6th annual in memory of Andy Bamberg
It’s that time of year, folks. You’ve had all summer to prepare and now it’s time to find out how fit you are. Or at least own up to that barstool wager you may have made and give the Crested Butte Classic a try.
Saturday, September 26 at 7 a.m. (Sunday, September 27 if it’s pouring on Saturday) at the Four-way Stop, the sixth annual Crested Butte Classic group ride will roll out of town, sending participants on a 100-mile soul-searching tour of the trails surrounding the town of Crested Butte.
This year marks a change as group ride organizer Dave Ochs has decided to mix things up, making a few changes to the classic course.
The group ride begins in a “neutral” format as riders head out of town on the highway and turn onto Brush Creek Road. Once Brush Creek turns to dirt, participants may then test themselves by pushing the pace as they head out the dirt road.
Here’s where the first change comes into play. This year, the Deer Creek portion has been replaced by Teocalli Ridge.
“At least with Teo you get a kick-ass downhill,” says Ochs.
Furthermore, rather than ride Strand before Teo, the course will hit it after riding Teo.
“That will give the pack more time to break up,” says Ochs.
After the Teocalli Ridge downhill, the course turns immediately onto the up-valley end of the Canal Trail, to Strand Bonus and then Strand before heading back to the Brick Oven Deck, via the Jim Deli trail, for the first lap check-in.
Loop two is the same as years past, with a ride to the Slate River Road by way of the Lower Lower Loop before the Slate d’Huez. Turn down to 403 off the Slate d’Huez, over 403 and then up to the top of Scofield Pass to ride 401, bailing out at Rustler’s Gulch and heading back to the Brick Oven deck via Gothic Road for lap two check-in.
And finally, it’s Dyke time for lap three with a twist. The course heads through the Irwin townsite to Lake Irwin before going to the start of the Dyke Trail.
The twist comes at the return home to the finish as riders are required to ride the Wagon Trail, in its entirety, on the way home, including the latest addition.
That is when you hit the first big switchback—coming up Kebler Pass Road over Anthracite Creek look for the new start to the Wagon Trail at the end of the guard rail on your left. There is a forest service sign marking it as forest service trail #606.
While Ochs has received some ire from potential participants over the Wagon Trail addition, his response is simple.
“We’re not riding the road if we’ve got single track,” says Ochs.
The group ride then technically ends at the end of the dirt portion of Kebler Pass Road at the Trapper’s Crossing turn, to allow for a “gentleman’s finish” at the Brick Oven deck—at which point there will be the “regular ranting and raving at the Brick afterwards,” according to Ochs.
Course specifics and updates can be viewed on crankcollective.com. The Andy Bamberg, Kate Seeley trophy can be viewed at the Brick Oven.