I’ve been traveling a ton lately. My last trip of note was back to my home state! I went to the IMBA World Summit (more on that later), but I went to Albuquerque first! I went for the weekend to visit my family and to squeeze in as much as I possibly could!
I got to see my grandparents which is always such a treat. They came over and we had a big, fun dinner with my parents and my brother. The only downfall to living in Colorado is that most of my family is in Albuquerque. Fortunately, it’s not too far away and I always look forward to going home. I race and travel for work so much that it’s challenging to get home any time other than the fall and winter.
Fall meant one thing- Balloon Fiesta AND fall colors.
I hadn’t been to the Balloon Fiesta in probably 10 years! I was not motivated to get up at 4 AM, so we headed to the Balloon Glow on Sunday night. My favorite things are the sheer size of the balloons and the sound of the fire! So amazing! Balloon Fiesta is a menace for some locals in ABQ because there is sooo much traffic and erratic drivers. It attracts 1000s of people from all over the world. I took it for granted when I lived there. It’s so cool to wake up and see the sky full of vibrant balloons! The launch field is 70 something acres and about 700 balloons! HUGE!
I also had to hit up a spot I love for New Mexican food, El Pinto. They were even roasting green chile. If you’ve never smelled roasting green chile, you haven’t lived!
Next, I went back to my roots. Sandia Peak Ski Area. I think I’ve done one ride there since I moved away 7 years ago. It was the very first place I raced my bike. In fact, I did my first 2 races here. It was a great homecoming. I had the mountain to myself, the trail was super fun, and the leaves and light were absolutely magical. I had goosebumps and a cheshire cat grin the whole ride. In photos:
I also spent some time thinking of this wild adventure that came as a wonderful result from the day I lined up to race the Watermelon Classic at Sandia Peak Ski Area 8 years ago. I never thought I’d be a pro, I never thought that my life would be all about bikes…and I REALLY didn’t think I’d get to travel the country and the world and meet so many inspiring, amazing people along the way. Wow. I still can’t believe it!!!!
Local trails in the foothills. It’s a great place to learn to ride!
After that, I was off to Santa Fe for the bi-annual World Summit. I had never been to one. I went representing Ergon, but I also wanted to go for my own reasons. I really want to be more involved with IMBA and trail advocacy. I’m making it my business to really focus on it for 2013. This sport has given me so much. I think it’s long overdue that I give back in any way that I can. I met so many great people at the conference. I learned so much about what it’s like to be on the other side. As a racer, I go to all these fantastic venues and race on all the trails. I learned more about where the trails come from, how they are maintained, the impact on the community, and also learned that a lot of delinquency is due to a lack of education. I also go to ride in Santa Fe with a bunch of people at the conference. It was great to see everyone – new friends and old!
I did a little write-up on the Ergon blog if you want to read more.
I headed home to Boulder Friday night to spend a few days at home before hitting the road again.