One of the two radio stations accessible in this area of Summit County gave our weekly weather forecast:
High of 80 with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Every day. All week.
On Sunday, Frank went to the Bike Doctor, 5 blocks away. They fixed him in a matter of minutes. Time to mount up and explore. Half way having heard of “The Peninsula” bike trails and sort of having an idea of the land formation to which they are likely referring, I took off. While I suspect I was getting close to the right area, this venture turned into more of an Urban Wandering so I went with that, getting to know the back streets and secret playgrounds of my new town.
Living around Dillon Reservoir I easily see 50 or more bikes being ridden a day. Everything from super sleek road cyclists, to dirty mountain bikers, to tourists careening hither and thither about Main Street. Everyone is out there, playing at the peak of their ability. It is fascinating to observe.
Yesterday, 1 pm rolled around and the clouds began gathering to discuss their afternoon plans. They spat on us and then took off over the mountain ridge (to snicker at our reaction in secret no doubt). Frank and I naively assumed that was all for the day and we went off in search of the “Peninsula” again. This time we armed ourselves with directions given on another young woman’s blog; she gave us permission to go into a protective seeming neighborhood to seek out trail access. Every single street in this neighborhood had a “Dead End” or “Not a through Street” sign on it. As forbidding of a face as it presented, we snuck in and found the trail-head tucked off Water Way Circle. The ride is initially mellow, cavorting along the water-front there are some exciting bits of wash-out where a bike will try to buck its rider but the relative flatness and meadows of mountain flowers, as well as expansive views across the water, make it an ideal beginner terrain.
The trail dumped me into a campground where I sniffed out another segment of trail. This turned into a “logging road.” By my account it would be more accurate to call the “road” a “rutted out slide.” Then I came upon a Giant Machines nap yard where my imagination began to play out a mortal showdown between man and machine. But then I began to worry whether, as the story developed, Frank would turn on me and side with the machines. I decided we had better get out of there. Naturally I chose the least strategic escape route; uphill. Which turned into a mountain climb. Then a trudge n’ stumble.
I looked around and suddenly found myself atop a ridge, high above the Peninsula. Frank took off down the switchbacking trail like a mad man. I have not dealt with such formidable downhill in years, and last time I did I got my shoe lace stuck in the spokes and ended up making out with my handlebars in the dirt. I was a teen and my sensitive yet resilient sense of dignity had just enough time to recover in time for me to roll into the rental shop where my family had gotten our bikes. I went for a super cool, smooth dismount and ended up in a cluster-heap at the feet of an attractive shop guy. I have never been able to talk to boys the same since.
But Grown-Up-Slightly-more-Cautious Fidgit made it down this particular trail, whereupon she and Frank declared their awesomeness with a resounding WHOOP. This, in turn, alerted the storm clouds that someone was having fun without their express permission so they came hustling back and chased us home, breaking into torrents as soon as I hit the porch.
For the rest of the night the skies waged war. Anne and I peered out our windows, neither of us have ever seen lightening close enough to see the pink tip at the end of a bolt. It crashed all about us, striking ridges and rattling walls. Some shook my chest from the inside out. Others peeled in a sequence of soul resounding cracks and kabooms, sounding like a massive tree limb ripping itself asunder, resounding like when a shelf of ice loses grip on the glacier and slams away. There is nothing quite like Mother Nature’s temper tantrums.
The next morning, the skies are clear and while the smell of fresh damp is still thick, Anne and I take off under sunny skies and atop muddy tires for another ride.
We just got home, washed the bikes and now it is my turn to hop in the shower and make myself presentible for my first day of work at Columbia Sportswear.Woot.