Albert Maunz

Albert Maunz is one of the local bike riders from Crested Butte.

From Al Maunz, on the original Pearl Pass ride from an interview with Sarah McCullough conducted on July 19, 2011 in Crested Butte, Colorado.

In this interview Al Maunz shares his thoughts about Pearl Pass and how it all began.

"We were over at, you know, on Elk Avenue and all these motorcycles were lined up and they were all from Aspen. And I go, shoot man, all these guys came over from Aspen.And so I go, we should go ride. We already had our bikes. So, we should- we'll just take our bikes and ride over there. And, I go, that's kind of, kind of a bizarre idea. So we did that. We went over Pearl Pass. Camped out there. We- yeah, we camped out there that night. Down there, on this side of Pearl Pass. And then, uh, and then rode over. Our bikes were like single speed bikes that were set up for downhill, you know, not- no gears or nothin' on 'em so they weren't for ridin' uphill too much. They had real tall gears for . . . We'd put 'em in the back of a pick-up truck and we'd take up to, like, top of Paradise Divide and ride down as fast as you could go. [laughing]"

The ride was so extreme, that even Al Maunz had diffuclty. His experience of having a flat tire shows how basic the old bikes were, compared to the aadvanced mountain bikes from the Marin County riders.

From Al Maunz on original Pearl Pass ride going down from Pearl Pass (same interview as above)

“I had a flat on the way down. I rode a twenty-inch bike, a twenty-inch, uh, like a Schwinn Stingray. And I had a flat halfway down. It was something else, it was- it's like goin' down steps, it was so rocky. It's not- I guess it's that bad now, but it was miserable. And then finally after we got down to Pearl then we- you know, coming into Ashcroft there's asphalt, you know.”

Bob Starr

Bob Starr, one of the local bike riders from Crested Butte

From Bob Starr on original Pearl Pass ride from an interview conducted by Sarah McCullough on July 22, 2011 in a café in Crested Butte, Colorado.
In this interview, Bob Starr shares his experience of Pearl Pass and why he joined in on the mountain biking fun.

"There’s a fellow named Rick Verplank, R. A. Verplank, one of the Grubsteak ne’er-do-wells, got the idea. These guys from Aspen ride over Pearl Pass on Sunday. We used to fuck with each other. That time Aspen was smaller too and we had a lot of traffic back and forth. Everybody would go back and forth to party. And so we used to go over there and go to the main hangout, the pub. We’d do things like order 100 beers, 100 draft beers. Then they’d come over here and they’d do shit…well they had more money over there. So they’d come over. That’s when dirt bikes started getting popular. Big motocross racing, that kind of stuff. So these guys would ride over with all their pants and bikes. And they’d park in front of the Wooden Nickel with their bikes. And there was an Aspen refuge named Simmons who was running the Wooden Nickel at the time. So they’d come over there and then tip the bartender for opening up the bar on a Sunday. Everybody would throw a 100 dollar bill on the bar. Give them ten Bloody Marys…So Verplank comes up with the idea, if they can come over here and mess with us, let’s ride over there and do it back. So we got this wild idea, and just rode our bikes over there. It was like a prank. Like a joke. Who in the hell…who would do this? So that’s what we did. We took off. We had a sag wagon. We had…oh, we had…we had all kinds of booze. We had a keg of beer, we had bottles of schnapps, we had all kinds of shit. That was kind of the way we did things in those days. And a lot of the guys were out on a fire that week. But the thing was already scheduled to go. We’re talking about 15 to 20 guys max. So at that time we had a hotshot fire crew out here. If there was a fire, there was a lot of guys off on the fire. There was only like, five or six of us took off. We pedaled up there just below the pass which is about as far as we could get. We camped for the night. It just went kinda crazy. We cut some trees down and burned them up. Shooting shotguns. Getting drunk. Falling asleep and all that stuff. Guys out on the fire crew got back to town right behind us. Anyway, they rode out there. They were there the next morning. I mean, there was no riding. You just pushed your bike up Pearl Pass. At the top, smoke a fat one. Head down. So we did. We rode down into Aspen and lined up our bikes in front of the Jerome. Nobody really noticed."

Bob Starr and the other locals that rode did the ride, didn't think anyone noticed their little prank, but apparently it was the talk of the town, even the Marin County riders knew about it.
"So yeah, we went over there. Got drunk. Loaded up our stuff and came back here. That was that. As far as we were concerned, that was that. Boy wasn’t that fun. So, Duane Reading, he was managing the Grubsteak. He gets this letter at the Grubsteak. I don’t know how, but somehow our stunt got mentioned in the Whole Earth Catalog or something. And the guys from California who’d been running the Repack on Mt. Tam—avid bikers, you know—heard about it and said, ah, kindred spirits. We must communicate! They asked about it. We said, well, yeah. You want to do it, we’ll take you over. So a bunch of guys come out, Breeze, Kelly, Wende Cragg, Gary Fisher, I can’t remember all the names. Yeah, so they came out. They were a little more clean cut and athletic than our bunch. But they loved it. We did it again. That was about 20 people. I never went over again."
From Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, Bob Starr and Rick Verplank talk about the first Pearl Pass Tour 1976.
"Fifteen klunker riders...left the Grubstake with a cheer Friday morning at 9."
"Everyone began dropping like flies up the Brush Creek Road, but seven hardy riders made it to base camp located three miles below the pass summit. The seven included Bob Starr, Rick Verplank, Walter Keith, Long Beach, Patty Ann Gifford, Patty Christie and Duane Reading."
"The group and groupies made camp, enjoyed a steak fry and consumed one keg of beer, three bottles Schnapps, 2 gallons of wine, and 3 bottles of champagne."
"Then, according to Starr, everyone got drunk and passed out on the pass."
“The decent was nothing but horrifying, rough and rocky.” Said Starr. “The original drop-outs jumped out of support vehicles at the tip and all 15 rode their klunkers down the pass until just before the pavement at Ashcroft where the brakes were smoking and rear ends were seizing up.”

Bob Starr said, “we trickled in one by one, met at the Jerome Hotel and had a party all over Aspen.”
Apparently Verplank and Starr "were actually the only ones of the original 15 who officially made the Tour. They never once rode in a support vehicle."