The weekend of May 14th was a big one for the ColoRowdies Ambassador Crew, jam-packed with events from the crack of dawn onward each day. ColoRowdies President, Tony Bentley had put the proceedings on the calendar months in advance, hoping to gather as many of the Rowdies on the Front Range as possible (as we all know, getting a bunch of dirtbag mountain bikers in one place at the same time is like herding cats, but only if the cats had grown-up jobs and cars and a primal urge to be wherever the best dirt is RIGHT NOW).
The crew kicked things off on Thursday evening with a joint COMBA member meeting and new membership drive at the American Mountaineering Center in downtown Golden, which was so successful that they ran out of beer before some attendees had even managed to redeem a single beer ticket. Several local vendors were present with their promotional materials, including Golden Bike Shop, at whose tent the ColoRowdies who could make it convened to pick up our brand-spanking new Ambassador jerseys, freshly delivered from Primal Wear.
The next item on the Ambassadors’ agenda was an early-morning photo shoot at two of Golden’s many scenic trail systems. Three of the crew convened with photographer Lisa Seaman at North Table Mountain just as the sun peeked over the Denver horizon, then pedaled upward in search of ideal light conditions and shooting angles.
Meanwhile, only a little later, another group of Ambassadors hit the ruggedly beautiful trails of Dakota Ridge with photographer and Golden Bike Shop mainstay Alex Molick for some wicked action shots.
Once the photogs had squeezed the last drops of film worthy shredding from their respective scenery, they joined forces at the Matthews Winters to document the shenanigans of the combined crew. The day was heating up quickly, and the Ambassadors found relief from pushing the pedals by playing around on a rock outcropping, even incorporating a bleached deer skull for an extra kick of hardcore artsiness. The spectacle attracted the attention of a group of retiree hikers, who stopped to take their own pictures of the proceedings, and who probably fervently hoped that their own children did not participate in such shenanigans.
Shortly thereafter, the photographers decreed that the light conditions were no longer ideal for their purposes, the shoot was adjourned for the day, and the Ambassadors went in search of lunch and libations, followed by some shopping for necessary bike-related gear at GBS.
Sadly, the good weather that had graced us on Friday did not continue on Saturday morning, and the sun was unable to fight through the rain and fog to illuminate our scheduled 6AM photo shoot on the trails that weave through the strikingly beautiful Red Rocks park south of Golden. The early shoot was canceled in order to keep the jerseys fresh and the shoes dry for the 8AM excursion to White Ranch, but several of the crew who were already present and ready to roll decided to take advantage of empty (relatively at least; it is the Front Range, after all) early-morning trails for a hot shuttle lap on Apex. Our few photos of the outing demonstrated the wisdom of recruiting professional photographers to capture our activities.
After a hurried breakfast in downtown Golden, the crew reconvened at the White Ranch parking lot with local photographer and avid mountain biker, Yann Ropars. The consensus was that shuttling to the top of the trail system and shooting on the way down would be most efficient for the time and resources allotted, so we packed into three vehicles and ascended into the heavy fog that continued to drape the foothills through the morning.
The weather created difficulty not only for the photo lighting but also for the subjects, since the temperature hovered around 40F and we needed the Ambassador jerseys to pop through the gloom and visually tie us together as a crew in the photos and footage. At every stop, jackets were pulled on and then stowed again as necessary, with much rubbing of arms and chattering of teeth, at least amongst those of us less tolerant of cold and damp. As Yann’s time allotment for the shoot wound down, he kept us moving at a brisk pace, stopping strategically and shooting us as we blew through then packing his camera up with lightning speed and flying past us to his next chosen spot, his constant refrain of “Let’s go!” shouted over his shoulder at us. He took his parting shots of the entire group at the end of Mustang Trail as we all shivered under a brief rain shower. He even nailed the group selfie without the benefit of a camera phone! He’s a true pro, that Yann.
Finally, we reached the crown jewel of the White Ranch trail system: the final descent of Lower Longhorn to the stream, with its flowy turns and steep and technical switchbacks. We raced down what is generally agreed to be the best downhill on the Front Range. Everyone rode flawlessly, and high fives were liberally exchanged at the bottom as we regrouped for the easy pedal back to the main trail, which would take us the rest of the way back to the lower trailhead and much-deserved refreshments.
Although the weather had not cooperated in the way we had hoped on Saturday, the photos from that day and the standard sunny-Colorado shots from Friday combined to give a breadth of styles and conditions that beautifully captured the spirit of Colorado and the ColoRowdies Ambassadors. We would like to give a huge thank you to the photographers who took the time to document our community, our riding, and this amazing place that we are lucky enough to call home.