If I tried to pinpoint feelings or events that drew me to the mountains, by that I mean any mountains, it would have to be the endless hours of perusing my parents’ National
Geographic Magazine collection. I had no other reference to mountains, I was 4 or 5 years old, I was in Chicago. Reading about climbs up K2 and Mount Everest... well, mostly just
mesmerized by the photographs, but it really got me dreaming about climbing them, yes, but also about living amongst them. When asked if I wanted to move to Colorado (my mother’s birthplace), I was, of course, all for it.
Growing up in Denver was such a tease, I could play in the hills, but not live in them. Finally, I was old enough to make my own way, and well, I started walking. After a year of planning, a couple buddies and I got dropped off in Minturn and headed up into the Holy Cross Wilderness, it was early June, the goal was to trek to Durango or Telluride and get a job. Live there. It had been a heavy winter and took 12 days to get to Aspen, and as we rested at the hostel, two feet of snow fell in town. In the backcountry, the avalanche danger went through the roof, we were stuck. Long story short, we all had jobs by that afternoon. My first mountain home would be Aspen, it was 1984.
From the years that followed, including nearly 15 in Durango, there are countless stories to be told, and tens of thousands of images captured. That’s my Colorado journey, where’s the cycling you ask? Let’s back up a bit, throughout high school I ran cross-country and rode my bike all over the foothills, watching the Coors Classic bicycle race first hand was amazing, and led me to give racing a go. Living in the mountains, of course I developed my mountaineering skills as well, and worked hard as a chef while I played hard amongst the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.
In 2000, after thousands of trail miles run and hiked, hundreds of peak ascents, tens of thousands of feet of vertical rock climbed, and over a hundred-thousand miles of cycling, I set out to write this book, an adventure in its own right that I tell about in the introduction up front.
These days I am back in Denver, and enjoying the mountains as much as I ever have, it is an honor and a privilege for me that you have embraced my guide, and that I am able to continue this journey today.
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