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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 121 > CRESTED BUTTE 40 YEARS ON

CRESTED BUTTE 40 YEARS ON

Charlie Kelly and Joe Breeze retrace one of the most important rides in mountain bike history, 1978’s Pearl Pass tour.

In 1978, a small group of early ‘mountain bikers’ rode over the 12,000ft Pearl Pass in Colorado. Flat event, and those riders, went on to permanently affect our nascent sport. Now, 40 years later, mountain bike pioneers Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze and a handful of friends went up to re-enact it.

In 1978 I joined my Marin County friends Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher, Mike Castelli and Wende Cragg on an expedition to Colorado for the ride from Crested Butte to Aspen. We thought we would meet people just like us, but were shocked to find that it was just a bunch of folks with town bikes who had taken them over Pearl Pass on a one-time lark, and had no plans to do it again.

Theey had no plans, that is, until we showed up with fancy hand built bikes and even a girl who rode them. With local pride on the line, a ride was put together on a few days’ planning. The 1978 Crested Butte to Aspen ride launched Crested Butte into the forefront of Colorado mountain biking, and the sport took over the town.

For the next ten years or so I trekked out annually to Crested Butte [pronounced ‘bute’ – Ed] for the ride, but then life, marriage, and a family took priority.

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