Back in Colorado Springs this week, and I might as well be on a different planet than the place I visited two weeks ago. Besides the tremendous damage done to the area by torrential rains and flooding during the week I was back at home, I couldn’t be staying in more different parts of the city. The plush luxury of The Broadmoor and the post-apocalyptic feel of Colorado Springs’ northernmost exurb are joined only by views of the Rockies and the wonderfully weird natural megaliths of the Garden of the Gods.
I’ve felt unsettled all week. Cherwell’s offices are in an area that must have taken a pummelling in the crash of ’08. Huge sweeping six-lane roads to nowhere have the occasional office building or hotel dotted alongside. The shells of buildings abandoned mid-construction are haunting. I didn’t bring a bike along, so have been confined to pitiful little runs. Each of them has begun on half-built suburban roads that peter out into two-track through rolling pasture. The old post-and-rail fences are there, but the cows are gone.
On yesterday’s run, I picked my way through trail that had nearly been destroyed by the flooding until I was back in a pretty pasture. For a brief moment, apart from the hum coming off of I-25, I could have been anywhere in the Old West. As I looked eastward into the rising sun, a pair of lovely horses came trotting around a corner and ambled over to inspect me. I am not making this up. After we agreed that I had no carrots, I set off running again, only to have them trot alongside me, expressing, “This is fun – where are we going?” I think they were sad when I climbed through a barbed-wire fence and back into the burbs. I certainly was.
Was delighted to be able go to the Garden of the Gods tonight and will go back next time I’m here. There’s great hiking all around and plenty of extraordinary views. It was ideal therapy after a very intense week of training, and a fine way to avoid the reality of a half-day practical exam tomorrow afternoon. Ah, well. Homeward Saturday morning, and then I’m jumping into the Tour de Victoria on Sunday after a month of virtually no long-distance cycling. That should be interesting. Will attempt a writeup should I survive.