Saturday, November 17, 2012

Summer in Boulder!

Most of the towns and cities I've visited have at least one thing they do really well or something about them that really stands out. From microbreweries in Portland, to open water swimming in Seattle, style and architecture in Victoria, running an outdoor arboretum in Ann Arbor, bike lanes and nature center trail running in Gainesville, Times Square and Central Park in New York, Church Street in Burlington, beautiful mountains and hiking in Jackson Hole, everywhere I've been has had something wonderful to offer. But after travelling all around the country, there was one place I couldn't wait to return to. There was one place that had just about everything. Boulder.

Options for running, hiking, cycling, and swimming are almost too numerous to list. Nice, dirt or gravel trails are everywhere. Bike lanes and paths are so prevalent you can get anywhere in the city on them intuitively. Some of the best triathlon swim coaches in the world host multiple swim classes each week. And the mountains are right there for hiking and riding.

Not to mention just hanging out at the lake.
Once or twice a week, me and my roommate suited up for an early morning swim.

If you wanted to ride, you could go straight out your door and start climbing for as long as you wanted. And often through a beautiful canyon like this one going the back way up towards Estes Park

When my good buddy Trent came into town from Florida, we climbed all the way up to Brainerd Lake at over 10,300ft of elevation!

My last big ride there was 101 miles up to this beautiful area in Estes Park, and then still further up to Allenspark before descending back down to Boulder.

More beauty is only a short drive away. This was taken race morning at Evergreen Lake before biking up over 1000ft to over 8k elevation, then descending back down and climbing again on the run! Funnest sprint triathlon I've done!

The people are great here too. Not just the locals, who are very easy to talk to and befriend, but also all the visitors that come every year for triathlon and run training. One of my roommates, a professional triathlete from Brazil, introduced me to all the other athletes in town from Brazil and Argentina. They were a ton of fun to hang out and train with.

Here is the group heading to the movies!

If you wanted to see a concert, there is quite possibly the best concert venue ever at Red Rocks just outside of Denver, and only a short drive away.

 Here me and Richard (same Richard from Portland last year) are enjoying a beer in the parking lot beforehand as we get prepped to go see...

Skrillex! This was my view when I first arrived. Unbelievable!

Now all that is good, but what about the microbreweries, happy hours, night life, and good places to eat? Well that is where Boulder shines even more. Happy hours on Pearl Street are some of the best I've seen, the night life is always no cover, short lines and packed with dancers, and the microbrews from Avery and New Belgium, among others, are some of my all-time favorites.

Not to mention the smaller microbreweries like the very popular Mountain Sun. Here me and the roommates, Raul and Gene, await some very good food and beer.

That's not all. For food, the Brasserie and the Med, located right across from each other, offered amazing, super fancy food at very reasonable prices between the hours of 3 and 6:30 on weekdays. And when my buddy from out-of-town was hesitant to go into one of these fine dining establishments wearing a tank top and shorts, the host simply said, "dude, it's Boulder".

And finally, my favorite place to go, Reuben's Burger Bistro. Their selection of fine Belgium beer on tap is far and away the best I've ever seen. They have multiple beers on tap that I had ever only heard about from friends that had lived in Belgium. Not to mention a great price on a "boot" full of good German beer for happy hour!
So if you're looking for a place with great beer, good people, amazing food, beautiful mountains, and more running, biking, and hiking trails than can be found in just one summer, Boulder is definitely the place to be. I have yet to find a place (outside the California coast) that even comes close to how laid back the culture is here, and yet on the other end it is also the most active community I've come across. The combination is just, simply perfect. I can't wait to go back.