Friday, December 9, 2011
Durango will find itself in the international spotlight next August on the starting line of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
“It’s such a great city and has such a great heritage,” said Stacie Lange, spokeswoman for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. “It’s definitely a great place to start this race.”
The inaugural race last summer drew more than 1 million live spectators and television viewers in 161 countries and territories, race organizers said. It was carried on national television on NBC and the Versus cable channel.
The 135-rider field included some of the world’s top road cyclists. Levi Leipheimer of Team RadioShack won the race.
The exact route has not yet been decided, but the first stage on Aug. 20 will start in Durango and end in Telluride. The second stage will begin in Montrose. The race will finish in Denver on Aug. 26 with an individual time trial.
Ned Overend, a member of the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame, was thrilled about the news.
“It’ll showcase the mountains in this whole part of Colorado, which a lot of people don’t know about,” Overend said. “It’ll be great for cycling here. It’ll be good for tourism.”
The closest that the 2011 route came to the Four Corners was Crested Butte and Gunnison.
With two possible routes between Durango and Telluride, other area towns such as Mancos, Dolores and Silverton will have to wait to see if the race will pass through. Lange said the final route will not be announced until next spring.
Race organizers noted that Durango puts on the annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, an event with 4,000 riders, and the town is home to more professional cyclists, national champions and Olympians per capita than any other American city.
“By incorporating iconic cycling cities like Boulder and Durango in our second-year race, we will further build the virtual postcard for the state of Colorado that we established in our inaugural year,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge, in a news release...
2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge stages
Stage 1, Aug. 20: Durango to Telluride
Stage 2, Aug. 21: Montrose to Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte
Stage 3, Aug. 22: Gunnison to Aspen
Stage 4, Aug. 23: Aspen to Beaver Creek/Vail Valley
Stage 5, Aug. 24: Breckenridge to Colorado Springs
Stage 6, Aug. 25: Golden to Boulder
Stage 7 (individual time trial), Aug. 26: Denver
Click Here to continue reading this article.
Source: USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Four riders are new to the team including Sarah Sturm, Lauren Catlin. Payson McElveen and Sepp Kuss. Tad Elliot and Colton Anderson are both returning members.
In its short history, the team has claimed several national championship titles thanks to Howard Grotts, Alicia Rose Pastore, Tad Elliot, Sage Wilderman and Teal Stetson-Lee. Sturm is also the current collegiate short track national champion while Caitlin is the current collegiate cross country national champion.
Chad Cheeney, also the manager of the Durango Devo (non-elite) program, is taking over as manager of the team for 2012. "Last year I was busy with the other Devo stuff, but I helped with the idea to have this team back in the day. Durango Devo was seven years old and our under 19 members started graduating from our program and they had nowhere to go, so we created this elite team. This year I'm pumped to be more involved."
Chad Cheeney racing Super D at Nationals at Sun Valley, Idaho
The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Durango Devo Sweet Elite was formed in 2011 with a goal of promoting and supporting riders age 17-25 that are prepared to move to the next level of race competition. The team focuses on providing riders coaching, management, equipment, and funding to travel and compete at a regional and national level. The Sweet Elite is an extension of the successful Durango Devo Youth Cycling Program that provides riders age 5-19 structured after school riding programs with an emphasis on creating life long cyclists.
To be a member of the Durango Devo Sweet Elite Team, you have to be a non-elite Devo program graduate, be a college student at Durango's Fort Lewis College or be a Durango local.
Speaking of the squad's schedule for 2012, Cheeney said, "We're not really targeting any series. We're staying mostly within the Rocky Mountain Region. We'll go to the Colorado Springs and Missoula US Pro XCTs, and we'll go to the Windham World Cup. We'll do Nationals in Sun Valley, Idaho - that's our number one race. We hope to also send riders to Worlds." He also mentioned targeting events like the 12 hours of Mesa Verde, the Ironhorse Classic, the Teva Games and the Whiskey 50.
2012 Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Durango Devo Sweet Elite Team Roster
Tad Elliot (elite man)
Colton Anderson (elite man)
Sarah Sturm - (Cat. 1 / elite woman)
Lauren Catlin (U23 woman)
Payson McElveen (U23 man)
Sepp Kuss (Junior man)
Team Steering Committee
Ned Overend - Former World and National Mountain Bike Champion
Chris Wherry - Former US Pro Champion
Sarah Tescher - Director of Durango Devo
John Glover - Manager of Mountain Bike Specialists
Gaige Sippy - Director of Iron Horse Bicycle Classic
If you look up Ned Overend’s Wikipedia entry you’ll notice it claims he retired from professional racing in 1996, which goes to show you that you can’t trust everything you read on the Internet. While it may be technically true, Overend did stop racing mountain bikes full time to focus on other endeavors, like winning two XTERRA World Championships. Racing is no longer part of Overend’s job description; his daily duties include marketing and product development for Specialized, his long-time sponsor.
That’s not to say Overend is a desk jockey. One certainly couldn’t tell he was no longer racing and training at the professional level from his showing at this year’s Cross Country National Championship in Sun Valley, ID. “Deadly Nedly” finished ahead of 48 professional racers decades younger than himself—it has to sting knowing this guy was in his prime while you were in diapers, and you still can’t hold his wheel... Today, Overend is a legend in his spare time.
What has been your most rewarding accomplishment as a mountain biker?
Well, there are individual races, but at this point it’s longevity. When people talk to me that is what they are excited about. The fact I’m still passionate about racing has become my biggest accomplishment, more than winning a World Cup or World Championship.
Is there a race you look forward to each year?
I always look for different races, but the Road Apple Rally in New Mexico is a favorite. It’s a high-speed race with bermed turns—not as painful as a lot of other races. It is also the oldest mountain bike race in the country, must be going on 30 years.
Road, mountain or cyclocross, do you have a favorite?
Mountain for sure. I love ‘cross racing for the intensity, even though it doesn’t so much suit my style. It tends to be more power-oriented.
This July you finished 14th at Cross Country Nationals. How does it feel to be 56 and able to leave riders half your age in the dust?
[Laughs] I’m conflicted. I do a lot of different stuff for Specialized, my job is more than racing, but it does allow me to train a lot. At the same time, when I get a result like this, I think “Jeeze! If I focused more on training then I could probably improve that result.” That’s just the way a racer thinks. It’s cool to be able to perform at this level still—I think it helps that there’s no pressure for me to race.
Any advice to master’s athletes, or any mountain biker who wants to be able to ride at their full potential, regardless of their age?
I’m not too obsessive about cycling, or training in general. My training approach has obviously worked for me. You need to be informed about the training process, don’t rely on a coach. Living in the mountains has helped me—it forces me off the bike in the winter. I Nordic ski and do other sports to create a physical balance that I think is responsible for my longevity.
What is your favorite trail?
We have a new trail in Durango, the Skyline Trail. It was initially built for the Singlespeed World Championships in 2009. There was a lot of hike-a-bike back then—we made the climb more rideable. It’s a super technical trail along a ridgeline.
Tech question #1: Do you see 29ers taking over the XC market?
I do. The 29er has reinvigorated the hardtail market. They have evolved to the point where they are a superior bike for cross country in most situations. There are a lot of situations where 29ers are faster and very few where they are slower. I think this year is the tipping point for 29ers in Europe.
Tech Question #2: What do you think the future holds for disc brakes in cyclocross?
[Todd] Wells and I have had cross bikes with disc brakes for a while. It gives those bikes a lot of range. It gets boring training in the grass, we like to go out and do trail rides on our ‘cross bikes in a variety of riding conditions. That is where disc brakes excel. We’re still trying to figure out how big the disc needs to be—the weight really needs to come down, but discs will evolve in ‘cross and on the road.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
[Laughs] I don’t know. I didn’t see myself doing this 10 years ago! I’m for sure a lifestyle rider—this will be part of my lifestyle. My wife and I moved closer to town for more of an urban lifestyle, I see ourselves moving even closer to town and using our bikes more and cars less.
Drink of choice?
IPA. We have some great breweries in Durango. Someone needs to start brewing more IPA’s in Europe! I enjoy the beer over there, but a good IPA is one thing I look forward to when I get home.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Just as Durango got its first taste of real winter weather, the city put its on-street bicycle racks away for the season. More than anything, though, that extra bit of attention to the racks served to highlight what a popular and successful program the on-street bike parking has become.
And why not? Everybody wins.
Moving the racks for the winter is simple common sense. Plowing snow downtown is a priority, and if the racks were left in place, they would be in the way.
It also stands to reason that usage would decline. While Durango has more than a few hardy souls who ride their bikes year-round, that is not nearly the number who enjoy riding in the warmer times. And with that, the racks will return in May.
All this started as a pilot program in 2010. The first on-street rack was in front of Carver Brewing Co. That proved so successful that three more were added in June in front of Maria’s Bookshop, Mountain Bike Specialists and Gazpacho’s Cantina.
The program is a public-private partnership. Businesses apply to the city for a rack. If approved, a business pays a $200 per year capital improvement fee for five years, which largely offsets the $1,300 cost of the rack. The business also pays for the installation of the rack and pays the city what it could have expected to collect from the parking meter and associated fines. Any needed replacements are covered by the city.
The public response to the racks has been overwhelmingly positive. Merchants and their customers like them. Bike riders have a convenient place to park, and the on-street location of the racks keeps the sidewalks clear for pedestrians. Downtown parking may even benefit. And all that comes at little or no cost to the taxpayers.
For merchants, the benefit is obvious. More of their customers can park right in front of their business. That is especially important for downtown as a whole as the demographics of bike riding expand to include more and more of the public. Driven by concerns for the environment, fitness, traffic and increasingly economic, that trend can be expected to continue.
Another possible gain could be to motorists. Installing bike racks on the street eliminates a parking space and, in that sense, reduces available parking. Without the convenience of the racks, however, it is certainly possible that two or more of the 16 riders who can park their bikes in each rack would have driven instead. If so, the net effect could be to bring fewer cars to downtown. It would be a minor effect, but one that could be at least as meaningful as the loss of one space and one that could help ease parking.
Having the racks in the street also is much more orderly than having bicycles locked up willy-nilly to parking meters, trees or what-have-you. It makes walking the sidewalks easier and safer. And it contributes to an over-all sense of a more orderly downtown.
Increasing the bicycle ridership also affects traffic. In some areas – north Main comes to mind – that can be a problem for riders and drivers alike. But downtown, the effect is to calm traffic a bit in an area where that is welcome. The speed limit on Main Avenue downtown is 25 mph, but often there is little reason or opportunity to go that fast. Which is just as well; drivers also are watching for pedestrians and beckoning storefronts.
The city is taking applications from business for bike racks for next year. Public comments are welcome as well.
Durango’s downtown bicycle racks are a happy example of how little things can make a big difference. It is an effort to applaud.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Denver Botanic Gardens Senior Curator and Director of Outreach, Panayoti Kelaidis is internationally known as a plantsman, botanist, and horticulturalist and is the one man who has done the most to transform horticulture in the Rocky Mountain states. He has lectured all over the world, and conducted plant exploration trips to Asia, Europe, South Africa, South and North America, and he has also written extensively.
They have also spearheaded the creation of an ambitious garden at the very impressive Durango Library. The garden at this site was designed by Lisa Bourey, an exceptional gardener and inspired designer. You can see a few pictures I took at the marvelous garden she and her husband Drew have created and maintain in a charming neighborhood of that wonderful town. I realize I am full of extravagantly enthusiastic adjectives: Durango does that to one. It is really a gem of Colorado cities.
They are to be commended for achieving so much in such a short period of time. Botanical gardens are generally successful only in cities of half a million or more. To imagine and create the first phase of a botanic garden in a city of only 16,000 people is bold indeed! If it were not Durango, I might be a tad more dubious!
Traveling to lecture at places like Durango is a great pleasure for me. I received a royal welcome and loved sharing the wisdom of Denver Botanic Gardens, but I feel as though I have gained more knowledge than I imparted. The Four Corners, after all, is really the historical wellspring of our entire West, with Mesa Verde looming nearby. The snowy La Platas gazing down from the north and the vast reaches of Canyonlands and even the Rio Grande valley not far away suggest to me that this is indeed a major botanical center.
I believe their Society has much to offer Durango–expanding that great city’s conservation footprint and cultural depth, and proffering an important touristic venue into the bargain. We at Denver Botanic Gardens salute you, DBS!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Southeastern La Plata County.
Friday, October 14, 2011
A cloudy, blustery day in October is hardly the time to visit or photograph a garden, but there are those who are up to the task! I had visited Lisa and Drew Bourey's gem of a garden a half dozen years earlier (in September that time) and was anxious to see it again. Like all plantsmen's gardens, this one is multidimensional: I can only imagine what it must be like in the magical months when there are hundreds of flowers everywhere. But autumn has its compensations, like the heavy fruit set on the Pyracantha espalier!Durango is not just in Southwest Colorado, it is a beacon in the Southwest! I think this may be one of the great gardening climates, judging by the astonishing array of plants not just in the Bourey garden, but everywhere. What impressed me most about this area is that the plants LOOK good right now after a very hot summer: the cool nights at the relatively higher elevation are no doubt part of the reason. And more reliable snow cover. I love the melting tones of the zinnia with the casual purple Amaranth (Lisa had cut the giant purple amaranths the night before: they had predicted 23F and of course it didn't freeze at all!)...
This is, of course, a modest sized lot in a city neighborhood: my pictures just catch a few glimpses here and there: I love the way the Snow in Summer Euphorbia (E. marginata) picked just the right spot to come up!
This is a native around Denver, and yet we hardly ever see it in gardens hereabouts. I was surprised to find it grown in Kazakhstan, and in Europe it is a popular passalong plant: and here it is growing with debonaire charm on the West side of the divide...where it isn't native!
I forgot to ask which Carex this is...but I think it is particularly enhanced with the lush, green spread of Geranium magniflorum in front of it. Lisa made much use of this woefully neglected Plant Select offering, which warmed the cockles of my heart (I collected this with Jim Archibald in the late 1990's on Joubert's pass)...
Two enviable specimens: a gargantuan blooming Sedum cauticolum, and next to it one of the biggest Pelargonium endlicherianum I have ever seen: I would love to see that one in bloom! Plantsmen's gardens are above all about plants themselves, their intrinsic majesty and beauty, but these gardens are also about juxtapositions and combinations and a story. In this case, Lisa has decades of experience with plants a nursery manager at a local garden center, as the leading landscape designer in Durango. Her husband, Drew, obviously shares much of her enthusiasm, and is no horticultural slouch! He takes the initiative with the large collection of succulents scattered throughout (check out his blog: you can see evidence of his and Lisa's formidable photographic skills)...and read about a man who lives his dreams!
A few more vignettes from here and there in the garden: isn't this a great way to show off the seedheads of Allium christophii?
A cloudy, chill October morning, yet this garden entranced me: I could tell that Lisa and Drew and their kids have endless fun there. Despite the small size in square feet, it really seemed endless in its convolutions: what a great place for kids to grow up! I doubt I have seen more great plants superbly grown in such a small area, nor more imaginitive design. I nominate the Bourey garden as the epitome of the Colorado garden: rich, varied and lovely year around!
To read more from Panayoti Kelaidis, go to his blog "Prairie Break".
Monday, September 26, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The Durango area was recently named as the number one micropolitan in the nation. A micropolitan is a small city with a population of more than 10,000 but less than 50,000. Policom, an independent economic research firm, recently conducted a study that determined that Durango/La Plata County area has the strongest economy in the United States, edging out 575 other similar-sized areas.
This isn’t Durango’s first dabbling in the top 10 for economic strength as it debuted in 2008 and steadily climbed to the number one spot. The study shows that Durango has an extremely robust economy and higher than average wages. Strong industries like natural resources, farming, tourism, the second home market, and vibrant companies such as Mercury Payment Systems, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Bouré Bicycle Clothing, among many others have helped grow the economy, contributing to the quality of life that the community enjoys.
There’s no doubt that Durango is an incredible place to live, work and visit! While the population is only 16,000 people, the vibrant town features a quality of life much like a larger, metropolitan city with a plethora of things to do. Downtown Durango features an incredible arts scene with galleries, rejuvenating spas, unique boutiques and more restaurants per capita than San Francisco. Fort Lewis College also brings additional culture, energy and a positive vibe that makes the town thrive. As home to Mercy Regional Medical Center and as the headquarters for the Four Corners area, Durango’s sophisticated healthcare services are equal to the level of care other communities ten times its size have.
And the spectacular, rugged San Juan Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for maintaining this quality lifestyle. Durango has some of the best weather around with winter days that produce perfect conditions for skiing and riding, as well as a warm, sunny, dry climate that makes enjoying summer and fall outdoor adventures that much better! With hundreds of miles of trails, natural hot springs and abundant wildlife, it’s easy to find ways to escape the hectic day-to-day activities of life. It’s no wonder people are drawn here.
We invite you to be part of this vibrant community that is a great investment for many more reasons than were listed above. Come visit Durango Mountain Resort this autumn to view the brilliant fall colors this area is known for and see what a top micropolitan culture can bring to your life.
Monday, September 19, 2011
While they were meant as tokens of gratitude to be dispensed during PBP proper, some slipped away before I took the start. In particular they connected me to the pivotal controle town of Loudeac in Brittany. This magnetic attraction began before the ride, grew stronger during the ride, continued after the ride, and promises to continue doing so.
But we also wanted to cycle a bit of the course. My chain had done some sort of a Triple Salchow in transit and despite my own and the efforts of several vastly more qualified individuals refused a return to normal. So I was delighted when I walked into Cycles Mace in Loudeac to find a native son who spoke Canadian.
Jeff was a gem and was riding PBP as was Claris, the proprietress of Cycles Mace. The local Loudeac cycling club, drawing from a population of no more than 10,000 inhabitants was fielding 45 riders. This impressed as the San Francisco Randonneurs, drawing from a population region of between 5 million and 10 million, had only managed to equal Loudeac’s participation!
Several hours later I returned to find the Cycles Mace had solved the puzzle of my chain. When I asked the cost of the repair they would not accept payment. But the owner and the mechanic were delighted to receive the SFR magnets.
During PBP, 450 kilometers into the ride, I rolled into the Loudeac controle and gave the controle worker and her interpreter SFR magnets. As I left the controle on the exciting bumpercar/cyclocross course I heard the mechanic who had saved my chain yelling at me. When I stopped he came over and we hugged as he asked how his repair was holding up and I inquired about Claris and Jeff.
Somewhere after Druex I came upon a rider who was going too slowly to finish on time. He stared intently at his bottom bracket and it hit me that he was suffering from Shermer’s Neck. He spoke only Japanese but I motioned for him to pull over. I flipped his handle bars up and ran an inner-tube thru his helmet and around his shoulders. These improved his situation dramatically.
Up the road a bit I found a rider in a similar fix. He was French and spoke a fair amount of English. Patrick was from Loudeac as I learned when I asked him where he’d got his Cycles Mace cap. His aging Peugeot was not a candidate for bar flipping as all the bolts were rusted tightly. I went to work on making his helmet fit properly and attaching an inner tube to his helmet and shoulders. Apparently I was a tad too zealous as Patrick asked if I was trying to kill him.
Time was running out so I suggested Patrick follow my wheel to the finish. We worked out basic signals and made our way towards the finish as the grains drained the hourglass.
On our way we came across two fellows from the same club, The Haute Alps of Somewhere. One had Shermer’s Neck but knew what was happening as he’d had it in 2007. He couldn’t rotate his bars due to the cables but had fashioned an ingenious, artistic, and ineffectual cervical collar out of newspaper and plastic bags. He declined my inner-tube invitation but joined our “Shermer’s Neck Pace Line.”
As we proceeded at a slow and careful pace through the suburbs our gruppo grew as many riders had so very little left that they had slowed to a Shermer’s Neck speed.
We finished on time. The Japanese rider thanked me with the poignant, profound, and profuse thanks with which people of his culture transfer affection. I gave him and Patrick a magnet. I will see them again, this I know.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Cantharellus cibarius, commonly known as the chanterelle, is a fungus in the family of Cantharellaceae. It is orange or yellow, meaty and funnel-shaped. On the lower surface, underneath the smooth cap, it has gill-like ridges that run almost all the way down its stipe, which tapers down seamlessly from the cap. It has a fruity smell, reminiscent of apricots and a mildly peppery taste and is considered an excellent edible mushroom.
Photography and Cuisine by Lisa Bourey
Friday, September 2, 2011
Amazingly, the unique Basin and Range topography ranges from North America's lowest point in Death Valley to the Lower 48's highest point less than 100 miles away at the summit of Mount Whitney.
To the amazement of all who followed the progress, the monks spent four days in Durango constructing the Chenrezig Sand Mandala at the Open Shutter Gallery. Sand painting is an ancient Tibetan art form and is constructed from dyed sand particles to represent the esoteric, textual traditions of Buddhism. This Mandala is a representation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, or Chenrezig.