I kicked off March by turning the first draft of my thesis in to my advisor. His first piece of advice to me was simply, “get out of town and take some time off.” The initial plan was to head on over to Salida with hopes to enjoy some much needed trail, with secondary hopes of getting to meet up with Kep and his Balls while sucking down some of the new whiskey from Deerhammer distillary. However, the trails had not dried up enough for riding, instead I called an audible and headed to Denver with the plan of annoying my girlfriend for a few days. While she slaved away at a desk I took some time to explore Denver’s vast network of paved cycling trails that extend throughout the city and into the suburbs. Sublime singletrack it was not, yet the simple act of pedaling my bike in the sunshine with no responsibilities, or constant thoughts of the next thesis chapter that i needed to edit was a welcome escape from the stress and long hours that had accumulated over the previous three months. It also helped that I spent the weekend trying out various beers that I had somehow been missing out on. Favorites included ODells Imperial Red, Oskar Blues’ Deviant Dales, and Sante Fe’s Happy Camper IPA, and if you come across them at your local liquor store or bar I suggest you try some.
As I have been waiting for feedback from my advisor I filled my time with refining figures, catching up on the work I have for one class, trying to find a job, and working in some relaxation. Luckily over the past two weeks or so the weather in Fort Collins has turned damn near perfect. The trails close to town dried out in a hurry as the temps raced towards 70 degrees, allowing me to get back to what I have missed the most, riding my mountain bike day after day after day. In the past 10 days I got out on the trail 8 separate times, a riding frequency which I have not experienced since the summer. With each ride I found myself trying to get up the climbs with greater ease, getting my poor excuse for handling skills back, and even working on some tan lines. The near perfect weather and open trails led to the inevitable of bumping into old trail friends who I had not seen since back in the fall. In some cases a simple head nod and wave was sufficient to reconnect after nearly five months without interaction. In other cases bikes were pulled off the trail to facilitate conversation amongst friends. That time of the year is upon us in the northern Front Range, the days will have more time of light than dark, patios in front of bars and restaurants become full of people tossing back drinks trying to plan their next adventure, and everyone seems to be in a much better mood. Personally while at a bar this week I bumped into one of Fort Collin’s finest bike wrenches and we got to talking about planning a long ride (note: all good ideas start at a bar). We tossed around trail names for a few minutes, without making any specific conclusions other than, “lets spend the entire day riding as many trails as possible.” I cant remember the last time I was part of such a great idea.by