Friday, May 17, 2013

A Stoner's Ward, Colorado

Ward, known as a historic mining town, turned hippie town, turned hippie with a yuppie twist, is a stopping point to chill and grab a coke or a warm coca or a snickers bar after a bonk at the top of one of the better known climbs along the front range...Lefthand Canyon.  The ride from Boulder up Lefthand Canyon is on all serious cyclists ride list for climbs.  

The Town of Ward has its roots dating back to the 1860's when the Colorado Gold Rush began after the neighboring town of Gold Hill struck the "mother load". Ward followed suite after gold was discovered nearby and the towns population swelled to over a couple of thousand...a stark contrast to the towns current population of a couple of hundred.  One of Wards landmark is the "bus" parked near the west end of downtown.  According to the locals, the bus belong to a hippie named Bill Stone.  He drove his bus from somewhere, came to Ward and decided this was his town to plant his wheels, and permanently parked it at its present location.  The local store owner, who resided in Ward for over 27 years said Mr. Stone was a stoner, artist, and local good guy.  He lived in his bus, created a patio surrounded by old wood, skis, boots, etc. Mr. Stone has since passed away, but he has left his mark on Ward with its "iconic" rural hippie landmark.

Here are a few photos of Mr. Stone's home, studio, social gathering place, and landmark taken on May 16, 2013.  All photos are strictly © Dejan Smaic 2013.

Broken Dreams.  Inside the bus.

Freewheeling times.

Brainard Lake

Memorial Day is coming up and most winter road closures are being cleared and are expected to be open by the US holiday.  Brainard Lake is no exception.  Having spent countless time at the park over the years, I have seen the park open earlier due to lack of accumulated snowfall.  However, this year, we have seen a late surge in spring snow storms with significant snow accumulations.  On Thursday, May 16, 2013, I decided to head up to Brainard Lake with my mountain bike and loaded with camera gear.  As expected, the park gates were closed, but a crew with a tractor & large front blade showed up with Boulder County personnel and began working on clearing the roads.  There has been significant snow melt the past week or two, but drifts as high as 6 feet still covered the roadway in spots.

Getting to Brainard lake, perse, was fairly accessible by bike provided you has wide tires and can tolerate soaked cycling or running shoes from the hiking / porting.  There were no moose or mountain lion sightings, which are common place, but the wind was present.  The temps were a comfortable 50-55 degrees F, but one needs to be wary of afternoon storms.  

If you want to do some hiking, bring your snowshoes and a change of dry shoes & socks.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wheels of Thunder Classic

The Wheels of Thunder Classic, promoted by the International Christian Cycling Club (ICCC), was held just a few big blocks from the Broncos indoors training facility at Dove Valley in Littleton, Colorado. The course, a 1.6 mile wide, exposed, and rolling venue, never disappoints to being a very animated and dynamic race...never knowing if a break or a field sprint will take the day.  There was a crash or two, but everyone managed to walk or limp away.

The photo gallery link is here:

A link to results are here

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Koppenberg Circuit Race - Updated Conditions

The Koppenberg Circuit Race, promoted by Without Limits, will be held on Sunday, May 5, 2013 on the historic circuit which includes the infamous "make or break" Koppenberg Hill. The Kopp has been know to be rutted, gravelly, smooth, to just plain tough. One of the keys to success at the race is to be near the front going into the brutal little climb and staying there, especially during windy conditions, until you get around the first "S" turn. Even Taylor Phinney did not win The Kopp. 

Intel Report: the Kopp and dirt roads have been graded as of this Friday, D minus 2 days. As a notable rider hinted, "...if you don't like gravel, don't ride the Kopp..."

Latest Intel from Without Limits:  Washy spots will be swept in the am. Hill 100% dry as of 6pm, top is rutted so it's a fight for the good lines. Grading took away all the washboard which is a plus and covered all the nails on the bridge

Some key notes regarding the course:  
- hit The kopp Hill near the front. There are usually two lines up the hill, sometimes one depending on conditions.
- if windy, expect crosswinds from the west along the dirt section after The Kopp, and a fast tailwind after making a right onto Marshall Rd.
- DANGEROUS last corner if going into it hot. A very fast corner, and a history of crashes.

See you guys and gals out there, but from behind the lens!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ideal Market & Twin Peaks Mall Crit Series Tonite!

Hot off the press from Barry Lee of Sanitas Sports is the Ideal Market  and Twin Peaks Mall p/b Whole Foods Market and Newmark Merrill Crit Series course map!  The Thursday night crit series is being held in the vacant parking lots and feeder roads of the ghost mall Twin Peaks Mall from April 25th through August 15, 2013.  

The change in venue from 2012 Wednesday night series to its present location at the Twin Peaks Mall in Longmont should allow for greater flexibility in courses resulting in challenging racing through the season, greater accessibility for riders between Boulder and Fort Collins areas, and exposure for future mall redevelopment...not your typical office park crit!  According to Barry, the inaugural event will host festivities for kids and adults, including expos, live music, with the the Mayor of Longmont being present.  

Race report and photos to follow tonites events!

Race Flyer and Course Map:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weld County RR - A View from Outside the Box

The Weld County RR in its first year had a little dirt with a lot of interesting rolling scenic asphalt road and no significant wind did not disappoint me from behind the lens.  A few crashes, a few mechanicals, and a pot hole here and there kept race officials and broom vehicles a little busy, but is the norm for a road race in Colorado. 

The mens & womens Pro 12 races were marred by numerous successful breaks, chase groups, and content fields... According to my sources, the mens Pro 12 race was difficult from the gun and compounded by the dirt and a slight tailwind on the back side of the course.  I am sure everyone has their war stories. The womens race splint into a 4 women break with two chasers and then the field.  I'll update this brief report after the final results are posted.

Photo Gallery: Weld County RR Photos