Flair in the Foliage: Biking to Aspen

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Photo: Kalen Acquisto

      Dressed in tutus, spandex, and colorful attire, we forged our way up Independence pass, dispersed like strands of Christmas tree lights along the winding switchbacks. Propelled by tunes from a jammy-pack, the comradely of friends, and sheer determination, I still had to take the advice of the words “shut up, legs!” spray-painted on the highway. It was the third and final day of the Aspen bike trip, arguably the most challenging stretch of the 160-mile journey over independence pass.  But remembering “the little engine that could,” I powered through and was greeted by a host of festive students at the summit.  The descent down was worth every moment of the climb: twenty miles of pure cruising through the aspen dappled mountainsides.  It was the greatest feeling, almost like flying.

       Each fall, roughly 50 CC students embark on the Aspen Bike trip, one of the quintessential block break traditions. Accompanied by enthusiastic support vans, the trip is split into three days of biking, with the group arriving in Aspen early Friday afternoon. The trip is open to bikers of all levels, including talented members of CC cycling team and those who, like myself, figure out the gears in the parking lot or try clip-in peddles for the first time en route.  That is one of the beauties of the trip- it is a coming together of grades, interests, and experiences united in the pursuit of getting to Aspen on our own will power. After long days of biking, we ate well-deserved feasts around the campfire, sang songs accompanied by fiddle music, repaired flat tires, gave each other massages, and broke it down with box truck dance parties.

Upon arriving in Aspen, people dispersed for the next couple of days to explore downtown, shop at the local farmers market, lounge by the pool, hike in the Maroon Bells, or even bike some more! The leaves were in their full fall glory, signaling the true arrival of fall.  As it turns out, Aspen is the lesser-known safari of the west: an added element of excitement was the many bears climbing trees and walking through front yards in the middle of town. I saw seven in one day!

It is fair to say that fun was had by all, and the Aspen bike trip of 2012 will certainly go down as a block break to remember for all those who participated.

-Roz Brokaw

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Photo: Roz Brokaw

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About ccoutdoored

The Outdoor Education Department at Colorado College organizes the Priddy Experience Orientation for new students and advises a variety of student organizations including the Ritt Kellogg Climbing Gym, Climber's Association of Colorado College, Ahlberg Gear House, Free Rider's Union of CC, Outdoor Recreation Committee, Breakout, Cycling Team, Kayak Club, and Colorado College Farm. The department thrives because of the hard work of three professional staff, 35 student employees, and hundreds of dedicated student volunteers. The programs advised by Colorado College Outdoor Education provide CC students with opportunities for real world challenge, adventure, leadership, and service outside of the classroom.
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