It's been 80 degrees in Colorado. For weeks.
The appropriate response seems to be:
Real snow never happened. The little bits that did come are distant memories, ephemeral moments much like the wildflower season that has just begun and is likely almost over. Or the runoff that'll sputter out just as it gets going.
Meanwhile, as we inch closer to a hot, dusty, desiccated summer, the temps *now* are nice, and the spring winds have not yet kicked in full force.
Which means it's time to ride.
We aren't the only ones who've noticed: Our backyard loops are inundated with crowds.
Hard to blame folks for wanting to ride here. The particular blend of terrain, light, and weather are after all why many (raises hand) settled here to begin with. But the sheer numbers of people loving these trails to death now is hard to understand. And still the local bike shops and trail advocacy entities beckon and entice more and more to come.
Two words: Cash cow.
Four more: When is enough, enough?
How much like the Front Range do we need to become before more than the current not-vocal-enough minority stands up and demands that we stop the insanity?
A heady question that few are asking and no one is answering.
So each weekend as the crowds stream in from east and west, we quietly ease out of town to our last remaining private stashes. Places where we can still ride all day and see, hear, only the sounds of our own tires and voices. Peaceful places with not-yet-sanitized trails, without signs pointing the way to the obvious. Without bags, and piles, of dogshit proliferating like some new form of well-watered flora.
Access to many of these places is, thankfully, guarded by private land. It won't always be that way, so we savor it now while the singletrack is still single and there is no 'scene' at the trailhead. Because there is no trailhead.
What we love about riding is not necessarily the riding. It is some intangible, inexplicable combination of being outside, being able to move across the dirt and beneath the sky, in ways that we've learned and are still learning, and will hopefully always be refining. It is like some primitive dance that we discover anew each time we participate. In the movement is the magic.
Crowds do nothing to enhance the experience, nor does a trail that becomes easier (through legislation or ad hoc sanitization) every time you visit it.
We hold these truths to be self evident, but we are not the demographic that They are listening to. All evidence that I've been able to see, sense, or discern points to the fact that They are aware of us, but they'd prefer if we just kept quiet and eventually went away.
That way they can get a McDonalds, Starbucks, and Conoco at every trailhead, and maybe even a S'leven at a few of the major trail junctions.
Someone's gotta pay to keep sanitizing these trails. They aren't going to pave themselves.
Meanwhile, we'll keep heading to the hinterlands to do our thing.
As long as dirt and rock and sun and sky still exist, we'll continue to carve our wending, narrow, often non-sensically challenging routes into the earth for some future race to discover and wonder at.
Someone needs to.