Do you feel guilty when you see your bike?
Do you catch yourself staring way too long at other bikers as they pass by?
Are you convinced that bike messengers think they're better than you?
Maybe you need Dirt Camp.
|"A hearty nosebleed reminds me of the dry elevation and I
order a breakfast of roots and berries...."|
But what IS Dirt Camp?
Is it camping and riding with a full pack across the Continental Divide?
Is it eating bugs and twigs and riding in a loin cloth?
Is it roasting marshmallows on a spoke? I didn't know, I didn't care.
I knew it involved elevation and riding in pristine, Keystone, Colorado and what more did I need?
Day 1: A hearty nosebleed reminds me of the dry elevation and I
order a breakfast of roots and berries to get me in the camping mode.
Camp begins with counselors herding and customizing eight individuals with
kickin' new Cannondales. The friendly and soft spoken Dave
and Daryl bring three guys and four girls from 12 to 30-something to a
clearing where it looked like we were going to learn about edible
plants and crickets. Nope, it was instruction on oneness with your bike
and body and the skills that will bring forth an eventual bike/body
Captain Dave explained simply how skillsets + practice =
greater confidence + handling ability = increased fun-ability! We dip,
turn, stop and hop in an effort to give us the skills to take home to
practice our bike Zen.
berry berry good...to me...|
Lunch comes to us, but to my suprise, no dirt, no triflow, no mulch,
just sandwiches, sugar and plenty of fluids.
Daryl apparently deemed Markus and myself the girlscout campers as
everyone stepped into the gondola for a boost from 9,199'(2804m ) to
11,642'(3568m). He must have recognized us as trouble and separated
us from the pack under the excuse of similar skillsets. In no time we
were cruising down "girlscout" trailgreen, easy, and dry. A guide and Markus had been there just yesterday.
"I'm in good hands," I thought. That's why I was so
surprised when Markus got a little air then bounced himself into a small
gully not two hundred meters from the top. He was up and smiling
instantly, but his bike was in two pieces connected only by cables. The
carbon frame had snapped at the front connections of both the top and
So, Daryl hiked back up with
his new fold-up bike and we met him back at the pork shack. Here I was
drawn to the backroom where couselors gathered around the computer to
check on the web for their co-worker, Joey Klein, who had won the last two Montezumas
Revenge races. No pics of him, but he was in eighth with
only four hours to go. Not good. Many campers had slept little
the previous night to support their boy.
Daryl decided to reward Markus for not having to go to the hospital by
lending out his sweet new wheels a '98 Raven.
We stepped things back up to the top for some "Punk Rock" and "Wild
Thing" (she makes my butt sting). Campers then congregated back at the
dork shack for apres fluids over maintenance and bike fitting starring
Dinner was a step out of the woods and step up into an inn. So we
enjoyed a delicate venison, buffalo, sea bass pate with some fruity,
Frog's Leap wine. Decadent for a bunch of dirty campers, but we cleaned
up pretty well. After hours we roamed Out of Bounds where we
got our butts kicked by some 12-year-olds in pool over a couple beers.
Day 2: Stretch and buttery breakfast buffet begins our day. The campers
all agree on a cross country morning, so we saddled up and headed west
down the "Aquaduct" trail. We knew we were stronger as a team so the
boys kept Dave busy while Daryl was overcome by the ladies. Three
jumped ahead while another swooned Daryl into submission. Our plan
worked and one camper was on the run. We snickered as Dave made the
quote of the day. "Everything's fine, we just misplaced a guest for a
He then turned us against our own by making us hunt her down.
He used the promise of donuts in an attempt to lure us into
disclosing our fellow campers hideout. The donuts proved too much for
some of the younger campers and our escapee was soon back on the winding
single-track surrounded by evergreen and aspen forests opening to
wildflower fields. The trail sooned darkened and rain began transforming
our happy campers into wet rats.
One of the chicks ditched|
The lunch stop was only minutes away
and we dropped into an Keystone Ranch where lunch came delivered to us
under cover. The moistness had gotten to many of the campers who opted
to hijack the lunch delivery truck for a lift back to the bjork shack.
That's the beauty of Dirt Camp, not only are couselors ready for
any level of idiocy, you can go at your own pace.
Me? I was wet, but high on
sugar, so Captain Dave brought me on a last solo mission through the Coloroado
trail. Fast, aggressive and longer than my sugar supply.
Thinking I was done for the day, I went for some calories and ordered a
triple, tall, mocha. In no time I was back on the Gondola with Daryl
rambling in a caffeine overdosed babble. Daryl deemed me worthy of a
secret stash and inspired me to attempt his baffling downslope wheel-to-wheel hopping transfer.
Look, no more training wheels|
Enlightened and shaken with bouncing
bike syndrome, I bid my camp couselors a fond farewell with a tear in my eye. I
knew the only solution for my saddle-sore self was several hours of hot
tub and beer therapy. With more trails than you can explore in a
summer, Keystone's Dirt Camp definitely deems itself worthy of an annual
Hans Prosl, Happily Saddle Sore for The Mountain Zone
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