Adventures in life and photography out West

How nice have you been?

I’ll be honest; I love writing this column every year. This is the list of the over-the-top, no-holds-barred dream list of cycling stuff. These are the things that dance in my head when I hit my pillow each night. You are a special sort of cyclist if you have been good enough this year for this list.

We’ll start with the local goodies. In a little factory over in Steamboat Springs, a few dedicated artisans take US-made, aerospace-grade titanium tubes and sculpt them into Moots bicycle frames. The frames, themselves came with a lifetime warranty and are designed to, pretty much, last forever.

Start with that frame and add the factory stem, fork and seat post and we are already ringing up a tag of $4,500. Add to that the top-of-the-line Campagnolo Super Record EPS electronic shifters and maybe Shamal Ultra wheelset and you have a dream ride. This thing would be completely serviceable by the owner and would be a faithful steed for many, many years and tip the scale at about 14 pounds. This wonderful mix of Colorado and Italian bicycle artistry would set the buyer back about $15,000. The upside is you would never have to buy another bike, ever.

If your beloved cyclist already has the frame of his or her dreams, you may consider a wheel upgrade. For about $5,400, you can get the handmade, lightweight, Meilenstein wheelset. These are super-stiff 47.5 mm deep rims that come either with the traditional tubular rim or the more practical clincher. They are considered by the German manufacturer to be their all-round wheel, a practical choice in their line. They are light, as well as stiff, tipping the scale at 1,100 grams. These are easily light enough for rapid climbing and stiff enough for hard sprints and only as expensive as some second-tier complete bikes.

As it is winter in the Rockies, maybe your roady needs some outerwear. For this list, there is only one clothier that will do: Assos. The Swiss cycling clothing manufacturer is known as much for their catalogue as for their high quality and equally high prices. The clothes are still mainly pieced together in Switzerland, and worn by supermodels in their ad campaigns. You will be warm if you choose Assos gear. You will not be disappointed by the fit or function of these fine products. You may throw a seizure when you see the price tag, however.

You can walk into Excel Sport down in Boulder and pick up a pair of the Assos LL.fugu S5 bib tights and know that your special bike rider will wear these for a long time, which is good because they run $650. They come with a two-way zipper, foot stirrups, an industry-standard comfortable chamois and are insulated from top to bottom. The Excel Sport web site touts them as “the warmest tights ever made.”

For up top, you may want a jacket. Assos has you covered, literally. The jacket I dream of is the fugJack. Assos rates it comfortable for riding down to 20 degrees. It has a built in fleece neck gator/balaclava, tall anti-fold collar and comes in a choice of six different colors. If you were wondering, I like red. Also, about $650.

I made reference to a few shoes a couple weeks ago. The top-of-the-line Sidi Wire Vent Carbon have a lacing system that resembles fishing line but insures an absolute custom fit. They have a memory foam insole, vented, super stiff carbon sole, adjustable heel retention device and come in white or fluorescent yellow and black. Top Italian shoes will run $500.

To really show that cyclist what love is, and by love I mean conspicuous consumption, look no further than the full-custom Rocket 7 shoes. Pick your style, road, Tri, Mountain or Track. Pick your size. Pick a cleat set-up, three-hole or four. Pick a color. In fact, pick four different colors -body, heel, straps and toes. You can even get them embroidered. Why not? These are going to run over $1,400. C’mon, all the cool kids are getting them.

What if your cyclist already has all of this? What can you, the loving partner of this obviously unhinged individual possibly get that they themselves haven’t already found? How ’bout a trip?

This will seem relatively sane. For a mere $3,800, not including airfare to and from Milan, your special someone can spend late May following the 2013 Giro d’Italia through the Alps during the race’s decisive final week. Your rider will get to ride some of the most famous climbs in Italy, rub elbow, gently, with the best riders in the sport, and enjoy coffee the way it was meant to be. Fly into Milan on May 17, see five mountain stages, including the legendary Tre Cime, which you also get to ride, a sprint stage into Vicenza, the home of Campagnolo, see the mountain time trial and the race finale in Brescia on May 26, before returning to Milan for the farewell party and the flight home. Contact On the Road, or if this sounds too good.

Have fun, be safe. I’m going dreaming.

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