Sunday, September 25, 2011

SUP'er FLY Weekend....Chasing the Fall Colors

And A Road Runs Through It...Never Summer Range on Colorado Wyoming border.
 So we aren't about to let the summer wind down without a bang but a long season of packing, unpacking, booking flights, entering races, and juggling all things domestic are coming to an end. Perfect time Heather says for a weekend to sneak away to her favorite Colorado getaway...the Never Summer Range in northern Colorado where the aspens paint the landscape with a burning orange and yellow mosaic in the shadows of early season snow sprinkled 13,000 foot peaks. 

 Long off the beaten path, the Never Summer Range takes you back in time to what Colorado used to look like before the development of it central valleys into ski resorts and highways. The photo above is what we woke up to after arriving well after dark. The Sprinter van just seems to have an instinctual awareness to find the best views even absent of light and she hit a home run this morning. 
 We spent the weekend scouting by bike backcountry yurts for the upcoming ski season as well as paddling Michigan Lake. Heather continues to develop the best kept secret sport of SUPerFly fishing well into it's second year of development. SUP stands for Stand Up Paddleboard and you get the FLY part hey? The catching seems to be mastered but the release remains a bit tippy. Standby for the production version next spring.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Team Nuun Ripboard Wins Gravity Play Glenwood Springs 12 Hour Adventure Race

Team Ripboard Jeremy Rodgers, Heather Prentice, Mike Freeburn, and Ryan Ognibene (missing)
So we finally got the adventure racing Zen master Mike Freeburn out of semi retirement for the Glenwood Springs Adventure Extream 12 hour race and what a treat it was to race with Mike again. Heather, Ryan Ognibene, and I teamed up with Ripboard based out of Denver, Colorado with an all star cast. Mike was one of my original mentors and inspirations to begin downriver kayak racing in 2005 and was one of the best adventure racers in the US for many years. Even better, he's a principal of Durango High School so he knows how to keep the team in ship shape hence the nickname Zen Master.

So 50 teams began the 12 hour race with a 3000 foot ascent straight up on foot to the caving, rappel, and alpine slide. We jockeyed with Team Lifequest Adventure from gun fire to finish line. We discussed pre race that only the first 6 racers, solo or team to the alpine coaster got a carbohydrate free ride down the mountain. After a grueling vertical ascent, the alpine coaster had us all giggling with high G force turns. We came off of the first run leg 1 hour later in a lead with Team LifeQuest Adventure in a close second place.

We began the mountain bike leg with a brisk ascent of Lookout Mountain on our way to Boy Scout Trail which is a gem of a ride for single track lovers just outside of Glenwood Springs. This singletrack has amazing views and even more amazing exposure. Today had no shortage of carnage and just as Team Lifequest caught us on the bikes they crashed trying to keep their small lead.

After several hours of jockeying back and forth and steep descents back into Glenwood, we pulled some aces out of the hat. As team Lifequest rolled into the TA and check out, we traded in our mountain bikes and grabbed road bikes for the bike path ascent to the riverboarding/paddle section of the course on the Shoshone section of the Lower Colorado.

With 2 national kayak team members and all 4 of us being river  saavy, we held our position in draft of Lifequest all the way to the river board start. Race director, Will Newcomer, met us at the river board put in to let us know our engineering marval "Ripboard Transport System", which was a fast hauling portage system to run the river boards 2 miles up the bike path, was a no go. With the Shoshone section running double it's normal volume at nearly 2500 cfs, he was concerned hauling the river board portage system down river with us wouldn't bode well as we agreed.

It was clear to us after 5 seconds in the class 3-4 river board section how Rip Boards got their namesake. Heather got a wild ride in one of the holes in Tombstone Rapid after having her Ripboard ripped out of her hands.  She rallied back onto the Rip Board and we cruised into the paddle start neck and neck with Team Lifequest with Team OutdoorLife about 30 minutes back.

Heather diving for dollars on the river board section. Nice job hun!

Our strategy played out as the paddle leg was our bread and butter. Team Nuun Ripboard rolled into the finish line in 5 hours 28 some minutes a hard fought but smooth 10 minutes ahead of a solid all male second place Lifequest team. Adventure racing has always been a coed sport and we are hard headed like that and choose to stick with tradition but these all male teams really made us work hard to outwit and outlast the horsepower heavy all male teams that race in the same 4 person elite class.

Team Nuun Ripboard was first overall followed by Lifequest Adventure and Team Outdoor Life then soloist Spencer Lacy. Spencer and his paddling phenom brother Mason duke it out like 2 brothers 1 year apart should and their post race stories are the best in the business.  We even got one racers report that he saw them both crash on Boy Scout Trail off the exposed trail only to hear "giggling in the bushes". Priceless!

Team Nuun Ripboard, 1st Overall, Mike Freeburn, Heather Prentice, Jeremy Rodgers, Ryan Ognibene, and of course Mazzers and a curious Labrador.

Hamburgers on our new grill and cool drinks after the race around the HybridVan punch lined the post race events for racers. Special thanks to Nuun, Ripboard, KEEN, and Garmin for their ongoing support of adventure and adventure racing in the US!

Next up, 2012 National Team Trials in Kentucky Oct 15th followed by ski season.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Colorado Style....

Monarch Crest....Continental Divide. 32 Miles of Mind Blowing Singletrack at Over 12,000 Feet!

So Heather and loaded up the Hybridvan and rolled on down to the Arkansas River Valley for Labor Day. Top on the list was testing our new Party King grill for the van. This hitch mounted instant tailgater grill put the finishing touches onto the Ultimate Multisport Van.

You can see below even Mazzer's was stoked about her new magic brat grill'n wonder that in seconds converts from our hot water shower heater to instant filet mignon.You know we'd be crushed to come back after a long ride and see the grill missing so we had to add   a security system  and back up camera thanks to the installation crew at Car Toys in Boulder.Thanks Bobby, James, and Jesse for the advice on these improvements!

After 2 days of riverboarding on our new Ripboard's from Ripboard in Denver, CO and a Colorado classic Super Monarch Crest ride, we were ready for the grill for sure.

Weekend cap was a few good town runs in Buena Vista on our way back home. I just got my new Garmin 310XT to test out and Garmin continues to reinvent itself. Not only is the new 310XT 110% waterproof, it adds several functionalities that the performance kayaker, multisport athlete, or even beginning runner can self coach even better with. My favorite improvement over the Garmin 305 is that the 310XT  is slimmer and even lighter however maintains the gold standard super large readouts and multiple data fields for on the fly viewing on even the most aggressive terrain conditions.

Next week...Gravity Play Glenwood Springs Adventure Race with our favorite Colorado racers Mike Freeburn from Durango, CO and Ryan Ognibene from Boulder.