Want to gain confidence in mountain biking? Enter a race.

What? Enter a race to gain confidence in my ability? No way I’ll get crushed. "I’m too old, I’m not good enough and I’ll look foolish." That's what I thought when my buddy talked me into joining them last weekend at the “12 hours of Mesa Verde” race in Cortez, Colorado.

There were 750 riders signed up for the race. Riders could either compete solo or in teams of up to four riders per team. The race started at 7:00 am. The goal is to try to get as many laps in as possible in a 12 hour period. Each lap was 16 miles long.

As I was registering for the event, I took a look around it seemed as though I was woefully outclassed by elite athletes. I was convinced that my predictions of personal humiliation would come true. But I was committed to my team and determined to see this thing through.

An unexpected thing happened from the time of registration to the starting line, my perspective changed. It surprised me. As I looked around a little closer I began to observe something completely different from my unfounded fears of inadequacy. I experienced families, friends, and complete strangers all sharing in the joy of the sport and the day. Smiles everywhere, the good vibe was contagious. So, my fear was replaced by excitement. I couldn’t wait for my turn on the course.

When my turn came I peddled my ass off, I gasped for air, my legs burned, adrenaline flowed through my fingertips. I was only five miles into what would ultimately be 32 miles of riding for my two laps. But something happened along the way that inspired me. Instead of feeling humiliated by superior riders, I received nothing but support and encouragement from others and the crowd gathered along the trail. With every rider that passed me, I admired their skills at handling a bike and understood the commitment it takes to ride at a competitive level.

My team ended up with a respectable finish. But more importantly, a sense of accomplishment. I was able to learn from other riders. The experience has inspired me to ride more and improve my skills this summer. Will I be back next year? Definitely and with a completely different attitude. I will be looking forward to reconnecting with new friends I met this year and introducing more of my friends to the race.

Have a great spring no matter how you choose to get outside and enjoy being active.

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Quick Tips for Winter Mountain Biking

Skiing, what used to be a regular weekly activity from December through March here in Colorado has been severely reduced during the age of COVID. I understand the need for social distancing, wearing face masks, and the other precautions we must all take to curb the spread of the virus. But as a result, the complications and hassles of making reservations with very limited availability have made a normal ski season pretty much impossible.

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Five Quick Tips for Winter Hiking

The “5 P’s”? — I forgot em’. What are the “5 P’s”? They stand for: Proper planning prevents poor performance. Simple enough.

So the other weekend my friend and my son decided to go for a winter hike. No big deal I guess living where we do. However, it’s a big deal at times to peel my kid away from his screen. I spent the drive up to the trailhead explaining in vain how great it will be to get outside today instead of playing video games online with his buddies.

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There’s nothing like a good scare to bring what’s important 
into focus.

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“Live now. Live well.” If you’ve been following Keola you’re probably familiar with our tagline and what it means to us. We believe in experiencing life one moment at a time. To be mindful of what we do today affects all of our tomorrows.

Although it may go without saying that the ability to be in the moment allows one to be present and in a better state of appreciation. This in turn can reveal opportunities we may not have otherwise seen. But in reality, it’s often much harder to put into practice day-to-day. When we are entrenched in life’s daily grind with demands and distractions coming from everywhere, it can be easy to lose focus on what inspires us.

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Fall camping tips

While many people pack up after the summer season, others head out for some of the best camping of the year. The cooling weather of autumn provides great opportunities for wildlife and enjoying the outdoors bug-free. Trees burst with bright oranges, aspens stand out with yellow leaves that appear to glow.

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Igniting your passion to stay active

Sure, we would all like to stay active and healthy. We already know it’s great for our physical and mental well being. But let’s face it, sometimes finding the motivation can be a real challenge. I’m 53 years old (at least in years) — Wow! That looks like a big number seeing it in type. I have a 15-year-old son who I try to keep up with and plan on doing so for quite a while.

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Adventures in the West

When I think of the west, I think of wide-open spaces, big mountains, and the peaceful winding rivers that connect us all. One particular area of the west that embodies this all is Yellowstone National Park. This geographic marvel is full of geologic wonders, big mountains, vast valleys that seem to go on forever. Home to roaming buffalo, massive herds of elk and deer, the infamous wolf, and my favorite Yellowstone’s native cutthroat.

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5 Tips for Camping During COVID-19

Safe Camping Tips this season

Time outside is rejuvenating, especially when we can spend an extended weekend with a camping trip outdoors in our favorite spot or discovering someplace new. However, with COVID everything feels different. Everything feels confined. You may be concerned about how you can still get outside and mitigate risks. Following a few simple steps to minimize risk, you can get out and enjoy the outdoors.

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Enjoying outside responsibly while protecting those around you during social distancing.

NOTE: These suggestions for exercising outdoors during coronavirus are that only: suggestions. Always check with your state and local government orders before traveling anywhere during the COVID-19 outbreak, even a park in the next neighborhood over.

With U.S. residents under orders to stay at home to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19, people are asking if it’s OK to go outside for activities like hiking, running or biking? In many cases, public health officials say the answer is yes—as long as you’re not sick, adhere to local orders, practice social distancing and common sense. Mandatory stay-at-home orders often allow exceptions for engaging in activities outdoors, generally close to home, like walking your dog, riding a bike or going on a run. Whatever you do outside, practice social distancing, which means keep at least 6 feet away from others to avoid contracting or spreading the virus, the CDC says.

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Chairlift reflections from our Founder

So, last week I managed to get up to Winter Park Colorado to make some last turns of the season. Being a Thursday morning in mid-May the place was nearly empty save for the abundant amounts of snow we’ve been blessed with this season still hanging to the branches and leaving every run still beautiful to rip.

Spending the morning on the chairlift solo, gives one lots of time to reflect. To feel a tremendous sense of gratitude and appreciation for the mountains and the many experiences skiing has made possible over the years.

Why do you love skiing or boarding? I guess the answer is as varied as the people who do it. For me, the more I thought about it riding up the chair, the more ways I realized just how much I’ve been impacted by it and how important is to make time to spend outside.

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As a kid, I remember the very first time I clicked into an old pair of hand-me-down skis. Even at the time they were still considered relics. It didn’t matter. Nor did it matter that my friends and I learned to ski on a 300 vertical foot hill of bullet proof ice serviced by 3 rope tows and a T-bar that sometimes worked. To us that hill was a mountain! Just like the pictures we’d rip out of ski magazines from our school library and hang in our lockers at school. — It’s all we knew. Our parents would drop us off every weekend at our local ski hill. Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday. Skiing was the bright spot in our otherwise cold, dark winters. While most people dreaded the coming of winter in the mid-west, we saw it as a time to play every weekend.

I left skiing behind when I went off to college as I could not afford the price of a lift ticket. The passion that burned in me as a kid for the sport started to fade.

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Several years later after I had saved enough money to take a trip out West for the first time with some buddies. It was then that I was reunited with my old passion. I was introduced to the mountains that I used to stare at in pictures of as a kid for the first time. We all were immediately transported back in time to when we were kids at our local hill. Not because skiing in mountains compared to our little hill back home, but because we felt like 12-year old kids again! Not a care in the world save for which line we were going to take.

And that was it, we were all hooked again. So much so that we spent the next decade traveling as a group of buddies every year to new destinations in the US and abroad. Through skiing friendships deepened, we experienced new cultures and made new friends. We never again forgot how important it was to make time to get outside and play. To be in nature, to feel the weather, to get scared on line that pushed us to the limits of our ability.

I’m now 52 years old and largely because of skiing I still feel like a kid every time I click into my bindings. So I guess skiing to me still means spending quality time with my friends who are now spread all over the country. Hanging with my son and no screens. And making new friends every season.

The feeling of freedom and escape remain with me several days after being in the mountains… just long enough until the next time I’m able to ride a wide open snow filled bowl, chute or run through the trees.

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