Roger Marolt
Columnist
Snowmass Village, CO Colorado

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May 22, 2012
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Roger Marolt: Reversing direction on cycling attire

It must be 25 years ago now, so I remember it like a foggy notion. My former girlfriend and current wife and I (just to clarify, there were just two of us, not three) were riding our mountain bikes on the classic 401 trail north of Crested Butte in the counterclockwise direction when from out of the middle of nowhere, which basically marks the halfway point of the ride, we literally nearly ran into a naked man on his bike approaching from the clockwise direction.

This man, without so much as a "hello," immediately began a tirade about proper mountain biking etiquette and scolded us for riding this trail in the wrong direction. Remember that this was in the formative decade of the sport, so people still had plenty of cockamamie ideas about it. In case you have never experienced the grassroots explosion of a movement of any kind, at the precise moment it hits the mainstream is when nearly every single person doing it believes that they actually started it and, thus, get to make the rules.

As impossible as it seems now, many riders once believed that mountain bike trails were one way passages. It's worth examining the psychological root sources of this belief. I think one of the main ...

... Whoa, whoa, wait a minute there. You mean to say you don't give a saddle sore about which direction some know-it-alls believed you were required to ride a mountain bike back in the late 1980s? You want to go back to the beginning of the story?

What? Oh, you mean the part about the naked man on the mountain bike. You have a single-track mind!

OK, I say give the readers what they want. Changing directions then, the cyclist we saw was completely naked! Seriously!

Think about that. This is mountain biking we're talking about, on a rough and technical single-track trail, and way out, too! At the point we encountered this guy, my best guess is that we were eight miles from town. That's a long way to travel with nothing but grit and determination between you and hard leather.

For the life of me I can't recall what he had on his feet. Stating that he was not a performance-minded cyclist would be an understatement, although on second thought, not completely accurate either. Noticing the lack of tan lines, it would probably be fair to say that he got out often, at least when the weather permitted. Hardly having the personality of an introvert, the guy stood straddling his top tube lecturing us for several minutes before pedaling off in a huff in the buff, a performance if I ever saw one.

The reason I recall this incident today is not due to the pleasantness of the experience. What triggered this memory is a recent article about the overwhelming popularity of Conundrum Hot Springs, a natural hot water seep about a nine-mile hike from the trailhead off Castle Creek Road.

Apparently, so many people are visiting the spot each year that it is run down. The Forest Service doesn't know what to do, but I do. To get to the root of the problem, you have to figure out why so many people visit it. It's not so they can soak in the un-chlorinated naturally heated human stew pot there. It's because people want to get naked with other people who want to get naked without being bothered too much by people who don't want to get naked except at home.

As evidenced by the recent spate of nude jogger sightings on the Rio Grande trail, I think lots of people would like to do this closer to home and not have to bother with a long hike to and from the designated de-robing point. The solution is to create more places closer to home where people can get a little wild without spoiling the Wilderness Areas.

Droste Trail would be perfect. It's like a little unspoiled island in a sea of development with convenient parking, just what most people picture a nudist camp being. The use is compatible with the current land management goals. It's a known fact that naked hikers are less likely to tromp through the brush helter-skelter and scare wildlife. Besides, there are so many restrictions for users of the property already one more rule making clothes illegal would hardly be noticed.

If it comes down to it, we might even be able to limit travel across it to the eastbound direction only; you know, in order to preserve the views.

Since the Mammoth bone find turned out to be a chamber of commerce bust,


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The Aspen Times Updated May 22, 2012 04:24PM Published May 22, 2012 04:23PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.