Supporting Astana?! Ok, why not.

Everyone has perks at work but it always catches me off guard when I remember how cool some of those perks can be! I knew with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge coming to town, there was a chance that I would have to drop everything and head out on the road to travel to a stage or do something promotional, but I wasn’t really expecting the phone call I got.

On Sunday night I got a massage and I was feeling quite relaxed after a couple weeks of running around and of course a roll over car accident. So going into the week I was ready to take on anything. At work I was paying attention to the USA Pro race and on Wednesday I got a phone call. “I worked out a deal with Astana, they need a van, can you bring it to Beaver Creek?” I knew that I needed to be at Reubens on Saturday but I figured those cards would fall into place later. So I headed home packed my things and headed out. I arrived in Beaver Creek in time to set things up, but by the time the race was over the finish was just by the team hotels so my services were just barely needed. So we stickered up the van with its credentials and went out to watch the peloton pass by.


After a nice evening with the folks from Training Peaks as well as my boss Bruce. Bruce had been following along with the team for the first days of the race, riding a motorcycle for the stages to get a good view. He had already had several amazing adventures, but I don’t think he expected what was about to happen.

Breckenridge Colorado was just a great scene. The parking was tight for the team vehicles but we managed to really put together a nice spot for the guys to relax in. The team instantly took to the van and relaxed in its seats, listened to music and prepared for the day. It provided just enough barrier for them to separate themselves from the crowds but not so much that they couldn’t interact and sign autographs for fans. When the call came they were instantly gone and I was looking at a lot of stuff. Boxes of food and bottles and whatnot all cluttered the area and I kinda wondered how we had accumulated so much stuff in such a short period of time! I packed up and headed out.


Transit was down 70 to 470 and finally down 25 to the springs. I ended up following Garmin for the majority of the way and set up instantly when I arrived.


I walked out to the road as a slight drizzle began and watched as the peloton came over I25 with the mountains in the background. You can’t ask for a better view than this!


When they passed by Bruce arrived on his motorcycle and he took his helmet off and I could see a look that I hadn’t seen before. Keep in mind I have worked with Bruce for 10 years and he was like a kid on Christmas morning. He told me all about riding ahead of the peloton, the crowds the security the cheering. His love for bike racing was absolutely clear and he had just experienced one of the greatest feelings that he could imagine. He saw the stage from the pelotons perspective and it was absolutely lined with fans and they were cheering him on just like they were going to cheer on their heros in only a few minutes!

The riders arrived from the stage and the team got to work, loading bikes, providing some post race support including massages, hydration and of course some food. The riders sunk into the area we had put together for them instantly and made a quick home while a bit of rain began.





Just as quickly as they arrived they were gone again. But we continued to have visitors even after the team left including Mario Cipollini and 3rd place finisher in that days stage and friend of the shop Alessandro Bazzana.



I’m a bit of a softy, so at one point I turned around and saw this scene playing out and it was really nice. Two shy kids were coaxed by their father to go talk to the BMC guys. The guys in the BMC car were patient and talked to the kids they gave them some cycling caps and those kids are psyched. They walked away with such big smiles on their faces!


It reminded me of a time a few years ago when I saw Travis Pastrana take a good long period of time to sit down and talk to a young fan. It is really nice to see that patience in such high paced and pressured environments.

When things had wound down Bruce and I loaded up the van, this time loading up all of our equipment AND his 1200cc BMW. Wow things were tight in the van for the ride home but we made it and loaded it up for the next mornings adventure in Golden.

We arrived in Golden a bit early and despite the efforts of one absolutely cranky volunteer we were able to get all our gear set up quickly for the guys. Each day we were learning more about what they needed and what would work nicely for their base camp and in Golden we were able to ramp it up even more with multiple tents, walls and more in order to give them a nice place to stay and a slight buffer from the fans. We also brought our Feedback stands to give them a better place to keep their bikes as well.



The Team was very into the van, glad to have it as a resource and we were able to make their day a lot easier by just handling all this additional setup and teardown that they simply didn’t have the staff to do.


At one point everyone was loading up in the team cars and the Team Director looked at me and told me I need to tell you want to do, but I trust you so I will see you in Boulder. It was his way of saying, yes, I need to say this but I know you will handle it. That felt pretty good actually and I am glad that I was able to enstill trust in him in such a short period of time.

As the cars pulled away I started to look around and saw all the other teams had campers with a button that retracted everything, I started to scramble and got our two tents, 3 walls, 6 chairs, bike rack, food, bottles and more all packed up and secured for the transit to Boulder.

On the way up we were following the peloton and stopped quite frequently, I chatted with several people through the windows of the van and heard many more cheer for Excel as I passed by. I arrived in Boulder and set up quickly then headed into town to watch the stage on TV at Rueben’s Burger Bistro.

The final day was upon us and I rode my Cruiser bike into Denver from the Highlands area. No need to deal with parking on a day like this! We set up a great spot and got the area prepared with trainers, shade and a comfortable area to work in. Then we took a look around. WOW! Words can’t describe the size of this thing…



We got back to the van to see everyone had arrived and were preparing.




Riders were warming up, they were leaving at various times to head out for their start position and at one point I was told “Get in the car with Roman.” So I did!






Roman put down a quick time with us in a van behind. We cheered him on while looking at his time splits to see how he was doing. The crowds were amazing and we passed by them in a heartbeat.



At the end of the day Janez put down a time that was able to move him up from 8th to 5th in the GC standings. He felt he could have pushed harder, but he just didn’t feel the power that day. For us, this was a great finish to a great race and for him you could see how much this race wore on him, a week of recovery will probably be needed as he prepares for the next one.


As we were packing up Goradz the Team Director came up to me and said “I borrowed your bike earlier.” I knew that he had and said so. He said “I rode it over to the timing, they immediately grabbed it, put it on the scale they measured the wheelbase and said ‘No, you can’t race! It is too heavy!” Wow do I wish I had a picture of that!

What a great experience. I have my fingers crossed that we are able to do the same for them again next Year. the guys were so appreciative and we really wanted to help them more and more because of that. USA pro is definitely an awesome race and we are really psyched to have it in our neck of the woods!

Bike Racin’ and Ridin’ with Rwandan’s

On the Thursday before the USA Pro Cycling Challenge I was called into one of my coworkers office’s. He said to me that he was offered a chance to ride along with the Garmin team in their follow car during Stage 2 of the race. I was pretty psyched for him, I mean, not everyone has that opportunity! So when he said he wanted me to go in his place, that was even cooler! The idea was that with all the cameras and whatnot I may actually be able to bring something back that the company could use rather than just go and smile pretty the whole time.

It was a bit of a blessing and a curse at the same time since I was in the process of organizing a ride with Team Rwanda Cycling as well. This was another last minute thing and I really wanted it to be successful so shooting to the other side of the state sounded like it may not be the best plan… Oh well, once in a lifetime right?!

So I hopped in the car and headed to Gunnison, the start of Stage 2. I got in around 9 and hit the sack ready for a good day following the tour on the most epic stage of the race. In the morning I got up ready to go and headed over to the venue. It was about a mile walk from my hotel and I thought: “well, I am going to be in a car all day, lets stretch this out.” So I took my time and walked all over the town.

Stage 2 From the Garmin Car

Stage 2 From the Garmin Car

The town was prepped and ready and the race was in setup mode. It was a cool feeling with all the energy in the air. When the teams started arriving everyone flocked to the staging area and started looking for their favorite riders.

Stage 2 From the Garmin Car

Stage 2 From the Garmin Car

After a bit the Garmin fleet arrived and I headed over to meet up with my driver for the day. I stopped over and checked in then was introduced to my driver, Robbie and of course they introduced me to JV. I’ve never been an autograph guy, but it is interested to see these guys in action. In the same breath of making decisions pertaining to todays events JV was signing shirts, hats and other things. If you were there for an instant you may think he was being short with someone, but in reality he was making time for each person that came up to him while still trying to make all the decisions that need to be made before the stage.

When we hopped in the car It was car 2 for the fleet. This means that our car is the backup car. Car 1 is up front, it is just behind the peloton and if it stops then we swoop up to help out. If a breakaway goes then we swing up to the break. Otherwise, we sit in the back and chat while listening to the race radio. For the majority of the race we saw this:


Then we would have glimpses of action, typically on big sweeping corners but then also over the passes, the KOM’s and wow, there were some crowds. When we crossed over the top of Independence pass the crowds were incredible. I mean, you have seen it on TV, but when it is around you it is a whole other experience! I know that the crowds have been known to get unruly, but it sure is energizing!




On the way down Independence pass the rain began and the roads got a bit slick. We kept Dave Zabriskie company on the descent after giving him a bottle on the ride up


Stage 2 From the Garmin Car

The day was incredible and arriving upon arriving in Aspen it was nice to step out of the car and walk around!

The following Tuesday (aug 30) was a ride we (excel sports boulder) organized with Team Rwanda Cycling. Jock Boyer is a longtime friend of the owner of Excel and his quest to create a team and a healing organization for Rwanda has brought him with some of the team members to the states. We put together a ride with the team and a dinner at a local restaurant to help them raise money for the organization.

The turnout for the event was great. We had at least 45 people show up at the shop to head out on the ride and a few more that met up along the way. The ride that was planned was fairly common in Boulder. Lefthand Canyon is a nice gradual and consistant climb so you don’t run into too many really steep portions.

Rwanda Ride and Ruebens Dinner

Rwanda Ride and Ruebens Dinner

Jock took the time to chat with people on the ride as well as at Reubens later. It seemed that everyone had a nice time though the ride may have gotten off to a faster start than some would have liked.

Rwanda Ride and Ruebens Dinner

Rwanda Ride and Ruebens Dinner

Afterward we all headed to Ruebens. Ruebens is a reasonably new place in Boulder, but Rueben is a cycling enthusiast, He loves it. He encourages cycling to come to his place and when you go in there, if you look closely, you will probably see some faces that you recognize. We arrived with 35-40 people and Rueben was ready. We sat down and had a great dinner and in the end $3 from every persons bill was put toward the Rwandan team. Other donations were made as well and though I don’t have a tally of the donations I have my fingers crossed that it was successful for them as well.

Rwanda Ride and Ruebens Dinner

Rwanda Ride and Ruebens Dinner

The evening was a success and we were glad to be able to participate. If you have a chance check out Team Rwanda Cycling, they are a great group and good fun to meet and hang out with. Also keep your eyes peeled for Rising from the Ashes, a documentary on Team Rwanda Cycling.

How much typing can someone do!

Wow, it has been quite the week. I have decided to help some friends not only with their car build but also in setting up a new site.


The Kern’s! They are a husband and wife race team and wow are they fast. Dave is the driver, Allison the navigator and they are quite the duo. At Pikes Peak I ran a camera on their car a couple years ago and they broke the record in their class. That record stands today. Every year since then they have had some mechanical issue. Nothing that can’t be fixed with Time or Money, but of course they don’t have unlimited resources and they work full time! So I decided that helping them not only with their car build (which is maybe a bit more selfish cause I am learning a ton) but also with their web presence is crucial. I talked to them and they gave me free reign. So now I am finishing off their site and it is turning out nicely! ALl they have to do is drop in writeups whenever they can and it will constantly be updated. With new content comes new visitors and repeat visitors. Their content is awesome too so it should be pretty good for them. check out their site!

In addition, this week I have been setting up a blog for work as well. This content doesn’t come as easily! With the Kerns I had to copy and paste, with the work site I had to wrangle people, write posts and just pour over the site for hours. It turned out great and our new designer is doing a great job of opening up functionality. Check out that blog here

Lots to do and little sleep to do it with, I am making progress on another project that I am not ready to announce, but soon…we will blow your doors off!

Boulder Fire 10-29

I don’t know how so many fires can occur in one season, it seems very dramatic with the smoke billowing up the foothills and the slurry bombers flying overhead. Today was a unique day in Boulder. People were roaming the streets in costume. Witches, ghosts and zombies all out in the daylight and they were out as the foothills looming overhead were on fire.



Walking the neighborhoods today that were being evacuated, I didn’t want to be in the way. So I stayed clear of the people who were frantically packing their possessions. there were cars lining the streets and they had hatches open or they were already packed. People were sorting through their belongings deciding what they could live without and what needed to come with them. I walked along and just observed them. It is a strange feeling, especially walking with a large camera in this condition, I feel as though I was marked as an outsider, though it is possible that nobody noticed me at all.



As some of the residence packed others congregated in the streets, they watched the slurry planes fly overhead and dump their payload only a short distance away. The air was thick with smoke and the sun was very warm considering how cold it has been over the past week. The fire tourists were out in full force and when I realized that I was probably one of them I had to turn back. At least I wasn’t clogging the road with my car, but I was there and I felt like that may be too much.


Sprinklers were on all over the place. Some had put portable lawn sprinklers on their roof in order to make sure that embers from the fire didn’t get caught up on their house. the constant sound of planes flying over, swooping and dumping became normal and the uncertainty of what was going to happen was part of the atmosphere. After I had felt like I had taken up to much space I left and headed back home.


It was interesting to see the array of things that were left behind in some people rush to leave. Other people were taking their time however and I believe they were hoping that the evacuations would be called off. It was also interesting to see how different the atmosphere was when I crossed from 7th st to the next block. Cars filled up and people scurrying around on one block and no action on the next. (7th st was the evacuation border)



I hope that everyone I saw today has a house to come back to. It seems surreal that their homes could be destroyed since they are mostly in some of the oldest portions of Boulder. I guess only time will tell.


Boulder Fire 9-6-10

I spent the day working on my friends shop. Installing soffits, grouting steps and basically doing light construction on the place. I had no idea what was going on north west of where we were. When I was driving home I could see this huge plume of smoke that was coming from Boulder. It looked pretty intense. When I finally got home I looked it up. 4 mile canyon is on fire. 3000 acres burned and hundreds are being evacuated.


I waited till the sun set and then headed out to an overlook about a mile from my house (about 18 miles from the fire) and took a few photos.


Boulder fire, with some stars...



Last night I went home afterward and realized that many of these shots were a bit out of focus, but I went to bed anyhow. This morning I woke up to the smell of smoke. The wind had shifted and the smoke was now going in the general direction of my house.

Driving into boulder today I stopped and snapped another quick photo.


The drive into work was pretty normal, but the haze and scent of smoke got more intense the closer I got. The fire is still going strong and the slurry planes are doing drops according to the news. I am curious to see what happens. If the fire is still going this evening then I will shoot more photos and post them up.

I shot some photos from the roof of my work today, It is pretty crazy watching all the slurry planes fly overhead. It is very hazy from our direction so it is tough to get a clear shot, but you get the point.






US Air Guitar in Boulder

A few years ago I watched a documentary called “Air Guitar Nation.” It followed the progress of a few air guitarists who were traveling the nation and hoping to win the national title in Air Guitar. Yes, it sounds ridiculous…and it is. But it is also hilarious and I decided at that point that I would go to one of these Air Guitar shows to see what it was all about.


One day I saw that it was coming to town. I wasn’t in a hurry and when I went to get tickets I was surprised to find that…it was sold out! WHAT?! How could air guitar be sold out? That is crazy! I have seen very good, reputable bands who have not been sold out!

This year I saw it early, I got tickets WELL in advance and…well it wasn’t even remotely sold out. It was however amazing and I suggest that everyone checks out a show once.

I met my friend Beth to go to the show and we were waiting out front for another friend, Teresa, when a man came out of the Fox theater. He was an obvious participant and his name was Brock McRock. We started chatting with him and I had to ask the question: “So how do you get signed up for something like this? I am pretty sure Beth here is going to compete next year.” His response was that she could sign up right now! “do you want to sign up right now?”


Her answer a bit hesitant at first but then confident: “eh….YES!”

After signing up and having no songs prepared she was given “the final countdown.” Of course, nobody REALLY knows the song, so she was lost! She needed to know something about the song, anything really…fortunately I had it on my iPhone. So she prepared, she listened to the song, altered her wardrobe slightly and was on stage in probably 15 minutes!



The show began with Bjorn to Rock coming out on stage and showing what Air Guitar is all about.


The rock was flowing and competitors were coming out on stage one after the next. Beth did well, but surprisingly, she wasn’t familar with the song so not well enough to move on to the next round. The winner of the night was Thundergland. Yes…that is right, it isn’t a typo…He was awesome!

The rest of the show I shot short video clips and just edited them together…so check it out: