Eating Dirt in Vail

Woman rock climbing in vail

Here I am. Just staring at a rock.

This past week I flew from Austin, Texas to spend three days in Vail, Colorado with three friends. Except here, “friends” is defined as people I don’t really know. So to clarify, I flew there with my friend Zahara, who I met just one month ago, and we met up with two of her friends who reside in Vail. We stayed at their home which is the biggest and most gorgeous home I’ve ever stepped foot in. It sits on so much land, there isn’t a single neighboring house in site and the view from the floor to ceiling windows is a stunning display of pine trees and mountains. The point being, these people aren’t lacking for money – a detail that is important to note for later in this story.

I was anticipating spending the three days grilling, sightseeing, and enjoying beers in the village. Except none of that happened. Well, just not how I envisioned it anyway. And this is where the part about “friends being defined as people I don’t really know” comes into play. See, I had no idea all three of my Austin/Vail friends are nationally ranked outdoor athletes. This small/huge oversight is how my idealized Vail vacation takes an entirely different turn.

My first reality check came at breakfast. I just woke up in this gorgeous house and I thought we’d all cook something or perhaps go into town to have a lovely breakfast. So I asked, “what are we doing for breakfast”? The reply was, “oh we’re just going to throw some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the bag. We can eat them on the drive to our first climbing spot”. I didn’t want to appear shocked so I said, “oh okay so then after rock climbing we can eat a big lunch in town”? The response was “no, that’ll take away time from climbing. We’re packing peanut butter sandwiches for lunch too”. And that’s when I knew I was in trouble.

I spent 12 straight hours with my face positioned 4 inches from a rock. What does Vail look like? A rock. So after three meals of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we head back to the house. I thought this would be the point where we could at least crack open a beer. Nope. I was informed that would hinder our performance for tomorrow. What performance? It was at this point I got informed we’re waking up at dark thirty to go mountain biking. All. Day.

The next morning, I’m sitting on my rented mountain bike at the top of the mountain next to my three recently discovered Olympian friends and I’m thinking ‘I’ve got this’. I’ve been mountain biking before. I’ve taken a couple mountain biking lessons and I’ve been to a couple mountain biking Meetups in Austin. True, I’ve only rode down a hill and not an actual mountain but a decline is a decline right? So I ride down the mountain and after going only three feet my front tire hits a rock and sends me flying into a front flip where I smash into a tree. Yep, I went a whole three feet without falling. Wanting to appear tough I said, “hey, I’m just going to check my tire. I’ll go down with you on the next one”.

I spent the rest of the day biking UP the mountain and taking the ski lift DOWN the mountain. So I was doing the exact opposite of what everyone else on the entire mountain was doing. This was probably something I’m supposed to be ashamed of but it actually made me feel like a badass. I’m like “yeah I’m going against the grain! Just call me a rebel!” Oh the things that go on in my head. But do you have any idea how much endurance and leg strength is required to bike up a mountain? I’m the real Olympian here. My friends were watching me bike up the mountain as they were riding the ski lift up and I know they were impressed. I bet you anything they felt lazy and were jealous of my endurance. Or at least that’s what went through my head. But there I go with these thoughts again.

I got heat stroke that day. I also got dehydrated. I also puked. The following day was the exact same thing. More peanut butter sandwiches and more of my friends biking down the mountain as I biked up. Except one thing changed at 1pm. I was no where to be found. Unbeknownst to my friends, I wandered to my zone of comfort – a restaurant. My meals in Vail consisted of 12 homemade peanut butter sandwiches and one restaurant burger. And it was the best burger of my life.

Nom & Happiness,
Dakota

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