Touring the Dillon marina in the wrong direction--a cyclist's dodgy memory of a good day

I belong to the Boulder Cycling Club and am actually a board member, which means I have a little more obligation to get organized and lead rides occasionally.  Suggesting and putting together the route isn't as big of a challenge as it is keeping everyone more or less together on the ride and preventing speedsters from blowing up the group. Fortunately, our ride out at Dillon started off and stayed fairly mellow except for the ascent up Swan, which left me gulping huge lungfuls of smoky air.

A group  of five of us rolled out from the Dillon amphitheater around 10 and headed west, contrary to my suggestion that we head east and descend Swan. The group seemed to think there wasn't a shoulder on the way up to Swan about which they were sorely and regretfully wrong. But lessons were learned all round and the view was brilliant enough to blow any thoughts of reprisal completely out of my mind.  The marina was a gorgeous summer blue, the range encircling the water was a hard grey and the clouds promised just enough shade.


It was a gorgeous spin and there were different paths that peeled  off towards Frisco, Breckenridge and other places. In fact, the weekend we were there, the Guitar Town festival was going on in Breck, which would have been fun to attend. As it was, the Dillon Amphitheater was hosting some sort of Sunday church revival with live music; I saw someone with a tambourine headed towards the stands.

The 19-mile loop took a little less than two hours and that included regroups and polite discourse about a wrong turn. The route was fairly busy with other cyclists, large strollers, and runners but everyone played nice.  We ended up at the Tiki bar overlooking the marina, where we didn't see any Tikis and no one drank. But the food wasn't bad and everyone got the chance to recover a bit before spending the next 2-days on HWY 70 to head home.

Mountain morning: coffee, sketching and autumn colors

The artist unfolded the easel on the high balcony of the rental where she was staying.  She chose the western view that held the morning sun in its strong golden autumnal gaze.  The second-hand easel had worn its joints and she had to gently lock the hinges in place to secure it.  The artist placed her blank canvas onto the easel and stepped back. She grabbed her mug of coffee and inhaled deeply the fragrant aroma, suspended it seemed in heavy mountain air.

Her eyes scanned the scene. An old farm house, sheltered and held by a strand of aspens turning green to gold. She took up her pencil and began to sketch and feel the sspen leaves shimmering and twinkling in the golden morning light. She caught whispers of her old landlord below murmuring to his cat and heard the clink and splash of a water bowl being refilled. She paused as she began to block out areas of the canvas to hold the dark, secretive mountain range at the back and the tall majestic spruce heavy with pines to the side of the house. The stately, deep-green branches offered shelter to the wild grasses and birds from the cool mountain wind.

The paper was rough and the artist could feel the pencil pulling the outline of leaves, branches, windowsills and porches out of and across the paper. The wind picked up; she squinted into the sun as she grabbed her coat closer around her. She felt and saw alternating casts of shadow and light move across the paper, the scene and her own canvas. Slowly, the tender strokes of her pencil began to reveal the daintiness of fall-colored leaves, the upright bearing of the aspen trunk and the weathering of the wood and paint around windows and eaves. She inhales deeply and exhales more deeply, noticing the dark clouds moving in from the west. The light swiftly changing, the coffee getting cold, she moves across the canvas capturing the ephemeral moment of a mountain morning.