Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My statement is: I love Leadville.

I've heard stories that there are still some residents of this town who are not happy that this big mountain bike race happens every year.  Well, I have yet to find any of those people.  Instead all I have found are some of the most welcoming and friendly folks on the planet.

I'll start with Jerry at the Pastime Saloon.  She's been running that place for something like 30 years.  Here's what it looks like from the outside, which happens to basically be my view from the windshield of the RV parked in the campground across the street:

Pastime Saloon, Leadville, CO
 Jerry is a perfect bartender.  Tough, no nonsense, but still somehow very friendly and talkative.  She's got a full bar and a fairly limited food menu, but the food is very good.  It's also pretty fast.  She talks a mean game that she'd sell that place in a heartbeat, but I don't believe it.  Jerry is the Pastime Saloon.   And vice versa.

My regular massage therapist back home did some googling before I came out trying to find me a therapist here.  But she didn't come up with much and her recommendation was actually to just head over to one of the very close ski resort towns like Aspen.  But in walking through downtown, I noticed that one of the many sandwich board signs was for "Blue Earth Salon" and one of their listed services was "massage."  Hmm.  I was skeptical, but I looked up their website and found they had a couple licensed massage therapists on staff.  I also noticed they purported to do haircuts for men, and I was in kind of bad need of one of those.  So on Monday I called to see about availability on Tuesday.  Turns out I got the owner, Erin.  Boy am I glad that I did!

Erin is a recent mother of a baby boy and is married to a local firefighter.  She's from Georgia, but loves Leadville and doesn't care to live anywhere else, from what I can tell.  And how do I know so much about Erin already?  Well, she had an opening on Tuesday to cut my hair and then give me a 90 minute deep tissue massage.  Yeah, I was skeptical going in that one or the other or both would be sub-par, but honestly, I was very happy with both of her services.  And better than that, she's got a wonderful business to visit and is warm and friendly.  She's a yoga instructor as well, and I'd bet she is very good at that, too.  I'm very happy to have found her, and already have an appointment for another massage on my day off next week!

And yes, I had another workout today.  That started with some bike maintenance, and then a quick walk over to Cycles of Life.  I had heard there was some good singletrack riding right near downtown, and I figured there was no better place than the local bike shop to go find out.  Of course I had to buy a few things while I was there, but they were more than happy to point me to some fairly new trail that the local club, the Cloud City Wheelers, had built.  They even had a nice laminated map for purchase with proceeds going to more trail development.  So I picked up one and headed back to ride.

The map is well done and I followed it fine to get started, but unfortunately there are some trails out there that aren't yet on their map.  And through a mistake of my own, I ended up on one of those.  It was still a very fun trail for a while, until I encountered an awesome bridge built to cross a stream.  Unfortunately, a recent dam built by an over-zealous beaver rendered the bridge useless (it simply took you right to a large pool that the beaver was happy to call home), but there were ways around.  So I hiked a bit and was back on trail, until it emptied into a road, which I rode for a while before deciding that wasn't right, and decided to back-track.  Here's a pic from the trail:

Boulders Trail, Leadville, CO
I was almost back to where I should have been when I ran into Jeff and Banjo.  Jeff is a local runner and Banjo was his trusty canine running companion.  Jeff quickly apologized for Banjo being off-leash, but that was completely unnecessary as Banjo was perfectly friendly and more interested in looking for squirrels and chipmunks than bothering me.  But Jeff stopped to make sure I wasn't lost and then proceeded to fill me in on what I had done wrong and how I could fix it, as well as gave me more directions on how to hit some awesome downhill trail that wasn't on the bike shop map.  He was a super guy who shook my hand twice and thanked me for coming to their little town.

And then there's High Mountain Pies.  It's yet another place that you probably wouldn't find unless you saw their sandwich board sign.  Amazingly friendly dudes working their butt off right in front of you to make some of the absolute best calzones and pizzas you've ever had.  They have a thorough menu, and amazing service for a counter-service kind of place.  Just great guys who are happy to do what they do, and really happy when you enjoy what they do. 

Now, it's not PERFECT here in Leadville.  I did have some mediocre service and mediocre food at a Mexican place.  The grocery store isn't awesome by any means.  In fact, the entire "shopping" scene is pretty meager, and there's even less as far as "entertainment" (no theater, and the bowling alley doesn't look like much from the outside, anyway).  But it's a very small town, and the small town charm more than makes up for the deficiencies, in my opinion.  There's certainly even more to enjoy than the few things I've listed above.  I'll keep the Leadville love flowing as I find more of them...I really really love it here.

1 comment:

Em said...

Wow. seems like a great place. I'm loving following your race prep and excursions!