On Saturday, a few of us from Northern Colorado drove north to Wyoming for the Gowdy Grinder. The Grinder is held in Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming. The entry fee for the Grinder was $10. Yes, you read that right – ten bucks.
This particular series is trying to make it easy and inexpensive fun for people to get into the sport of mountain bike racing. Here is what they have to say about licenses:
Racing Licenses: Leave it at home. If you show us a racing license, we will charge you an attached rider fee.
In addition to the Grinder, they have a Tuesday night series. I like their statement, rather law, regarding sandbagging:
Sandbagging Law: If you're deemed a sandbagger (decided entirely by the judges) you'll be moved up a category. No whining about it, either.
To recognize top racers:
Leaders "Jersey": In order to properly recognize their supreme dominance over Laramie mountain biking, the current points leader in each category will have to carry, on their bike, some small trinket until the next race. Any reported sightings of the leader between races without it will result in a ten point deduction.
I like it.
It is not uncommon for races in Colorado and Wyoming to sell out. Each race has its own registration technique. For the Grinder, registration is race day only, first-come, first served. There is really only one way to get the number one bib for this race and that is to get to the trailhead early. Really early.
(Scott Ellis gives Bill Frielingsdorf the proper recogition for scoring bib #1)
Of course, the only way to get the number two bib is to get there early, but not quite as early as number one.
(In turn, Bill gives proper recognition to Todd Singiser for being #2.)
I want to make it clear that it's inappropriate to link a low entry fee with a low quality event. Though it is a no-frills race, the course was well marked and each category went off without a hitch.
The trails in this area are really nice, as I mentioned in blogs last year. I think it was Bill that said that the trails are technical without being death-threatening. There are rock gardens, tight turns, rock slabs with steep climbs, narrow sections where it is easy to clip a handlebar and nice open singletrack too. Only a few hundred yards of the course was on service road.
Just as we were getting ready to leave at about 3:00 pm, we found out that an eight-year-old boy had walked backwards on the race course to watch the action; but hadn’t returned yet. Several people offered to stay and help search for the missing boy.
The short story is that the boy was found and safely returned to his mother at about 5:00 pm. I was told he was out on the trail for some six hours.
Three of us were on foot and walking the service road back to the trailhead when a ranger truck came upon us. We hitched a ride with Curt Orde and Moose.
Moose was hot on the trail of the young boy when Curt found out that the boy had been found. A sucker for dogs, I started asking lots of questions about Moose to find out that this 10-year-old dog is highly skilled. He has helped put a number of criminals behind bars with his incredible tracking skills. Though Curt was humble, it is not surprising that he is highly skilled as well with 33 years of County, State and Federal experience.
Moose actually found a victim located 40 feet below the water surface in North Crow Reservior, Wyoming. He has a couple of pages of accomplishments (1, 2) and Curt told me of a couple more accomplishments that weren’t listed on the site. It is incredible what dogs can find.
Some of the reasons I love sport so much is I get to travel with good friends, race with fun people, ride on sweet trails, meet new people and pet new dogs.
Sometimes, I come across famous animals like Moose. And sometimes, for a fleeting moment, I meet a very accomplished racer at the start line. Though I didn’t meet her by name, only a smile, I later found out that Sarah Konrad is not only an accomplished cyclist but at the Turin Olympics she made history. She became the first American female to compete in two events in the same Games: the biathlon and cross-country skiing.
Yes, there are some really cool people, and creatures, in sport.