A long weekend

Each year my parents come out to visit for a week and each year they make it into a bit of an adventure. Sometimes they see and explore and sometimes they try things out and learn. In the past my mom learned to weld, my dad drove a bulldozer and both have found their way along trails and more. I make my way along with them for some of their adventures and they do others on their own.

This year I flew to Las Vegas to join them for a quick roadtrip back to Denver. For my birthday this year they gave me a driving experience. 5 laps in a Ferrari F430 F1! Yes, that sounds pretty good right?! So our first stop was to the track. Now, my parents aren’t exactly race car people, but my mom is up for adventure and she decided to try this out as well. We signed her up for an Aston Martin. After a short briefing and two discovery laps she was on her way. She stepped into the car and her instructor walked her through the operations of the car then onto the track! The track is a 1.4 mile road course. Pretty short but it had a very nice variety of corners to play on.



As mom was continuing her laps I was being introduced to my own driving instructor. He walked me through the setup of the car, the operation of the car and asked me about my driving experience. “Ice racing, some karts, a little bit of play time in a Rally car… But I’ve seen it on TV.” I think he was a bit nervous at first. We headed out and wow, that thing handles so well! Very neutral, very balanced and incredibly smooth. in a lap or two I felt reasonably comfortable. by lap 5 I was wishing that it wasn’t my last lap!


The experience was great and if you ever want to try out an exotic car on the track I’d definitely head over to Exotics Racing.

From there we headed out, a long drive that took us to Page Arizona. What is in Page? Well, it exists solely because of a large Dam. The reason we were there was because of Antelope Canyon. This is a slot canyon that is known for its absolute beauty. When we got there I was excited. I have heard of this, i have seen the pictures and the reports and it was exciting to be able to see it myself. Since Antelope Canyon is on Native American lands you need an escort in order to get into the Canyon. We selected Overland Canyon Tours because they had a photographers tour that sounded pretty exciting. When we arrived we realized that we were not alone. Wow, this is worse than a shopping mall! There were a ton of people in there. Probably 12-15 shuttles out front of the canyon including ours! I got some photos and I am glad that I went, but I think if I went again to something like this I would find a much less popular place to explore. I feel bad, the traffic that is in that canyon will definitely have an impact on it’s longterm viability.



After a while I decided to embrace the crowds and use them in my photos. I think that the experience of the canyon was “crowded” so I think that people should see that when they see photos…



After the adventure we headed over to see this Dam. It is the dam that holds back the water to create Lake Powell and it is a slightly smaller version of the Hoover dam. These things are always facinating. One small piece of concrete that holds back the 17 years of water that would have flowed through the canyon. That is a huge amount of water and no matter how big the dam is, it is small compared to the impact it has!



From there we were off to Durango. Durango is a really cool town but it is also the home of the Durango to Silverton railroad. This is a long running narrow gauge railroad that runs Steam Locomotives from Durango to Silverton and back. Originally it was used for mining and transportation. But over time it has evolved to a tourist destination. You can arrive and hop on a train and ride the route that has been around for over 100 years. As you bump along the tracks you can look out on the river and the hillsides and imagine people camping along the shores panning for gold. You can imagine the mines on the hillsides and something about that old train makes all this come alive.





Oh and of course there was a quick stop in Silverton before we headed back to Durango.




The trip was very nice and relaxed. We had a great time and saw some beautiful things. It’s always good to take a short adventure with the family!



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.