Spring Sunday: May’s Subtle Splendor

IMG_1836Much of the year, Telluride’s splendor is obvious – almost obnoxiously in your face. Powder days, Bluegrass Festival, mid-summer Prospect rides and Highline hikes. These are the images that flash through our minds when we think about what we love most about Telluride.

In the spring, however, the Gondola hangs motionless and it can be a challenge to find an open restaurant. The weather can make us anxious. It’s time to get on our bikes and knock off some trail runs, but there’s still snow on many of the trails and the temperatures can be in the 30s. Spring races, that we signed up for in December, approach quicker than anticipated and we know we simply don’t have the miles we need.

This spring, amidst the blustering winds and falling snow, I even went so far as to set my road bike up on a stationary trainer in my living room. I then promptly avoided my living room for the rest of the week. The intention was there: to help ready myself for an early May mountain bike race. But I never actually got on the thing. I dreaded riding indoors and in place.

My attitude: I may not be in shape for an early May race, but I’m willing to suffer.

When I finally did get on my bike, it was outdoors on the Goose. The single track was smooth and tacky and my bike felt lithe and agile under me. Within the first few pedal strokes, the familiarity was back. It was like meeting an old friend and starting off right where we left off. The anxiety was gone and I was just riding a bike, descending down to Illium under the sun’s falling light.

May is the time to get back in the saddle. It’s the time Telluride’s splendor is subtle. The sun does eventually come out to slowly melt the snow, revealing the substance behind Telluride’s summertime glam and blowout festivals.

In May, there is a normalcy. We have the town and trails to ourselves. We sneak in our rides and runs or slip them in between our kids’ gymnastics performances and lacrosse games.

Perhaps our favorite trails aren’t accessible quite yet, so we stick to lower loops without complaint or still venture up high  knowing we may have to get off and walk over snowy stretches. We pass familiar faces with giddy smiles as we rush out after work to grab a quick 5 o’clock Penelope’s or Goose. It reminds me of early winter when only Lift Nine is open, and when that’s enough.

It may not be the month of the epic rides and runs of summer, but it’s enough. It’s sneaky and subtle, yet still full of Telluride splendor.

And it’s saved only for those of us who are here in May.

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