Thursday, September 5, 2013

Come Interested, Leave Inspired

The end of August for me marked a little trip to Ketchum, Idaho to ride in Rebecca's Private Idaho, a gravel grinder. The ride has been described as "its a long haul gravel grinder meant to showcase the beautiful scenery and quad cracking climbs on Rebecca Rusch's home turf.

Driving out there meant many hours sitting in the car absorbing the views and whatever was out there. As I neared Idaho I noticed a billboard that had this phrase on it "Come interested, Leave Inspired". Honestly I thought what a great marketing line for anything really.

I started thinking about my trip and how it would look like through that lens of Common Interested, Leave Inspired. I certainly had many interests:

- Ketchum is the home of the Sun Valley Ski Area. There's been an allure to this place
for years. Would it be similar or different to other mountain towns?
- I was traveling by myself, going to a new place and didn't know anyone how would that
make me feel?
- Would the recent fires effect the ride?
- Due to my work load and other things I've not been riding that much this summer so was I
biting more than I could chew with this 100 mile gravel grinder? Would I embarrass
- This was a ride but since it was considered a gran fondo there was timing involved did I
want to be part of that environment?
- Did I make the right equipment choices?
- I was coming in a day early what would I fill my time with on that extra day?
- I was only going to be there for a few days would I really get a feel of this area in
this short of a time?

As I walked around town Saturday morning the enormous sense of gratitude and respect for the firefighters that had saved peoples homes, livelihood, and playground was evident with soot and ash covered yellow ribbons everywhere. This place was a genuine mountain town filled with salt of the earth locals that would do anything for someone else. Inspired, check!

I was made aware of the The Big Hitch Parade that was taking place at 1pm by a local gentleman while I was filling up my car at the station. He gave me all of the insider info about where to watch from, what to watch for and why it was even happening in the first place. I felt very welcomed and appreciated. Inspired, check!

The sense of tight knit community with open arms for visitors was felt throughout the day from my first encounter at the gas pump to the rider meeting held by Rebecca Rusch welcoming everyone riding and briefing us on the gravel road conditions, air quality and general ride info. Rebecca is one of the most humble athletes I've met. She is genuine to the core. Her joy was realized by having others share her training grounds and be in awe of this magnificent place on the planet that she calls home. Inspired, check!

The ride organization was first class. We were staged and went off at 8am. Riding up Sun Valley Road with nearly 300 other riders will forever be etched in memory with the church bells ringing along one side of the road and with the horses in the open pasture running alongside the cyclists on the other side. This set the stage for an incredible day in the saddle first going up and over Trail Creek and then dropping down into the wide open spaces of the Copper Basin which was a turning around point to begin the trek back to Ketchum. As promised this was going to be a long haul gravel grinder meant to showcase the beautiful scenery and quad cracking climbs, it did all of that and some. Inspired, check!

The ride party took place in the Town Park, an open but quaint spot in middle of town. The food and beverage prepared for this special event was once again first class. It was a simple but classy gathering of like minded people having shared miles in the saddle. Very inviting and comfortable. Inspired, check!

Most people departed that next morning. I had encounter a bit of car trouble so I needed to stay an extra day as Monday was Labor Day and where I would get my assistance from was closed for the weekend and the holiday. I can tell you there are worst places to be stranded in besides Ketchum, Idaho. Off for another hike in the morning and a quick visit with Rebecca's new family member, Diesel. Certainly a trip highlight has been getting to learn more about Rebecca as a person not only as an athlete. She invited me to a BBQ she was having for some other riders that were still in town after the ride. I gladly accepted. Inspired, check!

Although I didn't know anyone at the BBQ besides Rebecca it turns out I had a lot of mutual friends in common with everyone there. The two worlds I spend lots of time in, skiing and biking, are really not that large and they are tight knit communities. I had a great evening making new friends. Inspired, check!

As I left the following morning I went to visit some of the recently burned areas which was a tad overwhelming but filled with hope. Also the smoke level was lifting and the mountain ranges in the distance were becoming clearer making it evident to me that I need to go back and realize the total beauty of this location. Inspired, check!

I love my new lens of Common interested, Leave Inspired.

Photos of Sun Valley and the bike ride

Friday, April 27, 2012

Incredible Month...Realizations

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.” - Dr. Seuss
What an AMAZING month it has been. Packed with travel, skiing, making new friends, strengthening old bonds, living in the moment, appreciating what I value and staying true to that, witnessing others achieve new heights physically, spiritually, and emotionally, sharing experiences that will last forever, creating opportunities to explore more of myself and others, and witnessing others doing the same. As some of you know I take a lot of photographs. WHY might be the question. Perhaps the word that best describes why and specifically this time in my life is REALIZATION. Photography for me is a spiritual journey, It allows me the time to pause and watch, reflect and appreciate, and celebrate the moment. Photography provides me the platform to be totally engaged in the experience. Below are a few of those moments. Whether it's the magnificent beauty that the world has to offer or witnessing individuals embracing the moment themselves. My life has enriched forever. Thanks to all of you that made these experiences possible. LIVE OUT LOUD

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I am my father's daughter...

It seems that as time passes I make a stronger connection to my late father. Today being Father's Day, there have been all kinds of nice sentiments shared on social media. This one in particular made me reflect a bit deeper. On Twitter @AnnCurry: Ok, what was one good thing your father taught you? I have to say it is difficult to narrow it down to one. My dad taught me to believe in myself, to always do my best, to be proud of the effort win or lose, to continue to challenge myself and never stop growing, appreciate your friends, the glass is always more than half full, celebrate being different, share a laugh, be adventurous not to be afraid of exploring new things and life is full of opportunities. In a nutshell Live Out Loud with Zero Regrets. Thanks Dad!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


In this last week I have many reasons to be appreciative. I live in the most amazing outdoor playground. I am surrounded by some of the most amazing people, some I know others I meet daily. I have had the most incredible life experiences. I am truly forever grateful to have the life I have and be able to do what I do.

Yesterday, I read a shocking Facebook post. An incredible human being has lost his life doing what he loved, riding his bike. He was involved in an accident with a car as they were both going around a corner at the same time in opposite directions.

Jure Robic is the most successful ultra cyclist. To me, and many others Jure is a Lance. Jure has dedicated his life to long, long cycling events. Others have not duplicated his dedication and devotion to prep work and training undoubtly because they are up there in the super human category. His results have paid off for him and his family. Ultra cycling doesn’t receive the same amount of coverage or interest as cycling as a whole. One, because it is difficult for most people to wrap their minds around the distance the ultra cyclist is pedaling. Not unusual for an ultra to go out the door on a short hundred-mile ride. Hours and hours spent in the saddle with their own thoughts.

So yesterday, when I received the news oddly the only way I felt like I could get my head around what happened was to go out for a long ride. I spent the day in the saddle by myself with my own thoughts and listening to the purring of the chain and cassette working in unison to propel me for towards my destination. It was a perfectly calm Colorado blue-sky day, perfect to reflect and remember my colleague Jure Robic. I met Jure a few years ago while racing RAAM. I have followed his career along the way with interest and curiosity as to what makes this man do what he does on a bike. Over time realizing that the bike is a vehicle for his devotion and passion for life, family, friends, his connection to self and a higher power. I have learned lessons from him that I will have forever and for that I am very appreciative. His wonderful perceptive that “Difficult thing take a long time, Impossible things… take a little longer … is full of hope, faith, This man had many gifts and I believe it is our responsibility to continue sharing his gifts with the world. The world needs his and our gifts.

Jure Robic has touched all of our souls by living his life to the fullest incorporating the following philosophy: Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

On this day, although still in shock about the news of his death I am filled with immeasurable appreciation for having our paths cross and for our lives to have been linked together.

Jure Robic was a wonderful caring human being that rode a bicycle for fun.

Live Out Loud!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall 2010

One of the last days of summer for 2010 was unbelievable. I believe we are experiencing the hottest year in history in the State of Colorado. It has been very dry, unfortunately huge forest fires are hopefully a distant memory.

I am very grateful to see in color because the fall colors are going off in a big way right now. The aspen trees are no different than athletes waiting to have the performance of the season. In some locations more than others, the fall colors are experiencing peak performances before they go into the off season mode. In other locations they are just about to show themselves in true form. Perhaps, they are in their taper phase, just waiting to unleash a performance that will leave us all in awe.

I truly enjoy watching nature's daily scenes. It always delivers and never disappoints!

Friday, September 17, 2010


"The best cycling workout videos YOU'VE EVER SEEN! This is what SUFFEREFEST says about their products. Clearly an incredibly bold statement to make. I decided to check them out, since I've trained with many other cycling DVD's I wondered how their products would measure up. The following are some of my thoughts:

Last night I downloaded their latest DVD called ANGELS. The title is definitely a play on words. ANGELS is a climbing session with the best riders in the world. Being able to feel like I was riding with the best of the best for an hour was heavenly. As the session progressed I visualize having ANGEL wings to stay light in the saddle with powerful legs driving the two wheel machine up the relentless inclines. At the end of the ride, as I was cooling down, riding on open roads in a magical setting it was like riding in heaven on earth. Also there may have been a few moments in the 3 x 8 minute climbs where I was praying to God for the strength and the commitment to continue riding in the suggested zones and cadences.

Throughout the session the power of suggestion that is offered is certainly the brain child of a much schooled coach. The ongoing encouragement that pops up on the screen is well timed, purposeful and helps to keep things real. Brilliant!

Looking at the actual training blocks:

The workout session is roughly an hour in length. The warm up is very cleverly done as you go around on a track oval for about 6 minutes until the work begins with 5 sets of over/under intervals of 1 minute each. The footage places you in the saddle behind Luis Leon Sanchez in a breakaway as he courageously and successfully keeps his pursuer Alberto Contador away.

The 3 climbs that follow are 8 minutes in length. You might think, only 8 minutes. Well, when you spend 8 minutes trying to stay on Andy Schleck's wheel in the 09 Liege-Bastogne-Liege the 8 minute reference changes. The next 8 minute interval is following Vockler/Contador/Sanchez up Col d'Eze in 2010 Paris - Nice. Now we all know how frisky and explosive they can all be, so imagine those 8 minutes. And for the grand finale 8 minute interval try following Contador up Alp d'Huez in the 2010 Dauphine Libere. He most certainly has ANGEL wings as he lightly but powerfully dances on his pedals.

The 4 minute rest sessions between intervals takes place down some mind stimulating descents, my favorite. But we all know in order to get the descending reward we have to front load it with a CLIMB.

In conclusion SUFFERFEST in more than accurate in stating that they have "The best cycling workout videos YOU'VE EVER SEEN! The impressive selection and editing of the race footage dovetailed with the finest song collection makes this video a must have training tool. No question if ANGEL'S is incorporating in your training program you will become a climbing God or Goddess.

Live Out Loud!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ordinary or Extraordinary?

“I can't believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary.”
- Lou Holtz

As I walk through the daily adventures of life I wonder how to absorb as much as possible. This summer's explorations have brought me to a place of better balance. Adventure is my passion which also provides the peace and fulfillment I seek. Jill Homer articulates so eloquently what adventure means to her so I borrow her words; "I plan adventures because their promise drives me. Adventures are a sublime sunset that I can chase. I grind my body into the dust and dirt and pavement toward the horizon, that elusive line I think of as fitness, which is really just a color-streaked threshold between my body and a borderless expanse of discovery. But as I approach that line, I discover there's nothing there but more horizon, more reasons to keep grinding away, and I realize that even if could somehow become exponentially stronger and faster, I would only chase sunset forever."

It is through various adventures that I learn more about myself, my desires and ultimately work on the elusive balance. I have experienced some incredible sights and sounds of nature from scenes like the photo above, to the sound of hummingbird wings in the enormous natural amphitheater called the backcountry, to elk calves celebrated the joy of life. All of those and many other extraordinary experiences are opening my eyes to the realization that seeking to be more than ordinary is the way to be.

Live Out loud