Words by Brice Minnigh
Photos by Petar Tomich
It's a reality every mountain biker knows all too well: From time to time, the most glorious day of riding will be brought to a sudden, shocking end. Such was the case on Tuesday, when a spirited group of journalists, pro athletes and industry veterans were soaking up the sublime weather and trails around the SolVista Bike Park near Granby, Colorado. All of us came here courtesy of Mavic, who wanted to roll out their newly updated line of wheels in a setting that would allow us to give them a proper flogging.
The day had gotten off to a magnificent start, with a two-hour XC ride that circumnavigated the bike park and gave the lungs a good stretching due to the 9,000-plus-foot elevation. Trying to keep up with the likes of Luna Chix rider Georgia Gould on the climbs was a taxing affair for the mostly sea-level-dwelling members of the press. But it was worth the effort for the exhilarating views and the sweet descent into the bike park on Mavic's redesigned CrossMax SLR cross-country wheels (look for a more detailed post on the wheels to follow soon).
After a morning of climbing, we were pretty amped for our afternoon session of lift-accessed riding in the bike park. The lifts were to stay running for two hours, and our goal was to get as many hot laps done as we could. After warm-up runs on fast-and-flowy trails such as Silky Johnson and Moga's Mile—beautifully built by Steve Wentz, Matt Thompson and Mihai Moga of Momentum Trail Concepts—we stepped it up a notch on a fairly burly trail called Cheese-It.
Midway down the trail, I plowed into a chunky rock garden with perhaps too much speed, lost my line and got a good old-fashioned body slamming, somehow managing to land on my middle finger—and promptly popping it straight out of its socket, leaving it hanging at what seemed like a 90-degree angle.
Bummer. That was the end of my ride. I took some comfort in showing the mangled wreck to the other flinching journalists before walking back to the top and taking the chairlift down to the ski patrol station. Mavic's U.S. marketing director, Sean Sullivan, graciously drove me to the local clinic, where an unfazed Dr. Mark Paulsen expertly popped the finger back into place. What a relief. Leave it to the pros to straighten things out.