Building Community Through Cycling

Blue Sky Velo

Blue Sky Velo CX Cup 2015

Join us Saturday, September 16th for the 10th edition of the Blue Sky Velo CX Cup! For over ten years, we have been providing great cyclocross events for racers and the community. This year we once again take advantage of the ‘Hill’ at Dry Creek Park in Longmont for an an exciting day of bicycle racing.

Blue Sky Cup - hopping the barriers

Join in the fun, or watch as racers spring over barriers, swoop through corners and charge over run-ups, obstacles that are sure to test the racer’s physical, technical and mental abilities; excitement for everyone at every twist and turn! Our Expo Area will have local vendors with food & beverage and merchandise.

For our local cross racers, you have come to expect a great race experience from the Blue Sky Cup and we plan to deliver with a course that will challenge beginners and seasoned riders with climbs, curves and off-camber sections that will test your racing mettle. This years course will feature a few all new sections in addition to the challenges you experienced last year. Join us for the fun! (course map and directions)

Don’t miss out on this full day of fun for the entire family!

Race Schedule &  Race Flyer.


Volunteers Needed! We need help to put on this race. If you can help, please sign up and pitch in:

Check out the 2017 to be held at Dry Creek Community Park in Longmont. It features a lung busting run-up, technical descents, off-camber, ditch crossings and a hard climb. It is sure not to disappoint. Don’t miss this one folks… If you raced last year, you know this is a great course, but we’re adding a few more twists, turns and off-cambers to keep things exciting.blus-sky-cup-2016-course














Dry Creek Community Park, 1251 Grandview Meadows Dr, Longmont, CO 80503



Check out the all new course for 2016 to be held at Dry Creek Community Park in Longmont. It features a lung busting run-up, technical descents, off-camber, ditch crossings and a hard climb. It is sure not to disappoint. Don’t miss this one folks…blus-sky-cup-2016-course

I want to share Greg Grossman’s Leadville 100 race summary.  When I first read it, Greg’s write-up transported from my living room to the difficult terrain of  the race and by the end of the read I kinda felt like I had competed in the famous Leadville 100 (but when I looked around my living room…there was no big buckle anywhere to be found). Greg’s Leadville 100 story is a wonderful example of committing yourself to a goal and then making the plans and putting in the training in order to attain that goal. Congratulations to Greg completing the grueling course under the time-cutoff and earning the much sought after Buckle!!!  — Sandy
Thanks to Kathy Judson (who also raced and got a buckle!) for sharing some of her photos that I included along with Greg’s photos.

Here is Greg’s race report 

Executive Summary:

I stuck to my plan, had a great time and finished in under 12 hours and got the belt buckle.
All the Details:
My road to Leadville started in the fall of 2013 on a trip to Moab, it was something on my mind but not something that I was committed to pursuing.  A good friend (Laurie) suggested that we do the race and she had just bought a 29” hard tail specifically for this race.  January 2014 came and I entered the lottery for an entry into the race, I received a polite thank-you-but-you-have-not-been-chosen-to-race email.  This email listed several events that I could race in order to qualify for an entry.   I entered a qualifying race in Cedar City, Utah, made the full day drive on Friday, raced on Saturday, and drove back home on Sunday.  I had a great race but it was not good enough to get me the Leadville entry.  The next qualifying race was the Leadville Silver Rush 50. I signed up, gave it a good effort but I did not qualify for an entry in that race either.  No Leadville 100 for me in 2014. Instead, I ended up crewing for Laurie and loved the vibe and thought this is a race that I really want to do.
At this same time, Boulder Mountainbike Alliance (BMA) was starting a training group called Boulder Mountainbike Alliance Riders United in Training for Endurance or the BRUTE Squad (or BRUTEs). I thought the BRUTE Squad would be the perfect group to help with my training and improve my riding so I joined.  I had a great time being a member of the BRUTE Squad and knew that I would want to continue with this group.
In December of 2014 I entered the lottery again and in January I again received a nice email telling me that , again, I was not chosen. The letter included a  list of all the races I could enter to qualify.  For me, Cedar City was not an option because the timing conflicted with my job, so the only qualifying race I could do was the Silver Rush 50.   I like that race, so I thought, “Why not?”  To qualify in these races you must either finish at the top or finish in under a certain time to get into a lottery.  I finished easily under 8 hours so I was in the lottery and, this time, I was chosen! When selected to race, the race organizers send you  a ‘100 coin’ that is known as the 100 entry.  You can use you coin in the year you earn it, or you can defer it if you want/need to for one year.  I decided that I was not as prepared as I wanted to be in order to do the race in 2015 so I deferred my entry to 2016.
I joined the BRUTE Squad again for 2016 because I knew it would be the perfect launch pad for my Leadville training.  I did all the training that the BRUTEs offered, all the training races and even some other races to prepare. Leading up to the big day of the race I decided that I was pretty scared. What was I scared of? I realized my fear was from the fact that I had not done a ride longer than 90 miles and that was way back in March, on my road bike in California and at low elevation. In the Peaceful Valley’s  ‘PV Cycle Derby’ I did finish, but it was not pretty. In the Bailey Hundo I did not finish. In the weeks leading up to the 100, I started increasing my mileage — starting with the Silver Rush 50.  After the Silver Rush 50 race, I stayed in Leadville for a few more days to ride the 100 course. The following weekend was Breckenridge’s B-68 race. I enjoyed this race but I did not think my time/pace was strong enough to finish a 100 mile version of the race in under 12 hours.  I was also happy that I had not signed up for the B-100!
The next weekend was my final, big training ride. I rode all the way to the top of Rollins Pass from Boulder. After that training ride, I went back to Leadville to train on the 100 course.  Looking at my ride times for individual sections of the 100 course made me very nervous.
Now for the taper. The first few days of the taper were fine.  I was following the workouts that Scott (BRUTE Coach) had put together for those of us who raced the B-68.  The weekend before the big race,  I did a small 30-plus mile ride at Marshall Mesa on Saturday and volunteered for the Boulder Ironman on Sunday.  As I rode into work on Monday,  I noticed that I was missing the feeling of a long hard ride in my legs. By this time, I was going stir-crazy, feeling like I should have done a much longer/harder ride.
I took Thursday and Friday off work and headed for Leadville on Thursday afternoon to check in.  After checking in it was back to Dillon to stay at a friend’s house.  Friday morning it was back to Leadville for the mandatory rider meeting.  After the meeting Cyndi (my girlfriend) and friends Dan and Amy joined me for a quick trip out to Twin Lakes to set up a tent for Cyndi, Dan and Mary (BRUTE Neal’s wife) to hang out in while they waited to support us as we came trough the Twin Lakes area.
Saturday Morning, Race Day:
My alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. and Cyndi and I were out the door in the car  and in Leadville by 5:15 a.m.
I made my way to the start area and found my start corral,  met up with Amy and Neal who were also in my start corral.  The line of racers was more than two blocks long.
Promptly at 6:30 a.m. the gun went off and the line of racers started to move.  It was pretty cold and I had not put on enough clothing for that temperature. I  knew that by the start of the first climb up St. Kevins I would warm up.  But, early on it was cold and when I got to the bottom of St. Kevins I could not feel my fingers or toes. This was really uncomfortable, but at the first switchback I realized that I was no longer cold. On this first climb, it seemed like many people were passing me and I thought some of these passes were a little dangerous.  I kept telling myself that what I did in the first 10 miles would not matter — as long as I did not do something stupid, so I kept a mellow pace.  I was safe and conservative on the first decent, passed a few people that were way too slow on this section.
The next climb was on a paved road and it was nice to spread out a little. That climb took us to the top of the Power Line Decent/Climb which is a little technical as well as narrow and difficult to pass in places, I asked several people if I could pass and they let me on by.  I was still feeling pretty great and had to remind myself to take it easy. I came up with a little thing to say to myself, “You can go hard on the Boulevard” (the Boulevard is the last 4 miles of the race).
The section starting at the bottom of Power Line is fairly flat(ish) and I was lucky enough to get myself into a pace line and pulled to aid station #2 where I took off my long sleeve jersey and had a fig newton.
Next up was the Pipe Line. No steep climbs but a lot of rolling along into a short bit of single track.  Coming off the single track is paved and improved dirt road leading to Twin Lakes.  I was pacing with a guy and ended up riding next to him. We started talking and he was telling me how terrible things were. That was not my experience, I was having a blast and I ended up dropping him on a little up hill section.  At this point I saw a low flying helicopter that I was pretty sure it was filming the leaders.  One of my goals was to get to Twin Lakes before the leaders got there as they were returning from Columbine.  Not sure what the helicopter was up to though because I left Twin Lakes before the Leaders arrived.
When I got to Twin Lakes, I stopped at our tent to swap out my water bottles and Camelbak.  Cyndi, Dan, Mary and others were at the tent. They were having, what looked like,  a good party. I was thinking that I might have wanted to stay for the party, but I was headed for the base of Columbine.
One of the great things about this race is the number of people along the course cheering for the racers, both sides of Twin Lakes dam were packed with tents and people cheering.
Heading into the base of Columbine there was a bunch more tents and people cheering for the riders.  Columbine is an eight mile climb that ends at the turn around point. I settled in and told myself I could “go hard on the Boulevard.”  After about 5 miles of climbing,  the race becomes a Hike-A-Bike. Many people were hiking with their heads down and not moving very fast.  At this point, I was still feeling good and also feeling happy, I held my head up and smiled and walked past some folks.  The toughest part of passing people in this section was it was close to the turnaround and with two way traffic I did not want to get in anyone’s way.  I was thinking “it’s not that bad, — it’s great.”  I was hoping to get to the turn in less than 6 hours and I got there in 6:03.
Going down Columbine was rough but it was good through the Hike-A-Bike section and super fast to the bottom.  At some point as I was speeding down, I heard a pretty bad sound and looked down at my bike with concern for a mechanical.  My water bottle jumped out and  it was gone.
Back at Twin Lakes, I again swapped the Camelbak and added fresh water bottles. The crew at Twin Lakes still looked like they were having a good time too.  I had to make an additional stop at Twin Lakes to let a train out of the station. This made me feel good, like a dog that runs around the yard after setting a train free. I again wanted to pedal hard through the rolling section of the course and again told myself “go hard at the Boulevard.”
Going up the single track section,  there was a girl behind me who was saying: “Great job everyone!”  “Keep it spinning!”  “Look how beautiful it is!” Upon hearing that, I looked around, it she was right — it was beautiful and I found myself thinking “ride with gratitude.”
I kept spinning to the Pipe Line aid station where I refilled one of my bottles with Perpetuem and ate a banana.  The flat(ish) section back to the base of Power Line was a little wind. I found some nice people to work with in a pace line. Going up Pipe Line was a Hike-A-Bike slog. There were several people that were cheering for the Hike-A-Bikers which was nice.  Another challenge with Power Line is there are several false summits. As I was walking my bike past the second false summit my knee was sore and it was very hot.  I was starting to have negative thoughts and as I was starting to have negative thoughts I heard this guy behind me saying, “this F***ing sucks.”  It was perfect for me to hear this because my next thought was, “It’s not that bad”.  I was still feeling sore and tired but after hearing that negativity and saying to myself “It’s not that bad”  — I started to walk a little faster.
Soon enough I was at the top of Power Line where there was a girl cheering and another girl giving out HotShot.  HotShot is an energy drink that tastes terrible but they claim it stops cramps — so I tried it, “what could possibly go wrong?”  It did taste terrible but I did not get any cramps.
One more climb left then I could “go hard at the Boulevard.”  That climb started with 3 miles of paved road where I settled into a spin.  On the climb there were a couple of little kicks to the crotch of steep sections.  When I got to the top, I knew that I had about an hour of riding and less than ten miles to the finish.  Next up, I got to go down the St. Kevins climb and it was a great and long downhill.
At this point,  I was starting to smell the barn. Just before the Boulevard is another steep rocky kick in the crotch.  Walking half way up this kick in the crotch,  I saw a line I thought I could ride so I hopped on and started pedaling.
I was now on the Boulevard and, finally,  it was time to go hard. I had no “go hard” left in me, I could not have bought a match to burn at any price.   I kept pedaling and a guy rode up next to me and said, “Congratulations we’ve done it!”  Getting into town I saw Dave Wiens and he cheered me on. Over a little hill I could see the finish.  There was a huge crowd around the finish line and a little narrow line that is the red carpet to the finish.  In the middle of all these people Cyndi was waiting to run the red carpet and I some how found a match to burn and stood up and sprinted (it felt like I was sprinting) to the finish.  Marilee (one of the race founders) was at the finish to put the finisher medal around my neck.  Neal and Mary were also there and it was great to see them as well.
Leadville Finisher and Founders

Greg, Cyndi with Ken and Marilee, founders of the Leadville 100

My finish time was 11:36:23.
I am already signed up for this race for next year and looking forward to doing it again.
I am also looking forward to training with the BRUTEs next year.
I need to thank Cyndi because I do not feel I could have done as well without her excellent support.
Thank you to Coach Scott, the BRUTE coaches and all the BRUTEs for your support.

In early June, our very own Blue Sky member, Valerie Eipper, competed at the 2016 World Duathlon
Championships in Aviles, Spain and brought home a silver medal. Then, at the end of the month, Valerie became the National Duathlon champion after winning the Duathlon Sprint competition in Bend, Oregon.

Very impressive stuff. Val has been competing in cycling/running duathlons (both sprint and standard distances) for the last six years. She’s always been athletic and active, but only relatively recently combined these two talents into a single event. In this short span, there have been at least 10 podium finishes at Nationals (almost all resulting in podium spots, two wins in 2012 and 2015) and 5 trips to Worlds, with two second place finishes and a Duathlon Sprint win at Worlds in Ottawa, Canada in 2013! Let me say that again…. Valerie Eipper is a WORLD CHAMPION !!!


Valerie and her running coach, Ric Rojas. (photo credit Dave Albo,



2012 World Championships, France (photo credit Dave Albo,


2012 World Championships, France (photo credit Dave Albo,

Clearly, during this 6 year period, Val has made training and racing a priority. That means having structured work outs 5-6 days a week, year in and year out. It means setting goals, developing long term plans and then executing. Of course there are recovery days, a mix of intensity, recovery and rest but not a year off, not a season off and probably not even a full month off during that time. How many of us have that level of commitment to our sport?

When Val added her most recent successes the the already long list, I’ve found myself reflecting on what it must take to prepare and keep yourself ready to compete against national and world class competition. What better way to find out than ask someone who has done it. You guessed it, I asked Val and I’d like to share some of what she said.


Track Relay Team

I already had some first hand knowledge about Val and her training. Her bike was set up on the trainer next to mine at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine PowerMax class during the winter of 2013. She had just undergone knee surgery (not her first) and was on the long and difficult rehab journey. Over the course of the winter, I watched Val push through pain, fatigue and frustration. I witnessed her progress, going from hardly being able to make the pedals go around to giving me a run for my money on any given workout. It takes a very special kind of dedication and desire to come back from surgery and return to competing at the elite level. That’s when I knew that Val was someone special. Clearly Val had what it takes to be a champion.


Off season training on a Fat Bike!

In addition to her natural ability to run, Val trains hard but she stresses that she also trains smart. As a maturing athlete that now competes in the Senior Women age categories, Val has come to realize that ‘less is often more’ and that quality almost always trumps quantity. She has surrounded herself with fitness professionals — local running coach, Ric Rojas, body work and massage therapist Bryon Thomas, weight training and rehab specialist, Dr. Matthew Smith of REVO among others. Partnering with these professionals as well as training partners (like our own Blue Sky members) builds in a certain accountability that Val says keeps her honest and motivated. Just like the rest of us, having a training buddy who is counting on you to show up helps Val get out on her bike or over to the track on days where she’d rather take a rest day, or go in search of a donut (she LOVES donuts!).

If you really want to wear yourself out — do just one week of Val’s regular workouts. Here’s a sample of what you would be doing…


Blue Sky Velo PLANK ride – showing off our Stars ‘n Stripes

Monday: rest or swim

Tuesday: track workout (remember our emphasis that less is more).
Quality intervals 10x400m, 3-5x1000m or something equally painful.
The mix will depend on how close the workout is to the next race. As race day approaches, speed work gets added (200s,100s,150s)

Wednesday: bike workout – usually an hour with spin-ups and interval work. Often done as a lunch ride when the weather allows with 3-5 hard efforts thrown in for grins, or go ‘hard’ for 20 minutes then recover.


Val road races for Blue Sky Velo — but sometimes that means riding on dirt. No problem!

Thursday: strength and mobility – Val includes this type of work because she says “As we age, we need to make sure we re-train our weakest muscles to be strong.” If time allows, she will go ahead and throw in something aerobic. And, as if that isn’t enough, there is often an additional 45 minute run, bike ride or swim if time permits.

Friday: track workout (AGAIN!) however, this time the focus is usually longer intervals totaling about 6 miles.

Saturday/Sunday: Weekends can be flexible (notice I didn’t say easy) and include local running and bike races, club rides with a focus on endurance.


Valerie is a team player through and through. She worked with Kathy Hix to position Sandy North for the win!

Val is a frequent PLANK rider, helps with the triathlon training and races with the other Blue Sky 50+ women in criteriums, hill climbs, road races and time trials. If you join in on just about any Blue Sky activity your paths are likely to cross. She’s an incredible athlete and an awesome teammate. She’s also very humble and although she’s go a lot to share about training and competing, you’ll probably have to start the conversation.

Val, congratulations on all your local, national and world class accomplishments! Thanks for flying the Blue Sky colors.


Blue Sky Velo is proud to have Excel Sports as our new bicycle shop sponsor! They have promoted elite levels of cycling across the Boulder County area and are stoked about having Blue Sky Velo on board as we promote all levels of cycling (beginner through racer) and across our multiple disciplines.
Excel Sports has both an extensive on-line store ( and a retail store in Boulder (map here). The staff is both knowledgeable and helpful and will always greet you with a warm “Hello” and a smile. Stop by and check them out. Be sure to let them know you are a member of Blue Sky Velo !


Take a quick preview of the course for the 2015 Blue Sky Cup.

This is an all new course on the Oskar Blues Hops & Heifers Farm.

If you’ve ridden here before, this won’t be like your previous experience, this is an all new course, featuring fast and flowy lines, minimal ditch crossings, some power climbs, a slalom section, a short run-up and maybe some barriers. Don’t miss out on this awesome new venue that is sure to become a new colorado cross favorite!


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Check out the 2017 to be held at Dry Creek Community Park in Longmont. It features a lung busting run-up, technical descents, off-camber, ditch crossings and a hard climb. It is sure not to disappoint. Don’t miss this one folks… If you raced last year, you know this is a great course, but we’re adding a few more twists, turns and off-cambers to keep things exciting.blus-sky-cup-2016-course