Before beginning the story, we would like to introduce one of our pro team members, Pete Kalmes. He lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In 2014 he finished 12th at the GoPro games in Vail, 3rd at the Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge, and 2nd at the Breck 68.
For riders who live in a Ski Town, early season racing can be a little rough, since they spend several months in the winter either off the bike or cross country skiing. So our story begins with our hero spending his time on the trainer in his home watching Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.
If he's not slogging out the miles on his trainer, he's climbing to the top of the ski hill for a change of pace. Nothing like a view of the sunrise from up there.
So, when Pete was on one of his first road rides for the winter wearing three thermal layers and a ski coat, he got a call from one of his friends who was riding the "Old Man Winter Bike Rally" course in shorts and a short sleeved jersey. Pete had enough of the trainer and the cold, so he and his wife decided to make the quick trip to Boulder so he could toe the line.
The race stated with a reported 650 riders, and with a race purse of $3000, some of Colorado's big guns turned out. Touted as a gravel grinder of sorts, Pete described it as part mountain bike race, part road race, and part cross race.
You can see Pete on the right in the Sonoran Cycles kit. He reported, "It was definitely an adventure. I was able to stay with the lead group through the flat gravel road sections, even with the crazy winds. Then I dropped the hammer and led the last mile of the initial road climb, but once we got to the single track, I got smoked by the guys on cross bikes. There was just enough snow and ice to make it rideable on knobbies, but not so much with slicks."
With sections of the course looking like this, you can see his point. Could be a bit of a challenge on a road bike with slicks. After leaving the single track, Pete found himself alone, but said it was good because there were a lot of muddy road decents. He caught another group and they worked together to battle the winds. Ultimately, Pete came in 19th. Not bad for the first race of the year...
Overall, we are super proud of Pete and the effort he put in out there. Racing in Colorado is harder than just about anywhere else in the states, especially racing on the front range, so to finish in the top 20 out of 600+ riders is an encouraging start. We can't wait to see what the future holds.
Photo Credits: Peter Kalmes, Chris Baddick.com, Mountainflyer.com