Man-o-man, the Platte River Riot lived up to its name this weekend. Travis Brown, Cameron Chambers, Steve Tilford, Cathy Walberg (sp?)... it was possibly the finest showing of pros ever at a mountain bike event in Nebraska. Not only that, but every single person at the 'Riot was absolutely stoked about Platte, about THOR, and about the sport of mountain biking. It was one of the coolest scenes I've witnessed in quite some time... T. Brown and our Colorado-converted brother Tim Markel, both told me that as far as quality and "tightness" of the off-road scene, we've got it way better here than they do in their local areas. Those are incredible comments (and compliments) when you think about it. I was reminded this weekend that we really do have it pretty darn good. Lots of dedicated riders, great trails, pretty much year-round riding (if you don't mind hot and cold), and a sense of "family" that's missing in a lot of places (Boulder, Colorado included).
Even though Cam C. didn't race, his presence was undeniable, with his super sweet natural afro and CHiPs-style Frank Poncharello shades. He's super class! And he's a genuinely nice guy too! I really enjoyed hanging out with him and hearing him tell his version of the story about the recent 24 Hours of Moab. After his incredible performances this season, it would have been easy for him to be disappointed about not finishing in the top-5 at Moab... but his attitude was 180 degrees the opposite. He recognized that he'd had a long season, and allowed himself to enjoy the incomperable scene that Moab was/is. It's a one-of-a-kind race, where the circus atmosphere almost eclipses the actual race... where making it through the night hallucinations can be your sole goal and purpose... where you ride a wave of the collective enthusiasm of a thousand hard-core off-road cyclists congregated for the season's final 24-hour hurrah. To say that his perspective was refreshing, and mature beyond his tender 23 years on earth, would be an understatement. Gary Fisher made a very wise investment with this kid. He's going nowhere but up in cycling... and it's because he truly and absolutely loves the sport. Cam joked in the roundtable session that he remembers riding the trails out behind his house at night, without lights, as a kid, and now he can't believe its his profession. At that time, he had no goals with cycling. He joked that he didn't even know to call it mountain biking... he just knew he loved doing it. We should all be so lucky to have paying jobs we love that deeply.
OK, enough about Cam... He's my new hero. Got it...
T-Brown is a super cool guy too, but my musings about him will have to wait 'til another time. Results from the race are on http://www.nebraskacycling.org/.
I raced a pretty decent XC to finish 6th... of course the first place out of the money. Dangit... At least I felt good, and had a ton of fun on the perfectly-groomed course. I also did the dirt jumping demo, which is where the attached pics of me are from, courtesy of Roxy (thanks!!!). Let me just say that, if I lived in Omaha, I'd probably be a way worse xc racer... I'd be dirt jumpin' with Gage, Nick and Skinny D too much!! Thanks for an awesome time jumpin' guys. I've definitely never had so much fun jumping my Stinky D... in fact, that was probably some of the most air I've caught on a non-motorized bicycle! SWEET! ... yes, my helmet is my old BMX lid from 1991. It's been around so long that the neon colors are coming back into fashion! Now there's a good investment! Too bad it weighs about as much as a Volkswagen, and made my neck hurt from all of the landings... Maybe an upgrade is in order?!