Heather and I finally departed Leadville today, later than expected but I am glad we stayed. It was really great to see Derek (my brother) and Leadville is a fun town to visit because once you meet a few locals suddenly you have acquaintances that you run into around town. Plus, you can walk everywhere. This week the Leadville population swelled a bit because of the Leadville Trail 100 mile bike race today. This is a race they have every year and precedes the 100 mile footrace next weekend (maniacs). Lance Armstrong rode this year and Heather and I stuck around town long enough to see him finish second to Dave Wiems of Colorado.
Wiems being interviewed after his finish. He’s hard to see but he’s the tall blond guy with the yellow shoulder surrounded by people in the middle of the street.
The race started at 6:30 am and I leapt out of bed around 6:15 when I heard a crowd of people singing. I managed to glimpse almost 1000 riders start the race from about a block away and then the dogs and I took our usual morning walk. When we returned, Derek and Heather were back from watching the start and we walked downtown for some coffee and chatter. Leadville was beautiful this morning. They call it Cloud City and the clouds really make spectacular scenery combined with the mountains. Mornings were usually sunny and warm but most days it rained at least a little in the afternoons. Here I learned that running a wet saw outside is not my first choice of activities for a chilly, rainy afternoon. WOW a hot shower feels fantastic after a few hours of that! Leadville is at 10,152 feet, I believe, and when you enter town you see painted on a wall in huge letters the title of this post.
The Leadville sky after the race started at 6:30 this morning
We walked several times a day and the scenery never gets old, not only because of the mountains but because the buildings are so interesting. Most of the buildings on Harrison Ave. (the main strip) were built in the late 1800s and cute colorful Victorian houses carpet the valley, along with some cruder but equally interesting old shacks. Heather tells me that the bright colors used to indicated wealth because they were more expensive, so if you could paint your house bright colors you were telling the world that you were well-off. Here are a few of the houses in town.
Left: one of my favorites! Just up the street from Derek’s house. Right: random selection.
The house where Derek lives…part of the time. At the moment he actually spends more time near Boulder but he and Mary come up to Leadville for the weekends.
We drove a medium long day for us (hanging out with Heather increased our average) to Sterling, CO. We are only here for one night and I picked this place because it is just off the highway. Unfortunately, it’s also a half mile from a correctional facility and the signs on the highway that read “CORRECTIONAL FACILITY DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS” is not comforting. And my guard dog is busy hunting wabbits.