Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Colorado Trip part 1
(I'm making this multiple parts since the word concise doesn't seem to exist in my little corner of blog land.)
I flew into DIA on Wednesday morning and upon landing I kissed the ground and then peed (in the bathroom.. duh!) . I don't mind flying, it's not my favorite thing to do.. especially not since 9/11 but I don't usually get nervous or uptight about things.. but this flight was determined to rattle me. It started out by being delayed.. no biggie, I called the parents and told them to hold off leaving Colorado Springs for a bit (kinda odd that it takes the same amount of time for me to fly across Kansas as them to drive to DIA from the next "town".) We took off about 30 minutes late and horror of horrors I was seated next to a very small child and her parents. I have a multitude of reasons for not wanting or having kids but uncontrolled screaming ranks pretty high up there.. which is actually amusing since I was a total screamer as a child.. my parents wanted to get me in the Guinness Book for shrillest scream. Anyway, the little one was pretty good and was fascinated by my TrailRunner magazine so I pointed out things and she would grab at it and make happy noises... trail runner in the making I think. Well, all this went downhill quickly when we hit some bad turbulence, that went on and on and on. The Captain told us to sit our asses down NOW and remain down and belted in. I'd never heard a pilot say sit down NOW before, but I cranked the iPod and relaxed, or tried to.. the little one next to me started shrieking like there was no tomorrow and the plane started bouncing up and down like a kangaroo. For the first time on a flight I was pretty sure I was going to die.. or at least I WANTED to die. The child next to me managed to drown out even the most noisy of punk rock on my headphones. I really couldn't blame her.. I felt like screaming a bit myself! Finally we landed, and my luggage was acquired and parents found with very little problem.
It was my dad's birthday so we went to the Tattered Cover bookstore and I quickly accumulated a huge stack of books I wanted, but then a semblance of sanity asserted itself and I put them back. (sniff) My luggage didn't need to be overweight due to 90 new books. We had lunch at a great little place in Castle Rock, that catered to my every vegan whim... it was awesome, I don't know if I've ever been someplace else that was so eager to make me something not on the menu. We made it to the Springs where I tried to digest my amazing grilled veggie lunch in short order since I was due to meet Steve and Kathleen for a run through Garden of the Gods. I had a great time running with them, and thankfully they were very patient since 6 hours is not enough altitude acclimatization time for me to be able to run fast, or even up hills! I was sucking some serious wind and at first when my fingers went numb and my eyesight got a bit dark, I thought I was going to have to bag the run, but Kathleen took pity on me and my darth vader like gasps and slowed the pace down. Steve bounded ahead and we would come around corners to find him snapping shots of us.. now I see how they get so many amazing pictures on their blog! I had a really great time getting to know them and I hope to run with them again.. maybe next time after a day or 2 of adjustment! After the run they were talking with my Dad and it turns out that they knew who he is and use his trails website a lot and Kathleen knows Dad's long time running partner... crazy small running world!
The next morning I got up early and went up Pikes Peak. Dad came along but wasn't planning on going as far as I was so he brought Sammy, their adorable golden retriever as company. I was really surprised at just how much I was able to push the pace going up, I figured after my performance of the night before I'd be dying again, but I guess a good nights sleep and lots of water helped. It was a cool, gray day and by the time I made Barr Camp at 10,200 ft it was starting to snow a bit. I decided to turn around there instead of pushing on to A-frame.... I had a jacket with me, but you never know in the high country how bad a storm will get. I was able to make really good time on my way down with minimal quad soreness. Pikes Peak is my favoritest mountain.. I guess it's because I grew up in it's shadow but it never fails to make me happy, when I die I want my ashes scattered on one of the slopes.
That evening I made a vegan stir fry for my parents.. lots of organic veggies, tofu and soba noodles. Dad eyed it with askance but ate it anyway and even had seconds, mom is very open to moving towards a more veggie based lifestyle so she was cool. After dinner I curled up on the couch with a hilarious mystery picked from one of the million books scattered all over the house. My friends Mac and Angela were driving in from KC and would spend the night and then the next morning we would be on our way to Salida and the house they own. They made it in around midnight and immediately crashed. We spent the next morning relaxing on the back porch, gazing at Pikes Peak and enjoying the perfect Colorado weather, until we roused ourselves enough to head to Whole Foods and the best outdoor shop in Colorado Springs - the Mountain Chalet. Locally owned, has tons of great stuff and always very friendly and helpful.
I picked up a pair of Vibram Sprint Five Fingers (in PINK, no less!!), I've been eyeballing these for awhile but wanted to try them on before buying. I tried 3 sizes and finally settled on the smallest size, I still think the next size up would have been perfect but that size made my big toe hurt.. like someone was poking hot needles in it.. not fun. I think the seam where the sole and the stretchy upper meet was rubbing just wrong. I wore them out of the store and only took them off all week to put on running shoes... definitely not ready to run in them though. Finally we finished all our shopping, loaded up the cars and headed out to Salida, which is about a 2 hour drive from the Springs. Dad was very nice and lent me his emergency 4-wheel drive pickup to drive all over Colorado.
I love that truck, it's an early 90's Toyota with high clearance and a growly engine, and it makes me homesick. It's the stereotypical mountain town vehicle; 4 Wheel drive, banged up and worth a heck of a lot less then all the gear inside it. It's not quite the same now that I'm not racing bikes, but back in the day my bikes were always worth more then my cars. Anywho, we made it to Salida uneventfully, and pulling up at Mac and Angelas house, I realized they were going to have to drag me kicking and screaming back to KC. It's a gorgeous house that sits on a bluff above town with an INCREDIBLE view of the 3 mountain ranges that surround Salida (Sawatch, Mosquito and Sangre De Christos).. and the hot tub has the perfect view of all 3!! They showed me around Salida, picked up some beer and we headed back to the house for dinner. Not only was I staying in paradise, but I was staying with 2 gourmet cooks... no way was I leaving! Dinner was awesome and as we were sitting in the hot tub watching the stars come out, a friendly local fox came sniffing up to the edge of the hot tub.. for a few minutes we honestly thought he was going to jump in! It was the perfect capper to the evening.
(part 2 to come)