Rider Profile: Dave Ochs

Over the course of the summer, we’ll be doing a series of blog posts profiling our local riding heroes. These are the people who inspire us to be better mountain bikers ourselves and we look to them as mountain bike role models. First up, David Ochs.

Dave is the current Executive Director of the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association. Even though it’s the oldest mountain bike club in the world (maybe even the universe), Dave is the first full-time employee they have ever had. After maintaining the north valley’s 400+ miles of trails on a shoestring budget ($20k and beer, they used to say) for decades, the board made the decision in spring of 2016 that it was time to take the plunge and go for it. They hired Dave and the rest, as they say, is history.

Dave examining mountain bike trail for a trailwork day.
Dave swinging a tool for trailwork day.

We tracked down Dave and interviewed him as our very first rider profile for summer 2017. This interview has been edited slightly for clarity.

What brought you to the Gunnison Valley? Were you riding before you moved here?

The people, the trails, the riding right from your door in any and every direction. Yes, but fell ass backwards for it once here.

What’s your favorite Gunnison Valley trail?

It’s too hard to pick one…

  • Lupine 2 for how sweet it is – so close to home
  • Carbon Creek for how gnarly, but how wild it is.
  • Canyon Creek for how amazing it is all around
Ochs mountain biking on a trail at Hartman Rocks

Favorite post-ride refuel food and beverage?

Anything someone hands me with salt in it. Anything someone hands me with hops in it!

Dave in his singlespeed worlds costumeWhat’s the best costume you’ve ever seen at Chainless?/What’s the best costume you personally have ever worn at the Chainless?

So many over the years I can’t pick one.  I’ve worn the same skin suit for 16 years now… so I would say that’s the best I’ve ever worn.

(Editor’s note: we somehow don’t have a photo of Dave’s famous Chainless outfit. He did, however, share this shot of his outfit from Singlespeed Worlds a few years ago.)

What’s your favorite Gunnison Valley bike event?

The Chainless

What’s the best all-around bike for riding in the Gunnison Valley?

I’m a big wheel fan. To cover this ground and take on all it can throw at you, I think a 4” to 5” 29’er is the best.

How many miles of singletrack do you think you can knock out on Trailquest this season?

If I were single and unemployed, all of them! In reality, I hope for a good 350 miles.

What’s your favorite ride for wildflowers? What about for fall colors?

  • Flowers – Crystal/400
  • Fall – Strawberry or Teo, and the Dyke

What’s the biggest epic you’ve ever had riding in the Gunnison Valley?

Man so many, many years ago. The biggest epic I want to do now is finish the CB Classic.

What’s the nastiest piece of gear you should throw away, but just can’t bring yourself to chuck?

An old ‘double butt cheek’ saddle.  Too weird to throw away!

What bike part should you invest the most money in?

Suspension.

What’s your favorite biking hack under $10?

Bathing cap.  When in the Rockies, and the surprise mega storm hits you at 13,000’ – you’d be one happy camper to have a bathing cap in the bag for full helmet coverage that the hail doesn’t pound your skull through your helmet holes!  Of course a nice hood helps, too!

What’s a trail you haven’t ridden yet that is on your ride bucket list for this summer?

Texas Creek.

Fat bikes? Yes or no?

Hell yes!

(Editor’s note: Dave is the genius who came up with the Fat Bike World Championships. We mostly put this question in the interview for him!)

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