For the fiction students I teach, one of the most common mistakes is to start in the wrong place. Often the actual story doesn't begin until about a third of the way into their narratives. They start off instead with excessive scene-setting, metaphysical speculation, introducing nonessential dramatis personae, throat-clearing, etc.
What's Denver's feel? I know there're mountains, and people in western hats, but I never got a good sense of the city.
I'm no fan of jam bands. You can take your Gov't Mule, your Phish, your Rusted Root. But Derek Trucks is a special musician - perhaps the greatest slide guitarist who ever lived.
The main thing is to think strategically about what will engage your readers. Trust me when I tell you that few people are eager to read a story whose opening lines sound like a dissertation on giant bugs.
A subplot is a distinguishing characteristic of the novel; the short story, for example, does not need subplots.