Howdy from Durango and the Diamond Belle bar in the Historic Strater hotel. Now, being an inquisitive cycling fan, you might be wondering — did I see Vincenzo Nibali in a ten gallon hat?
Did I see Tejay van Garderen wearing a huge silver belt buckle and buying several rounds for the patrons of said establishment? Was Christian Vande Velde or Tom Danielson buying shots for everybody and singing songs about turning the pedal in anger in a country western sort of way?
If you must ask, no.
They are in bed, tucked in and dreaming some sort of GC fantasy whereby they destroy every climber in the race on the road to Telluride and the rest of the show is just a slow but fabulous coronation with naked podium girls and champagne-flavored Clif Bar shots.
Shit, them boys are fast asleep and only Jonathan Vaughters and is still up schmoozing the sponsors. Hell, did you know you can get a killer California pinot noir in this former mining town?
The bar in the Strater hotel is a charming step back in time to the frontier Wild West — except the prices have gone up substantially. Nonetheless. the atmosphere is hot damn, down home cool and even the waitresses run around in vintage outfits and a feather in their hair.
The five piece band included a fiddle, banjo and harmonica player. They kicked ass and the highlight of the evening for an out-of-nowhere country western cover of the 60’s hit song Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying by Gerry and the Pacemakers. Hearing that in Durango, Colorado with a banjo and fiddle snaps your head back.
I dropped major cash in a restaurant called Ken & Sue’s and it was San Francisco caliber fabulous. Probably too much for local resident Bob Roll’s palate. We like Bob but he’s always been a jerk when we talk to him at races. The difference between your egotistical public persona and your regular day personality. I like Bobke, I hate Bob. Love the author, question the human being. Oh well.
They had fireworks tonight and when I asked the cute bartender who’d been to Burning Man several times about the show, she said it was a hold-over. It was so dangerously dry in Durango on Independence Day it was simply too fire-dangerous to shoot them off. So they waited for an even bigger occasion — the first stage of the US Pro Cycling Challenge. Shit fire.
Now for those who are wondering — Durango is in fact a fantastic little western town. A friend purchased about 20 acres outside town and we are supremely jealous. If you were just to read the wikipedia and go on anecdotal commentary, you’d miss the fact that this is like nirvana.
There’s only onemain drag but it is 10 blocks long and it’s all good — restaurants, good shops, good to great restaurants, killer coffee, organic produce — everything you need to replicate the ideal California lifestyle minus the obscene costs. This is the kind of place made for two acres and a clever pre-fab.
But Tejay and Vincenzo and Tommy D don’t give a crap about that. They missed the whole bar scene here in Durango and we feel sorry for them. Still, they have bigger fish to fry and Telluride is on the horizon.