I was in Lyons, Colorado this past weekend to go to Yonder Mountain String Band’s Kinfolk festival. After I had bought tickets, I also found out that the USA Pro Cycling Challenge would be rolling through town the 2nd day of the festival. I had only really been to one cycling competition before, but nothing of this caliber.
But I’ve seen Breaking Away enough times to know what’s what. Go Cutters!
A number of the participants rode in the Tour de France, Olympics and this race, all in the span of the last 6 weeks. And the race is in my home state. And they’re riding through some of the most beautiful wilderness in the entire world.
I wasn’t going to miss this. (or check out the larger flickr photo set here)
So I wandered down from my campsite at Planet Bluegrass about 12:30pm and scoped out locations. I saw that they had a sprint in the middle of town and that looked like where the action was going to go down. I posted up right near the line (and across the street from Oskar Blues’ original brewery).
And then I waited. People started to get lined up, lots of kids were running around, and there were some hijinks. We were having a good time.
This dude wanted to get a better vantage point.
I think that this dude worked at the cycle shop up the street. On the front of the kid trailer was a sign that said “DOPE” on it with a message about Lance Armstrong’s alleged performance-enhancing drug use.
Then shit started to get real.
Cop cars started flowing around the corner and going past us, having come down from Nederland ahead of the pack. A few minutes later some car-based commentators came to give us the lowdown. 14 riders had broken away from the peloton and were about four minutes ahead. A second later one of the official photographers got right next to me. Apparently I had picked a good spot to be in!
We got ready to cheer.
Next we heard the television helicopter in the distance, and as the rumbling got louder you could see the breakaway pack come around the corner towards me. Team Exergy rider Serghei Tvetcov was in the lead, and really started to turn the speed on through the straightaway. I love how torqued to one side his bike is as he’s off his saddle, pushing hard to get the sprint points.
A little peek under your shoulder at the pack to see if they can catch you.
Then crank through the “Waste Management Sprint Line”.
The rest of the breakaway group can eat your dust.
And just like that, in maybe the span of 20 seconds, the pack is past you and that’s that. I took a peek at the photos on my LCD and realized it’s easier to just use a way wider lens. So I quickly changed lenses and waited the 4 minutes for the peloton to show up. A majority of the riders are in this group.
Did you see that little smudge at the top of the frame? It was actually the TV chopper.
So the peloton passes through, followed by a ton of team cars that carry support staff & spare bike parts of every shape and size.
So you basically wait around for a couple hours to secure your space, chat with other people out to see the spectacle, and then the actual racing part was about 5 minutes long! I loved being able to check this out and take photos of it.
I was up in Boulder last night to hang out with my brother and his family. My nephew showed me how he plays the fiddle, we had a little homemade frozen yogurt, went on a walk, and had a run-in with a sprinkler! He’s fun to take photos of.
I’ll never forget the day. In February 2004, my friend Morland told me about this photo sharing site called flickr. I signed up and uploaded a block of photos on February 10th. That was 8 years ago. For some reason I deleted those images and reuploaded them the next day (maybe because of resolution?). Read more about flickr’s birthday on their blog.
Anyhow, my earliest recorded image is #2375. To put that into perspective, there are currently 6.8 billion photos on flickr. The flickr of old is vastly different than what it currently is. When it was smaller, there was a sense of community that emerged.
They had an innovative flash-based chat and photo sharing area called FlickrLive that allowed you to connect with other users (based off a game they were trying to develop called Game NeverEnding – GNE). I have to say that I still have some really good friends out of those early days of flickr. I also learned a ton about how to successfully launch a product from watching how the flickr team operated.
The instant I logged into FlickrLive I was greeted by a team of Ludicorp employees, including the CEO, Stewart Butterfield. He reached out to me directly and told me he was a big fan of Medeski Martin & Wood too (which meant he had read my profile before chatting me up). George Oates also was available to chat almost all the time, and we could discuss new feature requests, awesome photos, or even barbecuing. In fact, George & I even started a flickr group together called Bar-B-Q. We made aliases, I built a profile that was Abe Froman: The Sausage King of Chicago and she was The George Foreman Grill.
I learned from these early experiences how to develop a sense of community, which is the unifying force behind all social startups these days. They were lessons that I think about all the time even today. And now that flickr is sadly just a repository of photos that I can share online, I’ll never forget the profound impact it had on me and my career. I’ll post an interview I conducted with George Oates a few years ago next week about how they started building community.
Ok, so Hwy 34 doesn’t have the same ring as the distinctly American Route 66, The Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1), or Germany’s Autobahn (or Dylan’s Highway 66 Revisited, for that matter). But I contend that it’s as beautiful as any of those other roads.
I went to dinner in Grand Lake tonight with my folks, Aunt & Great Aunt (at the tasty Oa Bistro). I was on my way to try to fish before the sun went down. And while I was traveling back towards my home in Tabernash, the sun was setting. So I figured it was time to take photos instead. They turned out nicely, even though I was using my point and shoot (I so wish I had my fucking SLR with me). The image below this looks better blown up (click it to see a bigger version).
Incidentally, I just read that US Highway 34 starts in Granby, CO and goes all the way to Chicago, IL. I had no clue. It has to be better than driving fucking I-76 to I-80 from here to Chicago – although it is (surprisingly) beautiful through Iowa.
I was also basically on Hwy 34 when I shot those photos on Trail Ridge Road last week (see post below).
I spend a lot of time in the Colorado mountains. I should probably explore places I don’t often go more, and I definitely should take my camera more places. I bought a point and shoot for this reason, carrying my DSLR around all the time has proven to be tiresome. But something with a decent optical zoom and lens that fits in my pocket has been making me take more photos.
Last Friday I had to get from Winter Park, CO to Lyons, CO. The fastest way to go is also the most beautiful way: over Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. I have to say it’s one of the most breathtaking drives in the state.
Saturday at the Underground Music Showcase (UMS) brought more live music to South Broadway. This day was by far the most music packed, at least on paper. I had about 2x the number of bands on my list for Saturday as I had for Thursday. I tried my best to experience as much of it as possible. Here are the highlights.
I won’t be at the UMS today because I’m going to see Bela Fleck & the Original Flecktones and Bruce Hornsby at Chatfield today. But if you’re going, the bands I recommend for Sunday at the UMS are Rob Drabkin, Vices I Admire, John Common, Overcasters, Coles Whalen, Dan Craig Band (super bummed to miss this guy’s set), Busman’s Holiday, Gregory Alan Isakov, Timber Timbre, and The Orbans.
Fox and the Bird, 5pm, Irish Rover
The Fox & The Bird ended up being at the Irish Rover at 5, although I thought it was supposed to be a different band. Sometimes you make mistakes, and those mistakes turn out to be beneficial. The band playing was the Fox & the Bird, a folk band from Dallas. It was no shock to me after hearing their music that Paper Bird were pals of theirs. String band music paired with horns (sometimes) is a nice way to explain their sound. The PA wasn’t exactly working so well, and it was cool that they walked into the crowd at the Rover to play in the middle of us. It was a unique treat at the UMS, I didn’t see anyone else do this at the UMS.
The Photo Atlas, 6pm, Hi-Dive
Another band I liked listening to on my Spotify playlist was The Photo Atlas. Their music in lots of ways reminds me of At The Drive-In. I saw ATDI in Toronto in 2000, and it was just before they broke up. It was a great experience, and good to know there are other bands playing similar music. My favorite banter from the show: “This song is called White Noise, clap along if you know it.”
Pink Hawks, 6:20 Indy Ink
In a few words, Pink Hawks can be explained: Afrobeat, face paint, percussion. They had a song with a chorus of “everyone’s addictied to pain”. I thought they were saying “everyone’s addicted to brains” and that this was a zombie funk band. My friend Rachel told me I was wrong. They were good, but it was SO hot in Indy Ink that I had to check out some other music. Before I left, I saw the hat of the festival: it had a horse throwing golden human shoes at a post in the ground.
Jay J Matott, 6:40 Illiterate Gallery
I wandered next door to the Illiterate Gallery to check out Jay J. Matott & the Arctic. They were on my list anyway, but they were giving out great “fliers” that were really just transparencies with black Buddy Holly glasses & a stylish mustache on them a little earlier. I had to go now. I saw my first cello at UMS. They were a solid 5-piece band.
Old Canes, 7pm, 3 Kings
Old Canes was a solid folk rock/Americana band. I liked the melodica + trumpet melodies a lot. I also “stole” some flash from other people taking photos at this show. It was actually kind of nice to borrow their light, by luckily snapping some photos while they were using a flash 10 feet away.
My Gold Mask, 7:20, Hi-Dive
My Gold Mask was one of the most unique bands I saw at the UMS. They had a drummer lead vocalist. A drummer lead vocalist who is a woman. A drummer lead vocalist who is a woman and also stands up while she drums. Different. Amazing. She has a pretty great voice, too (although there was some insane reverb on the vocals). I liked them a lot.
Patrick Dethlefs, 8pm, Michelangelo’s
Of all the UMS music I listened to on Spotify, I thought 21 year-old Patrick Dethlefs (det-lefs) was the most intriguing. He played a set in a full bar, full of attentive people. He’s got a wonderfully soft and warm voice. In many ways, the warmth of his voice makes his songwriting sound even more honest than it already is. He has a lot of the qualities that I like in Todd Snider’s music. There was a nice mix of originals and covers, the covers included “Dark Hollow” and a really nontraditional version of “Red Rocking Chair”. Patrick also played some nice simple riffs along with the rhythm, nothing too showy but he definitely can play guitar. Something I liked was the unique alternating bass notes on c-shaped barre chords. He told us that he recently released a Daytrotter session, released July 1st. Dethlefs is also playing August 6 at Larimer lounge with celloist Ben Sollee. Great line: “this goes out to all the pretty ladies in the audience. There’s more than one.” #BrowniePoints
If I wanted to start a band, Patrick Dethlefs is the kind of guy I would want to play with.
Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, 9pm Goodwill parking lot
Their music was just “eh”, but I got a nice photo of their set.
Abi Robins, 10pm, Michelangelo’s
Another Singer/Songwriter I enjoyed was Abi Robins. Abi recently relocated to Colorado from Saint Louis. She was a great guitar player who at times played pretty technical riffs and sang at the same time (classy). Her songs were honest and melodic.