The day after we made it to Glenwood Springs, I dropped off resumes to every building with an open sign. And I heard the same thing over and over- “Sorry, it’s the off season. We’re cutting staff, but Ski Co is hiring.”
Ski Co is definitely hiring, with one caveat- shave and get a hair cut. So I decided that working 40 miles up the valley in Aspen was an absolute last resort.
I really wanted to be able to ride my bike to work everyday. So I spent a week hanging out in Carbondale, which is the next town up valley, pestering shop owners.
Thankfully, it paid off. I found a job at a pretty sweet coffee shop downtown, and at Aloha Mountain Cyclery. Now I’ll be able to pay rent and afford knobbier fat bike tires for the winter. Things are good.
I left my truck back in Pennsylvania, so I’ve been getting around everywhere by Krampus. Fortunately, It’s really easy to bike commute in the Roaring Fork Valley. There’s a perfectly smooth bike trail that starts in Glenwood, and goes all the way up the valley to Aspen. My commute to Carbondale is 12 miles, which takes about an hour. It’s perfect.
And the weather is great. While the mountains all around us are getting snow, down here in the valley it’s been about 50 degrees and sunny almost every day. Although as soon as the sun drops behind the mountains, it drops 20 degrees immediately. I’ve had some pretty frigid rides into work at five in the morning already, and it’s only going to get colder.
Last week Colleen went home to Ohiopyle for a wedding, so I had the weekend to myself. It was First Friday in Carbondale, which is a night when everybody around comes downtown to hang out. Live music or a DJ in every bar downtown, Halloween, a moderate level of debauchery.
I stayed at my new boss’s place, helped set up the Aloha Shaka Cross course the next morning, then rode home to feed the cat.
The next morning I rode back to Carbondale, raced ‘cross, helped with timing a little, then left the race to ride up the Crystal Valley to Redstone, where the folks I worked for in Ohiopyle were in the process of renovating their new house.
After a night of good Mexican food (which is something that I’ve heard people talk about but never personally experienced, like seeing a narwhal), catching up with friends, and relaxing in some natural hot springs, I slept in a giant puffy king size bed.
Like I said, things are good.
Then Colleen got home.
And that was good to.
Great trails, and plenty of stuff that’s way over my head, which is another reason that I wanted to move out here. Back home, I felt like I wasn’t getting any better at riding my bike. I could ride over big slimy boulders, slip down rooty hillsides. It’s great riding back home and I love it, but there just wasn’t much new or different to ride.
Now I’m in a place with trails named things like Lemon Squeezer. Trails that have five-foot drops, sharp rocky flat landings, narrow slot canyons barely wide enough for my handlebars. The dirt has a layer of marbles over top of a hard crust that makes it impossible to corner fast unless there’s a berm. And there are lots of berms, which makes it possible to go really fast, usually with a few hundred feet of exposure to one side. It kind of terrifies me, but that’s a great thing.