Slush, sun, and speed in Crested Butte
If there is one thing the laid back Crested Butte way of life can provide during a less than mediocre winter season its the ability to make lemonade out of very slushy, warm lemons. Thats exactly what around 20 Buttians set out to do last Saturday at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. After a several year hiatus, CBMR gave the nod to reinstate the Gaper Weekend Winter Downhill Bike Race (not an official name). So around 5pm on Saturday a crew of brave souls, young and old, loaded their bikes on the Red Lady Express and headed to the starting venue. Within the next hour they would sprint a Le Mans start to their trusty steeds laying in the slush and then run, tuck, push, pedal and kick their way through the sloppy flats of Peanut ski trail before a turn onto Lower Keystone Trail would finally provide enough pitch to seperate the crowd and punish those who were not perfectly balanced and focused with their first bike wreck of the season.
At the bottom of Warming House Hill, where a rochous crowd cheered the racers accross a soupy finish line, no winners were really decided and no attitudes were exchanged. Instead most laughed histerically as they pushed thier bikes to and then dove accross the finish line. High fives were traded and all joined the party on the Butte Deck where the competitors received the greatest trophy one can hope to achieve at such a highly touted sporting competition: free beer.