Thursday, November 8

Er, Fascists

As it will come out soon enough...I'm in the process of saying goodbye to Colorado.

Nothing is definite yet, but I have applied for a job that would essentially make me the de facto transportation planner for my hometown and county. And then some... They're interested in me. Enough that they were going to pay for a plane ticket to have me come interview. Over Thanksgiving break I'll find out for sure.

So this throws our lives into turmoil; or, at least for now, it puts our lives on the brink of being in turmoil. The true turmoil will come if they offer me the job and the numbers make sense. For now there's just a lot of nailbiting.

If this comes about it means that by the beginning of 2013 we will leave Colorado only to return on some potential future vacations. It is bittersweet in that we do love living here but we also see the possibilities of making this change. We have--as someone close to us recently said--amazing lives. I have, however, concluded that our lives are amazing because of who we are (incredibly humble people) not where we are.

It has been a surreal five years. But our minds have been stretched to accept new realities and new possibilities. It has been a fantastic opportunity for us and that experience will not be wasted no matter what comes about during the turkey slaying season.

For me, life has always been an adventure, and I eagerly welcome any new scheme with open arms. It's been hard for me to reign in my impulsiveness to soften the effects on my family. I assure you in this matter we have discussed every angle. This is no impulsive decision.

So in case this wildfire gets out of control and sweeps us into a new era of our lives (it already has) I have been trying to say my goodbyes.

On Election Day I rode Alderfer/Three Sisters with Jon. My very first mountain biking experience in Colorado was at Three Sisters. I unloaded the bike off the truck and the very next day I subjected the Cannonball to the indignity of being hauled on a car to Evergreen and with stars in my eyes I clumsily cranked my way to the summit of Evergreen Mountain. From that moment forward I was hooked on singletrack. It took awhile before I fully immersed myself in mountain biking, but it was a done deal at that point.

I sneaked over South Table Mountain the very next morning (yesterday) on my way to work. While I would miss my dawn patrol circuits on the mesas, I couldn't NOT get in one more good ride while the weather was still good (can you believe this is November?!) so I risked being a little late to the office and headed up into the prairie sky to do my favorite STM loop.

It seems the double track road has been graded recently. So instead of packed dirt I got loose gravel grinding. Well, okay, that sucks, but I still got the trails. Nope. I reached the turn off for my favorite user-defined, unofficial mesa-top trail and found wooden barriers and an erosion blanket over the trail itself. It seems Open Space has made an attempt to close off the unsanctioned fun up on my favorite island in the sky.

I'm not proud, but I rode past the barrier and the straw blanket and picked up the nice dirt ribbon a few yards beyond. The realization that the trails were being shut down filled me with melancholy. It shouldn't have because there are literally hundreds of miles of good singletrack along the Front Range. I guess it's just because I discovered it on my "goodbye" ride, and that particular loop was one of my regular pre-work diversions, that it hit me a little too hard.

I continued out the loop I had intended to ride. It's more technical that I have really considered it in the past, and comparing it to Three Sisters I think it's actually far better quality than I had ever given it credit for. I mean, I love that ride, but I guess I thought I enjoyed it so much just because it was proximate and convenient. Now I know it's because it's really just a good ride.

I came across another barrier and erosion control attempt as I regained the "official" trail. Of course I wanted to go on across to another fun trail that has some screaming bomb-run drops off some big piles of dirt. Again, I skirted what was permissible and took my potentially last ride on that trail.

Then I rode on out and dropped down to Quaker Street and pedaled on in to work. The feeling of melancholy didn't really leave me, and I don't guess I expect it to any time soon. I surprised myself and made it in to the office with just enough time to get showered and into my cubicle.

Those trails on South Table are really fun, really good, and I just can't see a good reason for OS to close them. I'm sure they've been there for years and years. They follow old two track roads for the most part. It's not like anything has really changed since they came into being. Whatever. I don't like change that takes away a good thing.

In the context of South Table I may not be saying "goodbye," but instead "good riddance." I can't be too harsh on the Open Space-o-fascists though. They do build and maintain some phenomenal trails. I hope they model their future efforts on those at Apex Gulch and start phasing out their notoriously difficult-to-navigate switchback waterbars. Jon and I waddled over a few of those at Three Sisters. Some were rideable, some were just stupid.

Updates on this career situation will follow. I hesitate to share this, especially because I have no assurances at this point. I've already had one local opportunity fall through (I'm tornly bitter*), and my desperation to get free of my current sentence is growing. Having said that, I'm really only latching on to this life ring opportunity because it would be incredible even if I were not completely disgruntled with my current situation. It's the career track I want to be heading down.

Maybe this is all for naught. It's entirely possible I won't be offered the job, and then we'll carry on in Colorado until I find something better here. Maybe I'm being melodramatic for nothing.

Of course, for those of you that regularly follow this blog there are some questions.

A) What about your obnoxious Leadville obsession? The show will go on.

B) Wait, but how will you train effectively at sea level, without the magnitude of climbs and distances that you're used to? Carefully. Intensely. By racing the Mohican 100 in Ohio in June. By inspiring myself astride a sparkly new Surly Krampus come spring.

C) How will you deal with the altitude next August? Drugs. Hydration. Sheer willpower.   

These are questions that you should not concern yourself with, Dear Readers, as they keep me up at night even now, before they are relevant. So relax, enjoy the ride. I think I'm going to try. If I don't puke.

* The job that fell through was a transportation planner position that they reportedly wanted to fill with someone with an engineering background, even though the department is already full to the brim with engineers. I'm annoyed I didn't get an interview, but somewhat relieved that I'm not going to be the lone right-brainer in a left-brain dominated pond.


  1. Chris,
    When I got the offer for my current job my wife looked at the map. It was in the middle of no where. Nothing. Closest city Ottawa (I'm in the US), closest US city Syracuse (2.5 hours). I asked her if she wanted to come and see it before I took the offer. She said "No. We have each other, and we have always made wherever we live into a special place. If you love the job, take it......But we are not moving again any time soon, so be sure." Those I think are the keys. Being with those you love, and doing something that you love. All the rest will figure itself out.

    Love the second picture BTW. Looks somehow....familiar.... :)

    I will be glad to have you on the low lander, sucking air, team at Leadville next year. We are going to kick ass!

  2. That picture looks a lot like the top of Columbine.

    All I can say about the job thing is just keep at it if you need to. It took me 4 years after I graduated to find my home. I went on a ton of interviews and somehow (even though they all liked me a lot) something (usually someone else) got in the way and took the job. It was heart breaking a couple of times. But eventually I found my home. I love my job. It's a journey like any other. Sometimes its not fun. Sometimes you end up in unexpected places. But with the right people it's worthwhile. (Especially when you finally find your home.)