Skip navigation

Before you start reading, I'll warn you this is long. It is a story about aggressive drivers, cyclists and a Larimer County Sheriff's Deputy.

 

Yesterday the group I was riding with headed to Estes Park via Glen Haven (Devil's Gulch Road or County Road 43). There were six of us riding single-file and riding close to the right side of the road, westbound. Within a few miles of Glen Haven, a grey Jeep came up behind us with the horn blasting. The driver continued holding the horn going by and all the way past the group. He seemed to be too close to the group as he went by, horn blaring in our ears.

 

 

There were a few comments within the group about, "What is that guy's problem?" We continued into Glen Haven, where we stopped.

 

 

There were a couple of riders off the back of the group and I decided to go back to pick them up. I was riding alone, east-bound out of Glen Haven when I heard a horn honking. I looked over my left shoulder to see the Jeep again. The driver was using his Jeep to force me off the road. I couldn't believe what was happening.

 

 

He was going slow enough to lean forward and look past his passenger to yell at me, "This road isn't big enough for cyclists!!!"

 

 

I went off the road into the soft sand and managed to keep the bike upright. I yelled at him, "I'm calling the police!"

 

 

He yelled back at me, "Yeah, good luck with that!" He drove off.

 

 

I managed to get his license plate numbers and a description of the vehicle. The vehicle description wasn't hard since I'd seen it twice. I rode back to Glen Haven chanting the license number and asked the other riders to help me remember so I could call the police when we arrived in Estes Park.

 

 

Audrey Stine was riding ahead of our group and happened to be stopped in Glen Haven. She asked someone sitting at the tables in front of the Glen Haven General Store if they had a piece of paper so we could write down the plate and vehicle description. A woman sitting at the picnic table was happy to help.

 

 

Another person, not with our group, reminded me of the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) program to alert police to aggressive drivers. Just dial star-CSP (*277) to report the incident. Be prepared to communicate:

 

 

  • Vehicle license plate number - this is mandatory

  • Location and direction of travel

  • Vehicle and driver description, if possible

  • The aggressive driving behavior being demonstrated

 

The *CSP number is important because the driver's information is entered into a state-wide data base. The license plate number is the key. From the Bicycle Colorado website:

 

"According to the State Patrol website, they enter this information into an aggressive driver database and send a warning letter after receiving three complaints. If the State Patrol receives additional complaints they send a trooper to make personal contact with the registered owner of the vehicle to take appropriate enforcement action.

 

Bicyclists can report aggressive driving from any road in Colorado, not just a state highway."

 

 

When we arrived at the Notchtop Café in Estes Park, I immediately called *CSP. The dispatcher took my information and then connected me to another person, I believe Larimer County. This person took initial information and my cell number. She told me someone would call to follow-up.

 

 

Within a few minutes, I did get a follow-up call from a woman that took the incident information. She told me that an officer would follow-up and asked what time I would be available to take a call. I told her either within 15 to 20 minutes or at 1:00 pm when I was back down the mountain and in cell range again.

 

 

Indeed, at 1:00 pm I received a call from a Larimer County Sheriff's Deputy. The deputy took all of my information and told me he would do some investigation.

 

 

A few hours later, the deputy did call me back and told me he spent about 45 minutes talking with the motorist. The motorist supported my basic story; except, as you might imagine, a few critical details.

 

 

The motorist claimed that he used his horn to alert the cyclists that he was approaching from behind. He agreed we were in single-file and he did not believe that he drove too close to us.

 

 

As for the second incident, with me as the only rider, he admitted that he was "grumpy" when he spoke to me to let me know he did not believe the road was a safe place for cyclists to be - and he apologizes for that. He did not believe that he forced me off the road.

 

 

In my editorial opinion, "Riiiiiiiiiight."

 

 

Of course he is not going to admit to the police that he tried to force me off the road.

 

 

I ride that road often and I ride many of the roads of Larimer County often. I have been riding here for more than 20 years. I have never had a motorist try to use their vehicle to intimidate me or use it as a potential weapon.

 

 

Over the years I have had the occasional horn honkers, obscenity screamers and finger-waggers; but, never anything so up close and personal. I was visibly shaken for several minutes after the incident.

 

 

I think a rider with less experience could have easily lost control of the bike and ended up under the wheels of the vehicle.

 

 

The deputy told me I had a right to be on that road and I had a right to be safe. He told me I was welcome to file formal charges, if that is what I wanted to do.

 

 

The formal charges would have likely resulted in a ticket issued to the driver. It would probably be something on the order of wreckless driving. If the driver would have paid it, there would have been a few points rendered on his driver's license and a fine.

 

 

If the driver wanted to fight the charges, there would have been a court date scheduled. Do I have enough eye witnesses to press a case? I believe so.

 

 

Would a traffic ticket get the issue resolved or get me what I wanted?

 

 

What did I want to have happen?

 

 

1) I wanted the guy's name and a report of the incident to be put into a data base. It turns out he is a local person that is a long-time resident of that area. I wanted it to be on record that he exhibited aggressive driving behavior. I wanted this documented because should someone else be attacked or injured in the future, he is on record as a repeat offender. The officer assured me that the incident is on record in Larimer County.

 

 

As a side note, repeat offender information is making it much easier to go after a California motorist that caused significant injuries to cyclists. Read about that case here.

 

 

2) I wanted a police officer to talk to this person to let him know that his behavior, or alleged behavior, is unacceptable.

 

 

Both #1 and #2 did happen. The deputy told me that he believes the driver's demeanor was impacted by the deputy's visit.

 

 

Will the driver change his future behavior toward cyclists? Only time will tell.

 

 

I can only say good things about how the Larimer County Deputy handled the situation. The deputy did not give me the impression that he was anti-cyclist. He did give me the impression that he was interested in keeping the road safe for cyclists and drivers.

 

 

I drove up to Estes Park today to thank him for his actions to keep the roads safe for everyone. I know the Sheriff's Office has received bad press recently for Sheriff Alderen's handling of other cycling issues; however, I think it is important to be on record that at least one deputy is correctly handling cyclist's complaints against aggressive motorists.

 

 

I decided that filing formal charges would not gain much, if anything at all, so I didn't file charges.

 

 

I do urge cyclists to call police about aggressive drivers. I believe getting the offender's name in a database is critical. If your state does not have something similar to *CSP, then use 911 to report aggressive drivers.

 

 

 

 

 

3,263 Views 14 Comments Permalink

 

Tonight NBC will air BMX racing. A new sport to the Games, I've seen taped highlights and expect plenty of action.

 

 

If you missed any of the triathlon event, you can find exclusive NBC video here.

 

 

Taylor Phinney, son of cycling's Davis Phinney (1984 bronze medal winner and Tour de France rider) and Connie Carpenter-Phinney (1984 gold medal winner with 12 national titles and four world championship titles), . Watch for him in 2012. 

 

 

Mountain bike finals are Friday and Saturday:

 

  1. Georgia Gould, Ft. Collins, Colo: Pan American Champion, 2006 U.S. national champion.

  2. Mary McConneloug, Fairfax, Calif: Ninth in Athens 2004 mountain bike race, three-time USA national champion.

  3. Todd Wells, Durango, Colo: Third in 2007 Pan Am Games, deep success in cyclo-cross and mountain bike racing.

  4. Adam Craig, Bend, Ore: Under-23 National Champion, Cross Country. Gold medal winner, 2007 U.S. National Championships.

 

Modern pentathlon is Thursday and Friday, with former swimmer and triathlete Sheila Taormina making Olympic history.

 

 

960 Views 0 Comments Permalink

 

Do not read further if you don't want to know before seeing the race on TV...

 

 

 

 

 

No Americans on the podium in the men's race. But what a foot race to the finish. Great to watch!

 

 

1 - Jan Frodeno "Frodo" (GER)

 

 

2 - Simon Whitfield (CAN) - 2000 Gold medalist

 

 

3 - Bevan Docherty (NZL) - 2004 Silver medalist

 

 

7 - Hunter Kemper (USA)

 

 

18 - Jarrod Shoemker (USA)

 

 

31 - Matty Reed (USA - doing an awful lot of work on the bike may have cost him)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,330 Views 2 Comments Permalink

Women's Olympic Triathlon

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Aug 17, 2008

 

If you don't want to know results, do not read on...I watched the race live on NBC streaming video.

 

 

 

 

 

The women's race definitely had some excitement and drama. There was a big pack that came out of the water together and a resulting chase pack. There was a crash in the chase pack, and perhaps some athletes unable to finish the event. (I don't know for sure now.)

 

 

Emma Snowsill, Vanessa Fernandez and Laura Bennett took out on a tear on the run. Snowsill put a surge on that Fernandez and Bennett could not match.

 

 

Snowsill was somehow misdirected on the last lap, having to jump across a barrier to be in the right lane. I don't know how this will play out.

 

 

Bennett tried to surge Fernandez off of her heels, but it didn't work. Bennett eventually faded to fifth.

 

 

1 - Snowsill (AUS)

 

 

2 - Fernandes (POR)

 

 

3 - Moffat (AUS)

 

 

4 - Bennett (USA)

 

 

 

 

 

11 - Haskins (USA)

 

 

19 - Ertel (USA)

 

 

As you watch race, notice the look of fatigue (or lack of) on each racer's face during the run. Also notice each racer's cadence - watch who fades and who maintains or improves cadence.

 

 

Great race. Tune into NBC Monday night for race coverage. 

 

 

1,407 Views 0 Comments Permalink

Time Trial Gold

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Aug 14, 2008

I wanted to write about Kristen Armstrong's (no relation Lance) time trial success yesterday; but on the long shot that NBC would play highlights on TV, I decided not to spoil the result. Kristin's gold medal marked the record 900th gold medal for USA in the history of the Olympic Games.

 

A few tidbits:

 

  • Besides American cycling legend Greg LeMond, Kristin is the only other American in history to win three career medals at the UCI Road World Championships.

  • In her first season of international track competition, Kristin won a bronze medal in the individual pursuit at the 2005 UCI Track World Cup in Sydney.

  • By age 17 she was a Junior Olympian in swimming.

  • She took a liking to triathlons, and eventually spent a year at the U.S. Olympic Training Center as a triathlete.

  • She went on to compete in the 1999 Hawaii Ironman and 2000 Olympic Triathlon Trials.

  • But after being examined for chronic hip pain in 2001, it was determined Armstrong had developed osteoarthritis. The doctor said cycling could prove therapeutic, and an elite cyclist was born.

  • She didn't race in the time trial in Athens, due to being left off the two-woman American roster for that competition, and the decision has pained her ever since.

  • She won the bronze medal at World Champinship in 2005, the World Champinship in 2006 and the silver in 2007.

  • She's the third straight American to medal in the women's time trial, joining Dede Barry and Mari Holden, who won silvers in Athens and Sydney, respectively.

 

Huge congratulaions to Kristen. A cool photo here.

 

 

Levi Leipheimer won the bronze medal, with Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) winning gold.

 

 

Congrats to Levi.

 

 

 

 

 

947 Views 0 Comments Permalink

Friday night I watched some of the Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics. What I saw was fantastic, I think the Chinese organizers did a really nice job.

 

While I wanted to watch all of the ceremonies, I needed to get some sleep. I knew a 4:45 am wake-up call would be the start of a long day on Saturday at the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race.

 

 

I posted that Lance Armstrong did indeed show up to the pre-race meeting. He was discounting his race ability, compared to five-time champion Dave Wiens. Dave, however, knew better than to think Lance would do anything other than try to win.

 

 

Meanwhile, on the women's side of the race, very few people knew that Susan Williams was racing. Regular blog readers knew Susan was racing, but not many others did. When we were driving up to pre-ride the course, Susan asked what my time goal was and I told her 10:30. She said that was her time goal too, on the advice of someone that knew her.

 

 

"No Susan, you will go faster than 10:30," I told her.

 

 

She asked if she could line up with me at the start line and I told her, "Of course, you're welcome to start with me...but you ride your own race and do not pace off of me."

 

 

I told my husband after the pre-ride that Susan is well-capable of a sub-9 finish; but I don't know how she'll ride this year after running around 30 miles in a 24-hour relay the week before the Leadville event.

 

 

The rain the day before the race put the course in perfect condition. Race morning was cool and overcast, not too cold. Perfect!

 

 

Below are shots of people outbound at Twin Lakes, getting ready for the Columbine climb...

 

 

Roy Gatesman (441)

 

 

 

 

Todd Kornfield (his fiancé Jen is crewing)

 

 

 

 

More shots home bound after Columbine Mine....

 

 

Del, my husband and great race support with me

 

 

 

 

Scott Ellis

 

 

 

 

The short story is most everyone had a good race. Two guys that missed the cut-off last year, got their shiny buckles this year. They both had plenty of time to spare.

 

 

Dennis Andersen

 

 

 

 

Eric Houck

 

 

 

 

As most of you know by now, Dave Wiens was the first place male. At the awards ceremony, Lance gave a really nice speech and complimented race organizers as well as Dave. "Not many guys can ride me off of their wheel, but this guy did," Lance said. Lance continued to say something else complimentary about Dave, but I don't recall his exact words.

 

 

The women's champion was Susan Williams. Did she race faster than 10:30? Ah, yeah...try an 8:40. I guess running more than a marathon the week before the race isn't a bad idea after all.

 

 

Below is a shot of Susan Williams and her two girls, Dave Wiens, his wife Susan (DeMatti) and their three boys.

 

 

 

 

Several of my buddies got more good photos, but I don't have them yet. If you're a subscriber to the blog, you will be notified when new photos are posted to this blog or to a new one.

 

 

As for my race, I did make my 10:30 goal with a bit of time to spare at 10:27. I could have lived without an hour of rain near the end of the race, but given the rest of the day's weather, I won't complain.

 

 

My second goal was to get on the podium to score one of those nifty mining pans. I managed to do that as well.

 

 

I can't say/write enough about the incredible support I received during the race. The crowd support was fantastic. At the base of Columbine Mine there were two little girls standing on the edge of the road screaming, "Girl power!!! You rock!!!" That was really cool.

 

 

Lots of people got me to smile with their encouraging words. It's nice to smile during a ride like Leadville.

 

 

I rode with some really terrific guys that helped me achieve my race goals. I told several of you I owe you a beer post-race and I'm more than willing to pay on that promise. Seriously, you guys were awesome.

 

 

I think people can post photos in the comment section. Give it a shot. If you can't send me your photos and I'll post them in the blog.

 

 

Thanks to Ken and Merilee for another great race.

 

 

 

 

 

Postscript:

 

 

Cool video from Superhuman Magazine  - thanks for the heads-up, Scott

 

 

2,976 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: leadville, lance_armstrong, leadville_100, leadville_100_mountain_bike_race, susan_williams, dave_wiens

 

Just a quick post tonight, pre-race Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. Lance Armstrong did show up at the pre-race meeting and said some nice words about the event, the course and five-time champion, Dave Wiens.

 

 

 

 

More on VeloNews.

 

 

Best wishes to all racers tomorrow ~

 

 

2,632 Views 0 Comments Permalink

 

The opening ceremonies the Olympic Games will surely be spectacular. The Chinese organizers will have designed a show full of dance, costumes and smashing colors. Athletes from all nations will march in the ceremonies in the parade of nations.

 

 

In order to participate in the parade, athletes prepare by wearing the clothing designated by their respective countries. Most countries put narrow limitations on any changes from a designated outfit.

 

 

Once dressed and ready to go athletes, and designated staff, need to be transported from the Athlete Village to a location near the Olympic Stadium. Athletes pour from busses and make their way to a holding stadium. This generally involves walking, standing and waiting in several queues.

 

 

As with spectators for the ceremonies, participants go through a security process that most probably includes x-ray machines and bag inspections. Few participants will be carrying bags. Some countries do not allow participants to carry anything.

 

 

Near the Olympic Stadium, parade participants are held in another stadium. While seated in country designated sections, participants patiently wait to be called to march in the ceremonies. For the wait, organizers provide a snack bag and a drink.

 

 

Athletes and staff watch Olympic sport video on big screens placed around the stadium until the start of the ceremonies. Once the ceremonies begin, live footage is placed on the big screens.

 

 

At choreographed moments, country groups are lead to the Olympic Stadium doors until they are called into the stadium. Once in the stadium, they become part of the ceremonies.

 

 

The opportunity to march in opening or closing ceremonies is one of the things that make the Olympic Games special for participants. The opening ceremonies, however, are not without controversy. Because the process I've described above can take some six to eight hours - or more - athletes looking to turn in good performances in the first few days of the Games often elect to skip opening ceremonies to save their legs and energy for medal performances.

 

 

If you don't spot your favorite athlete or athletes marching in the opening ceremonies, perhaps you'll see them on the podium.

 

 

1,327 Views 2 Comments Permalink

 

In just one week from today, the opening ceremonies will be held for the Olympic Games. To make it easier for you to know what is happening with your favorite athletes and sport, I've done some research for you. Below is a list of helpful links:

 

 

Homepage for the Olympic Games - Opening Ceremonies are 8-8-08.

 

 

Complete schedule by sport. Once you are on this page, you can select the sport in the left column and get more detail.

 

 

I've done a good deal of browsing on the NBC Olympic site and I have to say they've done a great job. There are athlete profiles, videos and stories for all sports. They've included athletes from several countries as well.

 

 

Within the NBC site, you can find out the broadcast schedule for your specific location. You can also sign up for cell phone alerts or email alerts for a menu of options.  

 

 

I did have a look at the transition video for triathlon and I'm not sure who put it together, but near the end of the video the commentator says something to the effect of, "Do it wrong and pay the price." The video scene is of Susan Williams crashing into the barrier on her bike.

 

 

The commentator is completely off base, relating the barrier crash to doing transitions "wrong" - but if Susan did it wrong and the price to pay was a Bronze medal...well seems like a nice price.

 

 

 

 

1,131 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, triathlon, susan_williams, opening_ceremonies