Steamboat Colorado

It has been an eventful month or so. So many visitors and so little time! With each visitor that comes to town I seem to find another adventure to add to the list. It is funny how you can take for granted all the things you have access to when you live somewhere and sometimes it takes visitors to spark you to actually do these things!

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My parents arrived in town a few weeks ago and it happened to be my dads birthday. My mom was prepared and had some plans lined up. How about a couple days in Steamboat and a day at Dig This!? Well, that all sounds pretty good to me. We ventured up to Steamboat and enjoyed the view from our condo on the mountain. The Bear Claw Condo’s are right in the midst of everything and I was fortunate to have a co-worker who was a resident of Steamboat who was able to point us to the best places to eat and things to do.

Steamboat is pretty amazing at all times of the year so finding nice scenery, hiking trails and other things to do is pretty easy. We spent some time in town, checking things out, some time on the mountain, hiking and enjoying the views and then of course, our time at Dig this.

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Steamboat Colorado

Dig This was a whole ‘nother experience compared to the rest. The premise is that most people are curious about how all that heavy equipment works. You see a bull dozer or an excavator and think to yourself, “I wonder what it’s like to drive one of those?! Could I do it?” Well you can do it at Dig This. They provide the machines and the instruction and you get to play with the machines and get the experience of operating them. This was a gift for my dads birthday, but I think my mom and I enjoyed it just as much as he did.

My dad ended up in a Dozer and my mom and I ended up in Excavators. The instructors were great, they gave us pretty good instruction and it was actually pretty remarkable how simple these machines are to operate. I think that it is a good indicator that with very simple instruction they just put us in the machines, showed us the basic controls and then sent us on our way!

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At the end of the session we all were presented certificates from Dig This that said we had completed the Fast Tracks program. It was a 1 hour session in the machines and we were there for a couple hours by the end of our session.

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Anyhow, head up to steamboat. It is a beautiful place all times of the year and we had a pretty incredible time in our short stay there!

Cadet Chapel and Pikes Peak

If you can’t appreciate natural beauty then you must appreciate architectural marvels right? On the 4th of July, we decided to take in both in the same day!

Air Force Cadet Chapel

We started our morning by heading down to the Air force academy in Colorado Springs. I had never been on base before and wasn’t exactly sure what hoops we’d have to jump through to get through their checkpoints. It was a simple process and no cavity searches were performed so the day started off nicely. You can see the Cadet chapel from the highway, though the closer you get to it the more impressive it seems. The chapel stands in distinct contrast to the other buildings there. It has a very modern look with metal and glass standing in a sharp point aimed to the sky.

Air Force Cadet Chapel

Melanie is here from Germany studying religion in America and wanted me to join her at one of her church experiences so I asked her to select an architectural masterpiece to visit and this is where we ended up. I am sure you can imagine that we looked maybe a smidge out of place with me looking around at all the architecture and the design and Melanie taking notes through the service. I suspect nobody noticed in the end however. We were able to check out the inside of the building as well however and it is pretty amazing. The background on the building is that it was built from 1959-1962 and designed by Walter Netsch. The chapel is constructed of tubular steel, aluminum panels and colored glass. One of my favorite things is the pews in the protestant chapel, they were designed to resemble WW1 era propellers, both the ends of the pews as well as the seat backs to the pews. The Organ is also on full display in the upper chapel. I have to admit however the cross behind the alter had a lot of resemblance to a sword in my mind and I don’t know how I feel about that.

Air Force Cadet Chapel

Air Force Cadet Chapel

Air Force Cadet Chapel

We made our way downstairs to see the Catholic chapel as well, this is a much smaller space but the walls were nearly entirely stained glass and gave the impression that the ceiling was floating. It is a pretty interesting room. I didn’t know that there were two more rooms downstairs otherwise I would have looked at them as well. The Chapel apparently has a Jewish room and an “all faiths” room.

Air Force Cadet Chapel

Air Force Cadet Chapel

From there we headed to Pikes Peak. Of course I have been there a billion times, but Melanie had never been on top of this mountain and of course, with all my jibber jabber about the race and the road, well she kinda had to see it in real life to get an idea of what all the fuss was about. So we ascended the road and stopped at a few lookouts to enjoy the scenery. The day was beautiful and the weather couldn’t have been nicer! We spent some time at the top of the mountain before heading back down and took a nice panorama from the top as well!

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Afterward we rushed back to get dinner with friends and then not watch fireworks because the rain had eliminated them as a possibility. It was a fun day though and it made me excited to see more architecture! I only brought my G9 with me on this adventure. I didn’t want to stick out to much with a huge camera taking pictures at the church!

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, 2010

We crossed the startline at 4:30 AM and joined the procession up the hill. We were constantly moving as we rose up in elevation from 9000ft to 12,800ft and it took us 27 minutes to reach Devils playground. That is 9 miles and probably about 115 turns to get to this point. Racers take between 10.01 and 15 minutes to reach the summit which was another 2.5 miles away! I love this sort of perspective. It is incredible to think of the absolute skill, experience, precision and courage it takes to negotiate some of these corners and conditions at the speeds that it takes to make it to the top in this amount of time.

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From our perch at Devils Playground we watched as the sun rose, it is always an amazing sight from the top of a mountain, but Pikes Peak has a certain way about it that seems to saturate the colors to bring the sunrise to life. Our time in the parking area consisted of making a nice hot meal and preparing for our hike up the mountain. Hiking up to Boulder park is a bit of a distance to cover and has an elevation gain of about 1200 ft. But it is worth it. The views from the final sections of dirt road are amazing. As the classes progressed we began making our way back to Devils playground. The clouds were beginning to close in on the mountain and with the threat of lightning it is always nice to know you are reasonably close to shelter.

The racing was intense. As a spectator you need to be patient with any TT style racing. One car passes then several minutes later another passes. It isn’t the constant action of a Formula 1 race or motocross race. You have to appreciate what the drivers are doing in order to appreciate this race. To give you an idea of what the drivers are doing here is a bit of a run-through of their drive to the top:
Monster Tajima’s car is said to have about 950hp at the start line. When he takes off he is accelerating through the start line on perfect pavement. Traveling at speeds up to 130 mph in a car by himself with nobody else helping him to know what is coming up. Drivers often loose track of where they are on the road because of the sheer quantity of turns. Each turn starts looking more and more like the last and there are pretty popular corners, like Engineers corner, that claim drivers who fall into this trap. When he approaches the Picnic grounds he is traveling at his max speed of about 130mph when he has to transition to dirt! This year the dirt was treated with Mag-chloride which firms up the dirt, but doesn’t make it drive like tarmac. So at this point he starts getting into switchbacks. (2009 shot of 11 mile’s drifting left hand corner) He needs to adjust his driving style to the type of traction that the new surface provides while going into a complicated drifting turn into a very tight and slower switchback. As he ascends the mountain he is constantly loosing power as he gains elevation and as he passes the ski area there are several deceptive corners. (2006 shot, heading into the Ski Area parking area) One I have heard people refer to as the “rookie corner” but that isn’t its real name. This is, what appears to be a soft right turn, but it has a later apex than people realize. Sliding off to the outside is a definite possibility if you carry to much speed. The corners continue to relentlessly bombard the drivers through this section. Drivers have to drift sideways to carry speed and they are on constantly variable conditions because of the mix of Mag-Chloride and loose dirt. They need to plan for a corner, but at the same time they need to be ready to react to a sudden unexpected spot of traction gain or loss. If you watch their in car cameras you can see constant corrections. A final hairpin left takes the drivers into a section of rough tarmac and dirt mixed together. This is Glen Cove and once they pass through a toll gate they are back on Tarmac. They accelerate up through some of the most intense elevation gains in the course through some of the tightest corners on the course.
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A portion of this section is called the “W’s” this section looks like a cursive “W” from above but consists of very tight turns linked with long switchbacks. As they ascend into 18mile they round a corner in excess of 80mph that has no guard rail on the outside and has exposure of nearly 1000 ft.
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Drivers corner a hairpin left and a 90 degree right out of devils playground into a drifting turn that changes from tarmac to dirt. This year the Monster nearly lost it on this transition. Carrying that much speed through two distinct surface conditions is a tricky task! This dirt up top is not treated with Mag-Chloride and is definitely more dusty and loose.
Drivers now have yet another condition to adjust too and in addition their cars are loosing power. The Monster has lost at least 140hp by this point just because of the lack of oxygen. Drivers also have to cope with this sudden drop in available oxygen since only 7 minutes before they were at 9000ft and now they are at 13,000ft!
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Drivers head into Boulder park which has a series of turns that have claimed some of the best drivers in the past and head up Ragged edge.
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This section lives up to its name with a very significant view of the exposure as you head up to a very sharp left hand turn.
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Now there is a transition from dirt to pavement here as well, so driver need to adjust their driving style yet again! (2008 shot of the S turn at Boulder Park) As they approach the summit they have a high speed left turn that takes them across the finish line before they can start breathing again. At this final acceleration the monsters 950hp car is pushing only 665hp!

Of course this account is pretty basic and it completely eliminates variables like weather. Each year weather at the summit can vary from warm sun to cold, to rain, to snow, to hail and each year you are very likely to see several of these conditions throughout the day. The number of surface conditions that a driver can see on their way up the mountain are infinite and the number of changes to the course that they practice can be infinite as well. Spectators are often in the wrong place, they will spectate from racing lines and unknowingly cause drivers to have to adjust their line in order to avoid people.

Our view of the race was speckled with lightning strikes in the distance and nice puffy white clouds in the foreground. we could see the clouds sweeping over the summit and hoped that they wouldn’t sweep by as a driver was headed up. Adding the element of fog to the course is very dangerous and would be very hard for a driver to recover from. We watched as drivers drove past and listened as their motors climbed to the summit. Crowds would leap off the side trails when a V8 would rev in the distance and wait for it to pass by. We watched the final motorcycles from Devils playground. the amount of control it takes to drift a motorcycle around a corner is astounding and it is impressive to watch as they transition from tarmac to dirt as well. The final vehicle of the day was driven by Mike Ryan. He drives a Freightliner… that is right, a semi cab. He is an incredible driver and words can not describe the sight of a semi drifting around corners.

When the drivers are all finished there is a procession down the mountain. The spectators line the road and the drivers come down. I find this to be one of the most awesome parts of this race. To most spectators a driver is the number on the side of his car. There is no face or personality, there is a car that they are cheering for. At Pikes Peak each driver is someone to congratulate, a hand to slap five and a face that you can put with all that crazy driving you just watched head up the hill! I put a camera on Dave and Allison Kern’s car a couple years ago and at the end of their run they ran the camera on the way down. It is really cool to hear the kids ask them to rev the engine and the fans who are congratulating them on a fast time! (check it out toward the end of this video)

Throughout the day I shoot photos, but anymore I enjoy the race. It is funny, when I get home I always wish I took more photos, but when I am there I really enjoy taking in all that is going on. Anyhow, enjoy this recap and enjoy some of the photos that I DID take this time around.

If you have made it this far, definitely check out my entry from Practice as well. There are lots more photos there and more recap as well. Check back because we ran in-car cameras on several cars and you can follow this link to see the initial video from the incar GoPro’s Open Wheel Car videos

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Practice days

If you know me, you know I love this race. It is more than just cars racing against a clock, it is cars racing against extremely variable conditions, history, the clock and themselves. The more time I spend on the mountain and the more drivers that I have the good fortune to get to know the more I realize how much this race means to the people who participate.

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This year I spend a good deal of my “spare” time helping the Kern’s prep their evo. The car is fantastic, but unfortunately two weeks before practice started at PPIHC they had a major failure. I rod blew through both sides of the engine block causing a large fireball to sweep through their engine compartment and wipe out most of their electronics. This is a HUGE setback, but Dave is probably the most determined guy I know… and apparently requires less sleep than anyone else in human history.

After countless hours packed into two weeks as well as a trip to chicago to have a new motor installed and tuned dave returned the day before the tech inspection and we buttoned up the final details throughout the day of tech inspection. It seemed that the impossible had been done. The car now sported a new aero package, all body panels had been fixed, new rear diff and of course a new power plant. This thing was about as new as could be! So I went to bed anticipating a good day. It is satisfying to go to bed knowing that you helped accomplish what you thought wouldn’t be accomplishable.

Practice began Wednesday and I woke from a bit of a nap at 5:30 am to the sound of a safety car passing by. The practice was about to begin and the sun was just rising. We had the opportunity to see Rhys Millens new car. This thing is a lemans style car that is built specifically for Pikes Peak. It is amazing to watch, but it is clear that it has some bugs to be worked out. The acceleration that it is capable of is intense however! We had the opportunity to see Dave and Allison fly up the mountain as well. Run after run they were looking smooth! Their lines were great and they were definitely looking fast. We had our eye on a few other cars as well. Spencer Steele and Jimmy Olson were running onboard cameras for a little project that I am playing with and they both drive pretty awesome open wheel cars. In addition the Monster has fully updated his vehicle and he is serious about trying to beat the 10 minute barrier again this year. It is always amazing to hear the high RPM roar of a stock car V8 as well. Those things sound so incredibly angry when they are under full throttle and finally Jeff Zwart in his Porsche GT3 cup car…well that thing just sounds amazing.
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After the first day of practice we headed down and saw Dave and Allison fussing over the car. I pulled off and they had the motor apart. Turns out their timing belt snapped and basically obliterated the top end of their brand new, 3 run old motor. I couldn’t believe it! Dave hadn’t slept in probably 2 weeks and now this happens.

The next day we were on the top section. This section is the least viewed section since all the spectators typically are stopped at Devils playground. Boulder park is our choice viewing location and we were up there to see Rhys spin out, watch ACP show up and see an amazing sunrise. Dave flew past us again! How could he have possibly fixed that thing? Well, turns out they replaced the top end of the motor and during their run…well the bottom end let go.

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On the third day of practice we were on the bottom section of the mountain. I was feeling pretty refreshed from several days of good sleep and recovery and was out taking some photos. We got word from Dave. They now had a stock motor in the car, but it was going onto the Dyno in an hour. That guy is an animal. Nothing will stop the Kerns from competing! Dave hasn’t had proper sleep in easily 2 weeks and yet the spirit hasn’t changed, his motivation is still just as high as it was when the week began. It is incredible!

After a full day of practice I went down to talk to my open wheeler friends. Jimmy and Spencer were having a good day, but Spencers motor let go as well. “Nothing I can’t fix before the race” he said in his normal mater of fact way. I was chatting with Jimmy’s wife Andrea afterward and she mentioned that she’d been coming up here since 1978 and told me about all the changes that have happened. I had a realization that this race is not just a race to most of these drivers. It is a family tradition, it is an annual reunion with racing friends. The banter that goes back and forth is from years and years of handing trophies back and forth to one another. It is fun to watch this race and I can say I have a sincere appreciation for the history and challenge that this race presents but I wonder if it will ever mean as much to me as it does to these people.
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Today is friday, the event is Sunday and Dave now has a car that is in one piece. The car has been dyno tuned and not tested at all. The motor that is in the car is the same motor that they set the standing record in their class. (Time Attack 4wd) But the motor is about 250hp less than the motor that they started the event with. Anticipation is building as the weather reports show poor conditions approaching. It is going to be an interesting year on the mountain this year and only time will tell how it all plays out.

Pikes Peak Hill Climb Test and Tune

Every year there is at least one test and tune day for drivers up on Pikes Peak. Drivers head up and shell out some cash to be able to run the mountain for two mornings well before the mountain opens for normal traffic. In recent years this has been more and more important with more and more of the mountain turning into paved roads.

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This year I organized a group of drivers and we are planning on doing a small video project. The project will involve 4 teams and each team will be running cameras on their car. We will have some cameras on the mountain as well and in the end we should have a pretty cool video! Since a couple drivers were heading down to the practice day I threw a camera on Spencer Steele’s car to let him play with the camera and check out the video that it is able to record. Spencer was also worried because having a big block motor putting out serious horsepower bolted straight to a tube chassis, well it is a bit to much for any camera he has used before, so he was worried that this one may not hold up. I was curious as well, so we bolted it up and tried it out.

His second run of the morning resulted in this video. Of course there is a bit of crap on the lens, but check it out.

Golden Super Cruise

I’m a bit of a fake car guy. I have a great appreciation for cool and creative things done with cars. I have a huge appreciation for the amount of work that goes into bringing a car back from a rusty heap to a shiny show car but I have hardly any ability when it comes to working on the mechanics of a car.

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With that being said, I really do enjoy seeing what people have built for themselves. There is a lot of vision that goes into building some of these cars and going to the Golden Super Cruise is a great way to see the fruits of their labor.

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If you don’t know what the Super Cruise is, check out their site. http://www.goldensupercruise.com/
I would describe it as a HUGE car show that is pretty informal and everyone shows up and just appreciates cars. The Crowds are huge and the variety of cars is equally as large. People line the streets to watch the cars cruise by. Cars are parked in every parking lot along the street. Hundreds of cars, possibly over a thousand, they are everywhere and they are cool!

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I have always had a desire to restore a car, but I have never really had the time or cash for that project at the same time. A bigger concern of course is, what do you build! I mean, you can go with the tried and true Cobra, that is pretty much the coolest car ever, right?

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But the problem with that is, everyone has a cobra, it just isnt unique at all. So there are of course muscle cars, they are all over the place and I do really love a good cuda, but I don’t need a huge horsepower monster, plus where would I put that thing!

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There are the unique collectors as well, but most of them I like, but don’t really want. Plus they are typically so desirable that I couldn’t afford them anyway.

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And there are the Rat Rods and hot rods, but they are becoming so cookie cutter to me. Everyone seems to have this “unique” thing to it but they seem to follow a style to closely.

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I have in the last few years started thinking more and more about a 30′ ford 4 door. Something that lends to its vintage but that has a bit of style to it too. Think of a bonnie and clyde kinda car or an old school gangster car but lowered a bit with some kickback wheels, but not quite so kickback that they are spoked. Vintage interior, but not old just true to the era.

This car was as close as I could find. The exterior was perfect (maybe a bit to much red for my taste however) these cars came in BLACK, so I’d keep it black. A bit lower on the front, a bit more aggressive all around. The wheels are great, the interior was a bit to modern for me, but overall it is a subtle car that I almost walked by until I really looked at it.

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I would consider chopping maybe 1 inch out of the top to be fairly subtle, and doing a light tint on the windows too. (I know it is a modern touch) but think I’d do a very traditional interior with only a few modern design upgrades. Overall though I think that is a great car! So who wants to buy me a 32 ford 4 door so I can get started?

High Plains Raceway

As the final rivet went into the front aero package at around 3:00 in the morning on Dave and Allison Kern’s Evo I was anticipating heading out to the track the next day to see how my wing mounts held up. Dave was planning a test session out at the track and I decided to tag along and see if everything went as planned with the wing that I had just modified to work.

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After a late night it was a bit difficult to wake up in the morning so I didn’t actually get started until about 10:00 and I didn’t end up getting to the track until after noon. That wasn’t all that important however, the important part was the Evo was heading out on its first laps. Dave was going to run the first laps with just the front aero setup to see how the car felt before he put the big wing on. On his first lap he had some clutch issues so he came in to diagnose them. Everything that he could think of was not working and I am no help in that department…so I began wandering around. There was plenty to see the place was packed so I figured I’d check out a few cars.

As this was going on a big race trailer showed up. The wrap on the trailer drew everyone in. Classics, old school racing cars, formula cars etc. I was really curious what was going to roll out of that thing. as the rear door went down they didn’t disappoint. This thing had a 30’s Bugatti and a 50’s Talbot Lago! Combined, assuming these are pretty original cars, these two cars were worth in the neighborhood of $4 million dollars. I can assure you that all the other cars that were there that day (probably 40 more cars) would not have added up to the value of these two.

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They rolled out the cars and began prepping for the day and their little pit spot was a magnet for car guys. I stopped by and chatted with the guys. They were very cool and very interested in showing off the cars. The guys were from High Mountain Classics, which is a restoration shop primarily for Vintage French vehicles. The owner of the shop was there, one of their fabricator/restorers and one of the vehicle owners was there. They were testing the vehicles in order to head to Sears Point next week.

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www.highmountainclassics.com

I had a chance to chat with the guys for a while when another trailer pulled up and a 1960 Ferrari 250 SWB emerged from the back of the trailer. Wow! Another half million dollars in car just showed up!

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I had a chance to chat with the owner for a bit and he was very interested in talking about the car. It sounded as though he did all his own work on the car as well which is definitely pretty cool with a car like that as well.

My day was balanced between spectating the cars and checking in with Dave to see if there was anything I could do to help, but at one point a small blue car rolled up… I had never seen one of these before.

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The owner said that it was a British sports car and he even said the name, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. I do know that it starts with a G and if you can tell me I’d love to know. This car was so small but the lines of the car were beautiful! It made me reconsider my Seven idea and consider building something like this instead!

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Out on the track these cars were great to watch as well. Seeing a 1930’s Bugatti mixing it up with some guy in a Corvette that is blowing every turn was just a strange sight to take in. When you see an 80’s camero following a 1950 Talbot Lago Formula 1 car…well that is pretty interesting as well.

www.highmountainclassics.com

www.highmountainclassics.com

www.highmountainclassics.com

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It was a fun day out there, unfortunately Dave never got the car running so he had to head home to pull the motor and trans out of his car… Next week hopefully, the evo will be ready to tear it up again!

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.

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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?”

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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!

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

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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:

From Locost to Lemon

How nice it would be to have all the time in the world to be able to pursue all of the projects and attend all the events that I would like to do! Well, I headed out to check out some friends who were in the midst of their own projects. I’d say these are inspirational experiences really because I would very much like to pursue some of these possibilities in the future.

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Locosts

John Grimberg has been telling be about this car he wants to build, this has been an ongoing conversation actually. He brings this up periodically and then convinces himself that he is perfectly satisfied with his track ready Miata. It turns out that there was a meeting of Lotus Sevens at a friend of John’s house. The meeting was during the day and I had to work, but I was able to get over to see the final cars before they left.

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John’s friend Skip owns the blue Caterham. His has a Miata motor and is running around 300hp at the wheels. That doesn’t sound like a lot, however you have to keep in mind that these cars weigh no more than about 1400lbs. That is pretty much half the weight of a current sports car. So this car needs much less power to be able to accelerate like a current sports car! Skip’s car is capable of about 0-60 in 3.5-3.7 seconds and 0-100 in only 7 seconds! It is brutally fast at only 300hp! He took me for a spin to see what it was like.

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Now, I feel like I should explain a bit. Lotus introduced the seven in 1957 and designed it by their company philosophy of performance through weight savings. When they stopped producing the car in 1972 a company called Caterham licensed the design and has produced them ever since. Kits have been developed and there seem to be a lot of different variations on the design at this point. There are now blueprints available that allow home builders to create their own car. When people do this they need to modify the design to accommodate their engine and transmission, however the design is pretty all inclusive so it makes this a reasonable vehicle to build if you decide that you want to build a car. These home built cars are referred to as Locost’s (said Low-cost) and there is quite a following including a build forum as well as books and variants.

So after checking this thing out all I could think is “I could do that!” So I have been talking to John and reading other peoples build logs and trying to figure out how I could justify this to myself. How do you justify spending a year to build your own car!? We will see, I now have a lot of ideas and I would love to build one, but I need to make sure I sort out the budget and the plan first so I don’t end up with a pile of steel in my garage that isn’t able to go anywhere!

Lemons
Today I stopped the Ghetto Motorsports complex. Jeff, Ian, Alan and Kirk were there and they were working on their 1980 Mazda. They bought the car for $100 and have been racing it in LeMons races. These races are a play off the 24 hours of Le mans. The goal of the racing is to race a car that is purchased for less than $500. Safety equipment can be added but you have to be ready to either have your car destroyed by vote or purchased for $500 at the end of the race. Often these cars have themes and the racing is filled with repairs and contact. This car has gone through several motors and trackside repairs are typically pretty involved when they happen. This is racing that is affordable and it is racing that is open to anyone who has a place to hide a crappy beater car from their neighbors when they aren’t racing it. Turns out these guys have that. They are racing this weekend down in Pueblo with 5 drivers and two 7 hour races. To be honest it is pretty impressive to think that this car can run for 7 hours straight!

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So now of course I think to myself, “well, I have $100 dollars…maybe I should consider something like this!” Of course, time is the problem on this one. Just like everything all these events are on the weekend and of course…guess who works on the weekends currently… Hopefully I can figure something out, because that looks like a lot of fun.

Georgetown Ice Racing: Season Wrapup

I have known about Ice racing in Georgetown for years but this year was the first that I have participated. I was fortunate to have a good friend, Jon Coln, that was motivating to the point of letting me borrow his wheels/tires to go play on the ice. So lets give a bit of an idea of what Georgetown Ice racing is all about.

The Ice racing at Georgetown is organized through a group called Our Gang Ice Racing. They are a group of Jeep guys/gals primarily that have been racing up there for many years. This is a close knit group of families that all race together. Mothers, daughters, fathers and sons all have turns behind the wheel. Everyone has responsibilities besides their races as well. There are people who set up the track, others who manage registration, some who run the races and others who help keep everything organized. Overall it is a fun group who just want to go out and play with some big kid toys. I have been going to the meetings as well and this is a really fun group of people. I thought I’d feel like an outsider, but they were incredibly welcoming and pretty much excited that I was willing to go to their meetings.

When Jon and I went out there the first time we were met with a bit of disbelief. The suby with the studs was a big hit with the locals. We would pull up in line and the officials would mention that “everyones asking about the ‘subaru with the roof rack on it.'” Every time we stopped the car people would come and check out the studs and ask us where we got them. The next time we headed up both of us had studs and they got a bit pickier about the legality of them by their rules. The studs that Jon had were a little outside of the rules which indicated that in a 7-1/8 inch circle you may have 20 studs or less. Jon’s wheels had 30 studs in a 7-1/8 circle. It seems that at first they were willing to let him race anyway since the tires were only 5 inches wide and all the comp Jeeps have tires that are 12 inches wide. In addition they figured the Comp jeeps are lighter with more horsepower and purpose build braking helps them get around corners faster. Unfortunately one of the other drivers questioned the tires and based on the count he had to switch out. This put him and I on Continental Contact Ice racing tires. These tires have 17mm studs (rather than 20mm studs) and have them at a density of approximately 15 studs in a 7-1/8 inch circle. We are going to propose an amendment to the rule at the preseason meeting however that asks for a count of the number of studs contacting the ice rather than the number within a set circle. (the comp Jeeps have, at my count, 36+ studs on the ground at any given time)

Ok enough of the technical talk. Lets get to the fun stuff!

Friday I went up to the lake for their Practice day aka a fun day. The practice days are just a free for all. You can race anyone and you can run as many laps as you can bring yourself to run. My co-worker Stephen came out. He had raced once before and has gotten the bug as well. This time Dave Kern came up to join us. Dave is an actual professional driver and a very impressive one as well. In addition to those two guys Matt from BikeRadar came up to join us as well. Matt was doing a review on a set of Dugast studded tubular tires and this was a fun way to compare them. We arrived up on the lake and switched out tires. I had a chance to go ride along with Stephen in his pristine 325ix. This thing is so nice inside and out and it is nearly 25 years old! After racing in the bimmer we took my car out for a spin. the studs just tear into the ice and it is quite an eye opener when you experience it for the first time.

Eventually Jon got out on the ice as well and we had a chance to race, then Dave arrived as well. Dave didn’t have a car to drive so I let him drive mine around. He was great with tips and pointers every time I drove. and when he drove it was fun just to watch the lightning fast movements that he was doing to constantly control every aspect of the car. We battled with my ABS and hoped to turn it off, but unfortunately had trouble getting that to happen.

Throughout the day I was playing with my new GoPro HD camera. This is also a fun toy…for me at least. But I had a good time finding angles that would look good on camera. I put together a little video from that footage as well.

I put a quick vid up of Dave driving as well, this one you can hear the engine just screaming!

At the end of the day I had logged over 9.5 miles of driving at full throttle on the ice. This is in 1/4 mile increments since each track is probably 1/4 to 1/3rd of a mile. We maxed out at 35.1 miles an hour as well, which I would say is pretty impressive considering how small the courses are and how tight they are as well.

We even had a couple fans. While I was in the pit I talked to a couple people who pulled off the highway to come check it out and were drawn to the fast subies on the studs!

This was the last weekend for racing this year. There is actually plenty of Ice up there, but this was the championship weekend so the next race will be on New Years day…I CAN’T WAIT!