Remember my hats?
Remember also how they were so amazing that everybody wanted one and so they were sold out for awhile? Well, the nimble-fingered elves at Walz Caps have sewn up a whole bunch more, so order yours now and stop being such a bareheaded loser!
By the way, I know you're going to think I'm full of it, but may GOD STRIKE ME DEAD if this isn't the best bike-riding hat I've ever worn:
(Disclosure: Model has been airbrushed to appear more attractive.)
When I think of all the races I could have won if only I'd had access to hat technology like this during my career it's almost enough to make me come out of retirement and take another shot at the Tour de France.
Speaking of my career, it has now moved on to the "making appearances at bike events" phase (this is the phase that comes just before the "ranting pantsless in the street and getting arrested" phase), and I'm just back from the IMBA World Summit in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where I'm pleased to announce we settled every single problem facing mountain biking today--and where I finally figured out what that license plate stood for:
(In retrospect it was pretty obvious.)
In the interest of getting back to business, let's hold off on the Summit itself for today (we'll pick up on that tomorrow) and start with a little background on the city of Steamboat Springs, so named because Henry Hudson discovered it while crossing the continent on a steamboat back in 1492:
("This looks like a great place to open a ski resort."--Henry Hudson)
To understand the nature of any city, you must first visit its downtown, and this I did, whereupon I noticed a banner which perfectly encapsulated the character of this dynamic metropolis:
Yes, I know it's hard to read. Excuse me for NOT CLIMBING UP A GIANT LADDER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET! Basically, the banner is advertising three (3) upcoming events, those being:
--A mountain bike race;
--A running race;
--A chili cook-off.
So basically, Steamboat Springs is a town full of fitness freaks coated with an ersatz western veneer--which, I realize, describes pretty much every city in Colorado.
Here's another important fact about Steamboat Springs, which is that they call themselves "Bike Town USA®!"
No, like seriously, they trademarked "Bike Town USA®."
So up yours, Portland.
Of course, this is a pretty bold claim, especially for a city that lacks certain key accoutrements of an enlightened cycling city, foremost among those being:
--A bike share program;
--Random and senseless police crackdowns on bicyclists;
--A "bike hutch."
I mean, come on, even Cleveland has "bike hutches:"
(A bike hutch in Cleveland. People come here to cry.)
Still, Steamboat Springs does have some juicy bike amenities, such as the Yampa River Core Trail that whisks you to and from a downtown brimming with souvenir shops, restaurants, ersatz western haberdashers, and more souvenir shops::
And no, Yampa River Core was not a 1980s youth movement:
You'll also find interesting bikes secured only by flimsy cable locks, which is how you know you've left the real world behind and are now in an outdoor sports paradise:
In fact, it's pretty much impossible to find a bike rack that allows you to lock your actual frame as opposed to just your front wheel, which is the sort of thing you can't help noticing when you're a New Yorker, and which is why I locked my sweet loaner thusly:
As for which of these two bicycles was my sweet loaner, I'll reveal that later.
Here's another cunning front-wheel-only racking system:
When I retire from bike blogging I'm going to drive across country in a great big van, stopping along the way to clip poorly-locked bikes from overly trusting resort towns. Then I'll sell off my catch in California and spend the rest of my days humping Mt. Tampon.
In fact, I doubt I'd have to even bother with the clipping, because this bike was unlocked for at least three days:
When you're a New Yorker, no matter how law-abiding you are, you always take note of items you could theoretically steal.
Anyway, downtown Steamboat Springs is an attractive place with all the customary amenities:
(Restaurants, boutiques, ample parking, scenic views, hot springs, yadda yadda yadda.)
Where most people seem to fit into one (1) of two (2) categories:
--People who are rich;
--People who look like they shoot elk and then eat them.
This is reflected in the local artisanal culture, which boasts both high-end olive oil:
And high-end taxidermy:
It also means that sometimes the animals you see behind glass are dead:
And sometimes they're alive:
At least I think it's alive:
That is one nonplussed dog.
Of course, when you really begin to understand the whole "Bike Town USA®" thing is when you hit the roads and trails outside of town, most of which fall on the spectrum somewhere between "spectacular" and "truly spectacular:"
Alas, I am now overwhelmed by heady, oxygen-rich sea level air, so now that I've set the backdrop let's all "ronday-voo" back here tomorrow for more on the Summit and its concomitant bicycle rides:
Until then, I remain, yours truly, etc. and so forth,
--Wildcat Rock Machine