Friendship is built on many things. Common interests, a genuine love and appreciation for one another, and the willingness to continue putting energy into the friendship are a few of the foundations for longevity.

 

I am lucky to have a few of these kinds of friendships, and The Brothers Nieva, Don and Gerrard, are those kinds of friends. The three of us traveled to Colorado to hang out for Don’s birthday and ride bikes. Bikes are significant to our friendship, as it is originally how we started hanging out 7 years ago. Don and Gerrard’s sister lives in Denver, so we were fortunate enough to have a homebase for a few days while we did a bit of riding in the awesome canyons in Boulder, CO. Quick shoutout to Kevin Batchelor for showing us some of his favorite roads around Boulder. We had a really nice time riding bikes, exploring new rides, and catching up. Not the “catching up” you do over Instagram or even a phone call, but the catching up we used to do when we lived in the same city. It was great to simply be in each other’s company. There were plenty of jokes and reflections in between the many discussions we had about quality of life, well-being, relationships, and career trajectory. You know, the stuff friends talk about.

Even knowing a climb has a 9,000-foot elevation gain and is 30 miles round trip, you just never know how long it will actually take you—regardless of how many Strava files you look at!
 

On the eve of my last night in town, Don and I were trying to figure out if it was worth getting up at 4:30 a.m. to have some food, drive over to the base of Mt. Evans, ride up, descend down, and make it on time to my flight back to San Francisco. Mt. Evans is North America’s highest paved road at 14,271 feet and is 60 miles from Denver. After some back and forth on whether or not we should go, we decided to just do it. (Even knowing a climb has a 9,000-foot elevation gain and is 30 miles round trip, you just never know how long it will actually take you—regardless of how many Strava files you look at!) The air does get pretty thin above the tree line, but I’d like to think we all did well for not riding at altitude all that often. As you can see from Don’s amazing photos, the ascent up Mt. Evans was spectacular. It’s like another world up there. We were lucky enough to have the sun peek through the moving clouds for most of our ride up to the top.

Rest assured, Mt. Evans was worth getting up early for, riding up, descending down, driving back to our homebase, taking a shower, and packing my bike with just enough time to spare for an evening coffee at the airport. I might add that Don and Gerrard are two of the most down-to-earth, roll-with-the-punches kind of guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, so we weren’t stressing anyway. Our day trip to Mt. Evans was the perfect way to cap off Don’s birthday weekend.