Colorado is amazing. One of the most striking things for me is how high above sea level we seem to be all the time. There is only high and higher.
Thanks to the internet I found out that it is the state with the highest mean elevation of over 2.000 meters. Even the lowest point is above 1.000 meters which means another record. So it was only fair to visit the highest elevation town in the USA: Leadville.
I’m not sure if I heard about the Leadville MTB race before we got there but when you enter Leadville it is hard to miss. The “Race Across The Sky” is everywhere. It’s a 100 mile MTB race that starts in Leadville. When I turned 40 I climbed up the Großgklockner with my race bike. The Großglockner is Austrias highest mountain and the pass road is one of the steepest alpine roads. The finish line is at 2.428 meters of elevation and racing up you can feel the lack of oxygen. This bike race starts at 3.100 meter before it goes further up! Unbelievable! I later saw a great report about the history of the race and how it saved the town after the mine closed.
When we visited there was a marathon. A marathon race at an average elevation of over 3.000 meter. In the restaurant I talked with one of the participants. A lady from California that had just finished the event. She usually trains at sea level so this was of course special. I can only draw my hat for those who take part on those races. I’m sure it is an amazing experience to accomplish something like that.
But the reason why I will always remember Leadville is a funny story. We had lunch in one of the restaurants. We ordered burritos. Mine was very straight forward but my wife wanted sour cream. The waitress looked baffled and said that she need to check it they have that. Our food was served and I will never forget the expression in my wife’s face when she took the first bite. After an initially shock she bursted into a laugh. She had become a victim of her pronunciation: her burrito was filled with Sauerkraut!
Every time I think of Leadville it makes me smile and I wonder if they have put the Sauerkraut-burrito on the menu for those crazy tourists from Austria and Germany. That’s why we all travel: to collect our little stories, to make some memories. And some of them will last forever.