Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Colorado Freeride Festival 2012

Ellie and I had a totally fun, rockin' weekend at the Colorado Freeride Festival up in Winter Park. We spent the weekend with some friends from the team.

Ellie and Maris put together a couple of fun costumes. Ellie has her game face on here so that you can see her mustache.

The most anticipated event of the weekend, for us at least, was the Intergalactic Pond Crossing Championship. It is really a lot of fun. Riders have to wear a life jacket to help them float in the event that he/she fell in. Out of 46 riders, only about 7 or 8 made it across. Ellie and Maris were two of them.

You begin going down a short, rather steep wooden track. The trick here is concentration and focus.
Many of the riders used their legs for balance. It made for some funny crossings.
By the time Ellie was half way across the pond the crowd started chanting, "Go Viking! Viking! Viking!" She made it look so easy and effortless. Each rider gets two tries. Ellie made it across both time, the second time was a bit less tidy.

Ellie won the women's category. She got a super cool trophy and $80. A female mountain biker that owns a boutique in town said, "That was so bad ass! Come into my store and I'll hook you up with about $50 merchandise." That was exciting, too.

Saturday's feature was the Epic Singletrack Cross Country race that began in Fraiser and ended in Winter Park. It was a fun, but somewhat rough ride. She hit a rock and flew over her handlebars. Perhaps we should have named her Endo Girl since that seems to be her favorite cycling trick.

She managed to get up, straighten her handlebars and seat then continued the race, coming in ahead of all of the women in her category, regardless of the age class.

Our friends were staying in the beautiful Vintage Hotel where we spent a lot of time when it was raining. We enjoyed watching the Olympics each night. They invited Ellie to sleep in the room so that she did not have to camp out in the rain. They invited me as well, but I opted for the woods.
Being able to ride the cabriolet was a bonus.

The kids spent a lot of time in the hot tub.

On Sunday we took in the Slopestyle Finals. It is exciting and scary. My mom brain looks at the course and imagines all of the places that the rider could crash or hit his/her head. At this point Ellie seems to like watching it, but is not interested in doing it. That is just fine with me.
Here's what the race venue looked like from the bottom of the mountain. The course was specially designed and constructed for this competition.

This is a whale tail. It might be the most scary of them all, at least for me. This kids seemed to love it. One rider made it into the scoop, but something went wrong. He tossed down his bike in anger and then had to climb down. This competition was being televised, so imagine he had lot of emotion around that, too.

All of these riders had to qualify to do the competition. Some of these guys came from places like Germany, England and Canada to compete.

The men are all so different. One excellent rider is 37 years old and 6'8" tall. Another is in his early 20's, about 5'4" and built like a bulldog. One rider hit the berm wrong. The seat got stuck in his bottom. It took two guys to pull it out. It was both a bit humorous and not, all a the same time. I imagine his bottom will be sore for a while.

The whole event was very interesting people watching. Most of the vendors had a certain look. Most of them were very hip, often either sporting artistic tattoos and grungy hip mountain biker or the sort of techy hipster. After talking to some of them I learned that many of them work for an advertising agency that "rents" out groups of folks to work such events. The company have many different "looks" to choose from. The photographers were the same way, but tended to be less polished looking. I loved watching them use the boom cranes to get great shots and see where they stand to get the others. I'd like to do that kind of thing after I retire. Somehow, I don't think I will have the look that they will be looking for. I can't imagine there is a lot of need for the funky, retired English teacher look, unless you are going to an education or library conference.

Here's a video that highlights the slopestyle contest.

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