About the author: Ian currently lives in Austin, TX making cars go fast at COBB Tuning. Loves surfing, snowboarding, road biking, and mountain biking. Prefers earning his turns, but will never say no to a chairlift.
I signed up for a Chasing Epic trip in Crested Butte expecting huge climbs, long descents, and breathtaking views. All of those things lived up to the hype and beyond. But, I got 2 extra things I wasn’t ready for: incredible guides and amazing co-riders!
Having experienced guides leading the trip really changed how I will forever approach riding in new places. First, they were super friendly and helpful; they took some extra effort to really get to know us and our riding abilities. Next was their knowledge level. Every time we stopped, you could ask them any question about the terrain, mountain ranges, bike setup, or their lives and you knew you were getting the perfect answer. At the beginning of the day, they would give us an overview of the entire ride and then during the ride, set expectations for each section of trail. It really helped prepare you mentally for a tough climb or to pay extra attention on a descent. And lastly: they can shred! Watching them ride in front you reminds you how to lean your bike and to think about breaking your bad habits. Being able to follow a guide down a trail they know intimately shows you the most fun lines, allows you to know how much speed you can carry, and ride right on the edge of “out of control but OMFG I’m having FUN!”
Going into the ride, I assumed I would make small talk with a few people, but it would be other riders just like me. However, the variety of people in my group really blew me away. One of my roommates, Rei, had one of the most inspiring life stories I’ve ever heard in person. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone because I know he’ll be taking more trips and you’ll get to ask him yourself!
Another of our ride partners has worked all over Africa and Western Asia. He had crazy stories about the best things to see in Egypt or that one time they had to pack their bags for an evacuation due to civil war. I was honestly surprised how much I enjoyed listening to everyone’s stories during dinner or while sitting on our condo patios in the evening.
Crested Butte is an incredible place to ride mountain bikes and take in the scenery. But doing it Chasing Epic style with the best guides and other enthusiastic riders takes it to another level- can’t wait until I book the trip for next year!