Screamboat Strings

Rode a very long and quiet (solo!) 90 miles from Fraser to Steamboat Springs, which has become mini-Aspen since I saw it in 1984.

My ride down Rabbit Ears pass was more thrilling than I wanted: the bike shimmied like a wet dog and almost flung me off…luckily I somehow regained control in about uh, a minute? a lifetime? I was doing about forty, and had visions of being scraped off the road, flat as a very dead raccoon…  Fate smiled, an’ I  braked the remaining 6 miles (sob!) downhill in a ferocious hot headwind.
My first stop: Kent Ericksen’s custom bike atelier at 1136 Yampa. It was a thrill to see a friendly face I hadn’t seen in decades…he suggested that next time (I hope there will be no more shimmy!) to put a knee into the top tube…

Katie Lindquist, his RAAM-ridin’ wife met me at their driveway six miles (vertical) out of town, near Strawb. Hot Spgs…”Do you like halibut?” she asked. And I watched her slice radishes, bitter greens and snow peas from their garden, plus we feasted on their early potatoes. Heaven washed down with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

In the course of story telling it dawned on me that I know other Steamboatfolk: Chris Moore, Kent’s chief welder, is longtime WOMBAT Lisa Chapaitis Moore’s honey! Connected w/her, and then with Kat Fitzsimmons, easily one of the most fun pro riders I ever had the privilege to call a colleague. She met us at the driveway and we pedaled into town at about forty mph, they on their fine mtn bikes, me on my cleverbacon.

Outside, during breakfast, Katie and I watched a mama moose foraging with her gangly cub (kitten? colt? bairn?) nearby.  Amazing. At this (handmade, off-the-grid, Kent built every stick of it) place you put away the bikes not because of rain, but because bears chew up the salt-encrusted saddles..

ONce in town, I swung by Winona’s, and  grabbed about eight riders who “wanted to go to Moots”. They apparently didn’t realize that the founder had sold the brand, and I KNEW they would love Kent’s shop, with journeyman Bo and pros Chad and Chris slaving away at the titanium welding jigs….they were speechless for about a minute , looking all around, and Alex whispered to me , “This is exactly what I want to be doing! Exactly!”

I whispered back “What about that urban planning/bicycle policy making dream of yours back on the Katy Trail?”
It was a good forty five minute q&a tour, and I bet that Bo had to haul out the saliva mop when we finally cleared out…


Would someone tell me this is not all just a dream?

~ by jacquiephelan on July 31, 2009.

3 Responses to “Screamboat Strings”

  1. I’ve had wobble on a steep descent. Scary as hell. Clamp your toptube with both knees. Scutch your rear back on the saddle. Just feather your brakes as clamping down on them can increase it. I think it’s caused by bike geometry. OH, also make sure your front QR is as tight as you can get it.

    Be a Weeble. Wooble but don’t fall down. 😉

  2. It reads like a dream to us, but clearly you are in some kind of really cool reality. I LOVE reading about your adventures on this trip! May they continue to be mind-blowing and joyous.

  3. I loved that – Screamboat Springs! I have never attempted to ride a bike down Rabbit Ears pass but I am sure it is a screaming good time! Driving down the pass in a car in a snowstorm is enough for me. But, the beauty of the Yampa Valley from the pass is surreal and worth the trip summer or winter!

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