Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fargo Riders Reunion Ride

Gen I Fargo which was on the first Fargo Adventure Ride
Well, if you've ever read this blog for very long, you no doubt know about my love for the Salsa Cycles Fargo, and in particular, the "First Gen" model. I would like it very much if only for the fact that it fits me so perfectly. But that is not the only reason I really love this bike.

But before I rehash that, the reason for today's post is that I am taking my first Fargo back to the beginning, in a sense. A bit of a back story to explain.....

In 2008, I was very well aware that a bike with drop bars and 29 inch wheels was coming out from Salsa Cycles. I knew a bike that was similar to an El Mariachi was being made that would be tweaked to run mountain bike specific drop bars and that it would be a steel frame. I actually got to see the first rendering of the final production Fargo on my Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational in the Summer of 2008. Jason Boucher, then the head honcho of Salsa Cycles, came down and rode his pre-production Fargo with a piece of black electrical tape covering the then unknown name of this new model. We riders immediately dubbed the bike "Black Electrical Tape" since Jason was being so "Cagey McCagerson" about the actual model name.

Then in the Fall of '08, at Interbike, I got to test ride a Fargo on the Bootleg Canyon trails. It was an awesome experience, and the Fargo was one of the only bikes I ever rode there that I could clean every drop in on. I was duly impressed and when I got the invitation to come up to Salsa Cycles HQ in early November for a "Fargo demo ride", I immediately jumped at the chance.

A pic from Murphy Hanrehan trails on an early Fargo Adventure Ride
The ride happened out of the QBP headquarters and there were several QBP/Salsa folks on Fargos the likes of which you've never seen. Pre-prodution prototypes in bizarre colorways were on the ride, and the atmosphere was electric. The ride was one of those really memorable ones, where you ride over and beyond your skill set. It was also on the very day that Barack Obama was elected to be the first African American President of the United States of America.  Then, at the end of a most auspicious, beautiful, and awesome November day, I was able to take home a Fargo. Ostensibly it was a test/review bike for Twenty Nine Inches, but I kind of "borrowed it permanently". Whoops! 

Well, if the powers that be ever call it back, I would graciously comply with the demand, but after nearly ten years of abuse, I doubt it would prove to be a benefit to them at this point. Suffice it to say that I am eternally grateful every time I get to throw a leg over that rig. The people, times, and fit of the experience that is embodied in the 2008 Fargo I have will never be duplicated. So when a Fargo Riders Reunion Ride was proposed, I was on it like white on rice. I even forsook my entry to the inaugural Spotted Horse Gravel Ultra race for a chance to be on this ride with old friends and on bicycles we are fond of. That's how much I wanted to be on this ride. I will dearly miss being on a grand gravel ride devised by the inimitable Sarah Cooper, but I wouldn't miss this Fargo Riders Reunion Ride for anything.

A stop on that November '08 Fargo Adventure Ride
So, maybe now it might be more apparent why this particular bicycle is special to me. It is a reminder of all the Fargo Adventure Rides I was on. It is a reminder of all the epic failures on rides I have experienced from the Midnight Madness gravel ride to the Dirty Kanza 200. This is the bike I successfully rode on several GTDRI's and the bike on which I finally put all the miles of Gravel Worlds under my tires. It is the bike I have had some of my most meaningful experiences on. The one I have forged the most meaningful relationships with.

And this weekend I get to go back and do it all again. There will be a new route, new Fargo "Fargonauts", and old acquaintances and deeply missed friends. Who knows? It may be the last time this all happens. Jason Boucher and Ben Witt are behind all of this, and neither one is directly tied to Salsa anymore. It was a chance posting on Facebook that prompted the whole deal. I mean.........who could have predicted it?  No one. It is just a special one off that probably will never happen again, and it is a ride I am sure will conjure up many old memories on several of the riders parts.

So, today I am prepping the old Fargo for its homecoming of sorts. Yes.....this ride means a lot to me. Not just because of the bicycle, but because of the people this particular bike brings together. The ride happens on Friday. I'll have a full report coming up on Monday, October 31st. Stay tuned!

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