In the April issue of
Colorado Central Magazine

The new Chicken Dinner Trail, part of the Salida Mountain Trails network. See the article below. Photo by Marcel Slootheer.

Mountain Biking on Salida’s Trails

By Ericka Kastner

Sometimes in life the places we travel to are geographic, an actual destination we can pinpoint on the globe. At other times though, the places we go exist only in our minds; they are mental attachments, places we wander to in times of great joy, or senseless fear.

My relationship with mountain biking over the last 20 years has been one such place. I first discovered the joys of riding singletrack while living in Lawrence, Kansas, tooling around unaccompanied along the levy on the banks of the Kaw River. It was my only sanctuary in the woods those days, as forests are hard to come by in Kansas.

But somewhere along the way, I began to ride my bike for others; most often for someone I was dating. First adding toe clips and straps to my pedals to look like I had “the gear,” (yes, I’m referring to the early 1990s) and eventually, frantically struggling to keep up on technical downhill sections so as not to appear too lame; all the while wishing I could unclip and just ride at my own pace. The frenetic headspace that I’d enter on these rides very quickly began to erode away at the singletrack joy I’d once had, turning it into fear.

Admittedly, no one took me to this panicky place; it was something I did to myself slowly, over time. Worrying what others thought about my riding skills eventually kept me from experiencing actual places on my bike as I began to trade in biking for hiking, a realm where I felt confident and sure of myself. Ultimately, I stopped riding altogether. Read more


CD Review: Xanthe – Time of War

By Brian Rill

Xanthe’s tools consist of a guitar and voice, however to say she only has a voice without indulging wholly in the expansiveness of it’s character and the contour of her descant would be a mistake. The commodity value of repetition lacks weight when compared with the absolutely brilliant simplicity of Xanthe’s representation of the Muse. A supremely stripped down version of folk, Time Of War as an album represents a single prayer lifting on the rising vapors beneath the Omphalos, a sacred stone at the Delphic Oracle where a Priestess receives her vision.

Learning to sing along with classics spinning on vinyl, Xanthe experienced a secular upbringing amongst the radical vocal harmony of the seventies. Linda Ronstadt, Simon and Garfunkel; each influence subtlety creates a mutation that exemplifies her own unique style. Laying most of the harmony tracks over her self in the studio conceives an interesting chorus adding a polished patina to an altogether perfect folk CD. In her tune, Poets she teams up with fellow vocalist Harriett Landrum who adds her calm singing into the mix. Read more


Eye on the 5th

By Daniel Smith

When offered the chance to write this column, I thought about the complexity of tracking Congress in general and a single representative in particular – aren’t they whirlwinds of activity, needing staff to keep tabs on their daily appointments?

I also thought about those millstones around many political reporters’ necks – legalese, political nomenclature, translating endless document babble, political hack spokespeople, form letters, “spin” and, well, bullroar.

I was not needlessly worried, I must say.

My assignment is to focus on Republican Doug Lamborn, representing our own Fifth Congressional District.

Yes, he of the rigid party loyalty, patriotism-drenched press releases, and who distinguished himself in 2011 with the “It’s like touching a tar baby” remark about working with President Obama – and later apologized.

Undaunted, we’ll begin to track the activities and accomplishments of Rep. Lamborn month to month – perhaps compared to other Colorado representatives.

Have no illusions – people in congress are busy, and have lots of activities and measures to juggle; but the voluminous writing, research, interaction with constituents and office work is shouldered by harried staff and party lawyers. Keeping in touch with your people is an imperative. Read more