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Another Wednesday – CU Short Track and Prototyping

CU Shorttrack

Held every Wednesday, the CU Short Track is a great way to support the local university team and come together as a cycling community in Boulder. It’s 20 bucks, staffed by volunteers and students, and it’s so low-key they even accept IOUs. I know, because I only brought a credit card last time, which incidentally, they don’t accept.

I went up there yesterday for a dose of leg-burning, nostril-searing, lip-and-nose-tingling masochism. Boulder – where’s everyone at?

Back during the Research Park days there were spectators and announcers and like 40 deep in each field. Now there’s hardly anyone. Whatever the reason, let’s get people back out there!

The race went as well as it could have without regearing the single speed – at 32×20 there’s not much top end speed. Luckily the Corkscrew jumpline was part of the course, benefiting the bike handlers in the pack. As if jump trails on a 29er race bike aren’t hard enough though, the sprinklers automatically turned on during the second lap making the basic act of seeing fairly difficult. There was one sprinkler in particular that would hit me in the face either mid-air or on the landing of this one jump so I’d have to simultaneously close my eyes and set up for a large left-hand berm. Twice I almost rode off the back of said berm by the time the water stopped hitting me in the face and I opened my eyes.

There weren’t many people to race against, but I got second. Afterwards I headed out to George’s place to finish sewing a new prototype we’ve been working on. A couple of his neighbors came by, I got to check out some early 20th-century denim sewing machines, and we did some Wednesday night prototyping. Once we got all the pockets sewn on with appropriate hems it turned out they were a little smaller than I expected, but it was all good because I got to hang out in a garage for a couple hours doing something besides wrenching on bikes. One of the coolest things about doing your own prototyping is the ability to immediately test it, so I’m excited to try the new proto at the Winter Park race this weekend!

Video Shoot!

Video Shoot

Caveman Collective / Andrew Miller Studio

Last year we ran up to the mountains to shoot a fun Colorado bike life video with riding, camping, motorcycles, rally cars, and puppies. If you haven’t seen it already, we hope you’ll find it’s worth a watch. Check it out below.

Well, we were so stoked with the clip that we hit up a video crew again this year for the second edition. Best of all though, we were able to get a few other Colorado and American-made companies involved! Guerrilla Gravity bikes and Shredly women’s apparel were our main partners on the project. Huge thanks to them for the late night emails, early morning shoots, and continuous support through the project.

We also had a bunch of other companies help out in smaller ways, from MRP getting us some components for the bikes to Eddyline Brewing keeping us hydrated to Topo Designs getting us some bags to HoneyStinger giving us a sugar boost on long shoot days. We want to show that there’s plenty of ways to get super awesome gear while supporting the local economy, and highly recommend checking out all these brands.

July 4th – Part 2 (Mountain bikes)

Firecracker 50

Things at Conation have been moving at a quick pace and I kind of forgot to make awesome July 4th plans, so I was really excited when Super Dave hit me up to race the team category for the Firecracker 50 in Breck. This event is the OG endurance mountain bike race and I was stoked they still had last minute entries open!

Dave went up a day early and found a campsite so I met him downtown in Carter Park where we piled into the Vanagon and cruised up Boreas Pass road to meet with Moto Matt, and his sister and her boyfriend who were visiting from Philly. Team assembled, we rumbled up the road to the camp spot.

I wanted to preview a bit of the course, and even though Dave had already ridden he humored me by going for a second ride. We ripped around some single track, got a bit lost, rode a touch of the Frenchman climb but decided that sucked and turned around, and ultimately finished up on the screaming jump line down to Carter Park before heading back up to camp.

Breck campingBack up at the campsite we were organizing the Vanagon when this cute little pup walks up, followed by none other than Yeti-racer and impromptu Conation fit model Bryan Alders! We hung out for a bit, but when I tried to roll over to his site, completely sober, I completely fell in the creek so I had to cut the visit short and go find dry clothes.

Fourth of July started with an early alarm, quick breakfast, and Super Dave’s requisite coffee stop. We got the van set up in the Firecracker expo area, and then it was off to the start line for me! If you like to ride mountain bikes but haven’t done the Firecracker 50, you should. It starts out with a parade down Main Street and hundreds of little kids that desperately want a high five as riders pass. It was a freakin blast. And we rode like that, just cruising a long having fun, until we ran smack into the Boreas Pass climb.

I had gotten lucky and was running the perfect single speed gearing for the climb and felt like a rockstar. The rest of the lap went unexpectedly well and with the exception of one surprise crash, I felt great. I got back to Carter Park where Dave took over and I went back to the Vanagon to collapse.

But obviously I couldn’t do that. It was July 4th and there was American-made apparel to get out there! So I walked around, talked to anyone that wasn’t drooling on themselves from exhaustion, got a beer for anyone that was drooling on themselves from exhaustion, and generally tried to get the word out about Conation.

All in all it was a really great day, the crowd was very receptive, and I felt great about my time on a classic Waltworks steel single speed. We’ll definitely be out there again next year!

July 4th, Part 1 (Road bikes)

Above the reservoirJuly 4th is a very special day for us at Conation Collective. Long before we formed a company, we looked forward to July 4th as an extended weekend with lots of riding. Now that we champion American manufacturing, holidays like this have taken on extra significance.

Saturday started with some camping outside Winter Park. A view of a reservoir flanked by the high Rockies was a pretty cool backdrop Saturday night was a bit of a party, so I woke up promptly at 10am Sunday and hopped on the road bike. Rocky Mountain National Park was a couple miles down the road, and I’ve wanted to ride Trail Ridge Road from the western side for a while since there are less cars on that side, so I started pedaling that way.

Rocky Mountain National ParkIt started raining even before I made it to Grand Lake, but I had nothing else to do for the day so I figured either the weather would improve or I’d ride until I had to turn around. Luckily, by the time I got to the RMNP entrance the weather had cleared and I decided to press on. As I neared the last hairpin corner it started hailing, but I made it to the Alpine Visitor Center as the temperature started to drop.

The descent was fairly uneventful which is always nice. The hail tapered pretty quickly with elevation, I raced a Subaru STI through some steep corners, and a slowish moving RV made for a great motopace partner for a few miles through the valley floor.

I found the Merino Wool Jersey to be pretty awesome for our campsite festivities, keeping me warm when we were kayaking around the reservoir in a sudden wind storm, and drying quickly as we got the fire built up. The next morning I packed up and stopped by a cute little breakfast joint in Grand Lake to send a couple emails and catch the morning broadcast of The Tour before heading to Breckenridge to meet with Super Dave for the Firecracker 50!

Doggie in the Van

The Days Are Just Packed

It’s summer time and Conation Collective is in full swing! We’ve been riding, camping, developing product, brainstorming videos, going to events, and riding some more. It’s impossible to go over everything we’ve been doing the past few weeks, so let’s hit a couple highlights.

Riding in AspensRiding
This is pretty obviously the best part of summer in Colorado. The snow has been melting out, the weather is perfect for camping, the days are long, and there’s so many trails to ride. We’ve been pedaling all around – in Winter Park, Breckenridge, Nederland, even gotten dizzy a few times looping Betasso outside Boulder.

We rode down in Buffalo Creek a couple times, once tagging along with one of the Cannondale reps who showed us an awesome 25-mile ride when we had originally planned on just going out for an hour-ish. Good thing we had stuffed the Off-road Bib Short pockets with enough food to last.

There’s no better way to make new friends than getting lost in the woods together, so we’ve been getting out and riding as much as possible.

Putting log on the fire

VanLife

The Westy continues to roll along, though it’s always a surprise. Two weeks ago we put a new rear bumper on that has a built in receiver hitch so we can carry bikes much easier. It also means we can fit more friends in for Vanagon Shenanigans!
We’re half way through installing a new stereo this week. As long as we can bump some tunes camping on 4th of July, it’ll be a success. And pretty soon we’re hoping to bolt on new 16″ rims that will be a little more reliable when we’re off-roading into secluded camp sites.

The graphic wrap is coming. Think you’re really going to like it, check back for updates soon.

Tools of the tradePlanning
We have some awesome things in the works for the next 4-6 weeks. We’ve teamed up Guerrilla Gravity, Shredly, and some other companies to highlight American-made craftsmanship, we’ve been developing some new products, and there’s so many more awesome adventures to have this summer.

So pull on your favorite piece of Conation apparel, or pick up a new favorite, and we’ll see you out on the trails!

Colorado Bike Expo trials and tribulations

Last weekend we posted up at the Colorado Bike Expo. Billed as the kickoff to the cycling season in the state, they may have wished the weather forecasters took them a little less literally.
Friday night was freezing cold, but since the expo was so empty it provided a nice chance to go hang out with other industry folks who we haven’t met yet, and check out the crit race that was looping around the west side of the expo. Our friend George, who’s been indispensable in the drafting and prototyping process, even took a break from creating his personal form-fitted alpine pants to say hi and grab some food.
Saturday was waaaaaay better. The sun was out, there were people to talk to, Conation Collective was even part of a fashion show. It wasn’t judged, but we’re just gonna say we won.

The only downside was that the Vanagon clutch completely failed and we couldn’t move it from where we parked overnight to be situated in the designated booth space. Apparently parking on an incline with low levels of clutch fluid is a bad idea. The organizers were super cool though and let us stay where until we could top off the fluid and get the van working again. That thing sure keeps us on our toes!

Hope you got to swing by and check out some clothes in person. If not, look for us at the next event!

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