SALIDA, Colo. (CBS4)– He didn’t leave his house often, so when new tracks were seen heading up his driveway Mike Rust knew something wasn’t right.
It was near dusk on March 31, 2009, when he entered his home and found his gun missing and binoculars out of place. Rust called his girlfriend and told her he was going after the people who broke into his home.
It’s been five years since anyone has seen him.
“We figure he saw someone coming down the road again, it looked like evidently they’d gone north and then turned around and saw them so he chased after them,” said Carl Rust, one of Mike’s brothers.
Mike had moved to 80 acres of land northeast of Saguache at the northern end of the San Luis Valley.
“When I found out he was missing and then all the other tragedy that followed, the news kept getting worse and worse. I was amazed,” said Wade Veazui, an old cycling friend of Mike’s and owner of Subculture Cyclery in Salida.
Mike Rust was a cyclist to the core. He started working at bike shops in Colorado Springs where he grew up and soon moved west.
“He was one of the early pioneers of what we know as modern mountain biking. And influenced a lot of the big names that we know now like Gary Fisher,” said Samuel Bricker, a movie director who has made a film about the Rust murder mystery.
Mike was part of the mountain biking movement in Salida and Crested Butte, inventing a smaller frame called a “shortie” for quicker turns on the mountain trails. That got him elected to the Mountain Biking Hall of Fame in 1991.
“They were building these really, high tech at the time, short, short base, like a sports car, mountain bike,” Veazui said. “They started this whole craze in Salida and now this whole town is (mountain bike) crazy and Mike did kind of lead the way in that.”
Mike started to believe society was changing and he didn’t like it. He called the country the “United States of Automobiles” and Salida’s growth was too much for him. Around the year 2000 he moved to remote Saguache County. With a million-dollar view, he started building a house, off-the-grid, with any scraps he could get his hands on.