Pedal Dancer® - A bike travel blog for fans and cyclists. Interest, information and enthusiasm about being a fan, cycling, traveling, and riding a bike. Light on opinion, heavy on information and joy of the sport. Quality of information is very important to me as well as creating a sense of cycling community for visiting fans to any bike race. Pedal Dancer is a sport and travel guide with cycling photography, maps, stories and travel recommendations.

19 October 2014

Coffeeneuring Challenge - Cowboys and Coffee

Pedaling into Week 2 of my Coffeeneuring Challenge

Leave it to me to raise the stakes on any challenge. It is not enough to simply ride to a coffee shop and sip coffee, no, I ride in 45 degree weather down an inner city bike path to first photograph Cowboy Cross (cyclo-cross) inside and outside the Western Stock Show arena, and then pedal to boiled coffee inside a former 1880's brick foundry building in the hipster heaven up-and-coming River North (RiNo) District located in upper downtown Denver.

It was so cool. Quite the adventure into a neighborhood I don't usually visit.  But that is exactly what Chasing Mailboxes 2014 Coffeneuring Challenge is supposed to do for me - get me out into new places - as week two of my six week challenge continues.

Adventure #2
Coffee Shop: Boxcar Coffee Roasters at The Source
Website: and
Address: 3350 Brighton Blvd
City: Denver
Neighborhood: RiNo (River North District)
Date visited: October 18, 2014
Bike ridden: titanium road bike, with a backpack of camera gear and a cowboy hat
Miles ridden: 16.3 miles
Weather: cold
Coffee enjoyed: Blended Boilermaker coffee
Eats: nothing

Comments: The Source calls itself an "Artisan Food Market". Occupying an former 1880‘s brick foundry building where fourteen different vendors fill the space selling goods from coffee, cheese, beer, tacos, flowers and photography. Boxcar Coffee Roaster creates their boiled coffee using a special self-made method to bring out the most flavor, they also use a refurbished 1929 Gothot Ideal Rapid roaster.


Boiling Coffee - it's the way the real cowboys used to make it out on the range. Boil the coffee in a big pot over the fire and let the grounds settle. Boxcar adds ice to the boiling coffee to quickly settle the grounds to the bottom of what looked like a science project.
The newly developed RiNo area of downtown Denver, Colorado. Basically this used to be the railroad yards.
This is the Cherry Creek bike path which runs through Denver along the gently flowing Cherry Creek, past many downtown landmarks.

A cool crisp morning pedaling down Cherry Creek Bike Path
A couple photos from Cowboy Cross at the stockshow arena. This is what Colorado cyclocross racers do for fun in an urban setting. [more photos of Cowboy Cross]

Colorado is still cowboy country, and when your friends show up to a bike race wearing cowboy hats that they just happen to own, you realize it is true. And yes, I own a Stetson cowboy hat.
How to build a cross course in an inside arena where cattle are usually shown.
A cowboy cross racer
I took this photo of my friend Cristienne Beam racing Cowboy Cross. The backdrop is the wall of Interstate-70 which runs east to west through the state of Colorado. The harsh terrain made for a great half photo/half painting type of shot of a cyclo-cross racer certainly out of her normal habitat.

Veloswap, the annual sell your own bike parts event, was going on next door in the convention hall at the same time as Cowboy Cross.

Veloswap - one man's junk is another man's stuff

Photos of my coffee experience at nearby Boxcar Coffee Roasters:

The Source, a new concept making Denver feel a bit like Portland or Seattle.
Boxcar Coffee located inside The Source, Denver
My blended Boilermaker at Boxcar Coffee in a bit of "Denver Delfie" (for Kit in Ireland who questioned my paper cup during last week's Coffeeneuring Challenge)
Boxcar espresso served with sparkling water

The method of boiling the coffee is only possible because of our high altitude in Denver (different boiling point in our mile high city), you won't find this coffee in the sea level cities of San Francisco or New York. Watching the preparation of my coffee was like watching a science lab experiment of boiling point, ice used to bring the temperature back down quickly, timers watched, and finally coffee poured. The result was outstanding coffee.

Boxcar was also the first time I had seen a thick cup of espresso served with sparkling water. The idea is to enjoy the contrasting sips.

You can also find the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project (using the term Brewery obviously was not enough for this brewery) at The Source.
Then I rode my bike back home in perfect fall season temperatures ....

New urban living development in downtown Denver
Fall colors on the bike path with the Denver Convention Center in the background
These two Penny Farthing cyclists called out "photo bomb" as they pedaled past me up the bike path on my way home. The Penny Farthing was the first machine to be called a "bicycle".
The city of Denver was founded in 1858, just twelve years before the Penny Farthing.

17 October 2014

So there is still doping in cycling?

Oh, I get it, nothing has really changed?

Should I be embarrassed to be a fan of cycling? I was told sport would build character. Words like discipline, strength, teamwork, passion, fairness, virtue, cooperation and respect for rules were touted as guaranteed outcomes for participation in sport. But it is one thing to participate, where we can control our own behavior, deciding upon our own moral boundaries, and an entirely different thing to be a fan. Particularly being a fan of a cheating sport where witnessing virtuous behavior sometimes does not come with the territory.

You take the good with the bad in pro cycling

In recent weeks two really bad things happened in the arena of professional cycling. For starters Team Astana produced three positive illegal substance testing athletes (2 for EPO, one for steroids). I would call that an epidemic. I could also describe this as Astana cultivating cheaters, because wasn't it agreed upon a couple years ago that pro teams would get involved and have zero tolerance for doping in their ranks? Yes, that happened, it was part of the New Deal of Cycling which has had mixed results.

In 2007, a group of teams, organizers, sponsors and federations signed a good-faith agreement called Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC). The agreement stipulated that teams would voluntarily pull themselves out of upcoming competition if two or more athletes tested positive for banned substances within a 12-months period - a way of punishing the team for failing to self-police. Team Astana signed the agreement which looked fine on paper and better to sponsors, but that didn't stop them from following the fine print after two positives were reported. The team raced the approaching important Il Lombardia, only later pulling out of Tour of Beijing under tremendous pressure.

Then a third positive test was exposed from a third athlete on Team Astana. Whoops.

Oh that is bad, it must be bad, right? No, not really. The UCI has warned that Team Astana "would likely face scrutiny" (per Velonews). Okay that doesn't even scare me, no way will that warning derail a multimillion dollar team who is basically managed by ex-dopers and has power beyond the UCI governing body or other opposing teams and questioning sponsors.

The second bad thing that happened this week occurred over the airwaves of Denver, Colorado, when a matter of fact commercial intended to sell a Columbia Sportswear jacket stated that pro cyclists are dopers (keep in mind that Columbia used to be a sponsor of pro cycling, remember when George Hincapie and Mark Cavendish were teammates?). It is not simply that they said it, it is the way in which they said it. It rolled off the tongue as if it were conventional wisdom, in as nonchalant kind of way as if they just stated all blonds are dumb. Whether it is true or not doesn't matter, conventional wisdom is a sign that belief has become common truth. Ouch.

Cheating is entertainment

A few weeks ago I read a blog comment that stated "Isn't Vino a great character ..... Lance Armstrong was at least entertaining." Those types of statements are so troubling to me. What I see as intentional poor judgement, wrongful gains and lack of virtue in sports - is entertainment for others. As long as you don't cheat on me and keep me entertained - who cares? Right? So wrong.

When did Pro Cycling start running a parallel to the NFL or World Wresting Federation?

Pure entertainment and being able to spin out of any wrong doing with the right PR moves, effectively diverting our attention off the real issue, gets tiresome. Maybe we need to create a separate sport for the cheaters. Wrestling itself runs two parallel sports - World Wrestling and real Collegiate/Olympic wrestling. What I am saying is that cycling fans are no fools, we get that doping continues in pro cycling but does the choice exist to watch legitimate cycling? Where can I find honest competition, or does it exist?

I only have so many rebounds left in me. I got over the Festina affair, Omertà, Operation Puerto, Floyd Landis, too many books, the nullifying of seven years of Tour de France results, plus the Lance Armstrong era of silencing and intimidation. I cheered as a new UCI President was elected and a new era of cycling was announced with biological passports. I watched as confessions and immunities poured in and teams signed that trusty Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible agreement.

A fresh start? No, there is still doping in cycling. And blondes are dumb, and Irish drink, and Italians are all good cooks, and all those other half / full truths that are conventional wisdom and solidify unjust stereotypes.

A.S.O. needs to step up and control who gets invited to their races.

Anyone who knows pro cycling, understands that A.S.O. pretty much controls this sport by being the biggest most powerful organizer in pro cycling. They own the races that the leading teams must be invited to be a part of to retain the best sponsors and bring in top dollar. A.S.O. could easily create their own guidelines and in a way control the destiny of the biggest teams.

It is a known that the sport looses and rotates through sponsorship annually, continuously. The attempt to correct the poor image of professional cycling has been attempted through disciplining the individual athlete (won't work due to too great a gain by doping), through the teams (won't work unsupervised by a greater power) and through media outrage (the silencing era is not yet behind us).

Should we create two parallel cycling sports? One a World Cycling Federation for entertainment, where anything goes (this is the pool where Astana could compete), and the second one an A.S.O. controlled cycling league, where strict standards must be proven regarding staff, riders and practices. Sponsors could split themselves between the two separate sports according to what audience they were trying to reach. Fans could do the same (that way I don't have to stand next to the "isn't Vino cool" fans). Do you want entertainment or do you want true athletic competence?

A.S.O. and the other race organizers have the power to say "I don't want you playing in my playground."

The future of pro cycling

How many fans has professional cycling lost in the past five years? I don't know the number, but I do know that I feel somewhat embarrassed to be a fan of the sport. I am disillusioned - not emotionally, not as in bummed out - but in my opinion, intellectually promoting the sport of cycling sort of feels like promoting World Wrestling.

Why we like some former cheaters and not others is hard to nail down, but I admit I am guilty of dividing better bads from just plain bads. I forgive Ivan Basso, Frank Schleck, Alberto Contador, and Christian VandeVelde. I don't forgive Alexander Vinokourov, Bjorn Riis, Jonathan Vaughters, Tom Danielson, George Hincapie, or Lance Armstrong. Why - I couldn't tell ya.

This is the face of modern cycling; as fans we form our personal fantasy teams based upon which dopers we like and which dopers we dislike, and which ones we still believe are clean. We form our preferences through a totally random subjective decision based upon emotion that cannot be fully explained. I find some comfort and justification in being a fan of professional cycling because "not all dopers are bad." Somehow I can forget they ever cheated.

It's total craziness. It's entertainment without virtue.

The 2014 winner of the Tour de France - Vincenzo Nibali - races on Team Astana. Oh no, I like Vincenzo Nibali! I feel the need to go read a bunch of Vince Lombardi quotes so I can feel good about sport again.

More about the Organizers of pro cycling 


The A.S.O. (Amaury Sports Organisation) organizes the most highly revered bike races. A.S.O. is a privately held family company based in Issy les Moulineaux, France:
  • Arctic Race of Norway
  • Critérium International
  • Critérium du Dauphiné
  • La Course
  • Ladies Tour of Qatar
  • La Flèche Wallonne
  • La Flèche Wallonne Féminine
  • La Vuelta
  • Liège–Bastogne–Liège
  • Paris–Nice
  • Paris–Roubaix
  • Paris–Tours
  • Saitama Criterium 
  • Tour de l'Avenir
  • Tour de France
  • Tour de Picardie
  • Tour of Beijing
  • Tour of Oman
  • Tour of Qatar
  • World Ports Classic

Belgian Flanders Classics organizes many of the well-known Spring Classics races in Belgium. The organization was founded in 2010:

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Gent Wevelgem
Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders)
Dawars Door Vlaanderen
De Brabantse Pijl

RCS Sports is the race organizer of the:

Giro d' Ialtia
Milano SanRemo
Il Lombardia
Tirreno Adriatico
Dubai Tour
Strade Bianche

My friend Willie Reichenstein told me the story today, "I remember a college lecturer telling us in a lecture that sport is not a character builder but a character revealer." I couldn't agree more.

12 October 2014

Coffeeneuring Colorado

Riding the coffee lifestyle in Denver

If I were to describe the lifestyle in Denver, Colorado to you, I would begin by mentioning we live at altitude (5280 ft of highness), we live in a very dry climate with hot sun and cold snow (if you leave a loaf of bread out on the counter it will be a cracker by nightfall). We live under an almost constant canopy of bright blue skies (even in the winter). As a whole, the people of Denver get outside often (except when a Broncos football game is on the TV). We have endless adventure sports in this state and are known to have one of the healthiest populations in the United States.

We also have some of the most incredible breweries and coffee shops in this great nation; encouraging us to visit other neighborhoods outside our immediate surroundings. There is certainly no shortage of coffee shops in Denver, within three miles of my house, I count over twenty coffee shops (not including Starbucks).  So when I decided, for a seven-week period in October and November, to take on Chasing Mailboxes 7-week 7-coffee shop 2014 Coffeeneuring Challenge, the problem was not finding a coffee shop, it was deciding which coffee shop to bike to.

The point of this coffeeneuring challenge is to explore and add variety to my weekend. The challenge is about the bike culture lifestyle. One rule of coffeeneuring is that the ride not be part of a formal training ride. For me it offers the perfect excuse not to attend (to photograph) two cyclocross races on any given weekend. "No I am not going to the race tomorrow..." I am going to a coffee shop, to yoga class, doing home repair, reading, riding my own bike, going to a museum, the gardens, taking my dog for a hike, meeting a friend for breakfast - all those "get a life" activities that I love so much.

Coffeeneuring gets me out there, on two wheels

Coffeeneuring Challenge, Adventure #1
Coffee Shop: Kaladi Brothers Coffee
Address: 1730 E Evans Ave.
City: Denver
Neighborhood: University of Denver
Date visited:10/12/14
Bike ridden: cruiser bike
Miles ridden: 4.0
Weather: 54 degrees, light rain
Coffee enjoyed: Americano
Eats: breakfast burrito at Illegal Pete's, nextdoor


Now that World Championships Road and Il Lombardio are over, the professional cycling season is in its official lull period. Other than news of rider transfers, I find myself totally ignoring twitter and other cycling news sources. For the next three months my cycling interests focus mostly upon local cyclo-cross races and trying to reestablish a method of continuing my own exercise as the cold winter months approach.

I was happy to begin this Coffeeneuring Challenge by visiting one of the best truly true coffee places in Denver. Kaladi Brothers Coffee shop is often filled with young laptop focused students, or tables of old professors gathered around a tiny table conducting what looks like that old art form called conversation. Kaladi's make coffee that tastes like someone just roasted and ground the bean in the past 5-minutes.

I ordered an Americano.

Preceding this strong delicious coffee was a visit to meet a friend at Illegal Petes, just a few storefronts down from the coffee shop. When nearby University of Denver is in full swing, a flood of college students swarm into both Kaladi's and Illegal Pete's to cure their Sunday morning hangovers. They sit recovering, six to a booth, shoveling in large breakfast burritos. College students are known to root out good sources of plentiful, tasty and cheap eats.

Living near a university definitely has its advantages, including looking forward to the soon to open Fermentra brewery located across the street from both Kaladi Brothers Coffee and Illegal Petes on Evans Ave. near DU. I am thinking of doing a beeraneuring in the spring.

Today, in the rain, I rode my cruiser bike (a gift from my brother Tom). Model: Murray Monterey


A bike helmet, half a (too big for me to eat in one sitting) breakfast burrito and an Americano coffee - perfect.
A wam and cozy shelter on a rainy Sunday morning in Denver
The smells inside Kaladi Brothers Coffee shop are amazing!

Join the Coffeeneauring Challenge: Read the rules. The Challenge ends November 16th. There are six weeks remaining, you must ride to seven different coffee shops (rain, snow or shine). #coffeeneuring on Twitter Coffeeneurs Facebook or the Coffeeneuring group on flickr.

Stay tuned for my next six recommended coffee shops near Denver, Colorado.

17 September 2014

My Photography

I love photography

When I was a rock climber it took me years before I would title myself as such to others. Even long after I had climbed El Capitan and some other very difficult climbs; I found it hard to proclaim "I am a rock climber." But I have noticed lately that I have no problem telling people "I am a photographer." I think it may be because being a photographer is not bragging or over-stating accomplishments. Being a photographer is a way of looking at the world.

I have looked at the world with an artist's eye for as long as I can remember.

To see the world in frame, sensitive to light and composition seems to be the way my brain organizes stimuli. It's not just that I want to hold time as I experienced it, I need to see beauty. I am so sensitive to ugliness that I intentionally tunnel my vision when I am in particularly ugly places, like freeway interchanges. It is true. The only real pain I experience when riding a bike is when I have to pedal through ugliness.

I started taking pictures at a young age, filling photo albums and boxes, always happy if I had a camera in hand, just in case something caught me eye. My shots are not about look at me, but more about me looking at. Did you know I do not have any of my own photography in print around my house (in a house very full of artwork)? Most of my photography resides in a great big file cabinet inside my head. I can remember almost every photo I have taken, the place and year.

After friends (thanks Anthony!) asked if I collect my photos into albums for viewing, I decided to scratch off an item that has been on my to-do list for, oh, about three years - create a photography website. So I am doing it, as in, in the process of doing it. I figure if I spend six hours a week, I may have it complete in a year and a half. That's a lot of photos.

Ironically, just as I began this big project, I fearfully dragged myself into the ophthalmologist's office for an eye exam. I had been experiencing blurred vision in my right eye. Sure enough I have some vision loss in both, but more so in the right eye, which needs further testing by a specialist. Bummer. Strange, and sad, to be an individual so sensitive to beauty and be experiencing difficulty seeing beauty.

I look through my camera with my right eye. Photography treats me to capturing the world as I see it. In a way, it records my uniqueness. I now have new solid motivation to share my photography and get this website organized. Perhaps others will enjoy the beauty as I have.

The inside scoop on my photography

Sharing tips on how and what I am using these days for my travel and sports photography.


I am a mac user, but rely heavily on external hard drives for photo storage. I use a specific one for travel, not wanting to risk loosing or damaging the other portable hard drives. I also use cloud storage, but photos can overwhelm that type of storage very quickly. A photo card reader rapidly uploads pictures directly onto the external hard drive from my photo card.


I like Lightroom for photo editing and file management. It allows me to advance through and edit photos very quickly. There is so much to this software that I could take a year learning all its possibilities (but then that is what tutorials or Youtube are for). With some simple keystrokes I can select and edit. Lightroom also offers good file labeling, with very fast uploads of fully edited versions back to my hard drive or directly into Zenfolio.

Zenfolio displays my photographs in a style that appeals to me, it is not only the look, but the layout and file management behind the scenes that I like so much. Uploads are very rapid, instructions helpful. I tried to use smugmug but I could not achieve the layers of slideshows, group, galleries, and unique pages that Zenfolio offers, plus I didn't want to look like everyone else. On Zenfolio the set up was quick, with many more features yet to be discovered.

I don't do Instagram, I sometimes do Twitter. One can only spend so much time on social media, and with pressure to have hundreds/thousands of followers on all sites, it is just too much for me personally. I'd rather be out living it. I remain a blogger. 

Photo Equipment:

I use Sony and Pentax products (although I am a believer in Canon as well). The end product is not all about the size of the camera, it is about buying the right camera for your purpose. My purpose is travel and action sport. I need portability, zoomability, ease of use, beauty in results, moderate cost. My Sony and Pentax cameras offer high resolution and beautiful images.

My choice of small camera for travel and cycling jersey pocket: Sony Cyber-shot Digital Camera (there are various models in the series depending on your price point and desired features.) My camera has a good zoom and wi-fi connectivity. Don't dismiss these small cameras, they take fabulous travel pictures and are so convenient to carry, you wont go without, fearing the excess weight. 

My choice of large DSLR camera for races and travel: Pentax K5. I have been a Pentax user for years because I love the soft pretty quality for travel and landscape. If you want good quality, less cost and a larger selection of lenses, I might go for a Canon camera set-up. My friends who use Canons achieve great results. Nikons - you better be pro to get beauty. I use a variety of lenses and filters on my Pentax for travel and sport, the lenses are: Pentax SMC-DA 50-135mm f/2.8 ED SDM LENS, Pentax 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 DA ED AL (IF) ZM LN, Pentax SMCP-FA 43MM F/1.9 LIMITED SERIES AUTO (my favorite), Pentax Wide Angle 35mm f/2.0 SMCP-FA AL Autofocus Lens. I steer away from finish line photos, I would need this and $3400.

iphone: hey you can't deny the ease of an iphone for in the moment shots. But the way I snap photos, it barks at me far too often for "not enough storage". Still my brother only travels with his T-mobile camera phone, and sends home amazing photos from afar. For me, the iphone remains the easiest way to get photos up on Twitter fast, resulting in fun behind the scenes photos at races or photos from the road.

I prefer the PNY Technologies 32GB Elite Performance SDHC Class 10 Memory Card. Always format a memory card on your camera, and always have two or more camera batteries (charged!).

Pedal Dancer Photography

This is my new photography website - in the works -

I don't have a lot of photos added yet, but you can see some of the initial images in my Best Of gallery here I will be changing the url address soon to

Here is a recent photo where I utilized all of the above hardware, software and equipment together with my Pentax K5. Capturing the call up at a pro bike race with my Pentax and Lightroom:

please click on any image to enlarge

When I want to capture totally natural color, zoom in action in sports and get the photos out fast, I want a fast zoom lens with little (to no) editing necessary after snapping the shot. This photo was taken from a distance with my Pentax K5 and the SMC-DA 50-135mm f/2.8 lens.

When I use the fixed 43mm lens I never have to do any cropping or adjusting. This lens takes fast up-close photos. It captures the feeling of how a fan watches a race. I like the Pentax SMCP-FA 43MM F/1.9 LIMITED SERIES AUTO lens for stage starts, sign-ins and cyclocross races.

When I am traveling as a tourist and want freedom to compose the frame how I best see it, I use my standard lens with flexibility - Pentax 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 DA ED AL (IF) ZM LN.

Here is a shot with the small Sony point and shoot. See how it compares to the larger Pentax K5 photo above. There is no reason not to bring a good (but small) camera with you on your next bike ride.

Cycling in France, and stopping to capture the scenery I rode through with my Sony camera. I can stand on the road and see what I am capturing with an adjustable zoom far better than a camera phone for exactness.

Would you believe this amount of detail was captured using the Sony Cyber-Shot point in shoot. There is no real need to carry a big camera bag around Florence, Italy.

iphone cameras can create interesting effects and still provide good memories of your travels.

Manhattan by night in a boat with a camera phone. The memories are just as bright, even without high resolution.

11 September 2014

Big Weekend of Cyclo-cross Racing in Boulder

Back to back UCI CX races

The only two UCI level races in Colorado will both take place this weekend in Boulder County. You will be able to watch the top level American cyclocross racers (and maybe a few of the Europeans still hanging around after yesterday's Cross Vegas in Las Vegas) at two different venues.

All the talk last night about Boulder, Colorado during the Cross Vegas race coverage was a bit embarrassing (and inclusive), especially since Cross Vegas is the biggest national cyclocross race in America and plenty of communities beyond Boulder have active cyclo-cross race schedules with very talented racers. When we consider growth of cyclocross (and in particular junior racers), it is far healthier to focus broadly and not limit a racer's potential in the sport to a zip code.

My point made, Boulder has two great days of racing planned this coming weekend. I live close by, in Denver, and plan to attend with camera in hand. Sunday I will be on site for over 10-hours. The prospect of sorting through thousands of photos after two days of shooting cyclocross overwhelms me, so if you see me chatting often with friends during the day and not taking your photo, I hope you will understand it is my way of lessening my later editing load.

Still, I am so looking forward to watching some great cyclocross racing this weekend!

Two big days / Two big events:

US Open of Cyclocross UCI 2
Boulder Cup UCI 1

This race is not just for the pros. You will also be able to race in the usual categories for men, women, and juniors. And then there is spectating...

© Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

How to race and/or watch the race:

First, you will want to make sure you show up at the correct venue:

Saturday 9/13 - Boulder Reservoir - US Open of Cyclocross 7:30am - 5:25pm racing
Sunday 9/14 - Valmont Bike Park - Boulder Cup 8:00am - 5:15pm racing

Flyer - US Open of Cyclocross; Technical Guide
Flyer - Boulder Cup

Registration - US Open of Cyclocross Without Limits Production
Registration - Boulder Cup DBC Events

Course Map - US Open of Cyclocross
Course Map - Boulder Cup

Public Parking at Boulder Reservoir: dirt lot south of entrance gate
Public Parking at Valmont Park: north of the bike park, turn up Airport Rd and follow signs

*Category times are DIFFERENT each day, check the flyers closely for category start times.

Saturday at the Boulder Res - US Open CX course map 2014 (link)
Sunday at Valmont Park - Boulder Cup course map 2014 (link)

General Schedule of the day:
7:30/8:00am-noon - Mens and womens categories
noon to 3:00pm - Junior men, Men 35+1,2,3, Singlespeed, Junior women
Sat 3:20pm - Elite Women Start US Open CX; Sun 3:20pm - Elite Women Start Boulder Cup
Sat 4:25pm - Elite Men Start US Open CX; Sun 4:15pm - Elite Men Start Boulder Cup

Where to see the race? Best race viewing is typically at the run-ups, barriers, sand-pit, off-camber grass, beer garden and tricky corners.

* No pets, No glass bottles at either location. Beer Gardens at both locations: Cycleworx sponsorship at Boulder Res and Boulder Beer sponsorship at Valmont Park. USAC rules and license apply, Day-of race registration available. Thank you sponsors for US Open CX, thank you sponsors for Boulder Cup.

At the Boulder Cup in 2013
Race Results: BRAC results
Race reports, bios, and interviews: Pro Velo Passion
Cyclocross News: VeloNews
How the Race was Won - Cyclocosm
Next Race: 2014-15 Colorado Cyclo-cross Race Calendar by Pedal Dancer 

Race Photographs: cyclocross 2014 We will have a booth at Boulder Cup and will be in attendance at both races. Please visit our website for race images, please introduce yourself to one of our six photographers (John, Terri, Shawn, Scott, Ryan, Karen) out on venue if you would like us to focus in on your race.


Update 09/15/14: Here are my (big!) photo albums from the cyclocross races:
US Open of Cyclocross:
Boulder Cup:

Meredith Won!
Read the great news about Meredith Miller's big win at Cross Vegas 2014: Meredith Miller notches CrossVegas win By Matthew Beaudin Published Sep. 11, 2014

You can watch Meredith race both races in Boulder this weekend, or if you are really lucky you can race against her.

03 September 2014

I am a published photographer

5280 [The Denver Magazine] September issue

On page 55, deep in the recesses of the September issue of 5280 magazine, a magazine that celebrates the Colorado lifestyle, you will find my tiny photo of cyclocross racing.

My photo in 5280 Magazine in all its large glory.

They say photography is not about the camera. Although I believe the camera set-up and chosen lens make a big difference in delivering what the photographer is trying to convey.

They say photography is about the photographer. I agree that you can ask twenty photographers to go shoot a sporting event and all will come back with wildly differing results.

My photographer friend John Flora recently posted this on his FB page.

I say photography has to do with the camera, the photographer, but mostly the subject matter. Good photography also has a lot to do with being hyper alert to your environment in capturing the moment and telling a story that draws the viewer into the frame to study the detail, encouraging the eye to wander.

My great joy at having my photo included in this month's edition of 5280 magazine, within the article titled Playing Dirty, by Jayme Moye about the sport of cyclocross, would not have been possible if the brave strong women cyclocross racers in the photo did not race Cyclocross National Championships in Boulder, Colorado, last January.

In giving credit where credit is due, featured in this photo are star subjects:  Emily Phillips (MA), Jessica Bernstein (CO), Cristienne Beam (CO), Alyssa Severn (MO), Kelly Chang (CA).

Thank you - you are featured in 5280 this month!


02 September 2014

Travel Quotes

I love traveling.

Mostly because it breaks up routine and sets me off keel enough that I feel challenged. The unknown unnerves me; something will always go wrong, and yet something unexpected always goes more than right.

My brother recently canceled a major 3-week trip to eastern Europe because of puppy issues. A new puppy is reason enough. They will be taking a road trip to Bend, Oregon with the dogs instead of visiting the major tourist cities in eastern Europe. I told him, "You are going to have to get some cultural, architectural, historical podcasts to listen to on your road trip. How are you going to make up for all that knowledge you would have learned (and forgotten in short order) while instead traveling with a car full of dogs?"

Cancelling that vacation trip was painful for my brother - he spent SO many hours planning it. Truth is, he planned it twice, cancelled it twice. Ouch. Puppies. For travelers, planning is indeed half the fun, but getting out there and spontaneously changing all those plans is even more fun.

A number of friends recently encouraged me to head to Canada to photograph some bike races up yonder. I still think of myself as a writer, so I replied, "But what would I write about, "Gee this is beautiful"? I have never been to those cities for a bike race before." I am not sure why I believe I need expertise to go someplace. Travel is about discovery, after all.

So instead I am home, in Denver, trying to figure out where to plant my massive collection of photographs online. It has been on my to do list for about two and a half years. In so building a new photo site, I began browsing over travel quotes and found some doosies. Quotes are cool, here are a few:

“Too often. . .I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.” – Louis L’Amour.

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” – Susan Heller.

“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” — Peter Hoeg

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Scott Cameron

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” – Tom Stoppard

“If God had really intended men to fly, he’d make it easier to get to the airport”. – George Winters

I am very sorry Jens Voigt about your travails yesterday in having to pay to fly your bike on an airplane. Welcome to retirement, welcome to the real world of the traveling cyclist! Traveling with a bike is a nightmare, no getting around it -- unless you are Jens Voigt. So next time Jens, I suggest you find a Trek bike store in the town you are visiting, make their day by stopping by, and make your day by borrowing one of their bikes! It is much cheaper and they will probably sell a few bikes.

01 September 2014

2014-15 Colorado Cyclocross Race Calendar and Professional CX Calendar

2014-15 is going to be a big season for Cyclo-cross in the USA

This year the cyclo-cross season in Colorado begins in September and continues through early December, 2014, with National Championships in Austin, Texas January 7-11th and World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic from January 31 - February 1, 2015.

The sport of cyclo-cross continues to grow, continues to refine rules and continues to deliver excellent racing opportunities to cyclists across the United States. Cyclo-cross is big in Colorado. Maybe because it gives us something to do during the cold winter months, but more likely because it is a wonderful community event where bike racers of all ages and genders come together on weekends and race bikes up, over and down dirt, mud and snow.

Viewing or racing a cyclo-cross race can be great fun. The unpredictable weather and changing race locations mixes things up every week, rarely making the race the same. I admire anyone who shows up to race in twenty-five degree snowy weather. Plus I rarely hear racers screaming and yelling at each other (as I do at criterium or road races), instead I hear fun banter and lots of encouragement.

Good luck to every racer this year. Thank you to all the family members who come support the racers. Thanks especially to each and every race organizer and race sponsor who offer the racers a place to play hard and compete.

For the past three years, I have had a great time photographing many of the CX races in Colorado. I look forward to the season ahead. Photos below © by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

2014-15 Colorado Cyclocross Race Calendar and Professional CX Calendar Lists

Colorado Cyclo-cross 2014 CLINICS

08/29-31/14, weekend - Jeremy Powers & FasCat pre-season Cyclocross Camp, Boulder info
08/16/14, Saturday - Inspired Cyclocross 101 Clinic Flyer
09/03/14, Wednesday evening - Inspired Cyclocross Workshop Flyer
09/06/14, Saturday - Inspired Cyclocross 101 Clinic Flyer
09/10/14, Wednesday evening - Inspired Cyclocross Workshop Flyer
09/17/14, Wednesday evening - Inspired Cyclocross Workshop Flyer
09/24/14, Wednesday evening - Inspired Cyclocross Workshop Flyer 
09/27/14, Saturday - BRAC Junior Cyclocross Camp
09/28/14, Saturday - BRAC Junior Cyclocross Camp
10/04/14, Saturday - Inspired Cyclocross 101 ClinicFlyer

Weekday Race SERIES

09/03/14 - 10/08/14, every Wednesday evening - Back to Basics Cyclocross Series, Golden Flyer
*Race cancelled 10/01/14 due to weather.


Colorado Cyclo-cross 2014 RACES

09/07/14, Sunday - Kick It CX Festival and TT, Castle Rock Race Flyer
09/13/14, Saturday - US Open of Cyclocross, Boulder Reservoir, GOLD Race Flyer
09/14/14, Sunday - Boulder Cup, Valmont Park, Boulder Race Flyer
09/20/14, Saturday - Cyclo X Xylinx, Longmont Race Flyer
09/21/14. Sunday - no race 
09/27/14, Saturday - Green Mountain Sports CX, Littleton Race Flyer
09/28/14, Sunday - Cyclo-X - Flatirons, Broomfield GOLD Race Flyer
10/04/14, Saturday - Frisco Cross, Frisco Summit County cancelled
10/04/14, Saturday - Amy D. Memorial Cross, Golden Race Website
10/05/14, Sunday - Primalpalooza, Arvada/Golden Race Flyer
10/10-12/14, Fri-Sun - Cross of the North, Loveland Race Flyer GOLD (3-days!)
10/18/14, Saturday - Cowboy Cross, Denver Race Flyer NEW!
10/19/14, Sunday - Cyclo X - Valmont, Boulder Race Flyer
10/25/14, Saturday - Cyclo-X - Interlocken, Broomfield Race Flyer
10/26/14, Sunday - Blue Sky Cup, Longmont GOLD Race Flyer
11/01/14, Saturday - The Barry Wicks Classic, 38th & Irvine St., 6:15pm FREE
11/01/14, Saturday - Schoolyard Cross, Longmont Race Flyer
11/02/14, Sunday - Feedback Cup, Golden Race Flyer
11/08/14, Saturday - Cyclo-X - Sienna Lake, Broomfield Race Flyer
11/09/14, Sunday - no race
11/15/14, Saturday - Cyclo X - Boulder Res, Boulder Race Flyer
11/16/14, Sunday - MileHigh Urban CX Chaos, Denver Race Flyer
11/22/14, Saturday - Cyclo-X - Louisville Rec GOLD Race Flyer
11/23/14, Sunday - no race
11/29/14, Saturday - Turkey Cross (event info)
11/30/14, Sunday - no race
12/06/14, Saturday - Rocky Mountain Cross Championships GOLD Race Flyer
12/13/14, Saturday - Colorado Cyclocross Championships GOLD Race Flyer
12/14/14, Sunday - Colorado Cyclocross Championships GOLD Race Flyer
*More race flyers will be added as made available.

Full race calendar at the BRAC website for Colorado, or cyclo-cross race calendar at USA Cycling.

Cyclocross Race Results

BRAC Colorado Cyclocross race results 2014
USA Cycling Race Results and Rankings

ANNUAL RACES - the ones we all talk about

Cross Vegas - "Biggest cyclocross race in America"
September 10, 2014, Las Vegas, NV:
Watch the webcast online Live:

USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships 2015
Austin, Texas
January 7-11, 2015 2015 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships; Facebook and Twitter.
Asheville, N.C. will host the 2016 Cyclo-cross National Championships.


2014/15 USA Cycling Professional Cyclo-cross Calendar (18 states will host races in 2014)

Sept. 6 Nittany Lion Cross Breiningsville, PA, UCI 2
Sept 10 Clif® Bar Cross Vegas Las Vegas, NV, UCI 1
Sept. 13 US OPEN of Cyclocross Boulder, CO, UCI 2
Sept. 14 Boulder Cup Boulder, CO, UCI 1
Sept. 20 Trek CXC Cup Waterloo, WI, UCI 1
Sept. 20 Charm City Cross Baltimore, MD, UCI 2
Sept. 21 Trek CXC Cup Waterloo, WI, UCI 2
Sept. 21 Charm City Cross Baltimore, MD, UCI 2
Sept. 27 Rapha Super Cross Gloucester Gloucester, MA, UCI 2
Sept. 28 Rapha Super Cross Gloucester Gloucester, MA, UCI 2
Oct. 4 Providence Cyclo-cross Festival Providence, RI, UCI 1
Oct. 5 Providence Cyclo-cross Festival Providence, RI, UCI 2
Oct. 11 Ellison Park Cyclo-cross Festival Rochester, NY, UCI 1
Oct. 12 Ellison Park Cyclo-cross Festival Rochester, NY, UCI 2
Oct. 18 HPCX Jamesburg, NJ, UCI 2
Oct. 19 HPCX Jamesburg, NJ, UCI 2
Oct. 25 Gateway Cross Cup St. Louis, MO, UCI 2
Oct. 26 Gateway Cross Cup St. Louis, MO, UCI 2
Oct. 31 Cincy3 @ Harbin Park Fairfield, OH, UCI 2
Nov. 1 Cincy3 @ Kings CX After Dark Mason, OH, UCI 1
Nov. 1 Cycle-Smart International Northampton, MA, UCI 2
Nov. 2 Cincy3 @ Devou Park Covington, KY, UCI 2 (Elite Men Only)
Nov. 2 Pan Am Continental Cyclo-cross Championships Covington, KY CC
Nov. 2 Cycle-Smart International Northampton, MA, UCI 2
Nov. 8 Derby City Cup Louisville, KY, UCI 1
Nov. 9 Derby City Cup Louisville, KY, UCI 2
Nov. 14 The 3 Day Carousel Volkswagen Jingle Cross Iowa City, IA, UCI 2
Nov. 15 The 3 Day Carousel Volkswagen Jingle Cross Iowa City, IA, UCI 1
Nov. 16 The 3 Day Carousel Volkswagen Jingle Cross Iowa City, IA, UCI 2
Nov. 22 Supercross Cup Stony Point, NY, UCI 2
Nov. 23 Supercross Cup Stony Point, NY, UCI 2
Nov. 29 Baystate Cyclocross Sterling, MA, UCI 2
Nov. 29 CXLA Weekend – Day One Los Angeles, CA, UCI 2
Nov. 30 Baystate Cyclocross Sterling, MA, UCI 2
Nov. 30 CXLA Weekend – Day Two Los Angeles, CA, UCI 2
Dec. 6 NBX Gran Prix of Cross Warwick, RI, UCI 2
Dec. 6 Deschutes Brewery Cup Bend, OR, UCI 2
Dec. 7 NBX Gran Prix of Cross Warwick, RI, UCI 2
Dec. 7 Deschutes Brewery Cup Bend, OR, UCI 2
Dec. 13 North Carolina Grand Prix Hendersonville, NC, UCI 2
Dec. 14 North Carolina Grand Prix Hendersonville, NC, UCI 2
Jan. 3, 2015 Kingsport Cyclo-cross Cup Kingsport, TN, UCI 2
Jan. 3, 2015 Resolution Cross Cup Dallas (Garland), TX, UCI 2
Jan. 4, 2015 Resolution Cross Cup Dallas (Garland), TX, UCI 2

2014  USA Cycling Professional Cyclo-cross Calendar (Pro CX)
A $40,000 prize purse to be split between the top riders in each of the men’s and women’s standings in the eight UCI 1 races in America. This is the same prize purse as 2014, although two more C1 races have been added to now total eight races. (see each individual race link above). If you want to see the best pro cyclo-cross racers - they will be at these races!
Sept. 10 Clif® Bar CrossVegas Las Vegas, Nev
Sept. 14 Boulder Cup Boulder, CO
Sept. 20 Trek CXC Cup Waterloo, WI
Oct. 4 Providence Cyclo-cross Festival Providence, RI
Oct. 11 Ellison Park Cyclo-cross Festival Rochester, NY
Nov. 1 Cincy3 Lionhearts International Mason, OH
Nov. 8 Derby City Cup Louisville, KY
Nov. 15 3-Day Carousel Volkswagen Jingle Cross-2 Iowa City, IA

USA Cycling’s Cyclo-cross National Calendar (CXNC)
Races that seek UCI inscription and inclusion on the USA Cycling Pro Cyclo-cross Calendar (Pro CX) must first be part of the CXNC for at least one year.
September 21 GP Clark Natwick San Francisco, CA
November 8 VeloCX Blaine, MN
December 6-7 Ruts 'N Guts Tulsa, OK


Coupe du Monde UCI / UCI World Cup
19 October 2014 Cauberg Cyclo-cross, Netherlands
22 November 2014 Wereldbeker cyclocross 2014 Koksijde, Belgium
29 November 2014 Milton Keynes UCI Cyclo Cross Worlds Cup, Great Britain
21 December 2014 Soudal Classic, Belgium
26 December 2014 Heusden-Zolder Limburg, Belgium
25 January 2015 Zandag, Netherlands

UCI World Championships 2015
31 January - 1 February 2015 Tabor, Czech Republic, website race information


Cyclocross Magazine
Follow the news of the sport at Cyclocross Magazine

Pro Vélo Passion
Local Coloradan Mary Topping interviews and writes about the races and racers of Colorado cyclo-cross. Learn more about the athletes and race results by reading her stories collected at: Posts from the ‘Cyclocross’ Category.

Cyclocross photography Last year we formed a collection of local sports photographers who gather on the often muddy, windy, or snowy hillsides of Colorado to photograph Colorado's cyclo-cross racers. Every week, those photographers who attended a race, would add their links to a joint website where riders could see photos of their efforts and glory. Please check it out, every photographer has a different style but together we accomplished an amazing amount of work in the 2013-14 CX season. You will see us again in the 2014-15 CX season.
See 2013-2014 Colorado CX Race Images
Watch a recap from the 2014 World Championships, see how the best in the world race and notice how a world championship was won due to an intentional tactical slowing of the opponent behind in the last meters, forcing him to get off his bike, then speeding up rapidly once the opponent was faltering and slowed. Smart racing, but don't expect quite this many people behind the barriers in Colorado. (video link)

If you enjoy reading UCI cycling rules, have at it here: Part V: Cyclo-cross Races .

30 August 2014

Photos from Colorado - Photography of Ryan Wallace

Ryan Wallace of RevLine photographed Stage 7 of the USA Pro Challenge

You might remember from the past two years that Ryan Wallace captured some excellent images of the final weekend of this Colorado stage race. Ryan was happy to help me again this year. He excels at capturing fast images, formally educated in journalism and photography. He took his skills capturing fast cars and focused on fast bikes.

I can't emphasize enough what peace of mind Ryan offers by being out on course. I never micro-manage him, Ryan instinctively goes where the race is, and I believe he captured some of the best images of the finishing sprint, even without preferential placement (although he did wear an approved Photo badge). In my mind - that is the skill of a true race photographer.

Exactly because Ryan was there with me on Stage 7, I felt free to move elsewhere on course, and because of that freedom I captured a popular race image from the day - the Alex Howes tripod of how to avoid a barrier after a sprint finish. Thank you Ryan Wallace and congratulations Alex Howes for being an incredible bike racer.

See our combined finish report and photos here: Alex Howes wins the final stage of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge

All photos ©Ryan Wallace for Pedal Dancer®   (See more photos from the day at Ryan's portfolio here: revlinephoto)

Thank you Ryan Wallace!

Ryan Wallace, Photographer RevLine

Many Photographers at the race contract out to several news sources, equipment manufacturers, or teams at any given race, in combination. It often requires the photog to be in many places at one time, always thinking of their customers needs when capturing race images. You can spot these hardworking men and women on photo motos, crouched on the pavement, carrying heavy gear up mountain tops, perched high atop buildings, at call-ups, in front of podiums or mixed in with the crowd.

View a nice (slow) slideshow of Pro Challenge Getty Images, photos from the week: If you are a photographer, you might like to study their style, if you are a fan, you might find yourself within their beautiful images (with a warning: you cannot reproduce Getty Images without permission). And if you are a graphic artist/tech geek you will enjoy the clean crisp images on Tour Tracker.

Have you been watching the action at the Vuelta a España? Also, cyclocross season is starting up this month in Colorado! My 2014-15 Colorado CX Calendar will be published soon.