A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Team Bar2Bar (or is it Beef?) Rides Again!

In one week Jonny Rocker and I will head to Salida, Colorado, for the start of Ride the Rockies 2017. Although the ride officially starts in Alamosa and ends in Salida, we are meeting up with our teammates in Salida on Friday and will ride 80 miles to Alamosa on Saturday. That way when we roll into Salida on the following Sunday, roughly 520 miles later, we will be back at the start!

In true Team Bar2Bar tradition, The Hankster had T-Shirts made with the official team bars in each of the overnight destinations and the official team motto, "drinkers with a cycling problem."

So, you may have noticed that various times I will talk about riding with Team Beef and Team Bar2Bar and maybe even Team DFL. So which is it? Well, it's complicated!
After a one-year hiatus, Team Bar2Bar returns to RTR for the Reunion Tour 2017!

On my first RTR in 2005 I registered as a team of two with my friend David from Kansas City who had recently moved to Colorado (I still lived in KC at the time). On the evening of Day Zero (the day everyone arrives and registers) we met two amazing women who called themselves Team DFL

"What does DFL stand for," I asked innocently. 

"Dead 'Something' Last," was their reply. 

I met Patty (left) and Kris (right) on my first RTR in 2005.

I got the point. DFL is the moniker given to the last rider on the route. Imagine 2,000 cyclists trekking around the Colorado Rockies and the significant logistical challenge of keeping track of them all. The organizers and volunteers can't pack up an aid station until the last rider comes through. Imagine being that rider. Kris took pride in it!

Team DFL President Kris with Team Bar2Bar legacies Lora and Robert "Woody" Woodworth.

Don't get me wrong, Kris is a strong rider. She is also one of the most social people I have ever met. She can (and will) talk to anybody who will listen. Kris and Patty would set up temporary tattoo parlors at every aid station, apply Team DFL tattoos, and make friends with the other riders. The end result is they were often among the final riders on the route -- occasionally dead something last. We became fast (slow) friends. I rode with them for several years after that as an official member of Team DFL. 

Kris applies a Team DFL on the Mayor of Chama, NM, on RTR 2006 (the only time Ride the Rockies has left the state of Colorado).

Sometime during that first RTR Kris and Patty introduced me to a group of riders that call themselves Team Bar2Bar. The name is derived from their habit of riding directly to a bar (the first on one the left, unless it's on the right) in the overnight destination town. We became fast (drinking) friends.

Team DFL and Bar2Bar reunion at the start of RTR 2006 in Cortez, CO.

Seriously, though, these guys had the plan. Ride straight into town and to a bar. While everyone else rides straight to the campsite (typically a school) and sweats in the midday sun they were sitting (usually a local brewpub or dive bar) eating and drinking -- refueling for the next day. I have been a member of Team Bar2Bar ever since, whether I registered as part of the team or not.

The official T-shirt is a Team Bar2Bar tradition.

So where does Team Beef come in? Just prior to my second RTR in 2006 I interviewed for a position at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in Denver. I have always loved beef, grew up visiting my grandparents in Colorado, and was hooked on riding over 12,000 foot mountain passes after my first RTR. This was my chance to combine all three. They offered me the job and I took a week to think it over -- while riding on RTR 2006. I made my decision about halfway through the first day.

The first official Team Beef was just me and my friend Shawn.

After joining NCBA we came up with the idea for Team Beef when several of my colleagues signed up for a 10K run in Denver, sponsored by Arby's. At the end of the run Arby's employees were handing out coupons for a free meal. I eagerly took one anticipating an Arby's roast beef sandwich. The coupon was for a grilled chicken sandwich. "What the something?" I asked. "We figured runners would want something healthy," was their reply. Wrong answer.

I have been promoting beef on Ride the Rockies since 2007!

Thus the impetus for Team Beef -- now numbering thousands of beef-loving athletes around the country demonstrating that beef is powerful fuel for physical activity and an essential part of a healthy, active lifestyle. 

From left: The Hankster, Woody and I rode as Team Beef one day on RTR 2013.

Team Beef registered an official team for the first (and only) time in 2014 but, just like Team Bar2Bar, many people consider themselves part of Team Beef and sport Team Beef jerseys on the ride. This year is no different. Seven of us registered as Team Bar2Bar but on any given day 10 of us could be wearing Team Beef jerseys. Either way we will be enjoying plenty of beef and beer. That's just the way we roll.

Ride on...


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