Okay, so I woke up at 4, groggily made a pot of oats, burnt them, less groggily made a second pot of oats, ate them while still trying to wake up. Got dressed in all my warm cycling clothes, filled up my bottles, pumped up my tires, and just as I exited the garage with my bike, Jackson pulled into my driveway to pick me up. So I havent ridden in quite a number of days, and in retrospect the ride we did today might not have been the best but fuck was it worth it and so incredible.
So basically in Boulder and the surrounding area, there are a few mountains that they call 14-ers, ahah pronounced like: fourteeners. Basically the peaks of those mountains are over 14 000 feet high, and there's a few in this area that you can actually drive, or in our case RIDE, up! One of them is just an hours drive away, and it's called Mount Evans. But the weathers been a bit iffy this last week, BUT TODAY THE STARS ALIGNED. Jackson wasn't working and the weather was forecasted to be perfect (which it was), so we decided to do it today!
So he picked me up at 5, when it was still pitch black outside, and we started the drive to Idaho Springs where we would start the ride. It was such a beautiful drive though because we were driving right at dusk as the light was creeping in, and the rose coloured glow that illuminated the mountains that just surrounded us was breathtaking. So after parking in a middle school that had 12 hour parking, we got outside, and immediately I was stunned by the cold brisk air. I've just gotten used to this 35 + degrees heat and it was probably around 7 in the beginning. I had on my cycling kit, another layer, then a wind breaker, my leg warmers, and winter gloves and was still chilly haha. Anyways, so we started riding on the road to Mount Evans, and we were both expecting it to turn off somewhere and be on obvious start to the climb, but it just never came. The first 10 kms we were both just waiting for that turn off ahah, but we then realized that we were already on the route and climb. It was just such a gradual incline and just was so sheltered by trees it didn't look like we were climbing a mountain ahha. I was thinking, I know I'm supposed to be riding up a mountain.. wheres the dam mountain? ahah. But once we got above the tree line it became very apparent that we were indeed riding up a fucking huge ass majestic beast of a mountain haah. Jackson's such a hilarious riding partner, we just have the greatest conversations about cereal haha, mountains, what we want to do, and he just makes random exclamations of excitement and joy out of nowhere and it's so great. I was saying how mountains are so well described with adjectives beginning with M. So we started brainstorming a list of adjectives, my favorites are: magical, majestic, mysterious, mystical, magnanimous, monumental, merciless, magnificent, marvellous, and the list goes on....
Then I was saying that I really think I want to spend some time up in the mountains somewhere, possibly in Asia. I just love mountains, and I love being around and in them so much. I'd love to spend a considerable amount of time (at least a month or two) just living up in the mountains somewhere, away from technology, and just interacting with locals. I definitely want to make that happen at some point this coming year... hhaah.
Anyways, so the first 20 kms was beautiful, but definitely more sheltered by trees, as we got higher, we started to see more alpine vegetation, and the view was opening up. But after we passed Echo Lake, the scenery just got INSANE. It was without a doubt one of the most scenic stunning rides of my life. No not just rides, but most beautiful things the retinas in my eyes have ever seen ahah. It's so hard to describe, and the photos just don't do it justice, but it was just this open view of mountains everywhere. The ones by us were green, lush with trees, and incredible with rock structures that just shot out from every direction, but the mountains in the distance, had this almost navy blue hazy glow to it. It looked like they were almost misty and moving slightly if you gazed at it long enough. Man it was trippy. And the terrain around us was just so lush and full of life, I just wanted to get off my bike and frolic in it ahha. We saw mountain goats, MARMOTS (cutest things, they look like a mix of beaver/squirrel), deer, ravens and even elk! And then the higher and higher we got, the more out of this world it became. No like literally, the vegetation around us and just the terrain looked like it was from another planet. I've never seen anything like it. It was just so barren, and sparse but in a robust beautiful way. I even found a heap of wild flowers on one of our stops.
And the road itself started off smooth AS, BUT the higher we got the shittier it became, it was just so bumpy, but I didn't mind, I was going slow anyways. It was super duper windy and cold though, which reminded me of my adventures in New Zealand. The cross winds and head winds were pretty brutal, and the last 10 kms of the climb was just hairpin after hairpin, it was incredible. So the climb itself is about 40 kms, and with around 1800m elevation gain, so in and of itself its not that crazy of a climb. BUT the elevation was really fucking me up. My answer to Jacksons: "how are you feeling" question went from awesome, to great, to fine, to alright, to not good, and finally to: BAD. ahahha. It was the altitude. Idaho springs where we started was around 9000 ft high, and the higher we got, the more difficult it became for me to breathe. I got lightheaded, dizzy and just felt nauseous the entire climb pretty much ahah, but I was bolstered by the views around me, and jacksons infectious energy. Any food I ate just made me feel worse, but still I knew I was better off for it. I was surprised by how hungry I was too, usually I dont eat that much on rides, but today I had 2 cliff bars, 2 gels, and 2 bananas. Anyways, by the end of the ride, I was definitely really affected by the altitude, every pedal stroke felt laboured and difficult, I was pushing like a MINISCULE amount of power but my poor little heart was just working away, and my lungs were just searching for more air hah. The last 10 minutes I felt like I just couldn't fully catch my breath, but I mean it's all good. I just went slow and steady, and eventually made it to the top!
After just marvelling at the view, getting some goofy snaps, and chatting to some of the people at the top, we started the descent. The first half of the descent was SO cold and SO bumpy, but as we got lower, it became so fun. The roads were so smooth, the sun was out, and I was just flying down, it was great ahha. Then eventually we made it back to the car, and back home. I showered, rolled, then ate more oats (ahhah I was just lazy and didn't want to make anything exciting). But I jazzed it up with apple, maple syrup, and heaps of almond butter stirred through. It was perfect. And after chatting with Jackson, he inspired me to vary my diet a bit ahah and make a smoothie. I made a coconut banana almond butter smoothie, idk man I'm just really craving so many nut butters, and fats, so I'm just going for it and giving my body what it wants :) Then I just chilled, played piano, and then met my friends for a lil dinner picnic in the park. But first we all went to Whole Foods together to get our dinner supplies. We bought humus, salsa, chips, crackers, veg, and date rolls, aka all the picnic essentials. Then we just had the most amazing picnic in the park. Ah we talked about everything that just fills my soul with joy. Life, our journeys, how we view society and the world, what drives us, is desire healthy, and so many other intriguing topics.
Then Jackson whipped out his hammock, and Leah and I just sat in there swinging and talking about stoicism, law of attraction and more. And best of all not necessarily saying we believe in either but just questioning them both.
I just feel so blessed to have met these incredible humble beautiful people. They are all so special, and all so loving, it's like sometimes I just dont even know how I got so lucky to find these people everywhere I go. Then after getting home before 9, I had another box of cereal that I bought today at whole foods for dessert. heeh.