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Montezuma: Freedom Above Treeline

By August 10, 2012March 22nd, 2017One Comment

This is an old post…. but I wanted it on here!

I’ve been training for the Leadville 100 over the last 3 weeks. LT100 is this weekend! Some of you know, but my wrist is broken. I broke it the last day of the BC Bike Race 4 weeks ago. Fortunately, the next race on the radar is Leadville, and Leadville is 99% dirt roads. Some of the roads are not the smoothest, but the doc gave me the go ahead to do it in a cast. The only promise I had to make was not to ride singletrack because there is a higher risk of crashing. I’ve been trying to find places to train that give me the same (ok, almost the same) endorphin rush as my precious singletrack. After asking around, I found out there are some epic 4×4 roads above Montezuma, CO. I actually decided to google Montezuma’s Revenge because that’s a retired, insane ultra endurance mountain bike race. What came up? Montezuma’s Revenge is also known as traveler’s diarrhea!

I had my friend Jeff design me a gps route to follow since he had been up there the month prior. I liked the adventure of not really knowing where I was going and what heinous, wicked things he had planned for me. The loops I did were amazing and pretty far out there on a bike. It wasn’t lonely – I saw guys on ATVs, rock crawlers, and dirt bikes…but I was the only bicycle up there. One guy asked me, “What are you doing up here?” I told him, “Same as you!” Other people were actually applauding me as I got up on top of Webster Pass. Funny! I also had the company of about 15 mountain goats over the course of the day, and they were not timid. I think I was more scared of them than they were of me!

Being above treeline is amazing and whimsical. My breathe hitches in my throat. It doesn’t even seem real, yet it makes me feel so alive. I got in about 6 hours on my bike. There was definitely some hiking involved (and walking downhill). I did this ride alone, so I had to be extra careful; one crash on my wrist could leave me stranded. I don’t know why, but I love doing things like this alone. I’m not sure if it’s the enabling feeling of being self sufficient in the middle of nowhere, or that it’s the freedom of my deep inner self and the mountain. In any case, it’s true freedom. I feel the most free when I’m on my bike – in mind, body, and spirit. (unless I’m leading a race, and then I’m a prisoner of my own pace! haha) Here was my day in the form of photos and video!





I knew rain would be inevitable. There were thunderstorms swirling all around me. I kept an open ear for the rumbling of thunder and an eye on the peaks. Just as I was about to summit my third mountain pass for the day, I heard the warning sound of thunder. It was growing darker where I was going. With the one rumble, I turned around and started heading down (and running) as fast as I could. Up near 13,000′, conditions are volatile and can change very quickly. I was in the safety of the trees by the time the storm hit, and I finished in the rain. It’s so important to carry waterproof clothing (and extra warm clothes) when doing rides like this.




Being able to do things like this are what make me tick. They are beautiful and empowering. It feeds my soul. 3 more weeks till I can do them on singletrack, sans cast!

One Comment

  • What was your bike like? I raced on a single speed mountain back, so I was up against a lot of people on geared bikes. My first three years of racing was all against guys with gears, and then towards the end they started having single speed. My wife was my pit crew and she’d give me a water bottle and some food.

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