Unwitting entry to the Over The Hill Gang | AspenTimes.com

Unwitting entry to the Over The Hill Gang

A ride on the Crown in the midvalley on Saturday showed that brush is starting to turn significantly earlier than last year.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times |

I gained membership Sunday in the Over The Hill Gang.

Two friends and I had a great mountain-bike ride, in spite of ourselves. Our legs and lungs were fine. It’s our minds that were feeble.

One friend turned 54 on Friday. Another turned 53 on Sunday. I’m the elder by just a few months.

We arranged to do a medium-sized ride in Snowmass Village, climbing the switchbacks of the south Rim Trail, transitioning to north Rim Trail, cruising down that delightful downhill, hooking into the Ditch Trail, climbing Viewline and ending up with Deadline. It was a pure joy to ride. We’re all fit for old guys, so we tackled the climbs with ease and whisked downhill. (And, yes, we were courteous to hikers and uphill cyclists.)

Despite ominous looking clouds, we never got wet. Cloud-draped Mount Daly and surrounding peaks looked like something out of an Ansel Adams photograph. The brush showed signs of turning yellow, brown and rust.

Despite the bliss, the ride offered a glimpse of the future. One rider, the 53-year-old, forgot his cycling shoes in Basalt and had to circle back after getting a short distance down the road.

Then it was my turn for a senior moment. After a short break following the first climb of the Rim Trail, we were getting ready to depart. We were on our bikes but there was a CamelBak on the ground. I said something to the effect of, “Hey, fellers, somebody better grab his pack,” then realized it was mine. We had a good chuckle at my expense.

The trifecta was completed after we climbed Viewline and were ready to descend Deadline. We nominated the other 54-year-old rider to lead the way. He promptly replied — by heading off the wrong direction.

We weren’t the most mentally astute group Sunday, but we sure had a good ride.

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