The V8 A4, Valentin Ivanitski and I, Full Run

After what seems like forever I finally got word that we are not going to be able to recover information from our 4th camera. I was really hopeful and the company was very certain they could do it, but it turns out that landing the complete weight of a V8 Audi on a GoPro, twice, wasn’t good for the camera or the card. We have to say thanks however to My Life at Speed for loaning us the 3 Contour cameras that did survive! I have been debating how to edit this. We have so much video from practice days and from the race day and I don’t want to separate it. However, the raw engine sound of our V8 and the unfortunate consequence of the degrading weather during our run really seemed like it should be put together as one video. Expect another video in the future since we have some great camera angles to share from practice days.

The video definitely shows our challenges with the weather. Rain started before Picnic grounds and as we get higher and higher check out the rooster tail that continues to grow. You can hear as Val tests for traction as we ascend and you can see as we brake early feeling for traction and nearly come to a halt a few times as well.

It is interesting timing to put this out today since it is also coincidentally the day that Pikes Peak has released new rules that indicate that Co-Drivers are not allowed in 2013. It is sad news for me. I would love to have the opportunity to make it to the top and experience a proper trip back down the mountain slapping five with the fans on the way, but sadly that doesn’t sound like it is going to happen. For the time being however, I hope that you enjoy this video and check back soon for more videos from the peak including Dave and Allison Kern, Jimmy Olson and Spencer Steel as well!

Savannah Ivanitski: Pikes Peak

Well, I had a few minutes to throw together a bit of video and started with Savannah’s video from Pikes Peak. There is a ton of video to wade through still for all the other cars, so keep your eyes open in the near future.
Savannah only got to run to the mid point since SOMEONE crashed and they shut down the top of the course…

I had a great week with Savannah and Val and all the fingers crossed team. Hope you enjoy a bit of a ride along in video form

Lands End Hill Climb

After an incident at Pikes Peak I really wanted to just get in a car again. I wanted to get in the co-drivers seat and I wanted to do it sooner rather than later. I never really developed a fear after the crash, but I just wanted the opportunity to just get back in the car and do the job again. I was chatting with Dave Kern around the time of Pikes Peak and he mentioned that Allison, his wife and codriver may be out of town during the Lands End Hill Climb. This is a race that is part of the Colorado Hill Climb series put on by the CHCA. So I looked forward to that opportunity.
As time passed Dave realized that Allison didn’t have a conflict after all and I was debating on whether or not I would go to spectate when he and Allison competed. Dave had different plans. He had his ears open and found me a seat after all.

Last year I went up to Bridgestone Winter Driving School with Dave and several others and we had a fun day out on the track. Among the others was Aaron McConnell and Roger Matthews. I had met Aaron several times before but I only met Roger the night before we went to play on the track. At Lands End, Aaron had the opportunity to pilot the Suba Performance Rally car and Roger was debating on whether or not he should bring out his car. Dave described his car to me over the phone as “one pissed off bunny” and mentioned that Roger didn’t have a codriver for the event. I took that opportunity. I knew Rogers demeanor and personality, but not his driving style. I did know a bit of his history, Rally America stage events as well as Pikes Peak were on his resume and I felt pretty comfortable with the person I had met nearly a year before so I loaded up and headed out to Grand Junction to run the event.

Lands End is part of the CHCA series. The format is a two day format. The first day is dedicated to practice. A full day on the mountain with as many runs as everyone can get in from about 8 am till about 4 pm. We ended up with 3 runs of the full course. On day two, it is race day. You get two runs and you need to make them count.

Our class was small. The Kerns were the only other 2wd Rally car in our class. The AWD rally class was a bit more populated but the main classes were the Open wheel, stock car and truck classes. We ran strong for the little rabbit and we pushed it hard. In the end we were second and we had a couple really good, clean runs.

Since I have managed to destroy all of my GoPro’s we didn’t have the best setup for some of our video, however, we did manage to get video from almost all the rally cars as well as Joel Yust in order to throw together a quick compilation video. Enjoy! Thanks also to Joel Yust for that photo on this page!

Side note, check out this last minute camera mount that we threw together with a discarded Iced Tea bottle..

Team Rwanda

Last year I had the opportunity to organize (through my work) a ride and a benefit dinner with the Rwanda Cycling Team. It is an incredible story and I am really glad to be able to be able to help out any way that I can. Check out an entry from their visit here

This past year the owner of my company went to Rwanda to experience things first hand. His experience was amazing and at one point I talked to him on the phone and he said “every 10 minutes I see something that I could have never imagined that I would see or imagined that existed.”

The point of todays entry is a story on CNN. CNN did a video story on Team Rwanda and it is a nice glimpse into the world of the team, where they came from and what their goals are. Take a moment and watch!

Colorado Rally Cross: Season Opener

I was just minding my own business at work on Friday when I get a text message. “Find a truck and Trailer and the BMW is yours to race on Saturday.” I consider myself a fairly honest person, but I’ll steal a truck and trailer for that opportunity! After some quick searches I got another message “truck and trailer are taken care of.” Holy crap, that is even better.

So off we went, we headed out to CORE unloaded and signed up. I realized I hadn’t driven the BMW in about 7 months so I figured it should be quite entertaining to see my tentative first runs.

Once on track we had a pile of fun, it was a very windy day and I was driving with Grant Hughes as a second driver in the car. Dave brought out the EVO aka the Evil (according to voice-to-text) and though we didn’t win any awards (though Grant nearly clinched the Cone Killer award) we had a blast.

The photo in this thread is pulled from this PhotoBucket stream. Once I figure out how to contact the guy I may just have to get this thing printed!

Ice Racing 2012

If you know me at all you know that I love playing on the Ice! Last year I raced the season on Georgetown Lake. This year I have missed quite a few days up there but I keep trying to make it up there to race as much as possible. During the last race we had the opportunity to race on the largest track that they have ever put together! This track took up our entire portion of the lake and was simply… FUN. So many corners to figure out and a nice long lap as well.

Of course, if you know me you also know a camera came along on this adventure. Here is a quick edit of one full lap on the lake.

So, what else is there? How about the Steamboat Ice Track? Bridgestone winter driving school is a great place to go play. It isn’t quite as cheap as Ice racing, but you sure do get plenty of track time and it definitely is an amazing track. I headed up there with my old tires and was ready to go play. With a massive lack of confidence I put my car in the snowbanks a couple times. But wow, it is just so fun no matter what!


We shared the GoPro’s throughout the day and threw together a short little video as well.

By the end of the day Dave pulled out a school car to show off what a Lexus can do on the track as well.




Oh and yes, I was NOT the only one to get my car stuck in a snowbank!


What fun a bit of snow can provide! I would 100% recomend heading up and taking a class at Bridgestone Winter Driving School if you have a chance!

Happy New Year

Well another year has passed us by and what a year it has been! 2011 started with a bang. On New Years day in 2011 I spent the day racing on the Ice in Georgetown. Wow what a fun time that is and I wish I could be doing it again this year! Racing at Georgetown has been a very fun experience, but in addition I have met some great people along the way. I am looking forward to some more racing this year as well.

2011 brought new work to my plate as well. Marketing for Excel has been an adventure and a great learning experience for me. I have enjoyed the task and I have enjoyed the challenge. Not every choice is a winner but no success comes without a bit of failure.

The Kerns have been a big part of this year as well. Dave and Allison Kern have become good friends and I have enjoyed helping out with their projects. It is always gratifying to see hard work result in something amazing and nobody puts in more time to accomplish their goals than the Kerns. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of their project and in addition I am glad to be able to help them bring more to their networking. I’m looking forward to what they have in store for 2012

Every year I enjoy heading to Pikes Peak for the race and this year was no different. I have been making a lot of friends up on the mountain and I am glad to be able to work with them and help them show the world what they see. 2011 was a great year for friends like Spencer Steele, Jimmy Olson, Savannah Rickli as well as the Kerns There are a lot of changes coming for 2012 and I can’t wait to see the new cars from Spencer and Savannah, the new setup from the kerns and the success that they will have in 2012

Of course, there is no way that I can forget my amazing friend Lisa getting married this year. In 2011 I was fortunate to head out to California to attend her wedding and what a beautiful wedding it was. Congrats Lisa, I am so happy for you.

Our co-op workshop has been going strong for 2011 as well. It has been great having a large nice place to work for a reasonable cost. Sharing space, tools and other odds and ends has been pretty spectacular and I have to say thanks to Matt Fisher and Jeremiah Hueske for being partners in that place. Without it I am sure that I wouldn’t be motivated to do many of the projects that I line up and without it our Baja project would be substantially harder to figure out.

2011 also brought my friend John Grimberg a new workshop. If there is anyone in this world that can use a nice place to bring ideas into reality it is John and I am glad that I was able to help him with at least some of the construction of the new place. Congrats John, the shop is amazing and I can’t wait to see what comes out of there!

As the year began the old crew got back together again and we began planning for a new adventure. The new adventure was to step up from Soapbox to another dream of ours. Racing the Baja 1000 in 2012 is a goal and a plan that we have for this year. 2012 is going to be amazing and building, troubleshooting, testing, tuning and more will be a huge part of our year, but spending time with the friends that are putting this together is a major reason for these adventures. I’m glad to be able to be a part of this project and I am glad to have everyone along for the ride.

Finally I always spend Christmas with the family and this year was no different. I have always kept a bit to myself but I know my family knows how I feel about them. It was another great visit to Washington to spend time my sister and a bit of time with her Boyfriend Val, then up to Pennsylvania to visit the family. I really enjoy my time with the family and look forward to seeing them again soon.

Every year I learn more about myself and I learn more about what is important. I have a lot of hopes for 2012 and but most of all I hope you have a great 2012 and amazing adventures this year!

Now for a few resolutions. I want to keep it simple. So this year I resolve to:

  • ride my bike or walk for any trip or errand that I can that is within 2 miles.
  • Complete our Baja car build
  • complete the baja 1000
  • treat others as I’d like to be treated
  • be more fiscally responsible
  • If you’re following along, did you make any resolutions this year?

    Flyin’ Balloons

    They always say, one thing leads to another. Well, over the years I have been following Pikes Peak very closely. I work on cars, I take photos, make videos and more. It has all been really fun and I have met some really interesting people along the way. Drivers, tech’s, promotors and of course, more creative folk like myself. The funny thing about meeting someone at an event like that is that you know them for a very narrow area of what they do. So sometimes you learn a bit more about someone or realize who you’ve met. Peter Brock is a good example. I mean, I met him as a photographer on the mountain then realized… Wait. That guy designed the shelby daytona coupe! If you look for his accomplishments you will see that they are, simply put, a significant part of automotive history.

    Each person you meet has more to their story and when I got a call from Michael Hill recently it almost wasn’t surprising that he mentioned that he flies Hot Air Balloons. If you have read anything I have written here I think you will figure out pretty quick that if it is something new I would like to try it out. So Michael asked if I would help out crewing for one of his flights and I of course said yes.

    I honestly have never been around hot air balloons and really didn’t know what we would be doing so I went along looking for instruction. We set up everything, assembled the balloon and launched it. The balloon is so simple it is kinda remarkable. Wood toggles fit between rope loops holding a raton basket to a cloth “envelope.” When you look at it, it makes sense but when you think about it from the perspective of a climber it seems almost too simple. In climbing everything is double redundant and in ballooning it seems as though it is just made to be simple. It was pretty cool to see how it all works and I am sure I will go check it out again and hopefully at some point get a flight in as well.

    Check out a quick time lapse from the launch.

    It was

    Pikes Peak: Savannah Rickli & Rebecca Greek

    The youngest driver and the most encouraging navigator, yup, you guessed it! The Dynamic duo of Savannah Rickli and Rebecca Greek attack Pikes Peak in their Mini cooper with only 200hp. Pretty crazy when you think that others in their class have more than 3 times that kind of power.

    Ride along as they rocket up the mountain with only a few mishaps along the way.