In the Saddle: ‘Unbelievable’ | AspenTimes.com
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In the Saddle: ‘Unbelievable’

I had one of those moments recently in which I was rendered near-speechless by how lucky I am to live here. Actually, it was more than a moment – it was a bike ride that lasted just less than two hours.I was limited on time, so I figured I’d log 25-30 miles and elevate my heart rate for a while; I pulled out of my driveway with a tentative route, not sure how far I’d get and ready to improvise as I went: “Hmmm … I’m ahead of schedule. Think I’ll add another loop.”No need to recount the exact route. Suffice it to say that it was one of those bold, bright spring days that turned all colors fluorescent.I savored my first taste of the newly opened section of the Rio Grande Trail between El Jebel and the Catherine bridge – a quiet spin with tall cottonwoods on one side and steep piñon-juniper woodland on the other. The trail parallels the Roaring Fork in this stretch, and the river continually changes character; there are quiet, glassy holes and islands of willow and cottonwood. In certain areas the river is wide and shallow, with braided channels and little riffles; elsewhere the channel narrows, and the river becomes a rushing torrent.So that was one highlight. Later in the ride, I looked down on the same stretch of river from high in Missouri Heights, where I could also see most of the Elk Range, still cloaked in white and set against the bright greens on the valley floor. Mount Sopris dominated the scene like a great white sentinel.Later on, during the extra loop that turned the ride into sort of a midvalley figure-8, I marveled at the bright red hills above Elk Run and Holland Hills, and the snow still lingering on Red Table Mountain, high above the Fryingpan.I was pedaling hard most of the time, but I still heard birds and frogs singing at various points. Best of all, I made it home on time, feeling like the luckiest guy in the world.”Welcome home. How was your ride?””Freakin’ unbelievable.”


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