Thursday, May 22, 2008

An Ode to Granola

I wonder what is happening in Ames, Iowa - right now on the Friday before Memorial Day. I can guarantee you it's not what is happening here in Boulder. You can feel the town shifting; everywhere you go there are people. More cars on the road, more people in the stores, the parking lots are zoos and the hordes of bicycles are unreal.

Here in my part of Boulder, north of Arapahoe and west of 30th, we've been living with Bolder Boulder for about 2 weeks. The same orange signs come out every year WARNING everyone with their bureaucratic enthusiasm that this road will be CLOSED or parking is NOT ALLOWED HERE on race day. Similarly, today when driving down 30th, tall fences block of the grass on the sides of the road and cars populate where a chute of people will be charging through in mere days.

Evidence is everywhere that something is happening. A giant tent is going up in the FedEx Kinkos parking lot - blocking half the already scarce tiny spaces. But for those of us sneaking past the workers into the Boulder Running Company, postcards in hand to pick up our race packets, you can see that we don't mind the extra walk. It's nothing compared to what we'll be doing a lot more in a few days; heck, most of us have already done that at the gym already.

In Whole Foods, signs are proclaiming "FUEL FOR RACE DAY" and I join my fellow shoppers in loading up on gourmet trail mix, in our stylishly casual gym clothes, eyes peeking to see what everyone else is buying. I stop outside to snap a picture of an painted VW bus - the paint worn and faded - and driven by a small gray haired woman. I already know that she will smell of pachouli and her underarms unshaven. I cheer her on silently as Old Boulder hurries into the store.

Up along Boulder Creek, by the library, a forest of more tents are going up. This is the only town I've seen that gets more crowded over a three-day weekend. Everyone stays. Everyone wants to go to the Boulder Creek Festival and eat turkey dogs, falafal and drink Fat Tire. Everyone wants to run the Bolder Boulder. Everyone wants to walk the mall, drinking in the sunshine and gazing at the mountains dreaming of scaling the Flatirons with their golden retriever or black lab.

Boulder is the only town I know where a 10-year old child climbs a mountain and sings when he gets to the top for the sheer joy of climbing. Boulder is the only town I know where a woman who spends all day forcing people to exercise comes home, gets her dogs and runs for all those who never listen to her. Boulder is the only town I know where you see groups of musicians playing the drums and singing Christian music on the mall and drawing a curious crowd.

This is my town - where the athlete, the vegetarian and the yuppie are celebrated and co-exist peacefully with the hippie, the student and the foodie. A strange conglomeration where past and present sometimes clash with money and image. But for one weekend everyone is a runner and everyone is a hippie - and everyone gets along, with a little help from the Fat Tire, of course.

No comments: