Sunday, May 15, 2011

A new love, and a new money sink

My brother's company's CEO owns a really sweet condo up in the mountains of Colorado. And the CEO is so awesome that he lets other higher-ups in the company use it when he's not up there himself. And those higher-ups are equally awesome in gifting the condo to their employees for special occasions, such as my brother's 30th birthday. And my brother can't possibly enjoy his time in a 3-story condo by himself so he decided to invite all his friends.

So in short, we got to spend the weekend at a pretty sweet condo nestled between the slopes of a ski resort and a river, complete with entertainment center, board room, and outdoor hot-tub. Hell of a place to play Sardines, I tell you!

Although the condo was amazing, it's not supposed to be the entire point of the story. The main reason I'm writing about it is that it got me into mountain biking. Like, for real. My brother and all his friends are huge mountain bikers and I'd never really understood what was so special about it. But then again, I never understood road cycling either and now I'm hooked, so I guess it all takes time. Whenever they said they were going on a mountain bike ride, I always passed and told them I'd meet up for the BBQ and beer later when they got back.

This time, though, the only other option was hiking and I. Absolutely. Hate. Hiking. Have I made myself clear enough? It's like walking, which I'm also not a huge fan of, but uphill and slower. Biking, on the other hand, actually gets you places in a reasonably quick amount of time, so I'm willing to put some sweat into it. Walking and hiking, on the other hand, not so much.

(Speaking of slow activities, this whole getting somewhere very slowly with a large amount of effort is probably why I hate running. It's so unpleasant and I get nowhere slow. Eww.)

Anywhos, I borrowed a mountain bike and then agreed to go on the trail everyone else was going on. Somewhat of a big mistake. We spent the first 4 miles or so going straight uphill, and then finally got to enjoy the next 3 miles of straight downhill:

I had to change the settings on my GPS watch to auto-pause at 0 mph instead of the preset 4 mph because, as you can tell, my watch was paused for the first 1,000 feet of climbing. Yeah, I was going less than 4 mph for most of the uphill. I would've been better off walking, probably. Uphill. With my bike.

Me on the ridge after 3 miles of first mountain bike experience ever.
Even though the uphill thoroughly kicked my butt and I hated some portions of it, it was really satisfying to bike up a freaking mountain! The views were spectacular throughout and it was so much fun weaving between trees and biking over and around rocks and logs. Apparently I didn't slow the group down too much, since they didn't have to wait all that long at the top. And I beat my brother's girlfriend going downhill, not only in speed but also in guts.

Red cliffs looking the other way.
So yeah, it was an absolutely awesome weekend and now I'm in the market for a mountain bike. Yet another expensive hobby to drain my already sad-looking bank account.

The group at the top.
Notice the thunderstorms in the background of the pictures that we narrowly escaped. Metal bikes on the ridge + lightning = the fastest ride down ever.

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