Silver Rush 50 Race Report, Part 0.1: Pre-riding the Course

07.11.2018 | 9:31 am

I need to spend less time racing and more time vacationing. I just do.

“Why?” you ask, belligerently (because at least in my mind, the fact that you would challenge any opinion I ever have clearly makes you belligerent).

“Because,” I explain, patiently (in my mind, I am patient and respectful even though you don’t deserve such niceties), “it turns out it’s a lot of fun to ride for fun and hike for fun and hang out and have fun.”

“To my surprise,” I conclude, ironically, because as you know I am not actually even a little bit surprised, “racing is not the only way to have fun riding a bike!”

In my mind, your mouth is now agape, and I’m just a little bit upset because I am not certain whether your astonishment is real or feigned.

Maybe you shouldn’t be so sarcastic (in my mind), you know?

Wherein Melisa Says She Doesn’t Want to Ride With Us, But Then Takes Pity On Us And Rides With Us After All

The Hammer, The Twins, and I arrived in Leadville, where we had it on good authority that Melisa (aka The Monster aka The Swimmer) was going to show The Hammer and me the first half of the Silver Rush course. Melisa had changed her mind by the time we got there, though, electing instead to pointedly ignore us and stare at her phone instead.

So I found the course on Strava. Except not the correct course. I found the old course. And then I somehow managed to put it on my GPS. And sort of figure out where the race starts. It had been, sadly, at least nine months since I had tried doing something like this, so I had to completely relearn how this is done.

And by the time I had it figured out (maybe, sort of), Melisa had re-chosen to ride with us, which is good because it was really nice to ride with her, and also we’d probably be lost and starving or dead if we’d had to rely on me and a GPS for course directions.

Actually Riding, But First Something Really Stupid

You know what’s ridiculous? The way the Silver Rush 50 starts. It has you push or carry your bike up a steep hill strewn with loose rocks.

Of course, being rule keeper types and also because we wanted to see what this would actually be like, we did this in our pre-ride.

To our delight, it was every bit as much fun as you’d be thinking it would be to carry your bike up a steep hill an hour after you’ve arrived at a city that has a low point of 10K feet.

And in short, I was somewhat winded before I even got on the bike.

How winded? So winded that it didn’t even occur to me to look over at my wife and say, “Honey, that bike is riding you.” Which is an opportunity for hilarity lost (but now recaptured, which is pretty much the whole reason I write this blog).

Then we rode our bikes on a little singletrack section RIGHT BACK TO WHERE WE STARTED. At which point I was pretty upset at Melisa until she explained that this was the way the course actually worked. After which I was still pretty upset — possibly eve more so, since I no longer had anyone toward whom I could direct my pique.

Directionless pique sucks.

And then we rode. Basically uphill for about ten miles. And you know what? It was fantastic. I mean, it’s nice doubletrack. And it was a cool, clear day. And I didn’t feel at all smoked, in spite of the fact that I was approaching 11K feet.

And there were wildflowers and water crossings and beautiful vistas and old mining sites. And basically, the high mountains of Colorado are wonderful.

Another rider — let’s call him Mark, since his name is in fact Mark — doing the race later that week caught up to us and asked if he could join us for the ride.

Well of course he could.

And as it turns out, Mark was just a great guy. The kind of guy you’d want to hang out with and ride with. While he had (obviously) caught us, he wasn’t pushing us to go faster, and he was happy to let us plan out what we’d do next after Melisa left.

Oh I forgot to mention: partway through the ride, Melisa had had enough and left. She had a very good reason which was actually part of the original ride plan though, so my pique level didn’t go up. (The single most certain way to get me piqued is to upend my understanding of what the day’s ride will be.)


By the time we got to the turnaround point of the race — about 25 miles in this out-and-back course — I was cooked. But I was also excited and impressed. The fact is, The Silver Rush course is interesting and intriguing and pretty historic, with trailside photo opps like this:

Basically, I’d had fun. And so had The Hammer. Which is good, because later that afternoon when we played Baldur’s Gate, she wouldn’t be quite as excited:

That is quite a yawn. Which may not be the most exciting cliffhanger I’ve ever ended with, but it’s still where we’re going to stop for now. In the next installment, I promise there will be hail the size of nickels as we ride, and I may even get us to the starting line of the actual race.

Though I also may not, because that race was a pretty humiliating experience for me.


  1. Comment by Scott D Gilbert | 07.11.2018 | 3:45 pm

    I heard you on the podcast talking about the Silver Rush!

    Thanks tons for listening! – FC

  2. Comment by joliver3 | 07.11.2018 | 6:48 pm

    Part 0.1 — sounds about right given your multi-part race report history!

    Yep, I’m not even to part 1 yet, and will have (at least?) one more part before I even get us to the starting line. – FC

  3. Comment by bobbles | 07.11.2018 | 8:55 pm

    And here I thought [REDFACTED] for the NotSoFattyFamily!

    We didn’t even have to pay extra for [REDACTED]! I thought you guys [REDACTED] except by the time [REDACTED] and Mel looked [REDACTED] so it looked like [REDACTED]. Yes/no?

    Hopefully there’s a story behind [REDACTED]…

    Redacting most of your comment here because it is FULL of spoilers. I’m glad you were there and have things to say, but please don’t jump the gun with your comments. – FC

  4. Comment by Tominalbany | 07.12.2018 | 9:19 am

    So 0.1 should mean that this will take 10 posts to write a complete story?

    I truly have no idea how many posts it will take. My guess — which is almost certainly wrong — is 4 or 5 parts total: 0.1, 0.2, 1, 2, and maybe 3. The problem is, this weekend is Crusher in the Tushar and I will want to start telling that story before I finish with this one. There are worse problems in the world than having too much to talk about, though. – FC

  5. Comment by Boston Carlos | 07.12.2018 | 10:12 am

    lol @ the redacted comment above.

    Also – I’m really hoping the humiliation during the race isn’t another poop story.

    Nah, it’s a “super obviously stupid thing I did during the race” story. – FC

  6. Comment by bobbles | 07.12.2018 | 12:12 pm

    Must have been good!


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