Rocky Mountain BRA: Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder

Boulder, Colorado:

Resplendent in mountainy deliciousness, Boulder has been home to cyclists of all kinds for thousands of years:

Indeed, over the years, exavations excevations digs in and around this city of [insert population here] people have yielded incredible discoveries, among them early lightweight iron low spoke count racing wheels:

(Reasonably aero for its day, though it cornered poorly.)

The first known power meter:

(Is there a Roman numeral for "You suck?")

And of course these fossilized remains of Homo Velocipedus, believed to be almost 200,000 years old:

(Dubbed "Eddy," this early racer was perfectly preserved in lava when a volcano erupted during the Tour de Pleistocene.)

This is the common ancestor from whom all modern Freds are believed to have evolved:

Indeed, road bikes are everywhere in this ancient city, both under people and on top of cars, and to wander about on a late Sunday morning is to see all manner of group rides returning to the hermetically sealed smugness bubble that is Boulder:

As you might imagine, Boulder is an exceedingly easy city in which to travel by bicycle:

And it even has its own bike share system, despite the fact that you can walk from one end of town to the other in like 14 minutes, and even though the latest census figures indicate the city contains 46 titanium bicycles for every one Boulderite:

Then again, the bike share bikes are pretty much the only ones in town on which it is optional to wear cycling clothing:

Sure, spandex may be optional, but the smugness is mandatory.  Dubbed "B-cycle," the program is only about a year old.  They would have had it much sooner, but officials spent about 18 months debating the relative benefits of 700c, 650b, and 29-inch wheels.

Indeed, Boulder is a rough and tumble frontier town:

A feller needs to watch hisself here, because if he doesn't he's liable to get crushed in a post-ride brunch stampede:

Or else incapacitated by an "epic" breakfast burrito:

I'm sorry to say the burrito got the best of me, but I blame the altitude.  I'm also sorry to say I missed what must have been a great ElliptiGO group ride:

Those ElliptiGOers know how to "throw down," especially when they're dorking duking it out for the town line sprint:

After getting walloped by my burrito, I ambled over to the Pear Street Mall, where someone was playing the drums in a tribal mask:

People sometimes mock Boulder for its lack of diversity, but between Drumming Guy of Ambiguous Ethnicity and White Duder With Blond Dreadlocks Walking His Bike I had clearly stumbled upon a vibrant cultural enclave:

Meanwhile, at the other end of the mall lurked this guy:

At first I couldn't figure out what he was supposed to be:

But then I realized he must be one of those car wash scrubbers:

I'm not sure this was actually his giraffe bicycle:

But I certainly like to think so.

As much as I would have liked to don my chicken suit and join the pageantry, I had "business" to attend to, and so I headed over to Vecchio's Bicicletteria for the start of the ride:

Having heard about Vecchio's for many years, I'd been looking forward to finally visiting, and I'm pleased to say the shop and its proprietors more than met my expectations.  Vecchio's needs no introduction--unless of course you never heard of it, though I'm not going to introduce it anyway because they have a website that will do a much better job.  Once inside, I snapped some photos:

Though that was mostly because I was still in distress from my battle with that breakfast burrito, and hiding behind my "smarting phone" helped me mask the look of discomfort on my face.

Soon, we gathered behind the shop:

Put on our best plussed expressions:

And headed off for a leisurely tour of the town:

Of course, this being Boulder, we did have some sandbaggers, like the guy up the road who has a bike company and won a race called the Giro d'Italia.

There was also this guy, who had a customized "You Suck" PowerTap:

Though the picture didn't come out because I suck at photography almost as badly as I suck at bike riding.

The centerpiece of the ride was the Valmont Bike Park, and while I may suck at riding a bike I'm at least smart enough to know to get on the wheel of the guy who won the Giro:

Looking at this beautifully designed park and the young people enjoying it, I thought of my own youth spent riding BMX bikes, and of the long drive to the race track in Bellmore.  Then I thought of the fact that the children of Boulder had only to pedal a short distance to enjoy the sort of dirt-oriented bicycling of which I had only dreamed at that age.

I'd like to say it made me happy for them, but mostly it made me want to puke.

Anyway, we rode to the top of the park:

Gazed down the runup for the cyclocrossing:

And then we all made our way back down again:

Looking very much like the characters in "The Seventh Seal:"

I should add that those who braved the descent included one child portager and one recumbent trike pilot:

Anyway, down we rode:

Until we all reached the bottom:

And I bore witness to a real life recumbent trike beer hand-down:

From which it was on to the Boulder Book Store to the BRA, where I spoke before a capacity crowd:

I can honestly say the pleasure was all mine.  The disappointment, on the other hand, belonged entirely to the attendees.

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