Backroads to Boulder


Last time I rode to Boulder I did it alone. I found out that 50 plus miles alone can be draining. You need other people around if you are going to be on a bike for three some odd hours. It helps tremendously. You have a suffer buddy. Someone to just plain bullshit with so you don’t go crazy.

On Saint Pat’s weekend, John, Matt and I headed south for a weekend of riffing, carb intake, and high fiving sun beams. We took along a 35mm disposable camera with us, which was the best decision of the trip. All the photos on this post are from that film.

Eve of Riding

John and I met up the evening before the ride to grab what we needed…which was mainly just Clif Bars and Clif Gel, and Clif Goo (feel free to sponsor us Clif Bar). We prepped some stuff for the ride in regards to our bikes, chilled for a while, and then went to go “carb up” Friday night. We woke up the next morning, John rode over to our residence and did some final prepping.

  1.  Pre-Ride Ritual
    1. Food: Coffee and Pancakes were our morning consumption. Its fuel. Coffee keeps you in it, pancakes keep you full. Its kind of a no brainer.
    2. Music: We listened to a lot of heavy hitting music that morning. You have to get hyped up before you go ride, you know? Preferred track: “King Kunta” by Kendrick Lamar.
    3. Jokes: Have fun, be loose. Most of the morning was spent being stupid, screaming, dancing, etc…I think Matt even hit me a few times.
  2. Route Check
    1. As straight as possible from Fort Collins, through Loveland, to Boulder.
    2. Hygiene, Colorado is our mid ride stop.
    3. Arrive at Boulder and contact friends.
  3. Packing Check
    1. Only a change of clothes, tooth brush, deodorant
    2. Water
    3. Lots of Clif Bars
    4. Tool kit with spare tubes, multi-tool, Leatherman, patch kit
    5. Chamois Butter (it really does help)
  4. Bike Loadout
    1. Matt’s new Cannondale EVO
    2. John’s Fuji Cross Comp
    3. My Raleigh Tamland

Matt and I riffing in front of basecamp

The  Ride Down

Timing is everything. You leave too early, and its kinda cold, maybe you get to your destination with too much time to spare and run the risk of just sitting around for a while. You leave too late (which is way worse in my opinion) and you risk heat, wind, the race for daylight, mid day drivers, not having enough time in said destination… the list goes on and on. Luckily, we picked a solid time to leave. We had a little wind on the way down to Loveland, but nothing too serious. Matt cruised with us for a minute before he departed to do some more climbing and heavy riding. We would meet again down the road.

"The boy is the exemplar of human athletic form" Dillon Maxwell on Matt Kotarbinski's calves.

“The boy is the exemplar of human athletic form” Dillon Maxwell on Matt Kotarbinski’s calves.

Getting through Loveland isn’t really the coolest ride by any means, just some suburbs and quite a bit of traffic. The minute you get out of Loveland, the cultural landscape becomes more rural, more sparse. Its calmer. More rolling. You see the foothills, the mountains peaking behind them.. You are just cruising on the country side.

"Those are some damn mountains, man."

“Those are some damn mountains, man”- John Ribes on the snow capped peaks

"Eat carbs every hour, and then eat like a goo or something towards the end of your ride." Matt Kotarbinski on ride snacks.

“Eat carbs every hour, and then eat like a goo or something towards the end of your ride.” -Matt Kotarbinski on ride snacks


Our first planned stop was in Hygiene, Colorado. A rad little town outside of Longmont that boasts a few stores, a school, and a fire department. We stopped at a very cyclist friendly general store and chilled. At this point, Matt had rejoined us outside of Hygiene and needed to stop to fix a slow leak.

Chiller Zone at Hygiene, CO

Chiller Zone at Hygiene, CO

We stayed in Hygiene for too long, we were too busy riffing on everyone there. We tried to make people smile, have fun, joke around, but most of the folks there were not having it. Reflecting on the situation, we were probably really annoying. A bunch of couples and older friends out enjoying a nice weekend ride to Hygiene, and here come these three 23 year old goons talking about crisping our tanlines, making pot jokes about Boulder, flexing, etc… I could see how we could be a bit much. Regardless, we had fun, and that is all that matters.



We rolled out of Hygiene, and Matt split yet again to do more climbing. John and I rode to Ryssby Chapel, then onto Boulder Reservoir. The rolling hills mixed with the weather was perfect. Just as you heated up from a climb, you cooled down on a decent. We jammed past Boulder Reservoir on the way into town. Getting into Boulder was almost like a little culture shock. We had grown accustom to the open country roads. Seeing more cars, and buildings seemed weird.  Finally, we had made it and now it was time to decompress and rally until tomorrow morning.

Looking west

Looking west

Boulder Timeline

Boulder itself had no real documentable riding, but lots of chillering.

  • 2:14- Arrival to Pearl Street.  Call Paige (life long friend/hostess) alert her of arrival in Boulder.
  • 2:20- Arrive at Paige’s house and meet up with her and her roommates.
  • 2:30- Decompression Phase One: Stable bikes, change clothes, chill on couch.
  • 2:46- Decompression Phase Two: Move to front porch to where Sarah (friend/hostess) was. She had some ENO hammocks (ENO, we would love a sponsorship) set up, this is where the most decompression took place.
"We are just hanging out"- John Ribes

“We are just hanging out”- John Ribes

  • 3:45- Rally Point One: Illegal Pete’s for a burrito, then to the Patagonia and Montbell Stores to scrounge for deals. There were no good deals (Patagonia or Montbell, feel free to sponsor us.)
Illegal Pete's Round 1: Misery sets in

Illegal Pete’s Round 1: Misery sets in

  • 4:50- Rally Point Two: Box Car Coffee for a cup of black coffee, then to Vecchio’s to talk shop with the dudes there. I am dead serious… you have to stop here when in Boulder. Such a solid bike shop ran by solid dudes.
  • 5:35- Decompression Phase Three: Arrive back to the our hostess’ abode. We watched a weird movie with Matthew Broderick, can’t remember it, but its like if Ferris Bueller became a really seedy, lame teacher with a really sad life. Not recommended.




  • 7:30- Decompression Phase Four: Mitch (long time homie/enthusiast of all things fast) arrives with New Belgium Sunshine Wheats (New Belgium, feel free to sponsor us).
  • 9:30- Rally Point Three: The Famous Sundown Saloon on Pearl to “carb up” for the next day. PBR is drink of choice.
  • 11:45- Rally Point Four: Illegal Pete’s again. Honestly, no real reason except it sounded so good at the time. Something about nachos after the bars that is heaven on earth.
  • 12:15- Paige picked us up and took us back to her place.
  • 12:30- Decompression reached: Bed time. I split a fold out mattress with Mitch, and John slept on the “death couch.” It is literally the most comfortable  couch on Earth, it like puts you in a sleep that is near to death. Hence the name.

The Ride Back


Checking stuff

We spent the morning watching Kid Rock, Taylor Swift, and other random music videos. No idea why, it just vibed at the time. It was a funny image, three dudes covered in blankets, jamming along to “American Badass” and “Shake It.” The girls came up to listen to some jams with us, and then it was time to make moves.

 A consensus was made that breakfast was needed. The Village was the choice spot. At ten the place was slammed. It is seriously such a rad little breakfast spot. Total greasy spoon.  Coffee and carbs was the meal of choice again, I had pancakes, and John had hash browns. Copious amounts of coffee were consumed yet again.

Breakfast time in Boulder

Breakfast time in Boulder

Walking back to the house, we decided to take the morning easy, and not rush leaving.  We packed our stuff, put on Chamois butter, drank water, packed, and hung with our friends for a bit. Everything I said about timing was thrown out for this. We left later, and the heat was noticeable.




Luckily the ride back is slightly downhill, and the sun is out longer, so it wasn’t a huge deal. Biggest blessing was that the wind never got too bad. It was a little more quiet coming back. We weren’t super tired, but it was more of a self-reflective, easy going ride back. Leaving the Flat Irons behind, we headed north for a few hours, Horsetooth Rock slowly appeared, and before we knew it we were home.

Follow Matt and John on Instagram

Strava Day 1

Strava Day 2


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