Spoke Talk: Trail ambassador finds solace in singletrack
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Let me start by telling you the shortest possible version of my story: I’m Australian/American. I skied with Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club as a teen before moving here and coaching from 1999 to 2004.
I then spent a couple of years in Vail before going back to my home country in late 2006. I thoroughly enjoyed my 13 years back in Australia, but I constantly dreamt of being permanently back in Steamboat.
In 2017, I finally succumbed to the Yampa Valley curse and made plans to return. In March this year, I gently coaxed my Australian cattle dog into her travel crate, and now — here we are. We literally arrived in town the same evening things shut down from COVID19.
For a decade, I had dreamt of moving back here where I could ride my bike onto incredible trails right out of my front door and not have to drive for 30 minutes or more every time I wanted to ride somewhere great. Upon my arrival, I promptly joined Routt County Riders as a trail ambassador. I was super keen to get involved in the biking community in any way possible, and this seemed like a great place to start.
In April and May, I went crazy, riding every day on road or gravel — whether it was sunny or snowing. I waved at a lot of fellow cyclists on the roads, mostly on the sunny days, but a few other crazies were out there in the adverse weather with me.
Once June rolled around, it was time to get out onto some awesome singletrack. I donned my ambassador jersey as much as possible. I rode every day — so some days I had to forego the jersey in favor of throwing it in the washing machine.
On the trails, I met local riders and hikers and dozens of friendly dogs. Later in the summer, I met visitors on the trails as well. It felt great to be back in the valley and sharing my love of riding with so many others.
I answered questions from all kinds of friendly people, but maybe the most commonly asked question came each time I was about halfway up Spring Creek: “how much farther is it to the top?” That trail certainly kicks my butt, especially on hot days, and it seems I wasn’t the only one.
I know this summer has been far from normal — and I look forward to times when things are more normal again — but every time I hit the trails this summer, it was like the whole COVID-19 world disappeared. People on the trails were having a great time, being social (in small safe pairs or groups), learning new skills, seeing new (as well as much-loved old) favorite places. The trails felt like an oasis in a world of chaos and confusion. This is why I moved back here.
If you’re looking for a great way to contribute some positivity to the community next summer and want to get out and about while doing it, I highly recommend becoming a Routt County Rider trail ambassador. I can imagine it only gets better as things become more normal.
Kirra Dyer is a Steamboat Springs local and Routt County Rider trail ambassador.
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