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.

IMG_7248

excelsports.com

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.

IMG_7260

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.

IMG_7269

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!

IMG_7290

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.

IMG_7308

IMG_7317

IMG_7315

IMG_7310

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.

IMG_7323

IMG_7326

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!

IMG_7343

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.

IMG_7349

IMG_7352

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.

IMG_7376

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…

IMG_7399

IMG_7401

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

IMG_7407

IMG_7411

IMG_7440

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!

IMG_7443

IMG_7467

IMG_7463

IMG_7482

IMG_7471

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.

IMG_7500

IMG_7558

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.

IMG_7563

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!

Flying a GoPro

For some reason when you buy a GoPro suddenly there is nothing sacred in this world and the GoPro MUST be mounted to everything. I know it sounds silly, but seriously, go buy a gopro and find out for yourself. I can assure you that you will say “Oh! I could put it on ______!” to more things than you can imagine. So when we were out at CORE and Aaron brought along a kite… well guess what happened next!

Colorado Off Road Extreme

Turns out the kite is a great way to get an ariel view. However there will be a bit more work to figure out a good way to get it mounted a bit nicer on there. With the aid of a Zip Tie and a My Life @ Speed sticker we were able to get it reasonably mounted on the kite so we could get a few shots.

Colorado Off Road Extreme

Of course, timing is a bit tough. The camera takes photos every 2 seconds. (on the setting we were using) and that seems like enough time to get a shot of a car in general part of a course. However that assumption is completely wrong

Colorado Off Road Extreme

The GoPro does have a 1 second interval as well and we will try that out in the future as well as some new mounting ideas. In the mean time I bought my own kite to see if we can use a stunt kite to direct the camera a bit more toward what we want to see. I suspect that it will be twitchy and tough to watch like the video that we shot initially (wow, don’t watch that kids you are going to throw up!) But this definitely ads another element to the fun stuff you can do with a gopro… so what do we think, should we try this shot for Pikes Peak next year?

Colorado Off Road Extreme

Oh, as a side note. Aaron has this kite for a pretty awesome reason if you ask me. I mean, kites are fun and all, but he bought this so he could fly it at the top of the 14ers that he ascends…

It’s a cold day in Colorado

You know it is a cold day when you can throw your boiling water into the air and it turns to ice before it hits the ground!

Today I decided to partake in this fun experiment, again. However I broke out the GoPro again to share the fun with you. I am beginning to realize that I seem to have a thing for ice however. Ice Racing, Ice sculptures and now crazy boiling water ice.

Hope you enjoy and if you ever have a chance try it out yourself. It needs to be at least -9 from what I am finding.

Georgetown Ice Racing

Another weekend in Georgetown and another fun time. We headed up there to compete on the ice with the Our Gang Ice Racing club and had a blast!

IMG_5430

I always feel as though I finally have the course dialed about 2 hours after my race. But I love going out there and doing lap after lap to go play on the ice. I am also glad that I haven’t gone out in the first round yet this year which at least gets me a second run. Hopefully at some point I will have some familiarity with their course setup and be able to start visualizing the fast way a bit sooner so I can be more competitive!

IMG_5417

It has been great getting to know these guys too. It is a bunch of people who are basically just looking to have fun. I can appreciate that because that is my whole motivation for going out there. I just want to have fun! Sideways action and “fast” speeds always bring a smile to my face!

IMG_5415

This time I made another video. I am fortunate to have a friend in the film world. I chatted with him last week and he gave me a few process ideas, pointers from a guy who uses Final Cut Pro for his job. “Naw, don’t use that format, use this format,” was how the conversation went. Use this format, do it like this, it will turn out awesome. So I did and I did a bit more research in color correction in FCP and a few other things and I am really psyched with the progress. I love making these videos because they all help me learn the program and the motivate me because I am so excited to actually work with this video. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this weeks installment on Youtube.