Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Aspen, Week One

Today is my last full day in Aspen for this rotation and what an interesting week it has been.  Most observations and discoveries have been extremely positive.  Some, very few, negative... like damn it is hot here!  The air temps are not bad but the sun is so strong that it just cooks you, instantly.  I just was not expecting that.  I am probably going to have a heat stroke living in the springs the next week.

That is probably the biggest negative.

My most curious observation has been that I feel like I am living a life very similar to when I lived on Air Bases.  Everything is so close by and within walking distance and that is how you get everywhere.  Walk to the Post Office, walk to the laundry, walk to see a movie, eat out, go to a bar, the store, etc.  I have not moved the Jeep an inch the past week.

Running and riding...  Just by the nature of the terrain here, not to mention a base elevation of 8,000 feet, I can only see myself getting stronger than I ever thought was possible.  Lots of vertical for both riding and running and a lot of other stuff in between.

Saturday I rode my bike from the apartment to the Fritz Fabi Huts up Smuggler mountain road.  Two hours to get there or so and an hour or so coming back.  Excellent uphill riding and even better downhill to force me to work on my downhill skills.  When I am up the next time I plan to ride to the McNamara Hut via Hunter Creek Trail/Road.  I rode about halfway there yesterday.

Sunday was a killer run to the top, the legitimate top of Aspen Mountain.  The summit is exactly five miles from the apartment taking the Little Cloud Trail to Summer Road then taking the road to the summit.  This isn't a run I would want to do every day because it is so steep and it never lets up but it will definitely be a great one to put into the training rotation to do on a regular basis, especially after I am here 100%.   The views from the sundeck on the summit are just breathtaking.  Well worth the trip.

Route to Aspen Mountain Summit.
There seems to be somewhat of a decent running scene here.  Not as over the top as the springs (i.e. no mass baby stroller parade every Tuesday night) but enough decent races to look forward to.  I will miss the Golden Leaf Half as it filled up in week last April but hope to do that next year.  But there is the Chuck Severy Cross Country Challenge on October 5th that benefits the Apsen High School Cross Country team which I will be coming up for.

The one I am really excited about is the Summit for Life Uphill on December, 7th.  It is a night run up Aspen mountain and straight up the mountain slopes at that.  They guy whom the Chris Klug Foundation is named after, Chris, rode 8:04 in the Leadville 100 MTB this year and he also won a bronze medal in the 2002 winter Olympics in snowboarding and that's AFTER a liver transplant.  The Chris Klug Foundation is the group putting on the race.  Pretty cool stuff.

The downtown area was a circus this weekend with the tourists.  It is funny though... Melissa and I walk around and talk to people in shops, etc, and if  you tell them you live here, it is amazing what people will share with you.   There is definitely a subculture of locals here and they are pretty friendly it seems like.

So it is all positive really.  We have a nice apartment that I wish were bigger but it is what it is for now.  It serves as an awesome beachhead and gives us time to look around.  I'm still wigged out over purging my stuff, moving and then figuring out what I am going to do here because no matter how great I am, (or think I am) nobody is lining up yet to pay me to ride and run all the time as a full time job.  Yet. 


  1. You moved to Aspen? No way. I guess I missed a post or two.

    I lived in Denver for a few years before I made it over there, but since then it's been an annual thing. Enough to have a local routine of stops and walks, navigating the space somewhere on the low end between dirtbaggery and wealth, trying to have fun on a budget. It feels like a mix of a college town and Monte Carlo dropped smack into the middle of the Rocky Mountains.

    Followed the Mahons for years now. Ran into them on top of Aspen Mountain after they stepped off the snowcat. Seem like good people.

    Places: Big Wrap, New York Pizza, Aspen Brewing, Hickory House Ribs, Main Street Bakery, the all-in-one Carl's Pharmacy. A great walking town, but watch for the buses. Almost got squashed a couple of times.

    Have a great time.

  2. I am not here full time as of yet. That is a few months down the road. I am here ever other week at a minimum, Wednesday to Wednesday and then some one off weekends. During the week it is cool but over the weekend you could see ridiculous money. But the undertone, local vibe is pretty cool with a lot of cool places that you mentioned. I've even eaten four racks of ribs from Hickory House alone the past week. I head back tonight and will be back next Wednesday for more fun.

  3. I concur, the intensity of the sun up high makes it appear so much warmer than what the temperature really is; I noticed that a lot this summer running up near Breckenridge (even yesterday, bleh, so hot). I'd get done with a run and swear it was 90 degrees, look at the temp when I got back and nope, 75ish. I'm betting here in another couple months, the negative will be how cold it is :).

    That trail looks crazy steep - great job!! What is the elevation gain?