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Stage 1: Aspen.
Stage 2: Aspen to Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte.
Stage 3: Gunnison to Monarch Mountain.
Stage 4: Colorado Springs.
Stage 5: Woodland Park to Breckenridge.
Stage 6: Vail.
Stage 7: Fans - It's time to weigh in and let us know where you'd like to go! (You can vote here.)
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb went off without a hitch last Sunday, with the biggest headlines coming from Sébastien Loeb, and his 875-horsepower Peugeot 208 T16, just crushing the previous course record.
Of course, if you were following along online, on Red Bull TV (posted below), you might have had a harder time watching it happen. Helicopter shots kept cutting in and out, images were static-ridden and unreliable, and at times it was just generally difficult to figure out what was happening. This was hell for the people watching, but it was certainly hell for the announcers, one of them being Colorado Springs media member Dan Cochell.
And, of course, this was also the first time an attempt had been made to broadcast the race, now in its 91st year. Despite that, thousands of commenters on YouTube and Facebook ripped the production up and down. Here's a few from Sunday (everything sic-ed):
"Thanks for posting this video," Ivan Nenov wrote. "The redbull.tv broadcast was less than impressive though. Gearheads want to hear the car engine, not two gentlemen talking."
Or, from Ralph Gaume: "Amazing race by Loeb and Peugeot, but redbull this coverage suck! Espacialy the two guys, they seem nice but I wasn't here to listen to them."
Or Mario Sergio Arcanjo's thoughts: "WHAT A CRAP TRANSMISSION, HOPEFULLY RED BULL HAS A BETTER COVERAGE OF THE RECORD RUN.....USELESS TV STATION THAT COVERED THE RUN.......BUNCH OF AMATEURS!!!!"
We even received letters written to Cochell's personal e-mail address, which was posted in the comments, CC'd to our newsroom. It's all just a little ridiculous, Cochell says in a phone interview with the Indy.
"The Hill Climb partnered with me to be the play-by-play announcer, but the production crew didn’t have their shit together whatsoever," he says. "So, when we arrived up on the hill to do the race, my audio cables aren’t even plugged in four minutes before race time; I didn’t have IFB; I had no contact with any of the announcers up and down the hill; I didn’t have any monitor to see any footage.
"We essentially did what turned out to be a six-hour race with about 15 minutes of the race, and the rest of it, all the cameras were failing from the connections. And then the cameras, as you saw, on the helicopter would freeze. And that’s what happened all day, so what was I supposed to do?"
Cochell says all the cameras were linked over Wi-Fi, but a 14,115-foot mountain sort of got in the way.
"If you understand how big Pikes Peak is, to hook up all the cameras on a wireless Internet system and have all that technology work flawlessly is asking a lot," he says. "And the person that did the production arrived on Wednesday, and really didn’t have any chance to set up any of the cameras, which didn’t even arrive until Saturday at 5 p.m. Saturday! I went up there on Saturday to do a run-through, and it was pouring rain by 3 in the afternoon so they couldn’t even hook up anything."
Eventually the summit camera was hooked up — 15 minutes before the race started, Cochell says. A second camera at the 16-mile mark failed to ever come online, leaving the helicopter camera as the main one. Of course, the announcers couldn't speak with the pilot, and had no help determining which car was on the road.
"I don’t want any PR off this," Cochell says. "I wasn’t gonna say anything, but when you have 20,000 people commenting and ripping you apart, and ripping the Hill Climb apart — and part of this is me defending the Hill Climb, because these people have no idea what they’re talking about. They have none. They just sit and watch the thing and think it should just come off magical, and it doesn’t happen that way. It doesn’t work that way in the real world."
Cochell says he also built the broadcast set in the first place, though was not responsible for getting it into shape.
"So, the moment I walked on the set and nothing is set — I mean, no cables are run, no power cord for the monitors — I mean, when none of that is in place, and it's still not in place four minutes before we go on the air ... What was I gonna do?
"If I go into that set and I know everything that's laid out before me and it's not ready to my standards and all of a sudden I say, 'We're not gonna do this' ... all of a sudden it's a disaster from the beginning. But when I do go on the air and try and make something out of it, and it still turns out bad, then I'm really looked at as being unprofessional and unprepared, which is the furthest thing from the truth."
And, for fun, here's some fans who were nearly killed by Loeb while crossing the road:
I know as much about the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb as I do about riding motorcycles (which I've, uh, never done). Despite that, I dig a downtown party as much as the next guy, so look for vehicular madness on Tejon Street tonight, with a beer garden, chili cook-off, stunt team and more.
The “9 Minute Club,” all five competitors who have broken the once elusive 10-minute barrier will be in the race; Rhys Millen (9:46.164 in 2012), Romain Dumas (9:46.181 in 2012), Nobuhiro Tajima (9:51.278 in 2011), Carlin Dunne (9:52.819 in 2012) and Greg Tracy (9:58.262 in 2012).
But based on practice and testing times this week, it may result in the first sub-nine minute mark and new records in almost every division on the fully-paved 12.42 mile course with 156 turns if the mountain and the weather cooperate with race organizers. ...
All eyes in the Motorcycle field will be focused squarely on record-setting Carlin Dunne (Santa Barbara, CA), who set the course mark for bikes last year in winning the Pikes Peak 1205 division with a clocking of 9:52.819 on a Ducati Multistrada. He’s back this year, but this time he will be racing a new Lightning Electric Super Bike, rumored to be the fastest production bike in the world, electric or fuel-based, in the Exhibition Powersports division, with an expectation of a new course record after his blazing testing times on the hill this week and last weekend.
Those who can't attend Sunday can watch the live stream on Red Bull TV, or listen live at 105.5 FM or 1240 AM. Meanwhile, in the spirit of people who can actually operate a motorcycle, here's local Colorado Springs race contestant Jeff Grace going up the mountain last year:
According to Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach the Colorado Rockies are considering pulling the plug on their Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs unless it relocates to a new ballpark.
Bach told the Gazette in a story published Thursday:
The Rockies have told me directly, and I think they are out there publicly saying, that they are concerned about the physical situation out at Security Service Field for two reasons. One, the wind, particularly the east wind, causes torque on the ball. Second, they lose a lot of games in the early season, because the field is frozen. The stadium is antiquated. It doesn't have enough bathrooms; doesn't have enough concessions; doesn't have cover for bad weather. So, are we at risk of losing the Sky Sox? I think we are.
The Gazette story included Sky Sox GM Tony Ensor saying there was "definitely no chance" of such a thing. But we also wanted to hear from the parent club itself, so we asked Rockies Vice President of Communications Jay Alves about that statement.
Here's a voicemail Alves left for us in response to our questions:
Several of us in the organization speak to the mayor from time to time. Like any other major league club, I guess I can tell you that, uh, any other major league organization, we're always looking to enhance our player development. And if that meant a new ballpark in Colorado Springs, that would be terrific.
Certainly we, uh, would be interested. Uh, but, uh, at this time, uh, like I say, from time to time we talk to the mayor, and that's really where we're at. Uh, I think it would be way too premature to say that the Rockies would move our affiliation out of Colorado Springs.
We pressed him further in an e-mail, saying, "I think what we're really trying to verify is whether someone with the Rockies organization actually told the mayor that Security Service Field is antiquated, is short on bathrooms, concessions, etc., and that those and factors related to game performance means Colorado Springs is 'at risk of losing the Sky Sox.'"
Here's Alves' response: "That's a question for the mayor to answer. You have our answers."
As Indy columnist John Hazlehurst points out in his column this week, there's a movement afoot to secure tax money to build a ball stadium before any public discourse takes place. Unless, of course, you consider a non-scientific, targeted survey as public discourse.
And by the way, has anyone heard any results from that yet? Or is that information also off-limits to the public?
American Kenny Rackers proved he’s crackers as he beat other daredevils who hurled themselves down a hill in the name of English tradition.
The army veteran stole first place at the annual cheese rolling competition at Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire, today in a race to the bottom.
And that's the big news, as told here by the UK publication Mirror.
We'd first told you about Rackers' pursuit of cheese-chasing glory back in early February.
You can also view photos and video from the race courtesy Mail Online, where Rackers was also interviewed:
It left the races wide open to challengers and the first downhill pursuit was won by jubilant American Kenny Rackers, 27, from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The estate agent, wearing a morph costume with his hair dyed to match, said: ‘I've come especially for this and it feels great to win.
'I've been training a long time for it - running up and down the ski slopes in Colorado. As soon as I saw this event on TV I put it on my bucket list to do.
‘We are celebrating Memorial Day today, remembering all soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their countries, and I want to dedicate my win to them, to all the soldiers everywhere.
‘I got a great start at the top of the hill and I just kept going. As far as I know I am the first American to hold a cheese high here.’
And finally, here's a look at the winning run:
Gary Zimmerman may have been the quintessential ’90s-era Denver Broncos offensive lineman — with his reticence to talk to the media, generally undersized frame and maniacal zone-blocking tendencies — but it was like-minded center Tom Nalen who always had my heart.
That shaggy dude was the linchpin for every success enjoyed by the cast-off running backs that coach Mike Shanahan would pull from the dregs of the draft, and for it he'll join 23 other former players in the team's Ring of Fame.
Nalen himself came from the bottom of the pile, drafted out of Boston College in the seventh round in 1994. He went on to make five Pro Bowls, win two Super Bowls, be named All-Pro three times, block for 11 1,000-yard rushers — including Terrell Davis' 1998 year, when he rushed for 2,008 yards — and start more games than any other Denver Broncos player except John Elway. He was named the National Football League's Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2003.
He played his last game in October 2007, and formally retired in 2009 after suffering knee and bicep injuries. Here's Westword's Michael Roberts around that time: "Back then, my wife was an assistant principal at a Denver-area school where the Nalens were thinking about enrolling their kids — which they ultimately did," he wrote in 2008. "She wound up giving Nalen and his wife a tour of the facility, and when they came to a small set of stairs, she watched as he slowly — very slowly — climbed them one agonizing step at a time.
"It hurt her just to watch him and his gait on the flat surfaces made it clear that plain old walking caused him pain, too. But he didn't stop then, and he's seldom taken a break since then."
Nalen will be inducted on Sept. 29 at halftime of the Broncos' home game against the Philadelphia Eagles, joining other contemporary Broncos players Rod Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Steve Atwater, Zimmerman and Davis. I bet it's a short speech.
Yesterday the Pikes Peak Road Runners hosted a 5k to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Stephanie Wurtz, coordinator of the quickly organized event, estimates that 400 to 500 runners came out. And though participation required no registration fee or purchase of any kind, they were able to raise approximately $500 for onefundboston.org, which financially assists those affected by the tragedy and, at the time of this blog, had raised more than $29 million.
Some local runners in attendance had actually participated in this year's Boston Marathon, and all runners were encouraged to sign a banner which will make its way to the Boston Athletic Association, which hosts the marathon.
Often at the Independent we look forward to brightening your week with fun articles, witty commentary, and entertaining local news. But sometimes we find ourselves affected by non-local news, as was the case a few weeks ago when the country became transfixed by the events at the Boston Marathon.
That sad and tragic time, however, once again showed how we as a country bond tighter in the face adversity. This Monday, May 6, the Springs will do its part as the Pikes Peak Road Runners (sister program of the Boston Athletic Association) hosts a 5K to honor and remember those who were lost and injured in the tragedy.
See attached flier:
Former Denver Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenburg retired in 1994, but he's never far from the public eye — or fans' hearts — due to his charity work. Well, now it's his wordsmithing that's bringing him around: At 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, the sack artist will sign, and talk about, his new book at the Chapel Hills Mall.
"You have to make decisions quickly in football; making no decision is always wrong," Mecklenburg writes in one excerpt from Heart of a Student Athlete: All Pro Advice for Competitors and Their Families. "When I coached high school football at Kent Denver, we had seven National Merit Scholars on our team. ... Even though the guys were so bright, one of our biggest challenges was trying to coach them to be decisive. Paralyzation by analyzation was the problem."
Today in Sports Illustrated, 34-year-old basketball player Jason Collins became, as he puts it, "the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport." Rumors have been swirling for weeks that four players in the National Football League would make a similar joint announcement, and the National Hockey League just signed a formal partnership with a sexual-equality sports organization, but Collins beat them all to the punch for the real thing.
As for his reason for doing it now, the NBA journeyman says it was in part a casualty of his routine being disrupted by the league lock-out, and in part because recent events made him realize how short time is.
"The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn't wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect," Collins wrote. "Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? ...
"No one wants to live in fear. I've always been scared of saying the wrong thing. I don't sleep well. I never have. But each time I tell another person, I feel stronger and sleep a little more soundly. It takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret. I've endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time."
The mighty Denver Broncos will take on the NFC West this preseason, the team announced today, including a primetime CBS game against the St. Louis Rams in Week 3. Other opponents include the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, a team the Orange Crush have played in the preseason more than any other — 34 times — and hold an 18-16 record against.
"The Broncos will open their preseason on the road for the 16th consecutive season — extending the club record — when they make their final visit to San Francisco’s Candlestick Park to face the 49ers (Aug. 8-11)," reads the release. "Denver will visit the Seattle Seahawks the following week (Aug. 15-19) before its preseason home opener against the St. Louis Rams on Saturday, Aug. 24. The Broncos will wrap up their preseason play against Arizona for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons when they host the Cardinals (Aug. 29-30)."
In a relatively worthless stat, considering the complete lack of predictive results preseason records yield, Denver has, historically, finished the preseason with at least a .500 record 15 of the last 17 seasons, and owns an all-time record of 127-114.
The team also noted that, for the 44th consecutive year, 850 KOA would be handling the radio broadcasts of all Broncos games, with Dave Logan and Eddie Mac on the mics.
Speaking of Logan, let's go ahead and celebrate this ray of hope — that there will be football again — with one of the best moments, called by one of the best commentators in the business, in Broncos history.
The Denver Broncos are doing a little fan outreach in the wake of a dominant 13-3 season upended by a last-minute fling from the Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco. The inaugural Mile High Salute to Fans Tour will stop in 20 small-ish Colorado cities, with each event free and open to the public.
“The tour will allow us to get out and thank fans throughout Broncos Country for their on-going support," says Marc Freeman, the Broncos senior vice president of business development, in a press release. "Spending time in the communities that support us so passionately is extremely important to everyone in the Broncos organization.”
Pueblo looks to be the closest location for area fans. So, on Thursday, April 4, team cheerleaders, Miles the Mascot, and players Kevin Vickerson and David Bruton will be at Sports Authority, 3325 Dillon Drive, from 4 to 5 p.m.