Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yay! Nederland rules.

I really, really wanted to head up there on Saturday, but I wasn't sure of the state of the trails. A phone call to my buddy Randy at Happy Trails confirmed that things were tacky and perfect (at least at the lower elevations), so I nearly fell over myself getting ready to ride.

I headed up there on the bus, since my car was in the shop. I stashed the Maverick underneath rather than risk the sketchy rack. Luckily there was no Vinny this time; in fact, the driver was very friendly and asked me about where I was going to ride.

I was joined by only two other people, which surprised me, but I think most folks don't know the trails are rideable yet.

I tooled along by myself for a while, enjoying the silence and views. Here's a lovely singletrack with a backdrop of newly-leafed aspen trees and Eldora Mountain Resort.

What's not to love? This is one of my favorite places.

Here's the view the other way:

I made my way deeper into the woods, and as I emerged from singletrack into an open area, I found my friends Matt Alford and Rich Marchbanks hanging out eating snacks, "working" as mountain bike patrol ambassadors. We were psyched to see each other, and I spent the rest of the ride trying to hang with them as they cruised around, looking for people to assist with maps or mechanical help, but the trails were beautifully devoid of crowds.

Here they are catching their breath after a short, steep climb. Matt, right, is on a singlespeed, which means he has to charge up hills at full steam before the one gear gets the better of him.

We headed out onto the Hobbit Trails, and on Hobbit 3 we found a big downed tree that had already been turned into a rideable obstacle with the addition of some more material. Rich pulled out his digital SLR, upping the quality of our ride photos significantly. :)

Here's me, photographed by Rich:

Here's Matt, shot by me (and he survived; it must be the bulletproof bike patrol jersey):

Here's Rich, also shot by me:

And then a last photo of me:

It's hard to see here, but I'm riding toward the edge of a hill, and so the aspen trees behind me are weirdly twisted from the constant wind. I always want to take some kind of arty farty black and white photo of them, but I'm always too busy riding.

After exploring most of the lower trails, I finally made my way to Magnolia road and headed back to Boulder. I arrived at my door six hours after leaving, and it was the best Saturday I've had since Fruita. Viva la Nederland!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

High Country Dreaming

Last night I dreamed I was here:

It was probably because Scott Gurst sent out the email, getting us all pumped for the yearly trip to Crested Butte. It's the trip's ten-year anniversary, which is amazing. I think it's my fifth time, and I cannot wait!! It's going to be outstanding, I'm sure. We get an extra day there this time, since the 4th of July falls on a Wednesday. Sweet! In the meantime, I'm working hard to get back in shape. I'd like to ride in the "B Group" rides again. But no matter if the rides are slower or shorter -- it's an experience like no other.

Monday, May 07, 2007

More New Horizons

I spent another great day exploring new trails... this time in the snow! Von and I headed up to Coulson Gulch, between Lyons and Estes Park, on the advice of his friend Dave.

Little flakes starting falling as we got out of the car, and we had to just laugh. That's Colorado for you. And I was still in the hot desert mindset, so I had barely enough clothes to stay warm. I ended up wearing the casual pants I'd brought over my bike shorts; Von had to put on his dressy wool sweater. But hey, we had fun and that's what matters.

Snow gathering in the trees:

Von digging around for more clothes:

A break in the weather:

Then back in Boulder, after years of seeing the tulips blooming on the Pearl Street Mall, I actually stopped and did the tourist thing:

I couldn't help it; I'd never seen tulips like these before. Sometimes, ya gotta stop and smell (or shoot) the flowers, har de har har.