Day 15 - The Anthill in Downtown Denver

Boulder Travel Blog

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Miles: 54.7
Departure from Denver: 8:30 am
Arrival in Boulder: 2:10 pm
Saddle/Total Time: 5:01:12/5:40
Average Speed: 10.8 mph
Wrong Turns: 10
Temperature: 94*F
Crashes: 0
Money Spent: $0.00

Last night, Jeremy and I went out drinking with Emily again. We shot pool. None of us played well. I had bought three 24 oz. PBRs and stashed them in Emily's fridge for later that night, along with a shot of Southern Comfort becuase $5 was the minimum for using a credit card at the liquor store. At the bar, I brought the little shot in and waited until we were outside in the garden to drink it.

We returned to Emily's at my behest. I had also placed a printed picture of Dennis Hopper playing the wild Frank Booth in Blue Velvet along with the double-PBRs. We got a kick out of that; "HEINEKEN?!?!?... F**K THAT SH**!... PABST! BLUE RIBBON!"

I woke up at 7:30 and was on the road an hour later. My directions included mostly bike paths all the way to Boulder, so I figured I would get lost in several instances. Bike paths are a double-edged sword; they get you there more direct, have a tendancy to be flat, and are carless. However, you have no way of knowing for sure whether you're going the right way, even if you studied the Googlemap over and over, and drew in all the turn-offs. They simply cannot be 100% accurate. Plus, Denver has quite the complicated, yet complete, bike system downtown. I felt like I was in a beehive or anthill. Or prairie dog home. Once you get north of Denver, those little guys are everywhere, barking at you as you pass by. They get pretty close to you, despite their alarm.

Somewhere in Broomfield, southeast of Boulder, I'm flying down a road and a bumble bee hits my cheek and ducks up into my face-emcompassing sunglasses. She gets caught in there and stings me just below the eye before she gets out. Frustrating, considering the one-in-a-million chance that something like that would happen. I'm lucky I'm not allergic to beestings. It sure hurts for awile, though.

I originally planned to go 39 miles to get from Emily's to Boulder, and I wound up going nearly 55. The bike paths and numerous overpasses (happening to pass over the road on which I want to turn) set me back quite a ways. I imagined I would get to Boulder by 1 or even noon. It was 2:10 by the time Kristen picked me up. I was a little beat, and out of breath on account of either the sight of the mountains, heading west on Baseline Road, or the thin air up next to them.

Before watching The Book of Eli, we sit and watch a different apocalyptia-movie, this one so horrendously bad its funny: Legion. It's about how God is sick of us and our ways, so he sends clouds of stinging bugs and flesh-eating angels to kill us off in rather terrifying ways. Zombie-angels have piranha-like teeth and jaws that dislodge so they may gobble down a human. Gabriel slices a guy almost in half with his sharp wings (he spins around really fast, with his wings splayed) and takes care of the rest with his gruesome, motorized mace. Everybody dies except this guy and a pregnant lady. Even Michael, the 'good' angel, dies somehow.

I had a tough time understanding whether it was pro- or anti-christianity.

I start talking with Paul, Kristen's husband, an englishman, about bikes, which he knows quite a bit about. Paul is one of those people who is quite knowledgable about anything outdoorsy. He has ridden multi-thousand-mile treks with mountain bikes on dirt roads running up mountains, over streams, and under canopies. He recently completed the Colorado Trail, which runs through the wilderness Denver to Durango. When I tell him my pack weighs about 60 pounds with water, he tells me his pack weighs 16. "That's the bare minimum," says Paul. "And I don't get cold - even up in the mountains - and it even includes a stove." I wonder at this miracle.

My panniers are the heaviest on the market. They weigh almost 11 pounds by themselves... but it's too late to do anything about that. Arkel bags are still great; they are by far the most durable, of the highest quality, and have the best warranty. If I could somehow find an alternative to this laptop here, and get rid of some things here and there... I'm planning to lower my pack to under 50 pounds when I go Denver to San Francisco. I don't know how I will do it, but I must, for a specific reason:

Over dinner, I tell the couple I'm going up into Wyoming in order to side-step the Rockies. They tell me that it is prohibitively windy. "It's, like, 200 miles between most towns," says Paul. "And you pedal all day into heavy, heavy winds. You'll average 4 miles an hour. Plus, there's nothing at all up there. It's boring. Nobody lives there."

Kristen chimes in. "I don't mean to sound arrogant, but Colorado is beautiful. More beautiful than Wyoming. And there are tons of campgrounds and Warmshowers-friendly cities between here and Salt Lake City." She and Paul imply it would be better to go up over the mountains. This makes me feel better in some ways and worse in others. It sucks that there is no easy way around the mountains; I might as well go up them. But, this could turn into one hell of an adventure come September. That has its benefits.

Biking into Boulder today, after beestings, detours, and frustration (a theme), I was thinking, "For one thing good that happens to you on a bicycle tour, one-hundred things go wrong."

I haven't thought, for one second, however, that this isn't worth it.

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photo by: williamsworld