1, 2, 3, 4th!

One weekend, Two cool people, Three Bikes, Fourth of July!

Fourth of July Weekend – no big plans to travel; instead stuck around Boulder and the surrounding area and played like we were on vacation right here at home.  Friday evening after work, Lucas and I hopped on our mountain bikes and rode the bike paths to a fairly new Boulder production called the Valmont Bike Park.  It is a really cool “playground” for bike lovers of all kinds – mountain bikers, cyclocross, downhill big-jumping bikes, kids and families.  It was a lovely evening as the sun dipped lower in the sky yet the air was warm.  It was a quintessential Boulder experience, and so refreshing to be riding around on my bike purely for the love of it, no training purposes, but simply being on it and out in a beautiful setting.

View climbing up Squaw Pass

Saturday, “Cowboy” and I had thought about riding in the mountains but we modified our plans into riding something more accessible (less driving):  Squaw Pass loop, starting from Morrison and riding a big loop totaling about 45 miles, upon which we added about 20 more miles.  It was absolutely beautiful, and was a perfect way to “get out of town” without having to drive very far at all.  Bike of Choice today:  Road.  I love my road bike; it’s a Giant that I bought about 5 years ago from a girl who rode for the T-Mobile team, so it’s black with pink flames and lettering on it.  It fits me like a glove and I love riding it; it’s a nice change from my tri-bike at times.  The route today was challenging with 5,000 feet of elevation gain in the first 35 miles.  The views on the way up were spectacular.  There’s nothing quite like the Colorado mountainscape.  We finished up in just under 4 hours, and headed into Golden, a town south of Boulder and home to Coors Brewing Company,  for an early dinner at the Capital Grill downtown.

What Beautiful View?

Keeping to our weekend theme of Staycation, Sunday morning Lucas and I drove to Betasso Preserve, a trailhead in the Boulder foothills.  There was a new trail loop called the Benjamin Trail, developed off the original Betasso loop, so we rode both trails a couple of times.  Bike of Choice today:  Mountain!!  I’ve had my mountain bike for about 9 years now; it’s a Trek hard-tail bike – nothin’ fancy but it’s served me well over the years.  I started out very timidly 9 or so years ago, and after a lot of encouraging by numerous people and friends, and many practice rides, I learned to absolutely love riding on dirt, rocks, over roots and bumps and dunes.  It is truly a joy to ride a bike out in nature on trails, and be able to learn and use certain technical skills that allow riding on uneven and unpredictable terrain.

Betasso Loop - Sunday's Ride

Following the bike loops, I ran those same trails, again finding joy in moving over dirt and rocky terrain.  This kind of exercise is so exciting to me – it’s still good “training” for my triathlon pursuit, and it is incredibly refreshing to get “out of the box” and ride and run different routes and trails than I usually do during the week and most weekends in my triathlon training.  Dirt makes me happy.  :)

Sunday evening we drove up to Estes Park – again, close to home yet felt like really getting away.  Estes is a gorgeous little town tucked up in the Rocky Mountains and is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.  We walked along the crowded streets, bought fudge like any good tourists does, and then settled in the centrally-located community park where a local park ranger named Cowboy Brad plays guitar almost every night of the week during the summer.  He looks a lot like John Denver, plays cover for some of his songs quite well, and is an extremely genuine and friendly guy.  You can tell he loves his job, loves playing music, loves people, and loves Estes Park. It was a great little concert and we enjoyed the music and the setting immensely!

Cowboy Lucas and Cowboy Brad

Monday was the actual 4th of July holiday and I had to work, but Lucas and I set out on a hard training ride at lunchtime on our tri bikes (Bike #3 of the weekend!), which unfortunately ended in a bad bike mechanical for Lucas – doh!  (Thanks to local bike shop Vecchio’s, his entire big chain ring was restored by their skilled mechanics).  And then after I got off work, we drove over to Baseline Lake where my good friend Tania Ertl let us and a few others do some open-water swimming as practice for our triathlon races.  Swimming up and down along the buoys there, with the Flatirons of Boulder in the background, is a unique treat and really such great training.  Thanks, Tania!!

That evening Cowboy and I, and our good friends Lauren and Adam went to watch fireworks in the University of Colorado Stadium.  I had never gone into the stadium to watch before, and it was SO COOL!  They do a sing-a-long, a presentation, and then they set off a great show of fireworks set to music from the north end of the stadium.  The place was packed and filled with excitement – no matter what age, everyone had a grin plastered on their faces when the rockets’ red glare were shooting up and bursting into spectacular displays of tiny fire.  I’m so glad we went to see them there.  By the way, the show is “free”, or by donation only, so it’s really accessible for everyone.

1, 2, 3, 4th — all in all it was a fantastic way to spend a weekend!

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