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.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
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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