The Yee-Haw Pickle Company 2012 Spring Tour continued its mountain bike event support on the Western Slope of Colorado. We landed in Gunnison Valley and Crested Butte to a not so typical May setting; sunny skies, mild temps, and dry dirt to support The Gunnison Growler endurance mountain bike race.
Crested Butte holds a special little space in the bottom of the Yee-Haw Pickle Company’s heart; it was in this town and this great state that we first established our LLC and started making our first batches of sub-par pickles. But after a handful of long drives to the Front Range for bushells of cukes, we quickly discovered that launching the Yee-Haw Pickle Co. wasn’t a possibility in this hard to reach place. Living in CB is not always easy; but the recreation’s great and we were happy to be back for a visit.
As a primer to our event support we thought it only prudent to sniff out some of the local trails to see what we’d been missing. We snuck in a couple days of riding on a few of CB’s in-town classics, Snodgrass Trail, Lower Loop, and Strand Hill.
We also strung together what is becoming known as 3 Canyon Tour, linking a handful of trails around town including the new Lupine Trail and working our way through Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s budding Evolution Bike Park.
As the weekend rolled in it was time to get back to work and support what has quickly become an enormously popular spring race in the Rocky Mountains: The Original Growler.
Brain child of mountain biking stud and generally great guy Dave Wiens, the Growler, hosted at Hartman Rock Recreation Area in Gunnison, CO, offers up 3 different events spread across the holiday weekend on sweet, technical, desert single track: The Half Growler, 32 miles, the Full Growler, 64 miles, and running races of 50 and 25 K.
While the Half-Growler and 32 miles may not sound like too much of a crusher this day was special. We woke to an early hue of red on the horizon and once the winds kicked up to gusts of 50 mph, the smoke from surrounding forest fires to the West and the South was unbearable.
The riders endured the pedally and technical course and suffered through in times ranging from 3 hours to 8. Most all reached the finish line, doggedly longing for cover, and a towel to wipe their dirt mustache. Their reward? A roll of 2 dollar bills to give back to the local vendors, a 32 oz growler and a free fill from long time event sponsor New Belgium Brewing. Well played Race Committee, the irony was not lost on the pickle shack!
Day 2 Yee-Haw Pickle Co alienated their post at the vendor expo in town and opted for direct competitor support on course. The Pickle shack was expertly placed at mile 28 and 59 of the course at the top of the grueling sandy climb, Josh O’s where we were blasted by heavy winds and chilly temps.
After riders battled the head-wind and slogged up the loose climb, most were desperately seeking salt, food, and water. Salty, juicy pickles anyone?
We were an especially welcome sight for Dodson Harper of Team Brick Oven. You may remember him from our earlier Mesa Verde post; man suffers severe cramps>man drinks pickle brine>man is fine…. What you don’t know is that same man purchased a couple jars of our dills from our online store, housed the pickles and carefully spike his race day water bottles with the remaining brine. Dodson managed a banner day, winning for his team and hanging with top riders in his class; I think we got another lifer!
Top riders banged out the 64 miles plus in around 5 hours, others suffered far longer, to the tune 9 hours, 56 minutes. (A big Yee-Haw! to Kim Bear from NM for duking it out and making it to the finish!).
Local winners from last year gave way to a rider from the home of the Yee-Haw Pickle Company, the Wasatch Mountains, as Alex Grant of Salt Lake City, UT and Team Cannondale took home the win with a time of 5:14:25.
We wrapped up the weekend with a little more sampling in town, some prizing and a great BBQ with ol’ friends and new jokes. A special thanks to Dave Wiens and Gunnison Trails for including us in your event and Team Brick Oven and Alpine Orthopedics for guzzling our pickle brine at will in hopes of no cramps
and fast times. Nice work crew!
In the end the Growler held up to its reputation offering up some great trails and a healthy dose of pain. It is a great event to bring to quiet off season Gunnison over the holiday weekend, attracting riders from all over Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. Thanks for having us, we hoped you enjoyed our products and we’ll see you next year.