An epic day on the asphalt |

An epic day on the asphalt

The folks at Clif Bar would like to … (invite) you to relive the most incredible day you’ve spent in the great outdoors. In 400 words or less, tell us about the most epic day you’ve had tearing it up outdoors – in the snow, dirt, water, or wherever you choose to play.

I have to hand it to Clif Bar; where better to advertise this contest than in Summit County? This is a land of die-hard outdoor enthusiasts who grudgingly take the road less travelled because they’d rather be on the road never travelled. Our friends and neighbors regularly knock off 20-mile bike rides before breakfast and snowshoe up mountains just for the pleasure of snowboarding down.

The only time my bike has covered a 20-mile span was when I strapped it to my car for the trip home from the store. But even though I rarely stray from the beaten path, I have a contest entry for Clif Bar to chew on. Being a part of the 2003 Bolder Boulder 10-kilometer road run was my most epic day to date.

The contest organizers probably didn’t imagine a Memorial Day road race in balmy weather as fodder for an epic day. In fact, most of the entries they’ll receive will involve the following:

1) the beauty and/or terror of nature

2) undiscovered countries (or, at the very least, undiscovered singletrack)

3) hardy folks who conquer obstacles

4) purely personal rewards

My epic day had none of these. For one thing, downtown Boulder is low on nature and high on asphalt. The race is hardly undiscovered; Monday marked the 25th anniversary of the event and drew well over 40,000 runners and walkers. The only obstacles on the mostly-flat course were untied shoelaces and occasional water-gun blasts.

And there were tangible, external rewards. I got a keychain, a snack bag, a low-carb beer, and the indescribable experience of cresting the last hill, running into Fulton stadium, and being greeted by a screaming crowd.

The last kilometer ends with a fairly sharp ascent, after which the course cruises into the stadium. The bleachers are packed with family, friends and fans, cheering like they’re watching their favorite team win the Super Bowl. To cross the finish line with a hundred other runners, see yourself on the Jumbotron, and wave to the crowd … it can make an ordinary, middle-of-the-pack jogger feel like a superstar.

All the same, my Memorial Day run probably isn’t what Clif Bar is going for in its epic day contest. The recreational focus in Summit County is on relatively solitary activities in the great outdoors, where our motivations have to be personal and internal – the excitement of tackling tough terrain, the pride that comes with pulling off a new trick, the sense of accomplishment after winning a time trial.

But the rewards of the Bolder Boulder are tied to the fact that it’s such a huge, established event. Out of thousands of runners, only a handful win medals every year. What’s in it for the rest of us? Maybe it’s moments like seeing belly dancers on the side of the road, or being offered barbecue by spectators who live on the route, or hearing a band at mile 4 do a dead-on cover of Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Maybe it’s the feeling of being a part of something bigger than yourself.

It’s hard to say. Because, just like any epic day, the Bolder Boulder is what you make of it.

Jonelle Lonergan can be reached at (970) 668-3998,

ext. 230, or at

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