In the saddle: Muddy terrain brings back some soiled memories |

In the saddle: Muddy terrain brings back some soiled memories

Bob Ward
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

I haven’t soiled my drawers in some 40 years, but this weekend I felt like I had.

Let me explain.

A buddy and I rode the Boy Scout Trail on Saturday, a ride that starts and ends in Glenwood Springs. I think of the ride in three parts: 1) a long climb up a mesa south of town; 2) a ridiculously fun traverse along the north edge of the mesa, overlooking Glenwood Canyon and across at the Flat Tops; and 3) a, steep, winding single-track descent into downtown Glenwood through scrub oak and pinyon-juniper forest.

Every leg of the trip is great, and part of the ride’s charm is the distinct character of each segment. At least with good riding conditions.

Owing to some rain Friday night, we enjoyed cool temperatures and a nice riding surface on the climb – a little tacky, but never sloppy. It was sunny when we topped out and began the traverse, but we’d been spinning along for several righteous minutes when we heard a loud thunderclap to the north. Uh-oh.

It hailed a bit. I got one hailstone in my mouth and, trying to think positively, considered it a power pill.

The hail tapered off, and we kept spinning along, but there were more thunderclaps and forked lightning over the Flat Tops. Minutes later, we sheltered in a little oak grove while it poured, water puddling on the trail.

When the rain slowed, we continued to the junction high above Glenwood where the descent begins. The trail was absolute slop, greasy with the kind of mud that turns to wet cake on your tires, gums up your gears and, when you gain speed, comes flying off the wheels in big clods that stick to your face, your back and especially your legs.

Which, of course, reminded me of a day long ago, when I lost bowel control at school and endured a deeply embarrassing carpool ride home, as the Gobar twins, Shelly and Lisa, wondered aloud to their mom what the nasty smell was.

No odors this time, but it was probably the goopiest bike ride of my life.

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