Adventures in life and photography out West

Life Goes On

In the aftermath of the Lance Armstrong affair coming to light, a laundry list of sponsors have terminated their relationships with the now-disgraced cycling legend. Former teammate Levi Leipheimer was fired from his team, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, seemingly for coming clean. It’s all a terrible mess. I have some suggestions to get over this, if only for a while.
The Estes Park High School Mountain Bike Racing Team heads to beautiful Fruita to wrap up their first season. Most of these kids had never owned a mountain bike before this fall, much less raced one. While they aren’t expected to win, they have all made huge strides and shown a lot of courage and character in choosing this life-long sport.

In the first race of the season, many of them didn’t finish. Now, as the season draws to a close, they are learning new things about themselves, as well as the sport, that will carry on well beyond their high school years.

Whether you have a kid on the team, happen to love mountain biking, love the Fruita area, or any combination there of, make the drive to sunny and warm Fruita to cheer on these kids. Then, maybe stop by Over The Edge Sports in Fruita, where you can rent a bike of your own, then head to the Book Cliffs or out to the Kokopelli Trail and have some two-wheeled fun of your own. It would make for a great family weekend.

If, like me, you just don’t have the time or gas money to make the drive west, head to Denver on Saturday and take in a bit of bike-geek culture. The annual VeloSwap fills the National Western Complex from 9 to 4. If you need a new bike, some components, clothing or just love people watching, this is a fantastic event.

I’ve written about this every year I’ve had the chance, and I get more excited every time. I’ve met Graham Watson, celebrated cycling photographer, at the event. I’ve met Ironman World Champion Chris MacCormac their. I’ve touched David Millar’s Garmin bikes and purchased replica jerseys of Mario Cipollini, Alessandro Petacchi and “Fast” Freddy Rodriguez. I’ve picked up carbon race wheels for $80. I’ve carried out countless pairs of socks and shorts. On at least two occasions, I’ve helped cement a love of bicycle culture for a friend.

Industry companies like Rudy Project, VeloNews, MAVIC will chow off their new gear. Area bike shops like Full Cycles, Big Ring Cycles and Sports Garage will have booths to sell off last season’s gear. Small Planet Foods and Larabar will be there. Magazines, massage therapists, various lube and skin care companies and at least one bike insurance firm will all show for the event.

Subaru sponsors a shuttle to make getting from your car to the event hall and back with all your new gear easy. If you can, Bike Denver, a cycling advocacy group, encourages attendees to ride to the event. They will have bike parking with security. The Boulder Center for Sports Medicine will hold Computrainer events throughout the day with prizes.

Tickets are $8 at the door. Parking is $10, but you can usually make that up in short order once you get inside. You can even bring your old innertubes that clutter your garage. Green Guru collects them to make bags, wallets and purses. Go down and spend the day, or shoot in, find what you need and get out. Which ever you prefer, the drive will be worth it.

Have fun, be safe. I’m going swapping.

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