In the Saddle: Don’t sit
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
ASPEN ” Leaving the office at about 8 p.m. on Thursday, I was eager to get out on my mountain bike.
But the light was fading, and my all-day hope to ride looked as dim as my flagging spirits after a long, tiring day slumped over a keyboard.
“Don’t sit,” a co-worker told me on my way out. “Just go home, get your bike and go.”
If I sat on the couch, she said, I’d be swallowed.
I did as she suggested.
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I hopped on my road bike, made some dangerous moves in the evening traffic on Main Street to get to my apartment, then suited up like Clark Kent in a phone booth to get on my mountain bike.
I churned up the Smuggler switchback like a steam engine, and got to the platform about 10 minutes after the sun went down.
But the path back to Hunter Creek, until recently choked with deep snow drifts, looked clear.
I checked my bag for a headlamp, and realized that though I didn’t have quite enough clothes to bivouac overnight with a broken leg, I did have my cell phone and could call for help.
Why not ride in the dark?
When I’m on my death bed, I won’t look back and wish I’d just been a little more responsible.
I don’t believe that St. Peter is going to give me credit for good attendance or making the safe moves as he ushers me through those pearly gates.
Instead, I’ll remember the days I played and took chances.
So I jumped in, peddling into the woodsy dark for a great whoop-de-do ride through Hunter Creek following the feeble glow of my shaky spotlight.
After zipping down Red Mountain, I arrived home cold, wet and grinning, and realized that all it takes to really enjoy Aspen is a short burst of energy before or after work ” a quick pack of the Camelbak and pumping up bike tires or throwing my kayak on the car.
But, how often does the Siren’s song of TV and sloth win out? How often do I work those extra fruitless hours?
I think I’ll print a bumper sticker with my new motto: “Don’t sit.”
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After 14 years, a lengthy lawsuit by area residents and nearly $4 million in construction costs, a half-mile trail to two school campuses in the Castle Creek Valley was finally completed this week.