We had been on the trail for over an hour, riding the Dakota Ridge/Red Rocks/Matthews-Winters loop and I was feeling pretty manly. We had endured some lung-busting climbs, navigated through numerous technical rock gardens, dropped off of ledges and flown along the undulating ribbon of singletrack at amazing speed.
My leg muscles were burning, and I was thinking that I was pretty studly, as we approached the paved road, ready to head under I-70 to the north parking lot. We had been forced to park there because the Matthews-Winters parking lot was full.
We stopped to let a couple of cars go by, then we saw a cyclist approaching, so we let him go by as well.
He was a paraplegic, riding a hand-cranked 3-wheeler, arm muscles bulging as motored up the grade. We waved, and he gave us a nod on the way by.
I didn't feel quite so studly, after that...