There are many mysteries to uncover in cycling.
Is it my responsibility to discover all them? No. CiclaValley isn’t even my job.
I’m still walking that awkward line of searching for dirt to ride versus whether I have the right bike to ride it.
Austen leading out and a number obliging to draft…
Enter my friend Austen Czapala. He’s been crushing it this race season and has some Taylor Phinney like attritubes to him, but what really stands out is his big smile and super positive attitude.
I scan people’s Strava to see where they’ve ridden so I can ask the question, “Can I ride there?”
This past weekend, Austen did a loop riding his mountain bike crossing popular ACH landmarks Clear Creek and Red Box along a “I didn’t know it existed trail” around Strawberry Peak.
Austen celebrating 1st place Criterium win at this year’s San Dimas Stage Race
I asked him if the ride was doable on my cyclocross and he did me one better. Austen had his GoPro rolling and within a few hours he put together a well spliced videos with good tunes to boot.
The video is nine minutes long and I might have skipped ahead 30 seconds a couple of times, but I was really drawn in by the harrowing conditions he rode through.
Maybe the wide angle lens had something to do with it, but the margin of error is such that you’re just a sneeze away from finding yourself 500 feet below.
By Austen’s account, this section was fine to ride. To more valleyed portion between Red Box and the Switzers is what he thought would be more problematic because of the rocks. So am I going to ride it? As much as I’ve ridden with Austen, I haven’t gone off road with him yet.
The smart move would be to ride some dirt and get a feel for whether our definitions of fun and fright match up. Until then, I just hope Austen keeps posting videos.