On Outdoor Ice

… in Colorado, in January. Which doesn’t happen often here.

But since it had been so cold, the reservoir at Cherry Creek State Park froze over. Driving the Dam Road, I saw people out on the ice, mostly ice fishing. Since it was obviously safe enough to walk on and since Brandon and I are still hockey players at heart, we decided to go and try and skate and play a little pond hockey.

Back on January 14, we packed our stuff, dressed quite warmly, drove to a parking lot just outside CCSP and hiked on over to the frozen water. We got onto the ice, started shoveling off some snow and soon realized the ice was, quite frankly, shit. It must have been windy when the ice started to freeze, because it was very bumpy. It made it hard to get a snow-free section of ice and playing some puck was going to be tricky. However, we decided it wouldn’t deter us. We still strapped on our skates and had some fun. Here are the images from that day.

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In November, Brandon and I also drove down to Tempe, Ariz., to volunteer and ultimately sign up for Ironman Arizona.

I recapped the volunteer experience on our tri blog, but I wanted to share the basic trip here.

We left late Wednesday night after I got off work, planning to do most of the drive overnight. We made it into New Mexico and to a rest stop not too far out of Las Vegas, N.M. where we stopped to crash for a few hours. After about three hours of sleep (and the two of us shared driving/napping duties), we woke up and continued on, stopping in Socorro for a breakfast sandwich from a gas station, where I saw this across the way.
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We got back on the road and save for gas, didn’t stop again until we hit Arizona and The Thing.
Roadside America. photo az_drive2_zpsd119e024.jpg
The Thing is a piece of roadside Americana (if you will) that has been around as long as I can remember. We’d drive down to Tucson for Christmas when¬†I was a kid and always pass it by. My brother and I would always want to stop (you see billboards for it for at least 50 miles, if not more) but we never did … well, at least until a few years back. I can’t remember now whether it was high school or college, but we finally saw it. I’m not going to ruin the surprise, but it probably wasn’t worth the stop. Luckily, it was only around $5 for the three of us (dad, brother and I; mom stayed in the car) to see it.

So, as Brandon and I did this, our second desert drive, I talked him into stopping. I figured we needed a break (we needed food anyway) and this kitschy roadside crap is worth seeing at least once, right?

At the Thing. photo az_drive3_zps2ec70fb6.jpg
At the Thing. photo az_drive4_zps213a7b00.jpg

After The Thing, we powered on to Tucson for lunch. The standard stops ensued – eegee’s for a slushy, Wienerschnitzel for fries, Lucky Wishbone for fried shrimp and garlic toast (for me) and then on to In-N-Out for a double double protein style (for Brandon). This delicious (but bad for you) food is the reason why we’re going to Tucson AFTER we do IMAZ next year.

Brandon with In-n-Out. photo az_drive6_zps45888dcc.jpg
Mmm, Lucky Wishbone. photo az_drive7_zps3c0c8372.jpg

Lunch (and then gas) and then on to Phoenix (well, Scottsdale) to Brandon’s (great) aunt and uncle’s house which would be our home for the weekend. It was great to see Bernie and Judy and meet their dachshund, Sophie.
Sophie. photo az_trip_zps907f8282.jpg

We had a meet up with some of our fellow MX12 VIPers on Friday, so we headed down to Mill Ave./Tempe Town Lake.

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Mill Ave.

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Meet up.

After, we met up with one of Brandon’s friends from college who owns a Trek bike shop in West Phoenix and then some more In-N-Out (mainly for me).
Brandon and more In-n-Out. photo az_trip5_zps424191b1.jpg
With In-n-Out. photo az_trip6_zps94d35ee0.jpg

Saturday, we checked in for the four different areas we were volunteering for and then worked bike check-in, which was fun and informative.
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When we were done, we met back up with Uncle Bernie and Aunt Judy, who took us up to Greasewood Flats, a really cool restaurant up in the foothills.
Greasewood Flats. photo az_trip8_zps089fb0bf.jpg
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Greasewood Flats. photo az_trip13_zpsd2a69958.jpg

After a fun night, it was time to sleep, for we had an early wake-up call since we had to be at Tempe Beach Park at about the same time as the athletes.

Race day. photo imaz5_zps3f18d368.jpg

Aaaand, GO! photo imaz7_zpsc7d6879e.jpg
Athletes on their way.

We stripped/peeled wetsuits, took a break, and then it was off to sunscreening.
Getting ready to sunscreen.. photo imaz10_zpsdf9f825b.jpg

After sunscreening and another break, we volunteered at the TriSports.com-run run aid station, which had a disco theme.
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After that shift ended, it was off to the park again to camp out so we could be (first!) in line to register for next year.
Camping out for registration. photo imaz19_zps9a1561c0.jpg
Given that online registration sold out in 40 seconds this year, this ended up being a great idea.

We took the rest of Monday pretty easy and then hit the road early Tuesday, taking the northern route out of the Phoenix area and Arizona and back to I-25 off of I-40, something I’d never done before.
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(right near the 25/40 interchange)

Then back home with plenty of time to Thanksgiving.

Images of Epica

In my quest to get caught up to the (relative) present day, I present to you pictures I took from the last concert I went to … way back in early November (the 7th, I believe?). One of Brandon’s favorite bands, Epica, came to town and he wanted to go. Our friend Mike is also a big Epica fan, so he flew out for it. The three of us (along with our friend Jeremy and his friend Scott, the “heavy metal police”) therefore met up for the show.

The show took place at the Bluebird Theater on Colfax, the Colfax venue I’ve been to the most. Opening acts were System Divide (meh), Insomnium (awesome; their recorded stuff was very disappointing. Much better live) and Alestorm, a pirate metal band that was, for the most part, very fun. We were supposed to also get Destiny Potato for the first act, but either a.) we missed them or b.) they got cut out of this show since it was System Divide’s last on the tour.

In any case, fun times and I got to goth it out a little, which I haven’t been able to do since, geez, early college. Enjoy the pictures!

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Jeremy, Brandon and I.

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Gothed out.

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Mike and Brandon with band founder, Mark Janssen.