Biking Big in Boulder

March 28, 2014


“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. ” —Ernest Hemingway

It is ridiculous to think just how much I was missing the simple pleasure of riding my bike just a few weeks ago; it was as if someone had chopped off one of my limbs, or told me that I had to spend part of my day in a cage. There is something so freeing about rolling your wheels out of the driveway, leaping into the saddle and taking off for…wherever. Unpacking here in Boulder meant being reunited with my bikes and, among all the other things we’ve been doing to get settled into Boulder, it is this simple pleasure of getting out and exploring on two wheels that I’ve been enjoying most.

Boulder isn’t just my new home, its also my hometown. Everyone I meet keeps saying that its rare to meet someone born and raised here, but I feel like so many people I know never left. I left Boulder properly when I was 18, to go to college. I owned a bicycle then – a big, heavy, fantastic Gary Fisher that I rode to and from the Boulder Reservoir where I was a lifeguard. I brought it home for summers and spun around on it sometimes but it wasn’t until I moved to Japan when I was 25 that I bought a bike with the express purpose of riding around on it that I learned what joy I reap from spinning over a place under my own power, learning the contours of and characteristics of the landscape in a way completely indeterminable in a car. All of this to say that, riding my bike here in Boulder is entirely new for me, and it has introduced me to a side of this place that I never knew existed. A simple, and rather raw beauty lies in this Front Range. And each time I’m out there, spinning beneath the banner of jagged blue, gold and green peaks above, I can’t help but feel that raw beauty lies deep within me too, and I’m sure this feeling is not exclusive to me.

As much as I’ve enjoyed getting to know this place from the heart on a bike, the truth is that I’ve needed and longed to get back on a training schedule. While the spring and summer will be busy with a few fun and interesting projects, I still intend to race, ride, and ride well this season and for you ladies intending to race the Rapha Women’s Prestige, the race is just around the corner! The good news is that there is PLENTY of proving ground out here to pit myself against! And even more so because, in addition to getting my riding legs back, I’m also earning my high-altitude lungs. Oof.

Because I – too – have been building my biking base knowledge from scratch, I’ve had to go hunting for local resources to get me out and spinning. Luckily, and amazingly, there are lots of resources you can use to map your rides of any level here in Boulder and get into the cycling scene.

Here are a few I’ve found to be incredibly helpful as I start biking big in Boulder:

303CyclingNews’ Top 10 Rides in Boulder (The Jamestown/Ward, Flagstaff, Old Stage Road, and Boulder Roubaix routes have been my favorite.) 

Boulder Trail Map from the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance

Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park Webpage

If you’re just visiting Boulder and are looking for a ride (wheels + companions) check out rentals at Boulder Cycle Sport. No matter what you’re taking for a spin, they have pocket route maps 

Or, if you’re a bikey girl come ride with TeamTen20; I’m one of their most recent members, but can already tell you that these gals are some of the most welcoming, and ride-worthy around!

And, lastly, feel free to follow me on Strava; last week, a small crew of folks tackled Strava’s Gran Fondo 3 Challenge in the Rockies – you still have a few days to jump on the challenge! Here are a few of my latest rides:

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