Have you ever gone out on a bike ride in Steamboat or around Routt County and smelt the roses? I mean really taken a big whiff of what the countryside has to offer our olfactory senses. Well have you?
As you know I am usually writing these blogs, in my head, while on a bike ride and during one of my many wet (see last week’s blog) road rides I started looking around at the beautiful scenery the Yampa valley has to offer, and then inhaling some of the delightful, pungent and teasing fragrances to be found.
One of my favourite memories as a kid was the smell of a recent downpour on the sizzling, hot black top. Thinking about it now excites me in preparation for the up coming summer where all of the Emerald Mountain’s single-track trails are open, the downtown farmer’s market is in full swing and the summer concert series is jamming with tunes from nationally recognized artists.
One summer a couple of years ago Emerald Mountain smelt like fresh cut pine and sap all bike season long. Every trail you climbed or descended would have remnants of the Lodgepole pines cut down after being destroyed by the mountain pine beetle. It was a sad sight looking up at Mt Werner or Emerald Mountain and seeing giant cavities where the trees were removed but it sure smelt great – like Christmas in summer.
Now lets talk about flowers I would love to say that biking through meadows of Columbines is a wonderfully aromatic experience but alas unless you really, truly jam your nose in it’s business the white and lavender flower has nothing to offer our nose but plenty to offer our eyes.
Quite a few of us have been hitting the pavement for long road rides and one of those rides is the Cow Creek/Red School House loop. Most of this ride stimulates your senses with smells of the Routt County ranching community, freshly cut hay, cow manure and diesel fumes from the tractors that you may come across on the road. Don’t forget to wave. Half way through the loop you hit a gravelly, bumpy dirt road. Towards the end of the dirt road you crest a hill and transition down to the Red School House. During this descent you are blasted with Cow Creek’s musty cool air and the scent of fresh gravel radiating off the road, before you bank the corner at the schoolhouse and it turns to pavement once again.
Coming back into town River Road supplies you with the peace and tranquility of the Yampa River combined with the smells of food being prepared at the local restaurants for evening meals ….. happily fulfilling my growling stomach and parched pallet.
What are you favourite smells on a bike ride?
Bike Girl in Bike Town is a Steamboat local (ubiquitous yet anonymous) cycling enthusiast, rider and coach. Check back here each month for more of her insightful biking tips and first-hand tales from the trail…and the road.