(Sept. 8, 2012) Caribou Ranch, Colo.-As all good ideas are, the first Sufferfest was born of a few post ride beers and the urge to ride more great singletrack with like-minded friends. Jason Vogel, the current president of the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance got this event rolling in 2008, and chose the Sufferfest moniker to represent the tough, all day trail ride the group did the first year out. With very little aid along the way, about 40 riders started at Nederland High School and rode north to Beaver Reservoir for a night of camping and smack talking. The event was embraced by all involved, and quickly grew from that small informal ride to the larger community affair that it is today.
Beginning with the 2011 event, the name was changed to reflect the new venue for the ride. The Caribou Ranch is well known in the music industry as a place where recording artists could tuck themselves away in the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and make their music. The ranch has been owned by the Guercio Family for generations, and until recently, has been closed to the public. Turns out someone in the Guercio family likes mountain biking and felt it would be nice to offer up the use of their ranch for this event.
This gave BMA the opportunity to host a larger ride where they could better support the riders, offer after ride camping, and generally throw a bigger bash all around. As Mic De Min, the BMA Volunteer Director for this event says, “BMA enjoys hosting this event and plans to continue offering an annual ride. The event will continue to grow as long as there are volunteers to support it and riders that want to come out and play. The Guercio Family has been great to work with and is a strong partner in bringing a well-organized mountain bike event to Boulder County.”
With the idea of creating an annual event to celebrate the end of summer, recruit and recognize BMA and Bike Patrol members, trail crew workers, and to celebrate National Public Lands; Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance has done just that. “Each year, it has grown in participation and matures in organization. This year, we were able to include hot food-to-order thanks to the Oskar Blues' Bone Wagon and live music courtesy of Highway 36 Band. As long as we are invited to host the event on the Caribou Ranch, we will be there!” says De Min.
The course has changed throughout the years, but always consists of a 40 to 50 mile loop covering some beautiful terrain through the Arapahoe National Forest between the Caribou Ranch and Brainard Lake to the north. This year some really technical riding on the Raven and South St. Vrain trails challenged riders as they made the loop back around to the Sourdough Trail and then back to the ranch for food and refreshments.
Once again this event shows the benefits of a strongly united cycling community that works together to promote positive Trail Stewardship. Go out and get involved!