Pinkbike.com/Devinci DH team are proudly supported by
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