Day 36 – We fall in love all over again – Boulder to Ft. Collins

Miles biked – 51

10/5/2009  Leaving Boulder was hard, we’d had a wonderful 40 or so hours there and it already felt like home.  We reluctantly left, after a big breakfast at the Walnut Café, for what we expected to be a relatively easy day of riding.  However it was raining and icky – and even though it wasn’t that heavy we didn’t want to ride in it.

After a miserable 10 miles down a highway (with a big shoulder) we arrived in Longmont, soaking wet and annoyed. The entire time we were biking we could see sunshine on either side of our route.  Maybe the weather was trying to say “don’t take the easy route, go through the mountains.”

Even though we were going to come back through Longmont the next day, we stopped there to say hi to our new friend Joe (another Avery bike party friend), who works at Deuter.  He’d mentioned he may be able to replace a hook on my panniers that’d gone missing and we figured we’d better not look a gift horse in the mouth.  Our quick stop turned into about an hour of drying off and hiding from the rain before we absolutely had to get back on our bikes to make it to Ft. Collins in time for our brewery tour.

Once we started heading north, we got out of the path of the rain, and for the first time in the trip we were luck enough to have a tailwind.  A quick 35 miles and we arrived at one of our most anticipated stops of the trip – Fat Tire Brewing Company.

…oh, I mean New Belgium Brewing Company.

;)

We’d emailed them in advance because we couldn’t make it to the brewery on a regular tour day and they’d been nice enough to arrange a special tour for us when we arrived.  Our guide for the day was none other that NBB’s very first employee, Brian Callahan.  (As a sidenote – Brian has just moved from mountain biking to bike polo!  shout out to all our bike polo friends in NYC!) He gave us a very enthusiastic and thorough tour of the entire place, including the bottling plant, where they produce 700 bottles a minute!  We even got a bottle of the Abbey, fresh off the line.  I’ve loved Fat Tire since college, but was surprised how many other beers NBB makes and how awesome them all were.  If only you could get more of them in New York!  We all especially loved the oak barrel aged La Folie (even Caroline!) in case you were wondering.  We saw an employee yoga class in progress above the brewing tanks, took a trip down the slide, and saw the employee orchard, where everyone who works there more than 10 years gets to plant a tree. By the end of the tour we all were ready to do just what Brian did to get a job: offer to work for free until they just broke down and hired me.

Halfway through the tour we were joined by Jon, our host for the evening, who’d offered to put us up after Lynn, our tri-athlete friend, sent an email to her entire tri team.  The people in Colorado are so nice, its kind of mind boggling.  Jon just happened to have biked to work, so he popped by NBB to ride us home once we were done.   Having seen the production facilities, we hung out at the brewery for a bit longer, chatting with some of the employees who were wrapped for the day and having an after work drink.  While taking a few spins around the parking lot on those awesome New Belgium cruisers, we told them about our trip and how bummed we were that we were going to miss another recommended brewery in Ft. Collins, Odell Brewing Company.  Zak and the guys didn’t seem to think that the fact that they were closed for the night was a good enough reason not to ride the 6 blocks over to see if we could talk our way in for a taste and a quick tour.  We figured, they were in the industry and know what they were doing, so we followed their lead!

So Zak, Jason (on a skateboard), Nick, Jon, Caroline and I rode over to Odell and knocked on the door.  They were right!  Once we told them we were on a cross country bike and brew tour, they were more than hoppy to show us around and let us taste the beers.  Tracy even to got to try the Friek AND put some hops in a beer they were brewing that evening (thanks Chad!).

If it weren’t for the fact that Jon’s wife had ordered pizza and we had to get home, we probably never would have left.  (Zak, we really DID want to go to a show, maybe in Seattle if you make it tour our end party?)

As much as we loved Boulder, our hearts now belong to Ft. Collins.

-sara

The girls at New Belgium

The girls at New Belgium (photo by Zak)

Follow your Folly

Follow your Folly

The Notorious BC at New Belgium

The Notorious BC at New Belgium


 
 
 

One Response to “Day 36 – We fall in love all over again – Boulder to Ft. Collins”

  1. Chad
    14. October 2009 at 14:03

    “…As much as we loved Boulder, our hearts now belong to Ft. Collins…” everyone in Fort Collins would really appreciate that statement! Only a little rivalry… Thanks for visiting us @ Odell’s, we never close our doors to friends, biker, or beer enthusiasts… By the way we put up the hand flyer of your Bike and Brews trip on the board.

    Chad

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