Coal Miner

Words: Daniel Wakefield Pasley | Date:

We’ve stayed in hundreds of different places over the course of this project. In the beginning, when it was local to the Northwest and Northeast we stayed at home and with friends and teammates. Twice, while in Los Angeles, we stayed at The Standard, once on Sunset and once in Downtown, in either case, our away-game was $15 caprihinas trendy luxury.

Things changed with the Tour of California in January 2009. The need for efficiency and access trumped all other criteria, especially those most accurately described as amenities. Still we managed to find cultured respite, Svendsgaard’s in Solvang featured a life-sized windmill and a Dutch-art gazebo.

Accommodations became deeply interesting, wildly varied, and representative of almost every imaginable color, shape, size and construction, on the Continental tour of rides. We placed a premium on proximity and simplicity, and consistently we’ve lauded people and places, character and environment. So when in Rome, we did as the locals would do, we stayed in sportsmen cabins, resort cabins, the floors of modern homes built deep in a jungle and featured in Dwell, barracks, barns, outer loop beltway town-homes, old-school 50’s style motor lodges, basements, doublewides and stylish apartments, respectively.

Moots makes incredible custom titanium bicycles and their limited production-run facility in Steamboat Springs, Colorado is state-of-the-art. I didn’t even know what state-of-the-art was until I spent twenty minutes changing out cleats in their workshop, taking-in their machines and tools and catching up with Jon Cariveau, our host and the marketing manager at Moots. Moots radiates precision and accuracy. Their exacting tolerances and aerospace grade specifications and process is palpable – the workspace is immaculate, it’s efficiency incarnate. But as impressed as we were with their workshop, the apartment above the office was even better still.

One side has three bedrooms, two full baths, a massive living area, big-screen TV, entertainment and sound system, fully stocked kitchen with counter and bar stools, washer and dryer, dining area, and it comfortably sleeps eight. The other side has many of the same amenities but only one official bedroom, though it will easily sleep as many as six. Both are fully furnished in modern but enjoyable furniture – think Design Within Reach – and lots of extras. Both open onto a massive deck outfitted with tables, chairs and grill. As well as a view of the valley below.

Steamboat, the town, commonly referred to as Ski Town USA or simply ‘The Boat’, is ski-cowboy chic. Downtown’s mainstream is classic in its facades, ice-cream shops, galleries, cafes and ski, bike and cowboy outfitters. The riding in Steamboat is world-class so it’s easily understood why the guys at Moots (and that damn alligator logo they’ve got) are constantly smiling.

Coal Miner, the 123 mile epic that rolls around Sleeping Giant Mountain and through Yampa Valley’s thriving ranchlands, appeared to be a near-endless network of perfectly paved and hard-packed unpaved roads, all linking together seamlessly and fluidly. It was glorious. Mountains and mountain rivers cold and fast with snow melt. Empty roads. Grassy fields dotted with hay bails and bundles, barns and horses. Blue skies and wind.

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