Continental Divide – Loveland Pass, Colorado

Continental Divide - Loveland Pass

What do you do when you have visitors? Running out of things to see, or tired of going to the same spots with each out-of-towner? Here’s one spot that never gets old – take 70 West out of Denver to Loveland Pass and drive up to the Continental Divide. From there, you can take long or short hikes to various peaks. Bringing visiting friends to the Continental Divide is sort of a tradition now – our friends brought us here when we first moved to Denver, and now we all continue to bring our friends and family there to see the incredible sights. Try it out! You won’t be disappointed. Also, you might be able to throw a snowball or two.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway- The Road to the Clouds

Based 35 miles outside of Denver, CO, Mt. Evans rests at an elevation of 14,264′. The Scenic Byway climbs more than 7,000′ in approximately 28 miles, according to CDOT, and provides spectacular views of the land, mountain ranges, wildlife, and plantlife.

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It’s lonesome at the top, right? Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

The road to the summit of Mt. Evans is a scary one – lots of cliff-hanger views a foot outside of the car. Our good friend Michael drove us to the top while we all laughed nervously and inched toward the middle of the car. Well, all of us except our Moguls (the little dog), and our good friend Sarah, who was visiting from Michigan and has driven Highway 1 in California.

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Sarah getting a little puppy love from an excited Moguls on the way to summit. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

Once arriving at the summit, the small hike to the top took about 15 minutes. The four of us were able to stand the 45-degree weather for about 10 minutes before we descended; also, a storm was about to roll in. Be sure when planning a trip to Mt. Evans you check the current weather status and be prepared for the possibility of snow, lightning, high winds, hail, and heavy rain year-round.

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Sarah and Moguls heading to the top of Mt. Evans. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

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Steven and Moguls hiking up. You can see the road below as well as get an idea of some of the life-changing sites on this trail. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

Just to be clear – we did not do the entire 14er hike that is available. We drove to the summit, as previously noted. Of course, we hope to do a 14er in the future, but understand that it takes a lot of energy, experience, and physical awesomeness. Things we will continue to work on.

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“The Abyss”. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

Check out the pictures from our Mt. Evans ride and hike here, and more on DenverSpeax’s Facebook page. While you’re there, like us!

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Michael looking out into the clouds. Pictured is where cars are parked at summit. The hike to the very top takes approximately another 15 minutes. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

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Another view from the short hike to the top of Mt. Evans. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

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Driving up to the top was a bit nerve-racking at times! Still beautiful, nonetheless. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

Van Bibber Park – A Break from Work

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

Sometimes you just need a break. Luckily, working in Wheat Ridge provides many opportunities to get outdoors for a short hike, walk, or ride at lunch. I’ve been exploring the trails near the office, and found Van Bibber Park a few blocks away.

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

To locate this park, here’s the address to both the main and west trailheads:

Main: 5575 Ward Road, Arvada
West:  Indiana and 56th Avenue, Arvada

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

In addition to soft trail stretching 3.8 miles, there is also a concrete path spanning approximately 1.5 miles.

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

The trail is fairly easy to moderate, and extremely beautiful with incredible views of the nearby mountains. In the middle of the day, I experienced next to no traffic on the trails, both soft and concrete.

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

If you’re looking for a way to cut loose for an hour or less, this place is a great way to get out, take in the fresh air, and press the reset button on your day. Give it a shot! Also, if family and friends are visiting, this is a great beginner trail that is equally rewarding physically and aesthetically.

Your Local Watering Hole – The Elm

Walking into The Elm on Colfax brought me back a few months – back to a time when I frequented my local watering hole in Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Playstation Pub. Visiting always guaranteed good company, cheap drinks, and a ridiculously good time. Nicely enough, I felt this same genuine and welcoming vibe from The Elm the first time myself and 3 girlfriends had dinner and drinks there.

This homey, casual bar is comfortably situated at 5001 E. Colfax, on the corner of Colfax and Elm, in the Park Hill neighborhood.

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On the corner of Elm & Colfax – check out the Elm’s awesome porch! Click on the picture to check out the Elm’s website, where this fabulous picture actually came from. Thanks, Elm! Credit: The Elm Official Website, Aug 2013

Not only does the Elm have a bad ass patio, but the inside bar is also perfect to watch the game, enjoy happy hour after work with friends, or get together for lunch or dinner (like the ladies and I did).

The Elm provides a plethora of creative burgers and sandwiches, making each meal memorable. Also, everything is so moderately priced that you don’t have to save your pennies in order to visit frequently. Check out the epic meals the ladies and I devoured (with a couple of brews, of course!):

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The Elm’s Pulled Pork sandwich; delicious with coleslaw on top! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013.

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Amazing Reuben sandwich! Obviously, the Elm doesn’t skimp on the meat and other ingredients. Credit: Ashley Rentz, July 2013

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Quite sure you’ll leave The Elm full. If not, there’s something wrong with you, or you’re a competitive eater. Click on this pic to be brought to The Elm’s killer specials page. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

There’s room in the back, or on the street, for parking, but we always like to encourage bike riding. There are plenty of spots available to lock up your bike, so why not ride it?

Stop in at The Elm – grab a delicious burger, and slam a brew with some friends. Football season is almost underway, and I can guarantee the DenverSpeax crew will be in attendance at The Elm rallying for our fave teams across the US. Hope to see you there.

The Connection Between Women, Bikes, and the Community – Denver She Devils

DenverSpeax was created at a time when I didn’t have a job, barely knew anyone, and had zero sense of the Denver community. We had just moved here from Michigan, and I hadn’t the first clue in where to meet people, or even if I did, how to become friends with them. Honestly, the website has proven to be a key tool in diving directly into the community, head first – taking it for everything it has to offer. By doing so, I’ve connected with the bike community, and in turn, made ridiculously awesome friendships. This is where the Denver She Devils come in to play: they will prove to be the missing link in my connection between biking and the Denver Community.

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Image courtesy of the Denver She Devils Facebook Page. Make sure to click on the picture to visit, and of course, like ’em!

The Denver She Devils formed one day out of the blue; experiencing some anguish brought on by, well, life, Mia decided she wanted to go for a bike ride… but just with the ladies. Altogether, the women along decided that this shouldn’t be a ride based upon shitty circumstance, but moreso an often recreated celebration for the love of riding as well as the women-friendly, communal environment the more-frequent rides could provide.

I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but bike racing in Denver is not only extremely popular, but also pretty male-dominated. While I’m not a hater on the guys – biking should be open to everyone – I must say, it can be pretty intimidating to a lady in the bike scene. Especially those who feel inadequate in their riding abilities, equipment, image, etc. The Denver She Devils connects women with biking in a way that provides support to overcome those inadequacies, or feelings of low self confidence; they have created a supportive environment that truly provides little to no excuse for women to not get up on that bike, and give ‘er a whirl. This is the support that Mia provided for me during my first race, which to me is of inestimable worth.

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Team She Devils, ready to represent Denver in Minneapolis this upcoming September 2013 in the Babes in Bikeland race. Click the picture to be taken to their Facebook page (where this picture came from! Thanks, gals), and of course, like ’em!

Furthering their love for the community, the She Devils put together a team of four ladies to compete in largest female/transgender alleycat race in the country, taking place this September 14th, 2013 in Minneapolis – Babes in Bikeland. Rookies and pros alike comprise the team of 4, consisting of Annelise, Ashley, Mia, and Danielle; each contributes a unique experience and skill to the team, making them well-equipped to represent our amazing city, Denver, in such a large race. By supporting our Denver She Devil team, we support the better integration of women into the racing scene, as well as our city’s love of community and riding. To learn more about the team, check out their bio’s from their official website. Or, you could just come to Eden (located at 3090 Downing Street in Denver) this Saturday, August 10th, at 4 pm MST.

The fundraising event being held at Eden will include auctions, other give-aways, dancing, and a full cash/credit bar. We need to make sure that the team has the funds, proper equipment and attire, among many other things to represent our great city in Minneapolis. Bring your supportive A – Game and get ready to get down with Team She Devils and many from the bike community (and beyond) this Saturday. For additional information, click here to be taken to the public Facebook event.

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Credit: Yelp.com for the outside shot of Eden. Click on the pic to be taken to their yelp info.

If you’re unable to attend the Fundraising Event this Saturday, no worries – opportunity for donation is located at the bottom of the home page on the Denver She Devils‘ website.

Ultimately, getting involved in the community, and furthermore, with riding and racing can be a little scary. Will I be accepted? I’m not that good. How will I keep up? Can I do this? The Denver She Devils, as well as other bike organizations, are quick to help, putting minds at ease to such fears of riding shortcomings. Their love of riding as well as their hope and support for everyone else’s involvement with the fun, Denver bike community makes the Denver She Devils an incredible organization. They’re not only fun to be around, but inspiring to women in the community. They provide that missing link between the two that is apparent in every aspect of the organization.

Support and join our Denver She Devils – I can promise you a positive experience.

Best Booze Store in Denver – Argonaut’s

Best Booze Store in Denver - Argonaut's

Whether it be wine, liquor, beer, pre-mixed margaritas, or guaro from Colombia – Argonaut’s has it. This is definitely a place I should have mentioned earlier in the blog’s life as when you move somewhere, you haven’t a clue where to get booze at a decent price. Again, this place has everything, the staff is super helpful, and the prices are totally right on. Check ‘em out by clicking on the picture, or visiting the corner of Washington and Colfax in Denver.

More Pictures from Estes Park & Roosevelt National Forest – Steven Mercer Photography

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From the top of our hike in Roosevelt National Forest. Credit: Steve Mercer, July 2013

The pictures Steven took were just too awesome to not post – take a look at more pictures from our weekend getaway in Estes Park. 

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Another view from the top of our hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Another view from on top of our hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Awesome flower or weed…. plantlife? yes! Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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The night sky from the cabin’s front deck. The light from the bottom right was produced from the rising moon. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Another view from the deck at the brilliant night sky. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Picture taken along the trail on our hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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The trail varied in width, but was very easy to follow for the most part. Moderate difficulty, but incredibly beautiful and fun. Definitely a great trail for dogs! Moguls pictured, bottom left. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Beautiful scenery from the hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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On our hike, we followed this river on the left-hand side hiking up. The current was too strong for Moguls to jump in. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Pictured is a great shot of the river that Steven was able to get by standing on some large rocks right on the riverbank. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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I love the fallen tree that has perfect placement in this picture! Great scenery. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs – “Off the Street & Into Your Mouth”

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Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dog stand hanging out by the food trucks near the pavillion at City Park Jazz. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

With menu items like Alaska Reindeer, Wild Boar, and Southwest Buffalo, how can you NOT check this food stand out? Honestly, I’m going to take this very opportunity to throw this out there: I’m not a hot dog person. Actually, they make me sick. Now, let me reiterate the ingredients in these gourmet dogs again: buffalo, wild boar, deer… Gourmet dogs with specified ingredients? Hell yeah –  I can totally get down with that!

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Check out this meat-in-your-face menu! Reindeer? Um, yes, please. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

My gourmet dog of choice just so happened to be Elk Jalapeno Cheddar; additional condiments of sautéed onions, cream cheese, spicy mustard, relish, and ketchup turned this already-glorious find into a hot, mouth-watering mess of awesome. Even better? They don’t charge an arm and a leg like some other food trucks capitalizing on us starving, buzzed up City Park Jazz goers. Plus, the ladies and gentleman manning the stand are hilarious – I want to be their friends, like all the time.

Keep an eye out for their stand, and make sure to click on the pictures in this feature to be re-directed to Biker Jim’s Facebook page!