Yeti Cycles EWS Aspen, Colorado
Savouring the chance to make a return to the States, Euan fills us in on his trip to Golden and the Yeti Cycles EWS Colorado
Euan joins Yeti in the pits at EWS Colorado
Colorado and Yeti Cycles just go hand-in-hand, they are synonymous with each other. Like your favourite trail glove and calloused hand, they just fit. The Centennial State provides the perfect test bed for their ‘Super Bikes’ to be moulded and honed to perfection. Whether it’s an epic backcountry ride for Joey Schusler or a local lunchtime ride on Apex there is no doubt that the landscape plays a major role in the refinement of the best bikes in the business. It’s quite some place.
Four years ago I was lucky enough to find myself in this amazing state at the Yeti Tribe in Durango. This was the first part of my indoctrination into Yeti life and the way the company engages with, and values their loyal customer base. This is exactly the same way I feel about our own riders so the culture and ethos of the company quickly found a place in my heart. It was also the time that Yeti President Chris Conroy and I set about planning the model for the International Yeti Tribe Gatherings. With successful Gatherings under our belt in Nepal and Chile (and New Zealand to follow in the coming months), I was hopeful that my second visit to Colorado would be just as fruitful!
The promise of some amazing racing at EWS Aspen was something I didn’t want to miss and since I hadn’t seen the Yeti factory or some of the team in four years it seemed like fate was pulling me back west. Adding in the promise of getting my wheels dirty too meant I was sold!
“The Centennial State provides the perfect test bed for their ‘Super Bikes’ to be moulded and honed to perfection.”
For two consecutive seasons Richie Rude has been the man to beat. Conditions falling against his riding style and just sheer bad luck have made this a challenging series for the young American
Racers, Riding and Planning
As we left the UK behind and headed over the pond, the reigning EWS World Champion, Richie Rude, was having a difficult season blighted by mechanicals and, more significantly, a weather pattern more suited to amphibians. As a shameless Yeti supporter I was obviously hoping that Aspen would be the race that Richie would shine and that manual-master Cody Kelley could build on the great form he showed at the same venue in 2016.
My desire to get on with the fandom had to wait, however, as my arrival immediately presented me with trails to ride and hi-fives to be given. In ridiculously beautiful evening light and on dusty, yet grippy trails, who were we to reject such a nice offer?
Half-way through the ride I realised we certainly had arrived in the honey pot of Rockies riding. We took in the Rim Trail before ascending back into town just in time to grab an ice cold beer with EWS Managing Director (and fellow Scot) Chris Ball, which gave us ample opportunity to excitedly discussed the perfect, dry conditions on the trails right now. We were kids on Christmas morning.
Once the post ride beer had done its work, we headed back to our apartment to get ready for drinks with Conroy, and a quick chat with the racers before they had to get down to the business at hand. With the riders quickly glazing over at our stories and reminiscing, they sensibly headed off to bed, and allowed us to get down to discussing the up and coming tribe in New Zealand, and where to take Yeti’s dedicated following in the coming years, watch this space….
Life isn’t the pits when you’ve got a turquoise shelter to keep out the elements.
Cody Kelley again used Aspen to show the promise he has for the Yeti/FOX team in the coming years
Trails and Tribulations
With some bleary eyes but exciting ideas for the future, the shape of our weekend was now dictated by the racing we had all come to be a part of. A promising start for Richie, including a win on Stage 2, got our hearts racing but sadly the trail gods had other ideas. Thankfully the turquoise flag was raised by Kelley and another great result for him on what can loosely be called his home turf (Utah’s not that far from Colorado, is it?)
With all the racers placed and tents and pit crews packing up, I followed the Yeti crew back to Golden and their HQ, to get a factory tour, hook up with some old faces, and meet the new ones who have joined the camp in the last few years. With some sneaking behind the scenes I also got to see the 2018 bikes being prepped for shipping to worldwide distributors. Exciting times for all involved at Yeti, not to mention the lucky new owners waiting patiently for their new steeds to arrive.
As my departure inevitably drew near I started to feel sad. Not to be too sentimental but with everyone involved in Yeti making you feel part of the team, it’s a bit of wrench. The culture and working environment here is so similar to what we have built back in the UK that it’s hard not to feel right at home. Two companies in different fields, but in the same industry, both singing from the same song sheet. A great partnership…Thanks Yeti.