Winter Park Elk Creek

After racing the Winter Park race series for years, Conation Collective is now an official sponsorship partner. You can find us at the base area by the bungee trampolines after every race in the brown Vanagon. Come say hi!

This weekend was Matt’s first time racing as an event sponsor, so of course there were a couple hiccups. Below is his experience.

I made it to Winter Park around 2:30am Saturday morning and found a pull off camp spot. Sometimes I get frustrated driving a slow van around Colorado after the WRX, but the ease of posting up and camping anywhere is pretty amazing. I haven’t had time to sew some blackout curtains, so after 4-5 hours of sleep the sun came blasting through the 30-year old sun-bleached shades waking me up. There’s no use trying to go back to sleep so it was time to head to the startline/expo area.

As I pulled in I immediately ran into Doug from Feedback Sports. Doug was actually one of the co-founders of Chrome messenger bags who left to work for, if I’m remembering this correctly, Schwinn/GT in the 90’s. I got to talk with him before the Conation Kickstarter and it was great to see him again out at an event.

One of the interesting things about this race is that the start line is miles away – in another town – from the finish. By the time I had gotten everything organized and took off for the start line, I was already way behind. Pedaling my single speed on a slight downhill grade from Winter Park to Fraiser took just short of forever and I was alarmingly alone on the bike path.

As I neared the start line I knew I was late. I hopped in with the Expert Men start wave but couldn’t get a good gap because the fireroad where we started kept leveling out and I’d run out of gear. I blew myself up a bit and cracked hard on a technical single track climb before regaining some composure and pacing that I should have had from the beginning and starting to claw back spots.

The race was going as well as it could considering a missed start so I was feeling good. So good that when I came to the one unmarked intersection on the whole course, I chose the flowy, buffed-out downhill trail. That was the wrong choice. Long story short, I ended up having a blast ripping to the bottom of a hill I had just climbed. So I had to do it again. By the time I finished climbing the second time, I was toast. To really drive the point home to me, my kidneys were hurting. It’s been a long ride on harsh terrain when your body’s bouncing starts hurting the kidneys.

I finally made it to the finish line, claiming DFL in the single speed category. After my rockstar time at the Firecracker 50 I was definitely disappointed, but it was expected considering I missed the start and got off course. The next race is in two weeks, and I’m hoping it’s much less eventful.