Posts Tagged ‘Manitou Springs’

Rode hard and put away wet

October 17, 2022

The sky was crying as we motored home.

Can a weekend be both long and short at the same time?

The answer is yes, if you’re driving from The Duck! City to Manitou Springs and back again to join some old comrades in honoring the spirit of one who’s gone west.

The friends and family of John O’Neill crowded into Mansions Park in Manitou on Saturday to eat, drink, and swap tales of a grumpy old sumbitch who loved his wife Cindy, dogs, running, the Three Stooges, mountain biking, and margaritas, and who left the party far too early at 69.

Herself and I had to think fast to arrange the 400-mile trip north. Do we drive up the day of the celebration, spend the night, and come back on Sunday? Or the day before, spend the night, and then race home right after the gathering on Saturday? Who’s going to keep an eye on Miss Mia Sopaipilla now that she’s an only cat? We’re short a couple of neighbors, one who’s off with the family on her own road trip and another who just had knee-replacement surgery. Decisions, decisions. …

In the end we arranged a room, engaged a pro pet-sitter to check in on Mia, got up at stupid-thirty on Saturday, and roared north in the recently reconditioned Fearsome Furster, making it to Bibleburg with just enough time to spare for a detour down Memory Lane, which in this case led to Bear Creek Regional Park, where John and I and the rest of the Mad Dogs put on so many cyclocrosses Back in the Day®.

From there we drove straight to Manitou, grabbed a parking spot across the street from the park, puzzled out the robo-meter (Is everything smart these days except me?) and did a quick bit of recon.

The uniform of the day was to be flannel shirts and jeans, and we soon saw one, then another, and another. Many, many of them, as the hour approached. We helped shift a few picnic tables and folding chairs around, but there were not nearly enough of either to accommodate the swelling flannel-and-denim herd, which spilled over the designated parking spots and onto the lawn.

There were tales and tears, laughter and applause, a slideshow and still photos, food and drink. We paid our respects to Cindy and to John’s Colorado Running Company partner Jeff Tarbert, and caught up with a smattering of cycling and running buddies from The Before-Time, when the Mad Dogs had a good deal less gray in their muzzles and more glide in their stride.

Time is a toll road, and the longer your journey, the more descansos you pass.

We couldn’t find a way to attend a remembrance for our B-burg bro’ Steve Milligan, a sharp wit felled by an aggressive cancer in 2020, at age 73, just as he and his wife were preparing to enjoy their retirement.

I was able to make it to Denver this past July to say a belated adios to my first editor in the cycling racket, Tim Johnson, who worked long and hard to help build VeloNews into the preeminent bike-racing mag’ it became after Inside Communications acquired the title and moved it from Brattleboro to Boulder in 1989. Early-onset Alzheimer’s devoured what remained of Tim in November 2021, at 63, after gnawing away at him for years.

Now, I am not a believer in the Next World. I’m not certain I believe in this one. But I found solace in these remembrances and the sheer number of celebrants they drew. One person can make a difference. The ripples from their passage through our lives spread far and wide, lifting many a lesser vessel.

They say you’re not supposed to make a big wake by the dock, “they” being the slackers bronzing their buns on the boards. The only time those posers get their feet wet is when they piss on their flip-flops.

The big boys jump right the hell off that dock. Make a huge splash, the sort of cannonball into the deeps that will have people talking and laughing and toasting your memory long after you’re gone.

Dope and doper

January 1, 2014
Shit makes you smart, man.

Shit makes you smart, man.

Cheech and Chong* must be laughing their asses off.

“By a 3-to-1 margin, journalists inside 3D Cannabis outnumbered customers waiting outside before the shop opened,” reports The Denver Post in its coverage of today’s first sales of legal recreational marijuana in Colorado.

“This is history I just made,” crows a Georgia gent who slept in his car, with his dog, in order to spend $180 on 6 grams of smokable herb and some munchies.

Well, Stoney, let’s get real here. Buying a legal bag of shit is not quite up there with integrating a redneck lunch counter, landing on the moon or inventing the Internet. But we take your point. Folks in Colorado — certain parts of it, anyway — can now purchase the fabled Whacky Tobacky over a counter instead of under the radar, and from someone who doesn’t look the way I did when I was selling $12 lids in Alamosa, too.

Bibleburg, naturally, decided not to participate in this making of the history. Retail sales of firearms, tattoos, payday loans, superstition, fuck books, tonsil polish in a thousand-and-one flavors, and all manner of other smokable products? Fine, fine, go about your business.

But the recreational mary-joo-wanna? Nossir. Might set the younguns to rubbing theyselfs in public, cause the Army to make bongs of its M203s, maybe even lead to dancing on Sunday.

So Manitou Springs, Pueblo and Denver will get the mota-related jobs and taxes, and Bibleburg will get the mumbling stoners. Assuming said stoners have recourse to money and reliable transportation, anyway. So we got that going for us.

Pretty silly, hey? But not as silly as the 62-year-old masters racer who just drew himself a two-year ban for using amphetamines, testosterone and EPO. Talk about hitting the trifecta. It’s a wonder the cup didn’t dissolve when he pissed in it. Doping to win masters races is like standing tiptoe on a stack of prescription pads to make yourself the biggest midget in the room.

* Looks like Tommy Chong is going to be paying a visit to an area dealer. Dave must finally be here.


September 6, 2013
A section of the Edna Mae Bennet Trail, which leads to the Templeton Trail.

A section of the Edna Mae Bennet Trail, which leads to the Templeton Trail.

Man, it got hot again all of a sudden.

We went from a pleasantly damp monsoon season straight back into summer, no matter what the calendar says.

This is good news for Manitou Springs, whose residents get a chance to chisel all the dried mud out of their basements, autos, and nostrils, but it makes for some steamy afternoons here in the office, which sits on the hot end of the house.

A little rain might help keep me in that office, which is where I need to be, having a few deadlines to beat before toddling off to Interbike. But the rule is that when the sun shines, vigorous exercise shall be taken, and outdoors, too.

By the time that’s over and done with, I feel a tad fatigued for some reason and crave a frosty beverage, a nosh and perhaps a nap. Thus work suffers. No wonder the economy is in such a parlous state.

Looking upward from the Templeton Trail, just east of Union and Austin Bluffs.

Looking upward from the Templeton Trail, just east of Union and Austin Bluffs.

Lately I’ve been alternating rides with hikes, generally in Palmer Park. I used to run the trails there quite a bit, but the knees don’t seem interested in that sort of thing anymore. So I hike instead, which is an acceptable substitute. I seem to trip and fall down a good deal less, anyway.

And if you pick the right trail, you can get plenty of vertical gain, as you can see from the pix. I can’t believe we used to ride these things back in the day.

And when I say “we,” I mean, “somebody else.” I was walking them even then.

• Late update: Herself and I did our part to rein in the idiots this afternoon by voting not to recall state Sen. John Morse, who fell afoul of the gun nuts. Lord, single-issue fuckwits give me a brain cramp with their political temper tantrums. You don’t like the way the man works, vote him out in the next regularly scheduled election — that’s why we have ’em. These pissants remind me of a toddler screwing up his chubby little mug right before spitting out the creamed spinach.

Fire and flood

August 10, 2013

Manitou Springs got the mortal shit pounded out of it last night. The Colorado Springs Independent has pix and a short report; The Gazette has the same plus video.

It’s just the latest in a series of beatings the town has had to take over the past couple of years, beginning with the Waldo Canyon fire, which scoured the surrounding area of vegetation, turned Williams Canyon and Highway 24 into a freeway for water and ash-laden mud, and made an open sewer of Manitou, particularly Canon Avenue.

The storm was bad enough here, with 25-mph winds lashing heavy rain at us sidearm style. The good news is, I caught a trout in the front yard. Didn’t even need to unlimber the old rod and reel. I threw him a Bible, and when he turned to Genesis to see when Noah was due, I shot him with the Mini-Thirty.

Fire on the mountain

June 24, 2012
Waldo Canyon from Palmer Park

The Waldo Canyon fire as seen earlier today from Palmer Park — which is now closed to keep it from getting lit up, too.

The mercury is knocking on the century mark down here in Bibleburg, but it’s a whole lot hotter in them thar hills.

Manitou Springs got cleared out last night and early this morning, and the Air Force is weighing in with a couple of C-130s that can drop 3,000 gallons of fire retardant in less than five seconds, according to The Denver Post. Two more are inbound from Wyoming.

Down here in the flats it’s oddly quiet. Lots of folks are watching the fire the way a bird eyes a snake, taking cellphone pix and muttering to themselves.

We’ve gotten a few calls from friends and family who wonder if we’ve been forced out onto the open road with only a few simple possessions and the menagerie enjoying a Romney ride atop the Subaru.

Nope. Herself is still at large in Mouse Country, I’m stuck in an un-air-conditioned office wrangling word count and the critters are trying to find cool spots to stretch out. Good luck with that. It’s not exactly fur-coat weather, is what I’m saying.

Still, there are worse things. We know a few folks who’ve been chased out of their homes by this bloody fire, and a few of them are staying next door until things cool off a bit. They may be waiting a while — there’s nothing but sun, heat and wind in the forecast for the next 10 days.  Y’all start doing your rain dances now, please. And thank you.