Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wild Mountain Honey

(Steve Miller Band)
We escaped Denver this past weekend thanks to some good friends who invited us to spend it in Snowmass. It was a nice getaway. We had a two great nights in Aspen: one restaurant hopping and sharing various hors devours as the upscale scene played on and the moon rose over the town; one riding up over the ski mountain taking in the view and then later on, at the Belly Up Tavern, listening to The Gourds. Yesterday we drove home over Independence Pass, quite possibly the most gorgeous pass in CO.

The weather was unbelievably comfortable: a few lumpy clouds would hang off in the distance of a baby blue sky framed by red soiled mountains with sage green flora. The entire weekend was edged with tall grass and wild flowers. An occasional cool breeze would come through almost whispering that the end of the summer was closer than the beginning. I was introduced to the Ditch trail, which took us out along Snowmass mountain and provided great views of the valley. I wish I would have taken pictures on the morning walks as there were plenty more raspberries, a wonderful collection of cairns, and one waddling porcupine. At some point a chair lift hung just over the trail and to the right of the view of Daly mountain, with it's great fat stripe that I didn't notice till D pointed it out the last morning. That shot will be in my mind for a long time.

We were up there for the Blast the Mass NORBA mountain bike races. All the events were fun and inspiring from the 4x races to the Downhill. The guys volunteered to ride "safety checks" during the cross country race. This meant they got to ride their dirt bikes up and down Snowmass mountain in front of the riders doing a 13 mile loop. Us girls high tailed it over to catch the beginning of the race once we learned Lance Armstrong showed up to participate in the event. Admittedly I was star struck but everyone was a buzz with his presence; it was fun to chat about. The boys came up the hill and waved as they rode past us. The cyclist curved around the trail a few moments later, Lance in the lead. I was more concerned with getting a picture but by the second lap, I just wanted to watch his stride and take in the moment. How often do you get to see one of the best cyclist ever ride by on his bike five feet away?! It was a smooth, sweet pace. He was focused and made it look just as easy as if it was a day in the park.
The boys, in all their dirt bike glory, found themselves up the hill lolly-gagging. The point was to be ahead of the riders but not too far ahead. They would stop to talk to people, clearing the path, etc. Well, LA came around a corner much quicker than they anticipated, and so they had to wait for him to pass. Can you imagine: he's climbing 4,000 feet on a mountain bike and still manages to pass two guys on their dirt bikes?! It wasn't quite like that but it makes for a good "big fish story". The guys followed him for a few miles, not wanting to pass and dust him out. D said it was amazing to watch him ride, like their own personal show. Later he unwrapped some memorabilia: a crumpled old Gu wrapper LA disposed of on the path...I didn't think to ask what flavor. We all laughed and he shrugged it off but I know there was a piece of D that thought it would commemorate the moment. It's one of those silly things that seems so apropos given the situation. It’s a good story: D will forever be able to say he got beat out by Lance Armstrong on a mountain bike.
photo credit to

As a race rider, I imagine it makes the event that much more inspiring. The second place guy, Jay Henry, came in almost three minutes after him and the third place guy almost three minutes after that. I wondered if second place was frustrated that he would have won given a day without LA racing? I also wondered, if you’re going to get beat, who better to get beat by than one of the best cyclists around? It’s an interesting quandary.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Amy-thanks for asking about the picture and thanks for the props--it was a fun race to watch!