Extra Credit

Covey Potter and Campbell Diebolt riding along the Dallas Divide in Southwest Colorado. Peaking at 8,983 feet, the divide 27 connects the San Juan Mountains and the Uncompahgre Plateau.

Extra Credit More Misadventures Than Miles

Certain things in the world give me comfort.

Like the sound of rain through an open window on a summer night. The rumble of thunder in a mountain valley. The overwhelming silence in canyon country or a snowy forest. An optimistic thought in a pessimistic world. And the knowledge that Aaron “Professor” LaVanchy is doing exactly what he was put on Earth to do.

That’s because the Professor works best when he is on his way to, in the middle of, or recounting some hairball adventure. During the warmer months, those adventures involve two wheels and dirt trails. The Professor rides everywhere. That’s because his day job at Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewery allows for such adventure. And his adventure quotient is high. It’s as if a higher power handed him a bike and granted the sublime gift of flow, that intangible grace of ascension and appreciation of gravity, all without the need for spectators, financial incentives, or even Strava one-upmanship. The Professor rides because the world would be wrong if he didn’t.

“You interested in an adventure?” is one of his common segues into tales of soon-to-be glory. The location, crew and rigs are all pondered with glee. The remainder will be left to the whims of the ride.

The Professor spends more time on micro-adventures than most people. His looseknit and far-reaching crew consists of climbers whose names you know. Skiers whose names you know. Filmmakers whose names you know. On a recent ride with the Professor at Buffalo Creek, Colorado, I caught up to him at the bottom of a particularly fun descent. He was laughing audibly to himself and didn’t hesitate to share his revelry with me.

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