The final event of the Colorado Freeride Festival was the Intergalactic Pond Crossing. This is a contest for only the greats, partaken by men and women of superior skill and daring. The riders must be willing to don a lifejacket and before a crowd of onlookers balance across an 8 inch wide floating bridge over a freezing pond. Few will make it to the other side but those who do will earn prizes equal to their greatness.
Ok, I'm being a little sarcastic but the pond crossing really is a fun event. After a full weekend of hardcore racing this is where everyone has one last chance to gather, cheer and laugh.
With an open sign up process the riders ranged from 10 year old kids to top professionals like Jerome Clementz, Ben Cruz, Jeff Lenosky and Tracy Moseley. Regardless of their accomplishments on the dirt, this challenge was the ultimate equalizer for all participants.
The race started at 3 pm just after the rain subsided and even though the crowd was a bit smaller (Due to the 10 am check-out time) they still had plenty of spirit. Over the course of the next hour we were witness to the hilarity of countless crossing attempts on all sizes of bikes. The entertainment value alone would have been worth a ticket price but like most great things in life, admission was free.
Terri and I took pictures from both sides of the pond and tried hard to hold our cameras steady despite the desire to laugh uncontrollably. We got pictures of every rider who competed. These pictures are posted on Facebook so feel free to tag yourself or others.
No report on the Colorado Freeride Festival would be complete without making mention of our favorite bars and eateries. Terri and I went to great pains to make sure that you know where to get the good beer. We spent a large chunk of money on trying every restaurant and digging through all the stores. Here are our favorites.
Top 3 Favorite Restaurants
1. Cheeky Monk - This Belgian beer cafe has the best selection of food and drinks. Terri raved about the St. Bernardus Beer and their Cowboy Burger. I melted over the Left Handed Milky Nitro and the Chicken Pita. We loved everything, the seating, food, drinks, ambiance you name it.
2. Lime: An American Cantina - Lime is delicious Mexican food with a decent mix of brews. The real appeal of Lima is more about the atmosphere. A flatscreen behind the bar played the film "Where the Trail Ends" as killer music buzzed our ears and groups of riders crowded into the booths and tables. If you want to bump into Mountain Bike royalty, this is the place to hang out.
3. Doc's Roadhouse - Doc's has moderate food and good drinks but it is in the perfect location, right in front of the lifts. I lucked out on drinks, my Belgian Fat Tire and and Summer Shandy were both stupendous. Terri tried a refreshing Watermelon Cooler that was designed by one of the barkeeps.
As the last patrons on Sunday night we missed out on the staple side dish as they had run out of french fries. We opted for the trail named burgers -Rainmaker and Trestle Burger. Both were fair in flavor though I admit to wimping out on taking the full explosion that comes from the Trestle burger's fried jalapenos.
Granted we tried other places but not everyone gets to make the list. There was one evening where we were exhausted and just spent the night eating Empire pizza in our room. Not a bad option when you are low on cash. However we were not the only ones running low. I spoke to a local who told me that the resort was overwhelmed by the size of the crowds. The Trestle Bike Park Facebook page indicated 4,000 visitors over the weekend, wow!
We registered for the whole weekend and were glad to get that extra night. After 5 pm on Sunday the Winter Park village was like a ghost town. The biggest benefit was that we finally got a chance to enjoy our outdoor hot tub. What better way to end a vacation than by sitting in 100 degree water during 50 degree weather under a sky full of stars. Visiting this festival was one of my personal dreams and I can tell you without hesitation that I was not disappointed.