Kay is a Colorado cyclist and lives in Boulder. She likes a good adventure and maybe goes a little too far sometimes...

When Pearl Izumi asked if I’d like to attend REI’s mountain bike demo day and training camp, I jumped at the chance! My mission was to assist PI sales staff but first I’d have to find them…

Information was a little light, I had the date but time, location, and job description were up in the air. I had assumed we’d be in Denver at the REI flagship store but a couple days before the event I received an email with a cryptic message and instructions to report to the Buffalo Creek Trail System in the woods somewhere south of Evergreen at 8:00am. Uh, ok. I googled the name of the Meadows campsite and figured out it was going to take me 2 hours to get there. The next morning I set out bright and early before the sun was up and headed west.

The last time I’d driven Highway 285 was years ago when I was still in high school. My best friend and I had thrown a kegger one weekend when my parents were out of town and afterward, hoping to escape the repercussions of our teenage choices, we made our great escape to her family’s cabin in Fairplay. We only got a brief 24 hour reprieve before we had to go back and face the music but at least our parents had cooled off a little bit by then:)

I arrived at Buffalo Creek at exactly 8:00 but the road was closed and there was no one around. I bounced down a 4-wheel drive road thinking it might be the right road but hit a dead end after about 15 minutes. A three-point turn sent me back the way I’d just come. I stopped at the parking lot, reread the email to make sure I had the right camp, and called the cell phone of my contact but of course there was no service – now what? I noticed a trailhead sign with a map and decided to take a look. Turns out the Buffalo Creek area is a giant horseshoe shape, I was on the north end and my group was on the south end 20 miles away. I took a picture of the map with my phone and went in search of camp #2.



Nothing like a little early morning route finding to wake up the senses! By the time I arrived, set up was done and things were just getting started. About a dozen vendors and manufacturers had come with full complements of mountain bike equipment – bikes, helmets, shoes, clothing, gear. Three seminar sessions were scheduled so each manufacturer could showcase their goods and give indepth explanations of features. This was, after all, an in-field learning experience for the REI sales staff to equip them with working knowledge of the products they were going to sell to consumers.


I came away learning so much more than I had bargained for. So much thought and consideration are put into the design and features of each piece of equipment that the average consumer never knows about. I suppose that’s the job of a good salesperson – to educate and demonstrate. After the seminars the groups broke up and everyone got on bikes and took off to test out the equipment. Pearl Izumi was test site central for cycling shoes and had brought a full line up.

May in the mountains means crisp air, newly budding leaves, and streams bursting with tumbling water. It also means the weather gods can turn on you in a nano second and throw rain, hail, snow, or sleet your way at a moment’s notice. We had a bright, sunny, t-shirt morning during the seminars, demo rides and picnic lunch but just as the second round of afternoon seminars began – it snowed… Good thing we’d all  brought winter gear too!

#pearlizumi #endureandenjoy365 #rei #buffalocreektrailsystem #mountainbikegear