Friday, June 24, 2011

Please Excuse My Absence....

....but we've been having way too much fun for me to have much writing time!
We made our annual June trip to Colorado and, in spite of the fact that we got to do very little riding, had a very busy and thoroughly entertaining trip. We have made the cool little town of Salida our prime destination for the last several years and we make it a point to schedule our trip to include the FIBArk whitewater festival. FIBArk focuses on whitewater activities along the Arkansas River, which flows through town in the form of a whitewater play park, but also includes several foot races, great music, some serious mountain bike races, good food and beer, in addition to a full slate of kayak freestyle competition, slalom and downriver racing, and the always hilarious Hooligan Race.
Upon arrival we went to find the cool house that we had rented, which had a hot-spring fed tub beside Chalk Creek in the back yard.
The house had a great view of the Chalk Cliffs of Mt. Princeton.

This tub was fed with 120-degree water from a hot spring. A steady flow of hot, clear, untreated water kept the tub fresh and a bypass valve allowed for temperature control. Diane enjoyed going from the hot tub to the snow-melt fed creek, but I got cold just watching that action.

Boating is what pulled me to the Arkansas River Valley many years ago and remains a focus for me. Old Little Rock friends Kent Davidson and Robert Orr now live in Colorado and I was delighted to spend a few days boating with them. You just have to put up with the scenery when you boat the Ark.

Though I spent a lot more time paddling than pedaling on this trip, we did do a little easy mountain biking and a short road ride. The altitude generally ranged from 7000-9000 feet, so it wasn't hard to get the heart rate up.
One of the highlights of FIBArk is the Hooligan Race, an event in which stuff that was never intended to float is fashioned into a raft of some sort and run through two whitewater surfing holes and under /into a bridge below. My urbane nephews from Connecticut, Patrick and Chris, came out to join us and were looking forward to seeing the Hooligan Race. Imagine their delight when we told them that we had volunteered them to the Lower Arkansas River Redneck team, which consists of Michael Fisher. Michael is a young man from Clarksville, Ark, whose parents Laurie and Steve have supported his Hooligan entries over the last couple of years by serving as crew, Steve the first year and Laurie last year. The result of that experience is that neither will ever do it again.

Christopher and Patrick quickly showed signs of their Arkansas ancestry when they joined Michael Fisher as Lower Arkansas Rednecks in the Hooligan Race.

Here is some 2010 Hooligan action.

It was a full week and I'll be posting more, but I've got to get ready to ride!

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