Life On Two Wheels: Adam Shaw resurrects Montezuma’s Revenge
Special to the Daily
Editor’s note: For countless Summit County residents, a bicycle is more than a machine — it’s a lifestyle. Every week during the summer, we’ll ask our most adventurous residents, “Where has your bike taken you?”
In a community where it seems like everyone is a professional-level mountain biker, finding a riding challenge that beats the pants off the rest is a bit of a stretch — except for the once-defunct Montezuma’s Revenge, a high-alpine, 24-hour endurance race that took extreme riding to a new level in Summit County.
Adam Shaw remembers the original events, and, as a former county resident and one-time serious racer who still spends as much time as possible riding local trails, he decided that resurrecting this serious cycling adventure was a great way to spend his spare time.
Thus, the upcoming Mountain’s Revenge, an entirely free-to-enter (if you dare) kind of ride, held Aug. 20-21 on trails in the Montezuma area and along the Continental Divide.
“I had done a few of the original races and I really missed it,” he says. “Whenever I’d run into someone who used to ride, they’d all talk about the feelings of remorse that they had about missing the event.”
Shaw, a Wisconsin native, spent a decade living and riding in Summit County before family and a busy HVAC business took him to the Front Range. He kept the Montezuma’s Revenge ride in mind after it disappeared in 2007, even though the logistics and legalities that eventually killed the event still made it seem like a stretch to get it rolling again.
“By the end, it was getting so crazy,” he says. “Even with the participation of the Forest Service, they were asking us to get individual pass-through rights from all of the mining claims along the route, which meant 1,500 to 2,000 people to be contacted. It really got bigger than itself.”
Shaw opted to email Matt Turgeon of the Colorado Endurance Series, an organization coordinating participants in dozens of similar riding events across the state, to see if he could get some help.
“They do lots of events but none of them are in the 24-hour format the Montezuma race was, so he pushed me to bring it back,” Shaw says. “I just didn’t want to be the only one helping with the organizing. But it really took off from there. I just do end up spending a couple hundred hours a year helping to set things up.”
Shaw’s own biking history goes back to his childhood days, when, as a 10-year-old “Breaking Away” era kid, he bucked his friends and the BMX craze and started road biking on a 10-speed Huffy.
“It really was that whole sense of freedom to get out that appealed to me,” he says. “Later I started participating in the USCF (U.S. Cycling Federation) racing series.”
He made the switch to mountain biking in the early 1990’s and quickly took part in the infamous Chequamegon 40 race, part of the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival in Cable, Wisconsin, known for a slightly overwhelming start with 2,500 people.
The love for off-road riding stuck, and Shaw says he opted to take part in his first Montezuma’s Revenge ride in 1997 or 1998.
“I was working at a condo in Keystone and I saw the poster and I remember saying, ‘By God, that looks cool,’” he remembers.
Nowadays, with a 3.5-year-old daughter, Shaw says it’s a little challenging to do the riding he needs to run a 24-hour endurance race himself, though he’s still very active on the weekends, shooting videos and plotting GPS maps of the course, and then pre-riding as much of the terrain as possible.
For those who are interested, the Mountain’s Revenge tops out at 74 participants (part of the agreement with the Forest Service) but is absolutely free to enter. Details on registration, rigors and regulations for a 24-hour solo race experience like no other can be found at http://www.mountainsrevenge.com.
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