Second place: West End route smokes Main Street |

Second place: West End route smokes Main Street

Allyn Harvey beat the traffic by taking "back roads." (Mark Fox/Aspen Times Weekly)

First things first: Get the music right. I scroll through my iPod library to find something to listen to on my shortcut through the West End and the stop-and-go traffic out to the ABC. While I’m scrolling, Main Street “racer” Abby Eagye calls me on her way to wait in traffic: “You can’t just sit there to change the results.”Yeah, yeah, yeah.5:04: I pull out from the curb on Monarch Street near Carl’s Pharmacy and head for Hallam Street.

5:04: It takes less than a minute to get to the Red Brick. I continue to wind my way deeper into the West End. 5:05: I’m three blocks deep from Main Street into the West End. That would be Francis Street, which I cruise up to Seventh Street.5:07: Francis and Seventh. I look left down Seventh, where barricades keep me from cutting in on the dutiful commuters who chose Main Street to leave town. I look right and see an unimpeded drive to Smuggler Street, from which it’s a straight shot to Power Plant Road. 5:08: I pass the old power plant and cross Castle Creek, heading uphill to Cemetery Lane.5:09: The intersection of Cemetery Lane and Highway 82. Now the real commute begins.

5: 12: Compared to the easy cruise through the West End, the three minutes I spend idling and crawling down the highway from Cemetery Lane to the roundabout at Maroon Creek Road are frustrating. Worse yet, the roundabout is clogged with cars. Ugh.5:15: Three long minutes later I pass the turnoff to the golf course. The jam loosens and traffic begins to roll.5:17: I reach the light at Owl Creek Road. I can almost see, almost taste, the end of my journey.5:18: I turn right into the ABC and see my colleague (and race opponent) Stewart sitting with his bike. He beat me by two or three minutes.The upshot: It took just 14 minutes or 15 minutes driving at peak rush hour from downtown Aspen to the Aspen Business Center by cutting through the West End. Why even bother with Main Street?

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