Friday, August 26, 2011

Back in the High Life Again

Pagina Bonita shreds.

I had the great fortune of visiting southern Colorado last week and, as promised, would like to share a few of the details. My sweet sister Evil-E and her family were gracious hosts, warmly welcoming my family of twelve into their home. Amazingly she was able to rally enough bikes for all of us for the entire duration of the trip; counting town rides and trips with the kids to the BMX track, I rode bicycles everyday of the trip. There were so many shared smiles, high-fives, good vibes, emptied bottles, and rehashed jokes that it was incredibly difficult to return to the daily grind of making ends meet here in the Steel City. With so many people and children and family all in one house I expected that a screaming match or two would be part of the game; however,as a testament to the amount of merriment dispensed, over the course of the week, the most virulent hostility was just a few under-the-breath comments about how long to boil corn. For the visually oriented of you out there, the Rigid Bicycles art department created the following infographic:

I was at the gracious mercy of Evil-E for my bicycle conveyance during the week, and although i usually ride on a rigid single speed, she set me up with variety of suspended cycles for the week. I had a blast on these bikes and the Scott actually made me rethink my addiction to the rigid ways; that bike goes fast, and it's really fun to ride. My sincerest thanks goes to Chris, John, and Steve for lending me bicycles during the trip.

This Scott Genius 20, full carbon, and full squishy--with simultaneous front and rear lockout though--was a blast to ride.

This O.G. Santa Cruz Bullit was like a 6inch-travel tank, pretty fun too.

I won't bore you with all the details of the trip, and, considering the number of consumed Pacificos , there is no way I could remember it all anyway, but my favorite day ended with a quick out-and-back on the Colorado Trail.

Evil-E and I sneak away from the legions of children at the house and pedal out into the August heat. The trail starts out up Junction Creek road in Durango and sidewinds besides the creek for the first mile; a breeze carries the gurgling sounds of the creek through the branches. The temperatures are cool through the valley even though the trail is dusty, a little sandy, twisting on its way up the valley floor. Hunkering granite boulders lunge between the pines like threatening criminals out of dark alleys.

Evil-E's legs are moving like a sewing machine. The climb is fairly steady, with some rocky, technical parts mixed in, but she never leaves the saddle. She's like a goat; she just throws it in the small chainring and churns up the trail. Behind her, I dabble and weave, mashing a bigger gear because I cant remember how to shift quickly and efficiently. I would be walking these steep sections on my single speed. We cross the creek on a nice wooden bridge with handrails and the trail turns up the opposite side of the valley, snaking its way through high altitude ferns, scrub oak, and pine trees. The switchbacks are dicey, but Evil-E puts her head down and spins right up. I squeeze the wrong paddle on the trigger shifters, all momentum stops, and I keel over with a grunt. Evil-E pins it. Just as the heat of the climb's exposure starts to bake into my back, the clouds rush in and little drops of rain make their way through the trees. If you don't like the weather in Colorado wait ten minutes they say. The rain threatens to turn into a downpour; we debate turning back while craning our necks for a better look at the sky. Evil-E says we should push on, it doesn't look like a storm to her. After more climbing, we take pictures at Gudys Rest, drink water, and eat peanuts. I think we should push out over the flat toward the Hoffheins connection; Evil-E reminds me of the twelve kids at home waiting for dinner like baby birds in the nest.

The descent back down is fast. I'm smiling so much my jaw hurts a little. No more dust. The rain is still sputtering, but the dirt isn't greasy yet; the only slick parts are the waterbars angling across the trail. It has been a long time since I've ridden a full suspension bike and this is way better than I remember. I don't have to choose my line carefully or brace for the little rock drops; instead, I just send it. I could get used to riding this kind of bicycle I think to myself, then I remember that the thing costs about as much as my car.

If you are curious about why I did not take any pictures of people on our trip it's because I have deep psychological religio-animistic representation issues. Anyway, thanks to all the friends and family that helped make the Colorado trip happen, it was a joy to see parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, colleagues, friends, and midgets all getting along and all spreading the love.

Finally for today, if we move away from the mountain type cycles, but still stay in Colorado, we'll probably end up looking at the Coors Classic Reboot. If you haven't had the chance to tune in and check out the coverage, you can check it all out for the next two days at the USA Pro Cyling Challenge tour tracker. This high altitude race is one of the few examples in cycling where Americans are highly competetive, so if you are one of the face painting and U-S-A- shouting types then here is your chance to go buckwild.

Have a great weekend, catch everyone next week. 

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