Skiboarding at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Last weekend, we rolled up to A-Basin to skiboard (some of us ski, some of us snowboard – this magical word includes both) for the day. The first and only time Steve and I visited Colorado (October 2012), we skiboarded A-Basin; it was great to experience more than one run being open and nice, short lines. Check out the photos from last Sunday on the mountain:

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View from one of the lifts at A-Basin. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

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Last chair of the day – the wind was nuts and visibility on the way down was shadows at best. Totally worth every second! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

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Our last run of the day. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

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It’s great to be reminded every once in a while! Especially after a nice yard-sale in the middle of the mountain. I mean, not that that’s ever happened… Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

Excited to get out on the mountain this upcoming Saturday – hopping in the car and heading West is such a great feeling.

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Crossfit DeCO – A Workout I Never Regret

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Meet Steve Mercer, part-owner of DenverSpeax LLC! Steve’s stepped out from behind the scenes to write about a new passion of his.

While living in Michigan, I stumbled on Crossfit via Youtube, and became instantly hooked / curious; it was different. Everything about it screamed “this is NOT your normal workout”.

This was about two years ago, and since then I’ve followed Crossfit fairly closely, but never actually visited or joined a Crossfit gym (aka, “box”). Since moving to Denver, I’ve been searching for a new gym in order to keep myself fit; let me tell you, this is not an easy task when in a new city. Some are too far away,…some too expensive,…some are just too much of a singles meet up, or even too boring. Crossfit came to mind as a good option.

Today I can gladly tell you I hurt…I hurt in a good way.

About two weeks ago, DenverSpeax was approached by Leslie Friedman, owner of Crossfit DeCO, to give them a try. Honestly, we’ve all heard some sort of negativity surrounding Crossfit, which caused a bit of hesitation for me at first. Crossfit has developed a reputation for being too intense and only for high-performance athletes. However, wouldn’t you want to support a locally owned business, be surrounded by other health-conscious people who support you, and become more functionally fit for a more active lifestyle?  Hopefully, you are answering “uh, YES!”.

 

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Crossfit may be hard work, but it’s also a ton of fun. Check out Crossfit DeCO’s class schedule by clicking the picture above. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

Located at 923 W 9th Ave, Denver, Colorado 80204, I nervously walked into Crossfit DeCO, and was immediately greeted by many of the coaches and members. Looking around the gym (or “box” via Crossfit lingo), I noticed all different age groups, fitness levels, and experience were in attendance.

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Yeah, Crossfit can seem intimidating, but it’s important to try it out for yourself – create your own point of view. Click on the picture above to be brought to CrossFit DeCO’s website. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

Each day, as a member, you are given a warm up and a “workout of the day” (aka WOD) which is designed to help improve your overall functional movement. A WOD can be anywhere from 10 to 40 mins long, involves a variety of different movements, and will whip you into shape.

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It doesn’t take a lot of fancy machinery to get in shape. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

I am starting in the functional classes, or “Level 1”. In these classes, you learn the basic movements while still getting a good workout under the guidance of one of DeCO’s experienced coaches. An approach you will find at DeCO is that everyone is expected to try their hardest, but not everyone is expected to perform on the same level; this mentality is not always found in a Crossfit box that I really appreciate. At DeCO, workouts are easily scaled to a person’s capability. Your workout is YOURS.

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It’s amazing what you can do in an encouraging, supportive environment! Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

DeCO offers services outside of your day-to-day WOD as well, which is very cool – it’s not just the same, old Box. They offer chiropractic services, massage therapy, Olympic lifting, nutritional counseling, and personal one-on-one training. Check out the rates on their website here. Trust me- the cost is small compared to getting these services independently.

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Oh, just hanging out… Click the above picture to be brought to Crossfit DeCO’s Facebook Page. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

We have experienced other gyms, and this is nothing like going to 24 hour fitness or your local fitness center. A new visitor to DeCO may be confused about the lack of equipment and machines, but don’t worry – you can still workout without giant weight machines or treadmills. What stood out for me, and became reasoning behind joining as a member, is the honest encouragement from classmates as well as the coaches. Understanding that it is most important to give all you can, and to do YOUR personal best each time, will prove to be rewarding in Crossfit; Crossfit DeCO encourages you to do so in the most supportive way, making each class enjoyable. I won’t sugarcoat it – it’s tough, but the experience is incredible. Sure, sometimes it’s difficult to get our of bed in the morning and show up. To put it best, one morning after the most thoroughly exhausting WOD at DeCO, I posted a picture on Instagram with the caption:

“I never regret it (after it’s done)”.

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C’mon- they’re your friends! Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

If you want to join DenverSpeax on this journey, Saturdays are free to drop in! Stop in, give it a try, and let them know DenverSpeax sent you. All fitness levels are welcome. Like I’ve mentioned – it’s a great Box with coaches that are highly knowledgable. They’re happy to help with any questions you may have about the Box, or even CrossFit in general.

For more information, visit http://crossfitdeco.com/ and like their Facebook page to see the daily workouts and upcoming events.

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HAPPY 100th POST! Snowshoeing – Trying Something New

A few of us have been talking about trying Snowshoeing for a while now, and just never got around to researching it… until today!

Step One: Gear
While scouring the inter webs, we gained a pretty good understanding of what will be needed for our snowshoe excursions:

  • Waterproof Hiking bootsREI Denver has a great supply of hiking shoes that will also work for snowshoeing. Because of my (Kirsten) wide feet and love for the brand, I went with Keen’s Women Targhee II Mid Hiking Boots. They’re weatherproof, breathable, and wide. I purchased a half-size bigger as they’re noted to run a half-size small.

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    Check out the reviews on the Keen Targhee II Mid Women’s Hiking Boot online and shop around for a pair for yourself! Credit: Google Images, Jan 2014

  • hiking bootWarm clothing – both outer layer and underneath. Luckily, we have plenty of wool socks (SmartWool socks work really well), warm hats and gloves, waterproof snow pants, and different weight jackets from skiing and snowboarding. Depending on where you’re snowshoeing, you’ll need to pack a daypack with changes of clothes to adhere to weather conditions.
  • Snowshoes and Poles – did you know that many places provide snowshoe rentals? REI is one of those places, so while we bought hiking boots, we checked out the rental situation. You can pick up snowshoes and poles at REI on Friday, drop them off the following Sunday before they close, and only be charged a one-day rental of $18 for members, or $22 for non-members. There are a ton of places in Colorado that rent snowshoes – try googling it to see who has equipment available for rental in your area.
  • Snacks – Not only have we read, but we’ve also been told that snowshoeing can be pretty labor intensive. Make sure you bring a daypack with not only changes of clothes, but also water and snacks. Hydration and carbs are going to be key in generating energy to keep going, just like while hiking.

Step Two: Trails
While checking out at REI today, we came across an area by the checkout that had FREE trail maps for snowshoeing. Of course, the internet is a great place to find trails and read through reviews of people that have experienced them firsthand. Here is a list of trails that we’ve found that accommodate both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter:

Bemrose Ski Circus
Difficulty: Easy to more difficult

Burro – FDT 80
Difficulty: Easy

Keystone Gulch Road – FSR 175
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ifficulty: Easy to moderate

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The majority of ski resorts have snowshoeing equipment rental, classes, and trails available for patrons. Above, snowshoers enjoy the trail at Steamboat. Credit: Steamboat Resorts, Jan 2014

Meadow Creek – FDT 33
Difficulty: Easy to more difficult

Peru Creek Road – FSR 260
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area
Difficulty: Easy to more difficult

Even Van Bibber Park in Wheat Ridge has a trail perfect for beginning snowshoeing. Also, check out Arapaho National Forest and Roosevelt National Forest for additional snowshoe trail ideas.

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Snowshoeing was even cool in 1907! Credit: Wikipedia, Jan 2014

Step Three: GO! 
Next, we need to plan when we are actually going on our first snowshoeing excursion. We will watch the weather to prepare according clothing, snack, and traffic-wise. Additionally, while we are snowshoeing, we will make sure to use the Strava App to track our progress.

Snowshoeing looks to be an incredible, aesthetically pleasing and fitness providing adventure. We’re excited to try out the REI rental process and get out there in the next few weeks to experience this firsthand and report back to you all. If you have any comments or suggestions as we plan for our first Snowshoeing adventure, make sure to comment below! We’d love your feedback.

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Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo

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Tis the season for gearing up and going shredding – ski and snowboard season! Hopefully, everyone has their passes ready to rock; if you’re looking to pick up some new gear and want to find some great deals (40-75% off last year’s gear), check out the BEWI Ski and Snowboard Expo coming up on Friday, November 8th, 2013,  through Sunday, November 10th, 2013. Here’s the schedule

Friday, November 8 – noon to 10pm
Saturday, November 9 – 10am to 8pm
Sunday, November 10 – 10am to 6 pm

Ticket pricing is as follows, but you can score $2 off by riding the Light Rail:

$12, Children 12 and under are FREE (cash only); with purchase of ticket, you receive a fantastic Liftopia Gift Card for $10.
Each ticket is valid for one day.

Hope to see you there!

Something for the Ladies – Studio 3sixT – Pole.Dance.Fitness

A few weeks ago, while perusing through Groupon one afternoon, I came across a deal for one month of unlimited pole dancing classes for $90 bucks. I considered the opportunity before me; I had never pole danced before, am always looking for challenging fitness opportunities, and $90 bucks for a month of unlimited classes is actually pretty inexpensive compared to other gym’s rates in the area.

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Credit: Studio 3sixT, OCT 2013. Out of respect and privacy, I have not taken pictures inside the studio for this feature – take my stamp of approval, and go check it out. The first class is $6, aka a total steal!

So I went for it! I bought the Groupon to Studio 3sixT, and anxiously arrived last Thursday for the Intro to Pole class, a pre-requisite to all other pole classes offered at the studio. Located at 2553 S Colorado Blvd STE 109LL, Denver, Colorado (look for the Music Skool and O’Reily’s Autoparts – head toward the corner between the two, and you’ll see the door with the sign on it!), the studio is in a great location in metro Denver. Definitely plan ahead traffic-wise – Colorado can be a bitch. Plain and simple. The studio is functionally beautiful, home to multiple rooms with mirrors lining the wall, and, of course, POLES! The anxiousness immediately vanished when I was welcomed by Xiaohui, the instructor of the class.

We started class warming up and stretching, incorporating fun and sexy cardio movement. The second half of class, we learned different tricks on the poles, how to walk, and floor work. It was nice to be surrounded by women having a great time working out, gaining confidence by the minute, and just letting loose. The environment is incredibly supportive and enjoyable, and the instruction is not only comprehensive, but also totally sweat-worthy. Needless to say, I’m hooked! It’s hard to find a fitness environment in which people aren’t constantly competing. Also, with their variety of classes including Ballet Body, Saturday Stretch, and, as mentioned, pole dancing, I don’t see myself getting bored.

Aside from being incredibly fun and supportive, the instructors at the studio have a ton of experience in multiple forms of dance. I’ve learned that there are actually Pole Dancing competitions all around the world; check out this video posted by one of the instructors from the Colorado Pole Dancing Championships:

Ladies, if you’re looking for a fun way to work out and rebuild that confidence level, check out this studio. They have a variety of classes for all skill levels. It’s also a great way to meet some new girlfriends, and learn some new moves. Check out the Studio 3sixT Facebook page, shoot them an email, stop by… give it a try! I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed in any way, shape, or form.

Van Bibber Park – A Break from Work

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

Sometimes you just need a break. Luckily, working in Wheat Ridge provides many opportunities to get outdoors for a short hike, walk, or ride at lunch. I’ve been exploring the trails near the office, and found Van Bibber Park a few blocks away.

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

To locate this park, here’s the address to both the main and west trailheads:

Main: 5575 Ward Road, Arvada
West:  Indiana and 56th Avenue, Arvada

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

In addition to soft trail stretching 3.8 miles, there is also a concrete path spanning approximately 1.5 miles.

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

The trail is fairly easy to moderate, and extremely beautiful with incredible views of the nearby mountains. In the middle of the day, I experienced next to no traffic on the trails, both soft and concrete.

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Van Bibber Park, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Aug 2013

If you’re looking for a way to cut loose for an hour or less, this place is a great way to get out, take in the fresh air, and press the reset button on your day. Give it a shot! Also, if family and friends are visiting, this is a great beginner trail that is equally rewarding physically and aesthetically.

Coco Bikes – SKBC – PBR – Denver Chain Chase: The Royal Rush Bike Race

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Michael (left) Kirsten (right) on the way from Checkpooint #1: Highlands to Checkpoint #2: Denver Bike Cafe. Credit: Jeff Doorn, July 2013

Saturday, July 13th, I embarked on my first bike race with two of our good friends, Michael and Jeff (their first races as well!). Like previously noted, Jeff just moved here from Dallas – he bought a bike roughly a week prior, and had ridden a few times, however we calculated the Poker Rush race to be about 20 miles. Jeff and I being the newbies to biking said, “Why the hell not?” We had 4 hours to finish the race, we didn’t mind if we were last, and we could meet some new people.

We started off at Coco Bikes on Inca in Denver; this is where we registered for $20 (which included sweet tshirt), received the manifest, and hung out until race time. There were roughly 60 people entered in the race – some beginners, like Jeff and I, some serious racers, and some participating to have a chill, bike ride day with friends. All were welcome, which made the race less intimidating.

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Poker Run – Royal Rush Bike Route. I did not include the bike ride to the starting point, Coco Bikes, from our apartment which is another 4 miles. Our ride home from Broadway clocked another 6 miles. Thanks to the Strava App for allowing me to keep track of these things!

When we were signaled to begin, Michael, Jeff, and I road to the Highlands, the hardest part of the entire race. This is where I hurled in front of children along the sidewalk of a beautiful neighborhood. I had only rode in the Highlands once, which was not anything too strenuous as it was only a few blocks. This was totally different. With some coaching and support from my friends  Jeff and Michael, we made it to our first check point. The rest of the race was around the greater downtown Denver area, including Washington Park, Odelay Tacos, & Denver Bike Cafe.

Four checkpoints, one thunderstorm, and roughly 28 miles later (including bike ride from house, race, and bike ride home), we had finished our first race. We weren’t first, last, fastest, slowest – somewhere in the middle was where we wound up. The experience was incredible, and we met amazing friends.

So, why am I writing about this? Simple: to encourage newbies to not be afraid of such events. It’s an incredible, accomplished feeling to finish a bike race, aside from it being a hell of a lot of fun.

Check out places like CocoBikes, the SKBC Facebook Page, Denver Chain Chase, and other Facebook pages to see what races are coming up in your area! Don’t be afraid – if a bunch of fresh-to-the-city Michiganders can do it, you’ve totally got this!

Big thanks to Denver Bike Cafe & Odelay Tacos for participating as check points in this awesome Poker Run event.