Did you know that New England has mountains? Really, we do! The trails are often covered in so many rocks and roots that even skilled trail runners quiver at the thought of having both feet off the ground for a split second. The views (when the trees permit) are impressive if one’s typical views are from the fourth floor of a office building in a suburban corporate park. Mr. P and I have hiked scores of New England mountains, including all 48 New Hampshire 4000 Footers. And they’re quaint, but we had a hankering to see some real mountains this summer. The Rocky Mountains!
July 4th: Boston to Denver, Vail
Hurry up and wait! We left for the airport early on the Fourth of July, but due to an early-season hurricane an incoming flight from New York was delayed, which in turn delayed our flight to Denver two hours. Of course I’d rather have the hours of my life back, but Jet Blue somewhat atoned for it with free in-flight movies and free alcoholic drinks. Which frankly, I needed.
Eventually we arrived in Denver, and at the Hertz for our car rental. Hertz… hurts! Incredibly, there were no cars available. Dozens of people — angry, occasionally cursing — people stranded at Hertz, waiting for cars. We waited 90 minutes and I witnessed an utter breakdown of customer service, both on behalf of the customers and the service. A renegade customer galvanized us and organized this picture so he could spread it on social media:
See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to *hold* the reservation and that's really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.
I think that this rebellion spurred Hertz to start giving out the premium cars, as we ended up in a speedy Fiat when we booked an economy car. Again, I’d rather have the hours of my life back, but the Fiat was pretty nice!
We hurried to Vail, Colorado, where we would be spending one night. Bummer that we were arriving four hours late, tired and frustrated. We checked into our ritzy hotel and promptly hit the town in search of dinner. “How’s your Fourth of July going?” asked the waiter at the Italian restaurant. Silence. “It can only get better,” I said. And it did.
Vail was impressive, although as we ate and watched the white, rich, cookie-cutter denizens of Vail stroll the streets, I whispered to Mr. P, “Everyone in this town looks like an asshole.” Half-joking.
July 5th: Vail Hill Climb, Biking around Lake Dillon
Mr. P signed me up for the Vail Hill Climb months ago. I kinda forgot about it until a week before we left, then I grilled him for the details — 7 miles, starting at 8200 feet above sea level, a 2400 foot climb up a fire road that traverses a fire road. Brilliant idea, my dear husband! I lined up Saturday morning amid the fittest crowd I have ever raced against in a non-ultra race. These Coloradans are buff!
I'm the Naive Flatlander, Waving
Man oh man, it was a hard race. My muscles were choking from lack of oxygen. My heart felt implosive. Around mile 5, I began cursing my dear Mr. P.
Nearing the Finish Line
I finished smack in the mid-pack, which was fine by me. I consider myself a strong hill climber but I could simply not breath. Still, a very well-organized and simply amazing race in the Rockies!
At the summit
Little Boy was in bliss to be on vacation.
Though it was already an eventful day, we had some hours to kill before we picked up the keys to condo, which we would be staying in for a week. So we stopped in Frisco for a prolonged lunch at an overwhelmed locally-sourced restaurant. Then, we rented bikes and took a ride on the trail around Lake Dillon. Mr. P rode with Little Boy on a trailer-cycle while I trudged on my own at my preferred snail pace. I run faster than I will ever ride — this is why I do not attempt triathlons!
Only one night, two days in Colorado and we were feeling like natives! To be continued…