“Mask up, bundle up, and get ready to run/or ride Colorado’s best mixed terrain!” Those are the enticing words that capture one immediately when visiting Old Man Winter Bike Rally & Run’s website. Sounds pretty fun, right? And definitely something our alternative guys, Alex Howes and Lachlan Morton, would want to ride. And even though they committed at the eleventh hour, they somehow managed to pull it off. In their own alternative fashion, of course.
Last Thursday, Howes messaged Lachlan and asked if he had plans for the weekend. Fortunately for him, he had an open Saturday and got a thumbs-up emoji from Lachy when he pitched the idea. Plus another thumbs up when he asked if he wanted to meet at the race start on Saturday morning. If these pros are anything, they’re straight to the point. “We wanted to get out there and put time on the board. We also just wanted to show our support for the event and the Colorado riding community,” said Howes.
This year, Old Man Winter was shaking things up and offered riders “50 km or 100 km of dirt, snow, climbs, and thrills.” The organizers also gave riders the chance to complete the route between February 6 – February 14 in order to encourage social distancing. Howes has always been a fan of the usually one-day winter biking event and despite it being spread out — he and Lachan still managed to have a lot of fun along the way. “Normally Old Man Winter is a great opportunity to see and spend time with many of my riding buddies here in Colorado. I was bummed to miss out on seeing everyone, but we still had a great time this year,” said Howes.
Despite their last-minute decision to sign up, these two pros had been training hard in the offseason. “This time around, we were a great match. We’ve both been working with the team trainer Nate Wilson and having a similar build and training plan really worked out well for the two-person effort,” said Howes.
The snow also added another challenge to the already demanding route through some of Colorado’s best scenery. “Once on course though, our racing instincts kicked in and we found ourselves going full gas from start to finish,” said Howes.
A few hiccups along the way didn’t stop them from reaching the finish in Lyons, where a ticket for a hot meal and a cold beer awaited. They both faced some issues with their tire pressure and Lachlan even crashed at one point. “Riding with Lachlan is always a good time no matter what. Even if one of us is on a bad day, we always seem to get some good laughs out of it,” said Howes.
The finish wasn’t pretty either. “We did a good job of emptying the tank throughout the effort which made the last 10km a tough reach for the end.”
At the end of the day, Howes felt recharged and appreciated an event like this even more after spending a few months up in the mountains. It was the kind of race he needed to get fired up for the race season. “Along the way, there were other people out riding and cheering. The day really turned into a beautiful reminder of how much fun racing can be and how great this community really is,” said Howes.
As for his next stop on his alt calendar adventure? “Strade Bianche. That’s a gravel race, right?” Sure, Howesy. Either way, we can’t wait to see you there.