I have NEVER been to Boulder, CO. Yep, that is some confession. Boulder - home of what seems to be almost every successful road and mountain cyclist known to mankind.
I was actually pretty anxious to see this place after all I have been reading and hearing about for the last decade. And as we came up and over a hill from the airport "bam" we get the full view of the Boulder Valley. The shuttle driver said "There she is, 24 square miles on the edge of reality." I can relate to that pretty well though being that I am from the Park City area.
Boulder is actually pretty big. I had envisioned something like Durango but its not. I mean heck, how can it be since its got the University of Colorado at Boulder smack dab in the middle of it. Pretty cool. A building ordinance keeps buildings at respective heights. And there are plenty of bike paths to go around. The downtown area (Pearl Street) to me resembles Europe a bit as it is a pedestrian only area on brick walkways.
I am lucky enough to be staying with Shannon Gibsons sister and brother in law in Boulder. And, Nick gave me the bike path tour almost immediately upon arriving. It is not a tour you can really do by yourself either. There are bike paths everywhere going up and over the roads, under the roads, around the roads. Secret entrances here and there and everywhere. Dirt paths that lead to a Wed night Short track series, a crit series, a this series, a that series. Impressive. And many cyclists to go around as well. Pretty cool. It doesn't sound as though the area is super populated with mountain bike trails, but they are working with some success to change that. The road riding here as I understand is out of this world though.
My tour guide extraordinaire, Nick Stevens who when he decides to race his Pro/Elite class will have to start on the last row with very few points and always ends up killing it to come in at least mid pack. That takes work!!!! Let's just say he is extremely used to the phrase "on your left".
But really I think that is just par for the course here. Everyone has extreme talent and when they come out of hiding they will kick your pants off.