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!

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!

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.