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Old Man Winter

 
 It takes a special kind of rider to log 50 or 100km in the middle of winter no matter the weather. Luckily for us, we have an event right here in Boulder county that allows you to do just that. The Old Man Winter Bike Rally is an event where road, gravel and singletrack riding all converge in one fun and challenging course. This event started in 2014 and has returned each year to showcase the variety of riding we have right outside of town. Whether you consider it a competitive race or a supported ride just depends on your mindset going into it. Personally, I think it's only a race for the first one hundred finishers, then for the rest of us, it's a matter trying to make it to the end of this epic ride with a little dignity left. Two courses are available depending on what you feel like tackling. There is a shorter 50km course with a lot less climbing or a 100km course that winds up and down some of the canyons above Boulder. 
   Everyone who enters can score cool raffle prizes.  Also,  keen-eyed riders can pick up small, plastic snowflakes hidden on the side of the course, and trade them for prizes too. No matter how you finish, everyone  feels like a winner at the end of the race when they sit down with some warm food and a cold beer. 
   There are few races where a starting line will include such diverse riders as the OMW. The crowd combines road bikes and cyclocross bikes, but also fat bikes and a variety of mountain bikes. Since the ride includes pavement, gravel roads and rocky singletrack, there is no ideal bike for all of the sections. Spoiler alert though, cyclocross bikes always take the podium. The OMW has expanded to include a run as well. It takes place February 9th 2020 in Lyons, Colorado.
   I've done this race a couple times, and each time I felt it was my duty to add a little ridiculousness.  I believe that every event like this is going to have at least one guy who takes it way too seriously. So, in order to counteract that one guy and provide some balance, I need to enter the event and clearly not take it seriously enough. For the inaugural event I convinced my friend Danny to join me and tackle the 100K course. We rationalized that the best bike for the ride would be a cyclocross, or possibly a light, hardtail mountain bike. That's when we decided to go with a  tandem roadbike.
   I regaled Danny with tales of how fast the bike could go on flat paved roads, so it should do fine on steep hill climbs and washboard dirt roads. We got plenty of funny looks at the starting line, I guess we got plenty of funny looks throughout the whole ride. Several of the climbs proved to be too much for us. Basically we looked like two guys taking their bike for a walk.
Eventually we made it out of the hills and into the dirt roads around Hygiene, from there we charged back to Lyons bedraggled, yet victorious. In the years since, I've used the tandem again, but only for the 50K. It works out much better this way.

    The ride has great support, with rest stops right where you need them. Flaggers make sure everyone stays on course and the after party is a welcome sight as you roll through the finish line. The Old Man Winter is a production of Adventure Fit. This is the company responsible for awesome events like the Urban Assault Ride, The Burning Can Beer Festival and the summertime race known as The Gold Rush Rally. Adventure Fit has been creating events across the nation since 2002. These days, instead of hauling gear to different cities every summer they are focused on events right here in our neck of the woods.
   Do you like beer, tacos and Luche Libre wrestling? Go check out the Boulder Taco Fest. Or maybe you want to sip beer and watch local racers bomb around an obstacle-filled short course on coaster brake single speeds? Then check out the Klunker Crit. Josh Kravetz is one of the founders and president of Adventure Fit. He lives and breathes cycling and can be found riding all over the area. Some days he's on a road bike, other times he's slinging dirt. If you're really lucky you might even see him drifting sideways down Lookout Mountain Road on a big wheel. As a cyclist, he knows how to put together a great event with a great course.
  Give it a shot as a rider, or come visit the staging area at the start/finish line. There will be music and beer as well as food and sponsors tents. Also watch for other fun Adventure Fit events throughout the year. For videos and more info on the Old Man Winter find it on Facebook or go to oldmanwinterrally.com

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