I'm getting the idea that some folks are not into this blog unless I'm on some sort of rant. I also get the feeling that some folks are bored with it rant or no rant. That's fine with me, I'm not trying to win a popularity contest but the story I'm about to tell needs to be told , so please be patient and give this one a read, even if you think I'm full of shit-this is about somebody who isn't. Back in around 1992-93 I was a struggling framebuilder looking to get a more national clientele as I had pretty much saturated the folks out here who were looking for custom mountian bikes. A friend of mine who was a sales rep for two other builders told me I should go to Flagstaff, Az. and ride with the locals. It seemed that a few of them were breaking just about every high-end bike in short order and were looking for somebody to build them bikes that would last a bit longer. My salesrep friend told me that he only way I would know how to do this was to go and ride with these folks and see just what they and Flagstaff riding were all about. This group of crazy daredevil gonzo mountain bikers were the 'Mutants" and they numbered about 8-12...I don't remember all that well. When I got to Flagstaff my bike which I had shipped wasn't there yet so the mutants lent me a Mantis to ride. They took me on a really rocky rite-of-passage and I was humbled by the skill by which these locals left me panting in the dust. The next day my bike arrived and I got to ride with the crew again , only this time it was way up in the San Fransisco peaks -prpbably not a big ride for the locals but a serious lung burner for me. It was rocky , high elevation riding that made me realize why these folks had super low gears on thier bikes and why their bikes were so beat up. Two guys in the Mutants really stood out as monsters on the bike: Yod Branch and Steve Garro. Steve and his girlfriend at the time were looking to get bikes. I was the only builder who had bothered to come out there to check out the scene -these folks had spent plenty on bikes through the years only to wind up destroying them and pitching them in the scrap heap after a short time. Steve and Yod had toured throughout the southwest, had been in magazine photos doing the most death defying stuff on mountian bikes at that time. I knew I had to forget about building light, nimble Nor-Cal style bike for the likes of these folks and give them super-mega thick Tange prestige tubes to resist the rocks and riding of northern Arizona. Months passed and two of my frames made their way to Flagstaff, one of them for Steve. He rode and beat that frame for years-I was waiting for the phone call to say that he had killed it because if anyone could kill a frame, it was Steve. Steve rode through Copper Canyon in Mexico and was with a group that were the first people to do so...he toured south America , made many excursions all over the southwest. Many years passed and Steve decided to learn how to build frames himself. Not many framebuilders have ridden as much or as hard as Steve so his experience and passion for riding would make him a great candidate for building. After a few years building frames Steve, a guy who cheated death on countless occasions on a bike got hit by a car and nearly killed. After weeks in the hospital and many operations he was allowed to go home. It was pretty certain that he would never walk again, let alone ride a bike. This was not enough to stop Steve from continuing as a framebuilder. Friends helped modify his shop so that if he wanted to, Steve could attempt building frames while in a wheelchair. It took some time but Steve was able to re-start his career and although he will probably never ride a two-wheel bicycle again he will continue building bikes for those that can. Steve can crutch around a little and now he has a hand-cycle that he takes up some of the same rocky trails that he used to ride back in the day on his mountian bike. His wife Denise is an avid mountian biker and Steve has build some stellar bikes for her that she rides and beats up in the Flagstaff tradition. Steve builds frames named after the forests of northern Arizona, Coconino . What he builds is a product of hundereds of days of riding and racing in that forest.I personally doubt that there exisits a more dedicated spirit who is currently putting frames together .......Steve will proudly tell you about stuff that he has done-it's not boasting, it's just facts-facts that he is justifyably proud of. I'll take genuine pride over false modesty any day of the week. Steve Garro has much to be proud of . I'm happy to know the guy. He made me a better builder, no doubt.