Zen On Dirt

Curing a bad attitude

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My mom once accused me of having a bad attitude about Boulder.

To my defense, there’s something to be said about everyone disliking the place where they grew up. We hold on to this nostalgic view of our childhood home, and then we leave for a little while, and when we come back, it’s different. So I feel like my so-called bad attitude about Boulder is somewhat justified. Or at least understood.

But really what it comes down to is that I’ve approached my dog-sitting stays in Boulder with a focus on getting a bunch of work done. So I hole myself up in my parents’ house and work a shit-ton. And really, working a lot can give me a bad attitude about any place.

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But, there are a lot of cool people in Boulder, and if you’re a runner, a lot of neat things to do. And in my mind, it’s the people that make a place. I just had to lose the idea that Boulder-time was working-time, and get out. So prior to getting on the plane in SLC, I sent out a few messages. ‘Hey! Let’s go running!’ or ‘Hey! Let’s go get a beer!’ or ‘Hey! Want to go ride bikes?’

Neven was the first to take me up, unfortunately, it came with a 6am meeting time so that she could get to work. We headed up to Royal Arch, to which I’d never been. Which is really sort of sad considering that I lived in Boulder for 15+ years.

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Sparkles came along and was mostly well behaved.

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While the wake-up was early, Neven was right about one thing. At 6am, the trails are empty. By the time we got back to the parking lot at 7:30, there were barely any spots left. Boulderites are motivated. But not as motivated as we were.

Jill was the next volunteer for the ‘Get Ez out of the house’ plan. She’s only lived in the Boulder area for two months and already knows the trails better than I do.

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I’m seriously not sure how I ended up a mountain biker growing up in Boulder rather than a trail runner. As far as access to trails go on foot, Boulder is pretty amazing. On wheels, it’s pretty dismal.

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We cruised up to the top of Green Mountain and headed down the other side. I’d always been a little intimidated by the Boulder mountains (hills? mini-mountains?) but felt a lot better after doing the 9-mile jaunt without much issue.

It’s funny how we build up these expectations in our heads. The last time I went up Green it was during college when it had snowed and cancelled the cycling team ride and we hiked up in the snow as a team. There was a super-competitive gal who ended up at the front of the line, and we hauled ass up the mountain, and I nearly died. So Green, in my head, was a huge-ass undertaking.

Expectations. We all know what I say about expectations.

I was feeling so good about Green that I took Sparkles up it the next day. Or maybe it was two days after. Either way, she’s a crazy little dog, and I figured that nine miles was going to be easy for her.

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We cruised up the hill, only getting a little bit lost, or at least unsure of where I actually was. At the summit, she happily scrambled up the summit boulder to let me take a picture of her. Getting back down…that was a problem. I ended up having to pick her up and carry her down. I’m glad she’s only 36 pounds. I promised her I wouldn’t tell anyone that she, just like her current dog-sitter, was afraid of heights.

We had an uneventful run back down the mountain and she slept soundly for the rest of the day.

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Great success!

I was starting to think that maybe this Boulder business wasn’t so bad after all. Until I met a friend up in North Boulder to pick up a bike that I’d lent her, and then had to wait 20 minutes to make a left hand turn back onto Broadway.

Too many people. Too many straight lines. It was time to go to the mountains. And for Boulder, well, four days was plenty. Even with a good attitude.

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