Colorado - A Biker's Paradise

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This past week the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge rolled through Colorado and ended up being a massive success. Richard Scharf from Visit Denver noted in a news article that tens of millions of people from 160 different countries watched the race on television, and towns like Breckenridge reported their largest crowds in history. While expected revenue for the state was estimated around $70 million, rumor has it that it ended up being closer to $100 million. The race highlighted 11 cities this year, including Colorado Springs, Crested Butte, Salida, Steamboat Springs, Vail, Breckenridge, Golden, Denver, Avon, Gunnison, and Aspen. The 11 different cities for next year won't be chosen until December, yet the committee is already getting overwhelming amounts of bids, which they say, "is a good problem to have". Excitingly, the first five overall winners were all from the USA, with Levi Leipheimer coming in first.

I was kind of bummed I had to work because I really didn't want to miss the race and all the action that went along with it. Luckily me and a fellow co-worker (because of our good work ethic) got to go out with two of our managers and watch the race go by on company time, I was stoked! There was an insane amount of vehicles, including police cars/motorcycles that started driving down the road a good 10 minutes before the first group of bikers cruised by. What was even more surprising was that once the first 5 bikers went by with their entourage, it was a good 5 minutes before the next large group came through. Below is a video I took with the first 4 leaders, followed by the next group (which was also the largest). The video below that are the highlights from TV of stage 5, that ended in Breckenridge.

Colorado doesn't just cater to road bikers though! The week before the Pro Cycling Challenge Breckenridge hosted the Breck Epic, an annual mountain bike race that has began attracting riders from as far away as British Columbia and Puerto Rico. As described from Breck Epic's Facebook page: "Are you tough enough? The Breck Epic is a 6-day ultra-endurance mountain bike stage race held in the sprawling backcountry surrounding the Victorian mining town of Breckenridge, Colorado. If the course were a person it would be dressed in black leather and brandishing something nasty, but it does have a tender side – proceeds from the B.E. benefit local open space initiatives and trail improvements." (I actually just got the statics on this race: 6 days - 251 miles - 42k vertical... wow.)

 The Breck Epic was also a success, noted in The Summit Daily by Mark Halwa from British Columbia: "Eight of us from British Columbia just came down to participate in the 2011 Breck Epic. On behalf of all of us — we're very impressed! We experienced a first-class event, well built and challenging trails, very nice, helpful people in all the shops and restaurants, and all eight of us left behind a bundle of our disposable income.

We, too, live in a mountain biking/outdoors community, but the level of cooperation to build the mountain bike trail network you have — as well as that great paved trail between Frisco and Breck — is very apparent, and I'm sure you folks are very proud of what you have.

Some time ago I'll bet the question was asked, “If we build them (mountain bike trails), will they come?” Well, you did build them, we came, we'll be back, and we'll probably spend even more money next time. Congratulations to Mike McCormack and his team for putting on a world-class event in a community that has something very special — you rock Breckenridge

Okay, okay... So you're not a road biker or a mountain biker, I get it. You're apart of the younger generation whose into the dirt jumping, race tracks, pump tracks, and more... Don't worry, we covered that for you this summer as well. A project that has been three years in the making, also known as the Frisco Peninsula Bike Park, that started last fall, has exploded into a plethora of jumps, wood features, twists, and turns at Frisco's Recreation Center. This may not be completely accurate, but as of now, the bike park consists of three different pump tracks for different levels, a slopestyle mountain bike park, a pump track, and I believe a race track is underway. Here are some pictures from their blog, which you can check out at www.friscopeninsulabikepark.com. Oh yeah, did I mention that it's free?


Summer Recap: The Goliath Entry

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I really intended on updating more than twice this summer. Once July came around I became so busy it got away from me, and now here late August is with school starting next week, yikes! I was officially accepted into the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program which I am very excited about! I got really lucky to have my intended major be one of the first four year degrees offered at CMC. It would have been hard to leave Summit County to go finish at CU Boulder. Anyway, about my summer!

If you don't already know, I am and have been a motocross fan my entire life. On June 25th the Lucas Oil Motocross Championship race took place at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, which is just outside of Denver. I got to see the biggest baddest racers in motocross for the first time in my life. I was so excited I felt like a giddy school girl! We also bought pit passes so we were able to go in to the pits and look at all the bikes while they weren't being raced. Seeing these bikes up close made me even more giddy. It was easily one of the coolest experiences of my life. It was our first time to an event like that so we were pretty unprepared, but we found a nice spot up on the dirt in front of the biggest jump and sat there all 5 hours! Next year we're definitely going to make it a bigger event and be more prepared.

Here's a couple pictures followed by a short video clip I put together. If that video doesn't make you smile or say "woah!" in amazement I don't know what will.

*Don't forget that you can click on any of these pictures to make them a lot bigger!

My two heroes: Ashley Fiolek and Jessica Patterson duking it out for 1st!

Here's a short clip of some of the men's 450cc class.

Then two days later I flew home for the 4th of July and my favorite week of the year. Part of my enormous family on my dad's side all go to our family house on Minoqua Lake in northern WI. It is easily my favorite place in the world. There is never a shortage of love, food, and fun, yet it's so peaceful all at the same time. Last summer I was lucky and got to spend nearly a month there, so this summer a short 5 days wasn't nearly enough. I've definitely been feeling homesick for the cottage.

All of these photos are courtesy of my brother and his amazing photography skills!

Me relaxing on the couch after a long day on the water.

 My cousin Alison and the dogs... because what's a cottage without dogs?!
 Me and my cousin James... we might as well be brother and sister.
 Nothing beats fireworks over the water!

The day after the 4th we drove back to Milwaukee and I flew back to Colorado the same day. The next morning I started my job at the Nike Factory in Silverthorne at 8am. I thought I knew what busy was when I worked at a fast-paced mall in Milwaukee for several years... Holy crap do the outlets get crowded!! Sometimes it seems like there's at least 10 different languages in the store at once. Almost all of my co-employees are bi-lingual. One of my co-emloyees from Ukraine speaks Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, and English fluently and is getting there with Spanish. It's funny that people get the impression that our small little mountain towns are in our own little bubbles excluded from the world, when really the world comes to us!

I decided to treat myself with my first paycheck by buying something I've wanted for so long, a GoPro. A GoPro is a little waterproof/collision proof HD video camera that can be mounted to anything imaginable. I wanted to give my readers a more "See What I See" experience, and what better way than this? Expect a lot more action footage this coming year! So far I've only taken it dirtbiking and hiking, but here are some cool shots and a short edit thus far. (Sorry I go fast at the beginning mom and dad... I gotta look cool, right?)

What I should have done with my GoPro was gone rafting! If you didn't hear, the water levels were the highest they've been in almost 20 years this summer. The massive melting snow pack on top of the monsoon moisture with upwards of 3 straight weeks of rain caused some pretty severe flooding. In fact, the flooding made it pretty difficult to get to CMC for those taking summer classes! There are two ways to get to CMC- Airport Rd. or Coyne Valley Rd. (off of Hwy 9). Part of Airport Rd was closed for several weeks due to flooding, so a make-shift road was made through the dirt parking lot off to the side. And then on July 11th, sometime between 12am-3am, Coyne Valley Rd. literally washed away! The road didn't reopen until last week. Check out the video below.

 HIGHLIGHT* Hanging Lake / Spouting Rock
One of the main things I wanted to go and do this summer was hike Hanging Lake/ Spouting Rock in Glenwood Canyon, and man am I glad I did!!! If you plan on doing it, definitely do it early in the morning! Regardless of the fact that we live almost 5,000ft higher than the trail, it was still a steep and decent hike. We trucked past the tourists, but I give them credit for doing it! I'll definitely put it on the difficult scale for those not acclimated to Colorado. Every inch of that trail is so breathtaking (in every respect, lol!) though, so the work out is well worth it!

The trail itself is a steep and rocky 1.5 mile climb that follows along side Dead Horse Creek, the falling river that stems from Hanging Lake. After several river crossings and harsh switch backs below treeline you meet the short upper section of the trail, which has handrails (for good reason) and some of the most breathtaking scenery I've ever seen. (Though if you are scared of heights, you may not want to look for this portion, ha!) We'll just say that you'll really be living life on the edge. When you finally reach the top of the trail head you have the option to go right to Hanging Lake, or continue up a little further to Spouting Rock. Spouting Rock (consisting of two waterfalls), is directly above Hanging Lake and got it's name because the water literally spouts right out of the rock (as you'll see from the pictures). Some of these pictures are courtesy of my GoPro, hence the wide angle shot!

We also plan to hike to a few other places before summer is over, but I'll save those for another entry! I'm sure if entries reach a maximum length I'm getting darn close to it, so one last thing to share!

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is in Colorado this week. Taken from the website, "Breathtaking altitudes, treacherous climbs and 128 of the worlds best riders. It’s the most challenging race held on American soil. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is the most demanding bike race ever held on American soil, with racers experiencing breathless altitudes, day after day. The race is on the level of the Tour de France, bringing the high speeds, danger and adrenaline of professional biking to elevations over 2 miles high in some of the most picturesque terrain in the world—the Colorado Rocky Mountains."

The race is estimated to bring in $70 million dollars of revenue to Colorado this week and Denver Airport has RUN OUT of rental cars! In all honesty, I'm kind of freaked out about working this weekend, and getting to and from work... this county is NOT meant for that amount of traffic. Scary! To learn more visit http://www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com/.

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