I’m a keen observer of the obvious, so let me start by saying, WOW, it’s beautiful here. This, and I haven’t even been on “the mountain” yet. Friday’s weather is clear, sunny and some scattered showers up in the mountains and our plan is to group ride to lunch and end the day at FanFest, which is in downtown Colorado Springs. The ride group is small, about 20 and consists of mainly Multistrada’s, many of which have come to Pikes from far, far away. Conversations often go something like this – “We may stop by North Carolina on our way home from Pikes” “Really? Where do you live?” “Texas”.
We spend the day in a remarkable array of vista’s from towering red rocks, to plains and plateaus. I am struck by the quirkiness of the architecture and the niceness of the people. It seems all you need to live here is a kind disposition and a great sense of humor. Lunch is in a backwoods cafe lined with dollar bills and graffiti. The food is good, the service better. After lunch we get some rain and stop for coffee to wait it out in another great roadside bar and store. The owner seemed to expect us, 2 pots of fresh coffee were produced in minutes, we all found spots to sit and friends to chat up and the time passed too quickly. The roads, picked by the Butler maps folks, were spectacular. I would say every bit as enjoyable as Italy but not as technically challenging, which I suppose is a good thing.
We get back in time to head to FanFest, which I find a remarkable display of community pride in this event. It seems like the whole town is here and literally all of the entrants as well. Downtown Colorado Springs is lined with the craziest machines. Pikes Peak entry’s seem for the most part to all have come from bad homes, serial killers every one, designed to take the best bite possible of a mountain that is well known for biting back. There’s no rhyme or reason to the choices, everything from go carts to open wheelers, to motorcycles. Red Bull is here with a huge display. Red Bull Athletes are parachuting in and back flipping bikes and generally entertaining the crowd. Best part? The kids. They are everywhere and totally enthralled with the racers as well as the machines. I leave for the hotel with a completely different perspective of Colorado and this event. It’s magical.