Douglas Light

"This dude is the real deal." —Junot Diaz

Leadville, Colorado

A town that rises early, with lines for coffee at 6 a.m. Ringing the area is the Collegiate Peaks tipped with snow even now.

The man across the street is digging out his basement, making room for his vision: a bicycle museum.

The brewery doesn't serve ice with drinks. "We have enough of it nine months out of the year," the bartender says.

One Chinese restaurant that serves Harlem quality food at Hampton's prices. Multiple antique stores. A Subway. Pizza Hut. Bars over a 150 years old. A bike shop that's new. All at 10,200 feet above sea level.

I get winded mid-sentence, cut my words to strict meaning. No extra rambling.

Travel ten miles south and it's 10 degrees warmer. July mornings here start in the mid-30s.

The pool is amazing. $3 a swim. Foxes play in the grass alongside the Junior High. The Mineral Belt bike trail loops the town. Lance Armstrong lost the Leadville 100 race his first time here. Blown tire. But he came back to win the next year.

Floyd Landis, the 2006 Tour de France winner, lives here. He lost his title due to doping. He sparked the fall of Lance.

There are bears here.

The locals complain about the crowding, the influx of new people.

The town is 3,000 strong.

There is no taco Tuesday here. All the Mexican restaurants are closed on Tuesdays.