Human Remains Positively Identified as Notable Cyclist
By Kathy Bedell © Saguache Today
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has positively identified the human remains found earlier this year as those of notable cyclist Mike Rust. While the initial missing persons report was filed back in 2009, it wasn’t until the January 8, 2016 report came into the Saguache County Sheriff’s Office concerning human remains found between Highways 17 and 285 in Saguache County that any breaks came in the case.
According to local authorities the January findings were reported to the Sheriff’s office via an anonymous tip. Eventually Saguache law enforcement requested that CBI lead the on-going investigation, as is standard procedure in such cases.
The circumstances surrounding Rust’s disappearance stem back to what appeared to be a 2009 burglary at his home in Saguache County. Reports account that Rust returned home to find several items missing, including his gun. Reports indicate that he followed the tire tracks of the possible intruders and went to confront them. He was never seen again and most of the leads on the case came up coldy until the human remains were found in a swallow grave on January 8 not far from his former home.
Rust is well-known in the cycling community and was inducted into the Colorado Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1991. After Rust’s disappearance, the film ‘The Rider and the Wolf’ was made regarding his life’s work and vanishing.
According to the Hall of Fame website:
A native of Colorado Springs, Mike Rust grew up in a large family (5 brothers and 1 sister). He began building bicycles at an early age; his first was when he was in the seventh grade. This bicycle had a cruiser frame, sturmey-archer 3-speed hub, 40 degrees laced to a 36 degree 26 x 1.75 rim, 3-speed stick shifter and a banana seat.
In 1965, mike built a mountain bike with a stingray from, 20-inch wheels, knobby tires (front & back), flat handlebars and a leather saddle, which he launched of the front porch. His next bicycle was a used French 8-speed with 2 chainwheels and a 4-cog free wheel to which he added “curldown” dropbars.
After a 5-year romance with his motorcycles, Rust rediscovered bicycles, became a USCF licensed racer and worked in several Colorado Springs bike shops. His first version of a mountain bike brought him to Crested Butte, in 1980.
Rust stayed in the Butte for the following two summers (he wasn’t a fan of the cold CB winters) and worked at Bicycles, Etc. for Neil Murdoch. Rust’s cycling experiences were very influential on the early Crested Butte mountain bike scene both in the technical and competitive arenas.
Rust’s first Pearl Pass Tour was in 1980. He carried his own gear to Aspen, sleeping bag and all, and rode back to Crested Butte the following day over East Maroon Pass on his Littlejohn framed bicycle.
Rust then toured Arizona and worked in the Bisbee Bicycles business. After Bisbee he returned to Crested Butte to work on some of his innovations, which included chromo axles and seat posts for modification to mountain bikes.
In 1985, Rust and Don McClung started Colorado Cyclery and built their first elevated chain stay bike, the Shortie. In 1986, Colorado Cyclery moved the business to Salida, Colorado. That year Mike persued another of his cycling loves and built his first ordinary bicycle. Rust participated in the Ordinary World’s Road Championships Museum & Parade where he rode the ordinary in performances of the play, “Spokesong”.
In 1989 he place first in Colorado State Games Mountain Bike Races. In 1990, with his five brothers, he rode ordinaries in Dublin, Ireland for their St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Rust and his brothers also rode the Colorado “Ride the Rockies” tour on their high-wheelers.
Additional details will be released as information becomes available.