I’m running behind, but having fun. At’s been several weeks since the USA Pro Challenge but I have several images still. Some don’t have Jens Voigt in them. Can you get this close to pros in any other sport? Not likely. We, the adoring fans, can also enjoy riding on more or less the same course as the heroes. I don’t get to play hockey in the Pepsi Center. My tennis fan friends don’t get to play center court at Wimbledon. I have actually touched these guys, as well as having ridden some of the same roads.
So, without further delay. . .
German and man of the world, Jens Voigt, receives a send-off worthy of a king from fans before the start of Sunday’s final stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Boulder, Colorado. After 18 professional racing seasons, 17 Tours de France and countless souls crushed, Voigt hung up his race wheels for the last time after Sunday’s race finish.
Here we go, one last time
So the USA Pro Challenge is set to start today with the circuit between Aspen and Snowmass. The stage was so popular last year that the organizers brought it back this year. While that returned this season, at least one fixture of the peloton won’t be back next year.
Lunchbox-hero Jens Voigt will ride one last race, the Pro Challenge, then hang up his bike as a pro. The Jensie grew up in the old East Germany and has been a pro since 1997 and has worn the coveted yellow jersey of the Tour on two occasions. Two years ago, Jens won an epic breakaway stage from Aspen, over Independence Pass and all the way into Beaver Creek.
Jens has made his career sacrificing for his team leaders. This, and his easy-going personality, has made him a world-wide fan favorite. No one attacks more. No one suffers better. No one stands around and chats with fans quite as much as Jensie.
Good luck this week and enjoy your time with the family in retirement. And thanks for the memories.
‘Tis the season
So, (and I do that specifically because may editor tells me that I shouldn’t) I’m sitting on my couch, trying not to bolt out the door and ride for the next couple hours. I’m watching last summer’s CrossFit games, eating a whole lot of trail mix and drinking my usual gallon of coffee. I’m still working on healing a niggling knee issue. I’ve ordered a pair of Kelly Starett’s Voodoo Floss compression bands. It’s not easy doing the off season. I recently received the CyGo Lite Explorer 800. I’ll be honest, I think this was designed more for trail riding as it is so bright and so wide. It’s a great light for commuting after dark. I’ve spotted bears, deer and stray children as I’ve pedaled home. It is so much better than the lights I used years ago (the ’90s) when I first commuted by bike. The battery is rechargeable Li-Ion, and lasts better than an hour at the highest setting. I attach the light to my helmet with the battery in the pocket of my backpack. It comes with a long extra power cord for just such a situation. The lamp part, itself is the smallest that Cygo Lite makes, so it works very well as a helmet light. This is a great product that runs about $190 normally, but often goes on sale for $150. It works exceptionally well when teamed with the CygoLite 700 on my handle bars.
Well, snow is in the weekend forecast, which reminds me, the USA CycloCross National Championships are around the corner and down the hill from me. The Valmont Bike Park in lovely Boulder Colorado will be the venue. ‘Cross is a great spectator sport. The whole course is set up so fans can see it all from nearly any point along the course. Imagine short-course mountain biking on modified road bikes, that gets you close. Sand, mud, off-camber turns, steep descents and barriers requiring riders to dismount and carry their bikes. It’s a blast. If you have a little time between January 8-12, 2014, head on over. It’s a party with a race in the middle. By the way, all of these ‘Cross images are mine. Copyright Walt Hester Photography. More to show off than anything else.
That’s all I have for this week. I hope to be more with it and get back on this next week. Mean while . . . Have fun, be safe. I’m going riding.
So, we’ve had some water issues in my lovely home town. The water removed bridges and dams. That’s an issue. But signs of recovery and hope are appearing.
I ran into a guy who works for Ride the Rockies. First, great guy. Works hard and loves what he does. He mentioned how challenging route-finding was so far, with the wiping-out of so many canyons and bridges. They had a southerly route this last year. It will be interesting to see what they have to do this year. I didn’t think of it until today, four days lair, but touring effected communities would be a much-needed shot in the arm. If you live in one of these Colorado Front Range or Foothills communities, shoot them and e-mail with the suggestion. Evergreen, Nederland, Ward, Jamestown, Estes Park, Boulder, Longmont and possibly most of all, Lyons, could use some love.
Colorado’s Cyclist-in-Chief visited town today. Governor John Hickenlooper was touring these communities offering hope and help. He missed the new ride out east, Pedal the Plains, in September due to a surgery. He was still hobbling around on really cool crutches, as much as crutches can be cool. My town gave hime a t-shirt created to raise money for flood relief. When I get him alone for a moment, I told him of Slipstream’s (parent company for the Garmin-Sharp pro race team) Castelli jersey. The clothing sponsor for the Garmin squad has created a Colorado Drop jersey featuring the blue argil and a rain drop with the Colorado “C” in it. Money raised will go to local flood recovery efforts. Way to step up! I will be ordering mine on Friday. Check it out – http://store.castelli-us.com/product/drop-for-colorado-jersey/?added-to-cart=329
There are many organizations jumping in to help, and it’s a nice thing to see. The big main highways from Estes Park down to the Front Range should have the simplest of dirt roads by December. Hopefully, those guys will have something ridable by June. From what I’ve seen, these guys are working much harder than their pay grade would indicate. Between the Nat’l Guard and the Army Corpse of Engineers, we have plenty of workers. (Warning – Political statement coming) I hope the powers that be can pull their collective heads out so these guys can get paid for helping us out.
So, I’ve had a change in my real job, so I will be switching my schedule. I will be writing on Wednesdays for a while. That opens up a lot of fun for me. Nobody else home on Wednesdays. I can take long rides guilt-free! That’s yet another chance to get cool stuff and review it. Hurray for me!
Until then . . .
Have fun, be safe. I’m going riding!
The jersey. Pretty cool!
Just missed it
So, I have now missed two entire TV series with significant cultural impact. I never saw a single “Sopranos” episode and now I missed every last episode of “Breaking Bad.” I’m not bragging,nor am I ashamed. I just never found the need to track them down. I realize I won’t be able to make references or inside jokes, but I can’t say that it has negatively effected my life. These are the choices we, as cyclists, make.
There are things I won’t miss. I have seen all of my daughter’s singing and swimming performances. I actually photographed my wife’s graduation from nursing school. I have had the privilege of walking my little girl to the bus nearly every day. I have priorities.
I grew up in Nebraska. Even in my formative years, I missed Husker games. I played rugby. I played soccer. I played sandlot football. I prefer doing rather than watching. This is how we are as cyclists. Days that would be considered perfect for football are better for riding. I know I’m not alone.
Again, I don’t hate those other things. I try not to be “judgie” about those who are really into TV. It’s just not my thing. If you are a regular reader, you may feel the same. In my head, TV is what one watches when one can’t get out on the bike. Watching TV reminds me of bad weather and injury.
I don’t really know where I’m headed with this one. I suppose part of this is actually missing long rides dueto the large sections of riding roads washed away by the Colorado floods. I look forward to riding in Boulder, eventually. I look forward to next summer when it is possible that I will be able to ride to Loveland, back up through the Big Thompson Canyon and possibly up through Glen Haven. It’s going to be a long recovery, but it will come. I still hope to get some rides in through the fall foliage.
I hope you, who ever you are and where ever you are, can get out. I hope you can enjoy the crisp fall air and the smell of fallen leaves. Think of the riders who are faced with the long clean up we have ahead. Ride for us and enjoy.
Have fun, be safe. I’m cleaning up.
My favorite peak in my favorite foliage.
Fit to help
The holiday season is just beginning to ramp up. For many, including myself, it consists of the opposing forces of wonderful holiday food and trying to stay in reasonable shape in the off-season. As I am reminded, year after year, it doesn’t have to be that hard. The giving season offers ample opportunity to keep fitness and stay in the holiday mood.
On Sunday, Nov. 18, Boulder Cycle Sport will sponsor Cranksgiving Boulder, a charity ride with a twist. Show up at the Boulder Cycle Sport south location, 629 S. Broadway with your bike, any bike, and $20 by noon. Participants will be given a checklist and will ride to grocery store “check points” and buy an item or two, then on to the next. The race winner will be the first rider to get back to the bike shop with all his or her groceries. The food will be donated.
Prizes will also be awarded for best costume and oldest ridable bike. Bring $20, a bike, a helmet and a lock and be ready for fun.
The event not only gathers much-needed food for those less fortunate, but also shines a positive light on the local cycling community. If this sounds good, sign up at the link found on the shop’s website: bouldercyclesport.com/community/cranksgiving-boulder.
Closer to home, the CrossFit Estes Park community is organizing and sweating for one of its own. This Saturday, Nov. 17, the box at 1755, Spur 66, just past the Rock Inn, will host a fund-raiser for local CrossFitter, artist and all-round great guy, Joel York.
A few years back, York, who’s only 35, was diagnosed with cancer. While doctors caught it in plenty of time, hospital visits and treatment get expensive. The fund-raiser will help defray the costs.
Bring whatever you can for a donation. Whatever money the event raises will be matched by the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, so be generous.
York is an upbeat, humble and energetic member of the community who has lived in Estes Park for nearly 20 years. He is not only an artist, but also an instructor for CrossFit Estes Park. While his technique seems nearly flawless to most, he is fond of saying, “It’s all a stupid game,” and “I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”
The fund-raiser will, of course, consist of a workout that gym owner Eric Adams describes as “easily scalable.” The idea is to make it so that anyone at any fitness level can participate. It’s much more about supporting Joel than showing off fitness and you don’t have to belong to CrossFit Estes Park to participate. The gym will open at 6 a.m. and remain open until 4 p.m. Group workouts are planned for 6, 7 and 10:30 a.m., as well as 2:30 that afternoon.
Even if you are not able to workout, come down to donate, then cheer the athletes on. It’s a great event for a great community member. I’m a bit biased, I’ll admit. I’ve worked out and played hockey with Joel for much of the last 12 years. He has a great attitude, especially when he’s making a skill I’m no good at look easy. The least I can do is show up and sweat a little for him. I encourage you to do the same.
Have fun, be safe. I’m going fund-raising.