Today was officially a rest day, a day to see the sights and explore Steamboat Springs while acclimating to the altitude.

First on the list was a factory visit and tour of Moots, a titanium bike manufacturer. They’ve been hand crafting world class bikes here for 30 years. Titanium has the reputation of combining the best features of strength, resilience and weight for bike frames. I only know one person who actually owns one. They can run between five and ten grand. Moots builds about 1200 bikes a year with 15% being custom built.

Their manufacturing was essentially a metal machine shop, Bridgeport lathes and milling machines, a couple CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines and TIG (Argon) welding. It was petty loosey-goosey on the safety. We wandered the production floor between the machines (in operation) without safety glasses. It was interesting to see how they shaped and molded the tubes into bike frames. One of the guys on the tour actually spotted his frame hanging in the welding area in the process of being built. That was cool.

I discovered that Big Agnes, who makes the tent I’m using and a sleeping bag/ pad I own is also headquartered here. I popped in, unannounced and surprised the Development Team. I let them know how much I valued their products and customer service. They were nice but suggested I might want to visit their actual storefront… I noticed that Honey Stinger (energy gels, waffles, chew blocks for athletes) was also in the same building so guess what, I walked on in and struck up a conversation with JD. Also nice, but wasn’t sure how I got in the door.

I picked up a couple items for the ride, had lunch and headed to do a hike at Fish Creek Falls, a National Reccreation Area. By now you know how happy I was to show my card for free parking. They had a few short hikes to an 80 foot cascade/ waterfall and a 5 mile hike to a second waterfall which was 2400 feet up. It was like the Grand Canyon in reverse without a 45 pound pack. I could definitely feel the thin air on the climb up.

On the way down I was startled by a crashing sound in the bushes 15 yards ahead, looked up to see the rear end of a bear scrambling away. I sang and whistled the rest off the way down. No pictures of this adventure as I left my phone at camp.

Everyone arrived by dinner time today and are getting set up and acquainted. Steve from Chicago arrived with his bike in a box and all the bags and gear practically still had the tags hanging on them. He seems to have a great attitude and I’m confident he’ll do fine.

Tomorrow I’ll do a shakedown ride and we’ll get our provisions for the first two days in preparation for the Grand departure Sunday.


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