Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Front Range fracas: Switchbacks vs. Rapids

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 1:24 PM

  • Shutterstock / Colorado Springs Independent - Tanya Shaw Jeffrey

The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Colorado Rapids have never played each other before and they won't play each other often, being in completely different leagues and levels of professional fútbol and all.

But the pair are guaranteed a match against each other on June 16 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, because the Switchbacks advanced into the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup with a lightning-delayed 1-0 victory over the Real Monarchs on Wednesday. (The Rapids enter the tournament in the fourth round.)

The winner of the tournament gets $250,000 and automatically qualifies for the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League

But more important than that is beating Denver, because Denver is a smug effing place. Beating Denver is like watching a dog shit in your annoying neighbor's flowers. Beating Denver means our city's massive inferiority complex — often demonstrated when talking about restaurants, airports, concerts, sports, shopping, transit, anything — is finally assuaged, if only for a day. (That may not be true of you, and congrats on being so well-adjusted.)

As far as how the two teams are doing in their respective league play, the Switchbacks are tied for seventh place at 4-4 and one spot from a playoff berth, while the Rapids continue to kind of suck at 2-3-7, including a recent loss to the 2014 U.S. Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders.

A Switchbacks employee told the Indy that the Rapids would be handling all ticket requests, but we haven't found anything on their website and the team wasn't reached by phone. Please feel free to comment if you have any useful information.

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Local artist wins USA Pro Cycling poster contest

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 12:03 PM

David V. Gonzales, who many know for his window paintings around the holidays (see our story on that here), among his other pursuits, won the USA Pro Challenge's 2015 National Poster Contest.

Gonzales worked on the image with his wife, and thanks Richard Arnot and Christian Murdock for helping him with the final product, "The Peloton":


The Pro Challenge won't pass through the Springs this year, instead looping largely through the western slope before finishing in Denver.
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Women get their own USA Pro Challenge

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 12:09 PM

Unfortunately, the USA Pro Challenge won't run through the Springs this year. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Unfortunately, the USA Pro Challenge won't run through the Springs this year.
In many sports, women just aren't treated as well as men. 

Despite incredible talent, they may not attract the same crowds, sponsorships, prizes, glory or salaries. Bike racing is no exception. So it was exciting to hear that the organizers of the USA Pro Challenge, America's answer to the Tour de France, are unveiling a women's race this year. The best part: the female champions will get the same prize money as the men. The press release below says the the Pro Challenge, which is held annually in Colorado (but is not coming through the Springs this year), hopes to encourage other race organizers to include women and offer equal pay.



Inaugural Event to Kick-Off in Breckenridge, Fort Collins and Golden from August 21-23, 2015

DENVER (March 31, 2015) – The USA Pro Challenge announced today the confirmation of an elite women’s race, the “Women’s USA Pro Challenge,” to take place over the course of three days, in conjunction with the men’s professional race. The women, for the first time, will race on parts of the men’s race course in Colorado this August and race daily for the same prize money as the men.

The three-day invitation-only event is sanctioned by USA Cycling and will kick off in Breckenridge on August 21st and conclude in Golden on August 23rd, prior to the start of the last day of racing for the USA Pro Challenge. It is the first time since 1988 that some of the best men and women in the world will be sharing courses at a major, international stage race in Colorado.

“We are very excited to support women’s cycling in the U.S. and bring more of an awareness to these incredible athletes on a large stage in Colorado with world-class crowds,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “The women bring an entirely new dynamic to our race and we are confident the fierce skills of these riders will impress and inspire all of our passionate fans.”

The announcement was made in Breckenridge and honored guest, American professional and Boulder resident Mara Abbott was on hand to spread the news. In 2010 Abbott, who races for the Wiggle-Honda Pro Cycling team, became the first American ever to win the Giro Donne, one of the Grand Tours of women's bicycle racing.

“I am beyond thrilled to have a chance to compete at the Women’s USA Pro Challenge this year,” said Mara Abbott, professional cyclist. “I think to be able to race on your home turf is special for any racer and especially for me because Colorado holds the majority of my heart. When the men finished up Flagstaff, only two blocks from the house where I grew up, I avoided the race entirely because I was jealous and sad. To get a chance to compete in the Colorado mountains is a dream come true.”

The women competing in the Women’s USA Pro Challenge will include top national riders and Olympians. The women will race for the same prize money as the men and it will help lead the way for future equal winnings in races.

Former COO of USA Cycling and now USA Cycling board member, Sean Petty, will serve as the Race Director for the Women’s USA Pro Challenge.

“There is a long legacy that some of the best female cyclists in the world are from the United States and many from right here in Colorado,” said Sean Petty, Women’s USA Pro Challenge Race Director. “Now, those riders get to showcase their incredible talent and exciting racing in front of the huge crowds the USA Pro Challenge attracts. It’s a great opportunity for our women to have a ‘home game.’”

Connie Carpenter-Phinney made history when she won the first women’s Olympic road race in 1984. She has been a proponent of a women’s USA Pro Challenge from the very beginning when she helped form the USA Pro Challenge in the inaugural year.

"This is great news for women's cycling that the USA Pro Challenge has added a women's division in 2015, which has been highly anticipated by the racers and the fans,” said Carpenter-Phinney. “I know Colorado will embrace the women's race and 2015 will mark the start of a new era in women's racing!"

The complete race details are still being finalized, however the start of the race will begin in Breckenridge with an individual time trial to coincide with the men’s time trial in Breckenridge. The other two stage routes are in Fort Collins and Golden with details to be confirmed in the near future.

About the USA Pro Challenge

Referred to as “America’s Race,” the USA Pro Challenge will take place August 17-23, 2015. For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the majestic Colorado Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure. One of the largest cycling events in U.S. history and the largest spectator event in the history of the state, the USA Pro Challenge is back for 2015. Featuring a challenging course, the fifth annual race will spotlight the best of the best in professional cycling and some of America’s most beautiful scenery.

More information can be found online at and on Twitter at @USAProChallenge. 

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sky Sox tickets go on-sale March 16

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 3:14 PM


It's a brand new world, Sky Sox fans. We're entering our first year as affiliates of the Milwaukee Brewers, an organization that just moved right-hander Johnny Hellweg, the organization's minor league pitcher of the year, to Colorado Springs.

If you're interested in seeing him in action, take heart: Individual-ticket sales begin Monday, March 16. Reserved seats are $12, boxed seats $15 and season tickets start at $70. Right now, sales are only available online. 

The first game comes April 9 against the Nashville Sounds, and you and I both know it's going to be rescheduled because, you know, snow.
Highlighting the 2015 promotional calendar are a whopping 18 fireworks shows, the most in Sky Sox history! In addition to the Sky Sox’ popular Friday Fireworks series (9 Fridays in total), the team will also have fireworks during their July 4 game against the Memphis Redbirds and other select Saturdays throughout the year.

New this season, fans can purchase an 8-game Friday Fireworks pack for a discounted price of $75. Saturday fireworks shows will include entertaining themes with live character appearances and performances including Star Wars on June 20, the Avengers on August 1 and Batman vs. Superman on September 5 for Sky Fest, the biggest fireworks show of the year.

Fans will also want to secure their tickets for major events like Opening Weekend (April 9-12), Used Car Night on Saturday, July 11 and our first combined fireworks show and giveaway night with a retro 80’s Sox the Fox Bobblehead to the first 1,500 fans through the gates on August 15.

This season will also see the return of Kids Eat Free Mondays and a new promo called ‘Must Win Mondays’. If you are in attendance for a Sky Sox win on a Monday night, your ticket is then valid for one free admission for any selected Monday during the 2015 season at Security Service Field.

The Sky Sox will also be welcoming back their popular day-of-the-week promotions including 11 $2 Tuesdays, 11 $3 Craft Brew Thursdays and 11 50¢ hot dog Sundays.

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Switchbacks announce season schedule

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 3:43 PM

Now that the Super Bowl has passed — insert something snarky here about sharks or stupid play-calls or whatever — shall we discuss the other "football," or "fútbol" or, um, "soccer"?

Great, let's do. 

The Colorado Springs Switchbacks Football Club announced its 2015 season today, with the opening home game slated for Saturday, April 4 against the Oklahoma City Energy. All of the 14 home games will be played at Sand Creek Stadium

The Switchbacks are playing in the USL PRO league, which hosts a dozen teams, some as affiliates of Major League Soccer. Here's more on their opponents

Season tickets are available at the Switchbacks' website, where player announcements continue to be made as well.  

Plenty of opportunities to cheer on the home team this summer.
  • Plenty of opportunities to cheer on the home team this summer.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Broncos fans, 'fans,' aren’t taking yesterday’s loss very well

Posted By on Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 4:06 PM

  • American Spirit /
The NFL season my be over for most Broncos fans but the emotional roller coaster is still playing out on Twitter as we speak. One measure of the lowness of the lows: Tebow references are alive and well. (By the way, Indy readers, don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

Bronco Country is a nation divided as bandwagoners ditch the orange and blue and the media begins its field day with off season and 2016 predictions. Should Peyton stay or should he go? What happens now that John Fox is out as head coach? Will Del Rio and Gase jump ship too? This can’t be Elway’s fault, right?

One thing we do know, based on the following collection of tweets, is that Broncos “fans” and fans aren’t taking yesterday’s loss very well.

Witness the fallout live and online here.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

El Pomar gives $10 million to Olympic museum

Posted By on Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Two weeks after Nor'wood Development Group donated land southwest of downtown for the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, El Pomar Foundation has decided to donate donate $10 million to the project, the museum announced today.

The museum, part of the City for Champions tourism extravanganza, is being overseen by Dick Celeste, former governor of Ohio who served as president of Colorado College.

El Pomar's president and CEO is Bill Hybl, a Colorado College grad who is president emeritus of the U.S. Olympic Committee, having served during four Olympic Games. Bill also is chairman of the U.S. Olympic Endowment.

El Pomar has assets topping $500 million, built from an endowment created by Broadmoor resort founder Spencer Penrose.

Here's the news release:
Colorado Springs, Colo. – October 3, 2014 — This week, El Pomar Foundation Trustees announced approval of a $10 million dollar grant to the United States Olympic Museum.
The Olympic Museum draws on the strength of the Colorado Springs community. As the headquarters for the United States Olympic Committee and 22 National Governing Bodies for Olympic sport, which include Paralympic sport, Colorado Springs is uniquely positioned to be the site for the nation’s first and only Olympic Museum.

“Colorado Springs is a proven leader in its support of our country’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Spencer Penrose envisioned Colorado Springs as a thriving hub of tourism and commerce, and the U.S. Olympic Museum will be a destination tourist attraction, and a powerful economic driver for the region. It will honor the Olympic movement and the athletes who have achieved and endured. Additionally, the Museum’s leadership team, headed by Ambassador Richard Celeste, has demonstrated certainty of vision and commitment to achieve the museums goals.” –El Pomar Foundation Chairman and CEO, William J. Hybl.

With over 219 million U.S. viewers during the 2012 London Olympic Games, yet with all this attention, there is no comprehensive Olympic Museum in the United States for avid followers.

“The Olympic Museum will be a place not only to showcase the struggle and success of our nation’s athletes but to also express the universal values of excellence, friendship and respect through the philosophy of the Olympic Games. The Colorado Springs community has a passion for sport and a longstanding connection to the Olympic movement. Providing a national home for the U.S. Olympic Museum will allow us to share our passion with parents and children from around the nation and world as they visit the Museum.” Ambassador Dick Celeste, President U.S. Olympic Museum

The U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs will be the only comprehensive Olympic and Paralympic Museum in the United States. An iconic complex to be built in downtown Colorado Springs, the museum will be a pilgrimage site containing the artifacts, media, technology, and the myriad stories behind the dedicated American athletes who follow their dreams, while showcasing the historical power and national pride surrounding the Olympic Games. 
The other three projects included in City for Champions are a sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Air Force Academy visitors center and downtown sports stadium.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Purple problems

Posted By on Sat, Sep 27, 2014 at 9:02 AM

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Born in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, my earliest childhood recollections are dominated by a few recurring themes: catching minnows on the shores of a hundred different lakes; bright lights and cheese curds at the Minnesota State Fair; the great mounds of snow being plowed to the center of our cul-de-sac where the neighborhood children would collect, burrow and climb with delight.

In one way or another, these memories were all colored with the same palette. Whether it be a television set blaring play-by-play in the background of the family room or my snow-pants in the winter and T-shirts in the summer, all of my childhood memories are tinged with the purple and gold of the Minnesota Vikings.

I was bred to be a fan from birth. The Vikings are so dramatically imprinted and intricately woven into my psyche that they’re responsible for a portion of my identity. Unfortunately, that portion of my identity is littered with astounding disappointment.

From Jim Marshall running the wrong way for a touchdown to the horrible Herschel Walker trade that dismantled the franchise for a decade, and from Gary Anderson’s infamous missed field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship Game to being the most affected victim of the ‘Bountygate’ scandal in 2009, the heartache has outweighed the triumph many times over.

It’s common among the Viking faithful to discuss and dissect just which embarrassing incident or terrible tragedy was, or is, the most difficult to stomach. But after the events of the last several weeks, I feel as though it’s safe to say that the debate is over.

Adrian Peterson, my favorite player on my favorite team, was indicted on allegations of child abuse earlier this month, sending me into a hazy daze from which I have yet to emerge. The incident has me thinking and rethinking everything from social justice and corporal punishment to the National Football League’s handling of issues not related to the field.

First, I had to reconcile with the idea that Peterson, the face of the Vikings since his rookie season in 2007, may have played his last game in Minnesota — a thought that was unfathomable just a few days prior. My instinctual urge was to want him back on the field, even if I was only partially conscious of it. I was rooting for Peterson in a personal matter because I liked the way he played football and who he played for.

It wasn’t until I shifted my attention to the more devastating issue of child abuse, alleged or not, that I noticed something frightening going on in my brain: I was making excuses, looking for loopholes, and shifting my judgment as it pertained to abuse because the man involved was my personal, sports hero.

I had to revisit those early Minnesota memories to help myself divorce from the issue. It is, after all, the children innocently rooting for their favorite teams who could be facing abuse at home. My inner child knows that those are two very separate issues with very separate consequences and realities.

I don’t know exactly how to feel about a parent’s right to discipline their child in the manner they see fit; I’ve never had to think about it. I imagine it’s an opinion of mine that will slowly form and morph over time as I have new, personal experiences and perhaps children of my own. But I’ve learned that when the sports world shifts its focus to real societal issues, wins, losses, colors and logos need to be kept out of the conversation.

Nic R. Krause was born a cranky, curmudgeon of a child in a Minnesota suburb. He was plucked from the muggy tundra and relocated to Colorado Springs 22 years ago. From intramural jai-alai, to his complicated relationship with the Minnesota Vikings, Nic, plainly stated, is bonkers for sports. Follow him on Twitter @NicRKrause.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Video: Racers rock the Not-So-Pro Challenge

Posted By on Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Indy associate publisher Carrie Simison rides for glory. - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Indy associate publisher Carrie Simison rides for glory.

Yes, the USA Pro Challenge was almost a month ago, but we just got back our video of the real race that followed — the Not-So-Pro Challenge, which involved 11 teams including one from the Independent — so we wanted to share the madness. Videography by Michael Lee Ring.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

See the Stanley Cup Sept. 30

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 5:18 PM

I'd show you myself with this bad boy, but Mom has the sole copy. - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • I'd show you myself with this bad boy, but Mom has the sole copy.
Hockey lovers, here's your chance for the ultimate Christmas card picture. Lord Stanley's Cup will make a stop at the Broadmoor World Arena on Tues., Sept. 30 from 4-6:30 p.m. for a free photo opp.

The Stanley Cup, unlike a lot of other trophies, lives a pretty eventful existence, often going on tour for publicity visits and, per NHL rules, a day with each player on the championship team. Its personal handler, Philip Pritchard, keeps a lively Twitter account of its travels.

I will take this moment to say, that back in 2001 — the year the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup, mind you — it made a last-minute visit to that year's Territory Days. I was in high school then, and had spent pretty much the entire school year watching games and being the best fan I could be.

(Then, as now, I had no social life and hated extracurriculars, i.e. "Why be at school longer when I could go home and be by myself?")

Anyway, the four of us went down to Old Colorado City and queued up, somewhat serendipitously, near the front of the would-be line and waited the next four hours for the Cup to arrive.

But it came, and we got a great photo of the four of us — big smiles and hot palms pressed against that beautiful shiny silver — gathered around it.

Worth it.




Colorado Springs, CO – The Broadmoor World Arena welcomes the Stanley Cup in Colorado Springs in preparation for the Battle at the Broadmoor face-off between the Colorado Avalanche and the Los Angeles Kings.

‘Sir Stanley in the Springs 2014’ is a free event. The general public will have the opportunity to take a memorable picture with the Stanley Cup and partake in numerous family friendly activities.

Centerplate, the in-house catering company at The Broadmoor World Arena will have Silver Dollar Stanleys randomly placed on food and beverage items during the open house, good for special prizes redeemable at the Box Office. (Guests are encouraged to look for these special Silver Dollar Stanley stickers on the bottom of all concession items in order to win.)

The Colorado Avalanche take on 2014 Stanley Cup winners, the LA Kings for the official Battle at the Broadmoor, October 2 at The Broadmoor World Arena. Tickets are still available at all TicketsWest locations, or by calling 520-SHOW.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

How Justin Verlander taught me to understand the atrocity of the leaked nudie-pic

Posted By on Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 8:30 AM

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Last month, the Internet world (specifically that of the sad, lonely geek) was rocked by a tremendous event called by many names and with far-reaching implications. The once fluffy iCloud was breached and rained down upon all those who had 15 minutes to spare a barrage of private photographs, sensual in nature, of dozens of budding starlets. Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Imgur and a host of other popular social media sites were inundated, if not completely overrun, by the sudden boom of starlet selfies.

Initially I hardly noticed. After all, this is no new frontier. To my knowledge, since the formation of the Internet, pornography has been available in hordes, and a large amount of it is celebrity-based. So plentiful are these websites that at times it seems that the sole inspiration for the Internet’s creation was to show the bare breasts of that lady that played the housekeeper on that one season of that one sitcom in the mid-’80s.

The "news" of this "event" was everywhere, reported in every major outlet, but basically failed to pierce my consciousness. That was until I saw, scrolling at the bottom of my screen, a name more familiar to me than the others: Justin Verlander.

Justin Verlander is not just a baseball player — he’s a six-time All-Star, a Cy Young Award-winning, no-hitter-pitching, 100-plus-mph-throwing bona-fide bad-ass. Oh, and did I mention that he’s dating a supermodel? That particular fact is what landed him on the bottom-of-television scroll that grabbed my attention so dramatically. He was, like the many celebs of Hollywood, exposed in the buff for all the world to see because of a hacking scandal.

My thoughts rolled in, quickly and cluttered as if I were a teenaged girl awaiting the results of The Voice finale.

Oh no! Not him! Not Justin! What could he have possibly done to deserve this? Those scumbags! Those disgusting scumbags, violating privacy as if it wasn’t worth anything, is nothing sacred anymore!? What I wouldn’t do to be in a dark alley with a bucket of baseballs and those responsible tied to a chain-link fence.

I instantly understood every tweet, Facebook post or vlog response I had seen on the matter. I understood those weeping tweens crying out in confused gargles and feeling exposed and ashamed themselves; I became that weeping tween.

I feel small-minded now, that in order for me to see the grave injustice of stealing something private and broadcasting it to the world, it took someone I could personally identify with as a man and as a sports fan falling victim to an Internet crime. It took a baseball superstar to tap into my inner tween girl who sympathizes with the woeful injustices brought upon the modern-day starlet.

Britney? Lindsay Lohan? If only I would’ve felt then the way I feel now. I apologize for being so dismissive of your troubles. I thank you, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, for bringing to light and helping to abolish the insensitivity and sexism I have had harbored inside of me for who knows how long. (And that is a sentence I can honestly say that I never thought I’d write.)

Nic R. Krause was born a cranky, curmudgeon of a child in a Minnesota suburb. He was plucked from the muggy tundra and relocated to Colorado Springs 22 years ago. From intramural jai-alai, to his complicated relationship with the Minnesota Vikings, Nic, plainly stated, is bonkers for sports. Follow him on Twitter @NicRKrause.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

UPDATE: Skateboarders hit Pikes Peak

Posted By on Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 3:56 PM

The world's top skateboarders hit the peak this weekend, and despite 50+ mph speed, no one died. Bravo on that one.

And the winner was...

Jimmy Riha of the United State (San Diego), led the way, leading the chart and finishing atop the day with 1000 points. That kept him in fifth place in the Open Skateboard standings behind Patrick Switzer of Canada, who has 5,457 points on the circuit to 4,524 for Riha, who enjoyed a fabulous run on America's Mountain on a sunny 67 degree day with perfect highway conditions.
The rest of the 119 racers lined up as follows:





Personally, my interest in skateboarding ended some time in 1988, when I decided that laying belly-down on a board while plummeting down a hill was a good idea. I'm pretty sure I left a dent in someone's parked car with my face. 

Be that as it may, I am not against watching someone else skateboard down a really big hill at 50 miles per hour (may the force be with them). And this weekend will bring an opportunity to do exactly that, when the world's fastest skateboarders descend a 1.4 mile course on Pikes Peak. Apparently, the course will include "sweeping turns, steep drops, and banked hairpin corners."

The International Downhill Federation is bringing 119 racers to the international event including 94 men, 18 juniors and seven women. To learn more read the release from the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation:

If Speed Is Your Thrill, Here's An Event On Pikes Peak This Coming Weekend You'll Never Forget!

This coming weekend, the world's fastest skateboarders will compete on a 1.4 mile course full of sweeping turns, steep drops, and banked hairpin corners. With speeds expected at 50+ mph this race down Pikes Peak is one of the most anticipated stops on the International Downhill Federation schedule. Check out the course map here.

A total of 119 racers will tackle Pikes Peak, now a major international event with competitors from Australia. Brazil. Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Malaysia, Peru, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain and the United States. The field consists 94 Open (Men), 18 Juniors and seven women.

The Pikes Peak Downhill Invitational opens on Saturday the 6th with practice and qualification runs through out the day starting at 9:00 a.m. Sunday final practice starts at 9:00 a.m. with the official race starting at 10:00 a.m. The race will be ran in heats of 4-6 racers, each will be timed individually until the final rounds where only the winners will advance.

The summit at Pikes Peak, a National Historic Landmark, is the most visited mountain in North America, and the second most visited mountain in the world.

Over a half million people reach the summit house every year, via the Pikes Peak Highway, the world's highest toll road at 14,115 feet.

Constructed in 1915, the Pikes Peak highway has been home to the legendary Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb for nearly 100 years. Also known as The Race to the Clouds, the Hill Climb famously competed on dirt and gravel for decades, from the halfway point of the 19-mile highway, to the summit. In 2011, the highway was paved all the way to the top, opening up the fastest, and most challenging curves, to downhill skateboarding for the first time.

Against this stunning backdrop, rich in racing and motorsports history, the world's fastest skateboarders will compete on a course starting above 11,000 feet, with 1.5 miles of sweeping turns, steep drops, and banked hairpin corners. With top speeds expected to reach 50+ mph, the Pikes Peak Downhill course is one of the most highly anticipated stops on the International Downhill Federation schedule.

The Pikes Peak Downhill is free to the public other then the toll fee ($12.00) to access the Pikes Peak Highway. The Pikes Peak Highway will be open to regular traffic in 20 minute intervals that allow racers to complete their heats. Spectators are permitted to park at the Ski Area as there is no parking along the race course.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

John Rocker: Train Wreck Survivor

Posted By on Sun, Aug 31, 2014 at 8:22 AM

I was halfway through writing a post about the difficulty I was having with intellectually reconciling the notion of the ALS ice-bucket challenge as both silly Internet fad and light-hearted fundraiser.

Phew! Even that single sentence summary was bleak.

Then, as I was straining for a light at the end of the tunnel, a familiar train, a train I had very nearly forgotten about, a train that I thought must’ve been lying in a junkyard as a pile of hot, twisted metal these last years, passed by me on its way to what is sure to be yet another massive wreck. And, like in years before, as revolting as the upcoming crash has the possibility of being, it will be almost impossible to turn away from as it unfolds.

Johnny Rocker, a former big league pitcher, is back and in prime time.

For those that aren’t familiar with Mr. Rocker, he is essentially the real-life manifestation of Kenny Powers from the hit HBO comedy "Eastbound and Down." Rocker was a fast hurling phenom at his Georgia high school and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves as a teenager, beginning his 12-year career in baseball brightened dramatically by the spotlight that glowed every time Rocker put his foot inside of his mouth. For a while, Rocker was a good enough pitcher that many fans were able to overlook his antics, but that all changed with the now infamous interview he did with Sports Illustrated in 1999, when we learned a lot about John Rocker and his worldview.

We learned that he 
  • Shutterstock
hates New York City — mostly because of the foreigners. We learned that he finds riding the subway alongside AIDS victims and young mothers depressing and likened the experience to living in Beirut. (If you peruse E-Bay, you can still find plenty of Johnny Rocker autographs with his signature “Fuck NY” also inscribed.) We essentially learned that John Rocker was exactly who we thought he was and that he was willing to go on record as that guy. He received some praise for being unapologetic, but largely the response was extreme backlash.

The interview marked the beginning of the end for John Rocker, the baseball player who was soon usurped by the over-the-top personality of John Rocker. For the next several years, there was no subject sacred enough for Rocker to avoid; race, sex, gender, politics, it was all fair game for the former reliever. Even more recently, Rocker launched an English-speaking only campaign to try and strike foreign languages from our country altogether.

But, as intense a character as Rocker was and is, he’s faded from the public eye since very matter-of-factly admitting to using steroids in 2011. That is: until now.

It’s been announced that Johnny Rocker will be a contestant — along with his girlfriend, Julie McGee — on the hit television series "Survivor".

(You couldn’t write this stuff. If you’re really quiet you can still hear the echo of the thunderous ‘why didn’t we think of that?’ face-palm of the entire production staff of Eastbound and Down when they heard the news. Seriously, is there a more perfect story-arc for Kenny Powers?)

As an advocate for tolerance and equality I’m frustrated at the undeserved attention the historic pig is about to receive. But, as an advocate of trashy reality television that typically results in the type of dramatic outbursts that John Rocker was born to provide, yeah, I’m definitely on board.

There’s no question that Rocker doesn’t participate in the types of discussions that garner higher ideals and perpetuate a peaceful, respectful culture. There is also no question that, like the horrors of a tragic train wreck, those within viewing distance are going to find it difficult not to stare. Even if before this moment you had no idea who John Rocker was, you most likely can speak, or at least understand the universal language of the rubbernecker fixated on a dumpster fire.

Is it out of pity? Blood lust? Old-fashioned curiosity? No matter the reason, and as uneasy guilt rushes through my veins in a visceral way, I am going to watch Survivor this season. And I don’t care who knows about it — how’s about that for unapologetic?

Nic R. Krause was born a cranky, curmudgeon of a child in a Minnesota suburb. He was plucked from the muggy tundra and relocated to Colorado Springs 22 years ago. From intramural jai-alai, to his complicated relationship with the Minnesota Vikings, Nic, plainly stated, is bonkers for sports. Follow him on Twitter @NicRKrause.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hello old friend, I hardly know you

Posted By on Sun, Aug 24, 2014 at 8:04 AM

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The myriad and quality of children’s TV shows in Britain (albeit I’m recalling them now through the mists of nostalgia) ensured that growing up in England we spent a great many more hours in front of the tube than was undoubtedly good for us. So why didn’t we all become pasty-faced, weak-limbed, feeble-minded blobs with bad teeth? Because park football — or as you might term it, soccer -— saved us.

Park football would start very innocently, with you and maybe two or three of your mates,  jackets or jumpers hastily removed and utilized for their proper purpose as goalposts. Once two teams had been established, the regulation 11 versus 11 was usually soon abandoned as teams grew in size to 15, 18, 20 a side! And with the absorption of every new wave of kids, the pitch was forced to grow, with coats and jumpers snatched up and tossed back another 10 yards to accommodate the fresh recruits.

In addition to the excitement of wheeling away with my arms in the air, the cry of "GOOOOOOOAL!" ringing in my ears, I actually enjoyed playing the role of goalkeeper, too — throwing yourself all over the place, skillfully blocking a pile-driver shot whilst simultaneously avoiding landing in any dog-poop lurking in the goalmouth. I remember vividly attempting to recreate the efforts of England goalkeeping legend Peter Shilton, marveling at his super-human acrobatics, but reminding myself that he probably didn’t have to worry about avoiding canine deposits on the way down.

I remember the football of my youth as the game in its purest, most joyous form. Everyone followed the rules, though there was never any suggestion that they needed to be enforced.

Last month, the world was witness to the greatest sporting event on the planet — the 2014 FIFA World Cup. More Americans watched the World Cup this year than ever before, and more Americans are participating in playing football now than at any other time, though probably not down parks dotted with dog deposits, all of which is very positive. But still, even here, it’s something I’m struggling to get excited about.

You see, the football we have today, the professional game, it’s not something that I love any longer, at least not with the same passion or joy. The game today has changed irrevocably and not, in my humble opinion, for the better.

Spirit has been replaced by cynicism as players routinely engage in the most loathsome ‘gamesmanship’ to ‘earn an advantage’ for their team — to be clear, they’re cheating — and brand now trumps ability with the likes of Nike, Adidas, Puma, et al. spending millions of dollars trying to convince us that some very average players are, in fact, world-beaters. (That’s sort of cheating to.) And the grossly over-paid prima donnas, whose sleeves of tattoos simply serve to underline that they have way too much money and even more free time on their hands, strut around the field occasionally contributing to the game, but mostly just falling down, clutching a random body part and screaming as if in labor whenever an opposition player comes within five yards of them.

Don’t get me wrong, though it may not sound like it, I do still love football, and I love that more people are beginning to love football, especially here in America. It’s just that today’s football isn’t the football I fell in love with.

Recently, I overheard a couple of colleagues discussing their sporting passion, baseball, and bemoaning the fact that it isn’t what it used to be. It used to take two, perhaps two and a half hours for a game to finish. Now, it can routinely take three or even four hours for a game to conclude, and it’s a trend that’s only getting worse they said. Lengthy pitcher/catcher debates, batters incessantly stepping back from home plate to adjust their gloves, their helmet, and their underwear after every pitch, and now the added frustration of a new, prolonged replay system. My colleagues weren’t happy. I felt their pain; I share it.

Football has been termed "the beautiful game," but with every passing year I feel it loses a little of its beauty. This year’s exciting World Cup has been somewhat redemptive, but one World Cup cannot paper over all of the cracks any more than one excellent World Series can cure baseball of all its modern ills.

But I suppose beauty, as the saying goes, is in the eye of the beholder. I’m sure today’s game looks beautiful to today’s kids. But sadly this, or worse, is the only game they’ll ever know. My children will just have to become adept at navigating something unpleasant either way; whether it be the presents dogs routinely booby-trap the local park with or the analogous gifts that the modern game of professional football has for them. Personally, I’d prefer the former to the latter.

Mark Turner is formerly of Oxford, England, but has lived in America for the past 15 years, the majority of that time in Colorado. Mark enjoys playing soccer, hiking and biking when the weather's good, and when the weather's rotten, writing blog entries that he hopes will amuse and entertain. Mark can be followed on Twitter @melchett.
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Monday, August 18, 2014

C4C adopts 'collaborative format'

Posted By on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 4:29 PM

City for Champions advocates have sent out so many notices of their meeting Tuesday afternoon that finally we fell into their trance and are repeating it here.
Come experience City for Champions in a whole new way. You are invited to collaborate on the vision of what City for Champions and its catalytic effect will look like for Colorado Springs in 2, 5 and 10 years.

Public Meeting:
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
5:00-6:30 p.m.
The New PPLD 21c Library, 1175 Chapel Hills Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80920

Guests are welcome to share ideas and hear about the ways City for Champions will benefit you, your family, your neighborhood and your community.

With our new format, you’ll be able to visit the City for Champions collaborative stations, including the United States Olympic Museum, Colorado Sports and Event Center, UCCS Sports Medicine and Performance Center, USAFA Gateway Visitor Center, our Sister City, Ancient Olympia, Greece, and learn ways to get more involved in this transformative vision.

Also, you’ll have a chance to see what “A Day in the Life” will look like in Colorado Springs when the City for Champions projects are completed, ask questions one-on-one with members of the C4C team, and meet the new Regional Tourism Advisory Board.

In addition, people may also submit questions online before the meeting at

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