On the Trail: An ego boost
On Sunday, I decided to catch the last of the Aspen Mountain bluegrass. Armed with my hiking poles in hand and Camelbak on my back, I set out on my bike for the base of the Ute Trail.Balance has not always been one of my strong points, so when one of my roommates drove past and gave a friendly honk, I promptly lost control, smashed into the curb and flew over my handle bars onto the sidewalk.Not the way to start my day.I came away from the mishap relatively unscathed. Beyond a skinned knee, bloody thumb and bruised ego, I was fine. It was the bruised ego that set the tone for my hike up Aspen Mountain. Starting up the Ute, I was determined to pass anyone and everyone. I entered my own world, listening to my iPod and charging ahead. I was not out to enjoy nature; I was out to redeem myself. Shortly after passing the lookout, I saw my challenger – a tall, athletic man blasting ahead. He was just coming off of a break at the outcrop. I was going to beat him. Quickening my stride, I overtook him, and once past him, I was determined to stay ahead the rest of the way. I could feel him behind me all the way to the Couch. He was steadily gaining. I could sense he wanted to pass. My competitiveness was at full throttle. As the trail widened into a road, I felt him moving from one side to the other. I blocked him. Every time he moved, I moved in front him. After five minutes of dancing back and forth across the trail, I finally began to relent. When he came up beside me, a pang of defeat rushed through my tired muscles – that is until I heard I his friendly greeting: “You set quite the pace.” With that, we continued the rest of the way up Aspen together, chatting and maintaining a good clip. It was just what my ego needed.
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A driver looking to squeeze one last four-wheel drive up Aspen Mountain discovered that it’s not the ascent but the decent that poses a challenge.