Famous Characters

Klunker Rider Kay on top of Scarp Ridge

Roger Bartels enjoys the view from atop Scarps Ridge. Photo by Don Cook


The Gunnison Valley is as much of a draw for mountain bike pros as it is for us amateurs. We certainly have our share of racers. As well as some mad scientist types who are quietly working away to make mountain biking better for everyone.

First Generation Heroes and Their Klunkers

We mean no disrespect when we refer to these folks as old timers. Instead, it’s an honorific to pay homage to the folks who were there at the beginning of mountain biking.

The likes of Don Cook and Kay Peterson-Cook who took their klunkers on the trails way back in the early days.  They rode through streams and over passes on rigid bikes in jeans. Their first Pearl Pass Tour was in 1980 and because of them the tradition is still carried on today. It’s the oldest mountain bike event in the world and you can join in in mid-September every year.

Our favorite part about these first generation mountain bikers in Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley is that so many of them still live here and ride. Some of them can probably even still kick your butt on the climb to Pearl Pass. It’s like if you lived in Cooperstown as a baseball player and you got to hang out and play with Babe Ruth in the town league. Cool stuff.

Generation Next

Mountain biking now has enough of a history here that we’re on to our second and third generation of famous mountain bikers living here. The guy who beat Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong in the Leadville 100? He lives in Gunnison and runs IMBA. The 1996 Olympic bronze medalist? She lives here, too.

There are countless other industry insiders: map makers, race organizers, professional athletes, and more. They quietly live and work here. All so they can be in the home of mountain biking doing what they love.

We plan to honor them here and tell their stories. Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on facebook to learn about the people who make the culture of mountain biking here in the Gunnison Valley.

While you’re here, head to the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum to see the mountain bike history exhibit and learn about our own famous mountain bikers who have made the Hall of Fame.