Mission (sort of) accomplished! Let’s recap the past ten days:
Day 1: Walking
Day 2: Tennis
Day 3: Golf and Yoga
Day 4: Rest the legs and apply Tiger Balm liberally
Day 5: Trail Running and Salsa Dancing
Day 6: More rest, more Tiger Balm
Day 7: More rest, more Tiger Balm
Day 8: More rest, more Tiger Balm
As of Day 8, I had six sports under my belt. Over the weekend my thighs (particularly my hamstrings) screamed for a rest. I postponed my mountain bike ride scheduled for Day 8 because of dehydration, which I am apparently very susceptible to. On Day 9, I set out again on my mission.
Weary of wearing out the hamstrings, I opted for a walk around Sloan’s Lake, almost identical to last week’s walk. I cut the walk by about a mile and set out in the early evening hours. The mercury’s been reaching for a hundred these past few days and exercising in that kind of heat is just asking for trouble. I set out sans iPod but full of gusto. I passed families, dog-walkers, and brave cyclists on this very busy path on the western edge of Denver. When the crowding on the paved path got to be too much, I opted for the dirt trail that runs alongside it–easier on the knees and less crowded. Alpenglow was doing its thing just as I finished the walk and stretched out the hamstrings.
Day 10–Mountain Biking and Dancing
A few years ago I was on a crusade to get all my girlfriends mountain biking. Guys are fun to ride with, but they’re constantly playing king of the mountain. I wanted to hang out with my girls and get in shape. Jer was one of my willing victims. She’s a natural athlete and absolutely fearless. I watched her go over the handle bars on a particularly rocky section of Flat Pass in Moab only to get right back on her steed, a Gary Fisher Tassajara. I and the dudes nearby were astonished.
Times have changed, though. Jer and I are both hopelessly out of shape. We decided to ride an intermediate trail, Lair o’ the Bear, in Morrison, CO, just a stone’s throw from Red Rocks. As it was Wednesday morning, there were few others on the trail. Because of its shade and close proximity to Denver, this trail gets some heavy traffic, especially on the weekends. Today (a Wednesday) we met families, older walking groups, and a community group whose goal it is to get urban kids out on the trail.
Lair of the Bear is the closest intermediate mountain biking to Denver. Its heavy use has rendered the wide singletrack a little sandy, but it is awesome nonetheless. You climb climb climb for a couple of miles, crest, then enjoy a couple more miles of roller-coaster fun. The climbing is neither steep nor lengthy, and except for a few rock gardens and tight, rock-and-tree-ridden switchbacks, almost entirely rideable.
Sweat was stinging my eyes near the ride’s end, and we finished just as raindrops began to fall. Jer and I sported perma-grins at our unbelievable fun and accomplishment. Maybe we’re not not in shape after all.
Let’s face it, we are creatures of habit. We go the same places, eat the same food, hang out with the same people. It’s safe. But on this particular Wednesday night, K and I decided to venture out to a new neighborhood, Cherry Creek of Denver.
Think the Marina District in San Francisco, Providence’s East Side, Atlanta’s Buckhead, or 90210. These are the chi chi parts of town where the cool kids hang out. We ditched our dive-bar inclinations and headed out to, ahem, Cherry Creek.
First stop–Elways, named after Denver’s prodigal son. On Wednesday Elway’s features a live band right there next to the Cherry Creek Mall, the most popular destination spot in Colorado. (Weird!) Tonight Angie Stevens and the Beautiful Wreck were belting out covers from Johhny Cash to the Dixie Chicks (whom I adore). Of the three hundred or so people getting their drink on, only a dozen were dancing. I never noticed before how insecure the vanilla race is about dancing, how cutting a rug is sooooo scary. The same thing happened a few days earlier at the Highland Street Fair–I, along with a few toddlers, was the only one dancing to a hard-rockin’ country cover band.
When I traveled to Costa Rica a few years ago I noticed that everyone dances, with or without a club. How jealous I was that this culture is not afraid to express its feelings through dance.
Elway’s closed up shop at 9PM (something about a noise ordinance or something), and we moved along to Plush at 3rd and Clayton. Like many eating and drinking establishments in this upscale Denver neighborhood, Plush occupies the basement. A lovely older gentlemen greets the ladies at the top of the stairs and escorts them to the club’s entrance. He’s also available to escort you back up the stairs and light your cigarette. A very nice touch.
Plush offers typical dance club fare: a small dance floor surrounded by big overstuffed couches. The music was a mix of bad eighties pop, rap, and a couple of salsa tunes mixed in. I bumped and grinded with the rest of the over-30 crowd and dragged a poor visiting stranger out for the salsa dance numbers. Oh, and I danced with the owner once. Very smartly dressed.
Grand total of nine sports in ten days with no injuries. Good enough for me.