Boulder. Probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever lived. My residency lasted for about one year back in 2012. Why did I leave? Well, relationships end and unfortunately the housing market is such that unless you’re independently wealthy, have 5 other roommates, or a dual-income household – it is financially tough to live there. Despite all that, I always find myself getting drawn back that way for training rides and whatever else fancies me.
The Bubble. There’s a reason why folks have given Boulder the nickname “The Bubble.” It mainly comes from people who either live outside or have managed to “escape” the tight gravitational pull the seem to keep people from leaving. I was guilty of not ever wanting to leave when I lived there. My only pipeline out was US Hwy 36 – either in my car or the RTD bus to Downtown Denver. As a smaller city, it still had everything I needed. Major stores (Home Depot, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond) as well as locally owned shops and restaurants. Plus, prime training ground was just out the door. All I had to do was walk outside and I could easily access the bike path and running trails within minutes. The only time I went to the gym was to swim laps at the pool. As it should be.
Subarus. Sit at a stoplight in Boulder and count the number of Subarus that drive by. At least half a dozen.I think I remember seeing only one the entire time growing up in Kansas. All wheel drive transmission and fuel economy better than a SUV makes Subaru the vehicle of choice for environmentally conscious, outdoorsy, and active Boulderites. Personally, I’ll hang onto my MINI Cooper. It does just fine with its manual transmission and snow tires.
Trust Fund Hippies. Did I mention it was expensive living in Boulder? If there ever was an off chance that I was up in the area for a meeting, usually at a coffee shop…looking around it seemed no one was ever working. But how on earth do they manage to pay for living expenses and all that pot they smoke? Two words…trust funds. As the child of hard working immigrant parents, a trust fund is something I’ll never have the pleasure of experiencing and that’s okay. The pot…not a big fan and it stinks.
Bikes. Only in Boulder will you find that one out of every 5 residents actually own a bike and one out of every 3 ride them. If you haven’t figured out the math behind that, shoot me a direct message. And only in Boulder can you start your bike ride at 7am and see a handful of cyclists doing the same…in the dead of winter.
Athletes. Boulder is littered with athletes of all abilities, but heavily weighted on the elite and professional end of the spectrum. One of my friends told me about a time when he went to a party…and he was the only one at the party who hadn’t finished an IRONMAN. Only in Boulder. Athletes move there for the altitude training, mild all-year-round weather, easy access to trails, and countless numbers of events and races. While in most communities across the US people train for fun, most of the lot in Boulder train to win…and not just at your neighborhood fun runs, but at some of the most epic races/events in the world including the Olympics.
I can remember a time where I showed up to the Boulder Reservoir – signed up to do the Boulder Stroke & Stride series. This was a swim/run event that takes place on Wednesday nights in the summer. A great way to throw in some fun into your training. The problem was, at least for me, all the what I call Boulder freaks (aka professional athletes) showed up. So here I was doing a 1500m open water swim followed by a 5K run. First one of the season, I was one of the few amateurs to swim the 1500m course (there was a 750m option). In most races, I come out of the water in the middle of the pack. This one…dead last. Even the kayaker was following me asking if I was okay. Ridiculous. Sorry that I’m not swimming a 1:15/100m pace. Welcome to The Republic of Boulder.
One-Upping in Boulder. This takes on an entirely different meaning in The Republic. Growing up in the midwest, it was all about who had the nicest car, biggest house/yard, name brand clothes – you get the picture. In Boulder people one-up each other by being as gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, free-trade, organic, all-natural as you can. The stinkier the better. And only in Boulder (and Colorado) can you spend a shit ton of money on gear so you can live like a homeless person (aka camping).
JP Sears made a video “Boulder: The Consciousness Capital” – an accurate narrative about The Republic.
The funny thing is, most of my out-of-state friends think I live in Boulder, when in fact I’ve been in Denver longer than any place in my life. I find myself reminding them a world outside of The Bubble does exist. Having said that, the drive along US Hwy 36 is not a bad one…especially when you get past Broomfield at the top of the hill, just right before you drop down into the valley. The view is pretty darn spectacular. So maybe, just maybe someday I might call Boulder my home again.