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We just completed our first event of 2014! We’ve got the Strider Adventure Zone setup pretty dialed now but for this event we added snow and the new Strider Ski attachments to all of our free demo bikes. The day started early for us, getting up and making the 2 hour drive up to Powderhorn Ski Resort.

IMG_0483Once we got set up curious parents and kids alike started to come by and the fun began:

This little guy looked all business!

DCIM100GOPROAfter running the free Adventure Zone from 10AM – 2PM we then transitioned over to races. We held a race class for each age 2-5 years old and everyone one had a blast. The kids flying around the track while the parents cheered on with their Strider cow bells!

Two of our 3 year old lined up and ready for action!

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Our sole competitor in the 2 year old race, he chose to receive his award on his bike rather than the podium.

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Our 3 year old’s podium.

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4 year old podium – Our second place finisher refused to get off her Strider to come up and receive her award. She may still be riding around there!

DCIM100GOPROAnd finally the 5 year old’s who already know how to work a podium photo!

DCIM100GOPROA  huge thanks to Powderhorn Ski resort for inviting us out and Strider Bikes for putting them in touch with us. Hope to see you again next year!

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Many of you on here are good friends, people we’ve met in our travels or some who have discovered us and have been supporters of our mission in Axel’s memory. Axel’s case had been stalled for over 9 months as the man who was arrested appealed his arrest. We knew this was going to be a long process and we went from weekly emails to our lawyer over there to monthly and then every couple of months and things dragged on.

A couple of weeks ago our good friend and board member on the Axel Project sent a letter to the US Consulate to see what was going on. The US Consulate has been amazing for us throughout this process and jumped right on things again, first sending a representative to the town the trial was happening in to get an update from the judge handling the case then requesting a full update from our lawyer on the progress of the case.

Last week we found out that the appeal was rejected in early March and the trial is moving forward. They are charging the man with “Simple Murder” which carries a sentence of 10-16 years. In addition he is also charged with rape, an additional 10-30 years. We can only hope he ends up with the full 46 years. The sitter is being charged with negligence/omission, basically she has the same murder charge since she was there to protect him. That also carries a 10-16 year prison sentence.

I’d love to tell you how I feel about it but it literally changes on a daily basis. Some days I’m very pragmatic about it feeling that it does not matter what happens, it does not bring Axel back. However lately I find my self hoping he is suffering incredibly on a nightly basis in that Mexican jail. I could go into many gory scenario’s I’ve played out in my head in detail. I do have a lot of anger towards them but again this get me no where and does not change the fact Axel is gone.

All we can do again is focus on the good times we had in his short life and keep his memory alive through our memories, stories and the Axel Project.

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I’d like to say I spent Feb 28th reflecting on Axel’s life and remembering all the good times we had with him but the fact is I don’t need to set one day aside for that, I spend everyday thinking about Axel and how he made our life a little crazier and a whole lot better.

I woke up on the 28th a bit apprehensive as to how the day would go. Would my day be consumed with thoughts of Axel’s last day? Would I just be in a ‘lazy funk?’

Well, my decision was made for me well in advance. The day started off with a conference call with all the players involved in our Axel Project Bicycle Classic (CDOT, State Patrol, Town of Ridgway, etc..). It turns out the rock slide that happened earlier this winter has created a long term mess and CDOT has big plans for work on Red Mountain Pass during the time we planned to run our bike tour over it. The Governor of Colorado even declared a disaster emergency this week on the pass. So after much discussion we have decided to reroute the ride and make it a round trip to Telluride with a shorter option to Placerville. Not a bad alternative, right? There are still amazing climbs and views of the entire San Juan Skyway while riding up and over the Dallas Divide. We will work over the next week to get the website updated with the new route. All registration information and pricing is the same.

While dealing with the ride reroute we also launched the Kickstarter for our amazing new childrens book ZOOM! We are so excited to finally have this book moving forward. Zoom! is a book about a little boy discovering the world around him on his balance bike. He has a big brother and a dog that join in and he is based on Axel. Axel loved to rip around on his Strider and I think this book is going to be a wonderful tribute to him. Currently we are over half way to meeting our kickstarter funding goal of $8000. If you have not seen our video yet click here and please support this project.

~Randy

The beauty of the Dallas Divide

The beauty of the Dallas Divide

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Zoom! is a picture book that will inspire young adventurers and their families to discover the joy of bicycling.

The story follows an active, happy toddler’s adventures on his balance bike.

He scoots his bike confidently through the mountains and mud, puddles and rain, and in the desert surrounded by cactus. He wears his favorite helmet as he rides with his dog, with his brother, and with his whole family.

Please support it today on Kickstarter so we can make it a reality!

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It was Feb 28th 2013, the waves were firing that day at La Lancha. We had discovered this surf spot a month earlier and since we had our truck and it was only a short drive it was our go to spot with perfect waves for us. We’d only been there about an hour when another surfer came paddling out frantically yelling “Colorado – Colorado!!” Yes, that’s us we replied. Something has happened with your son, you need to get back and go to the hospital. We had a frantic paddle in. Which son was it? What hospital? As we got to the beach we could see Kalden there with two women (our neighbors). They told us Axel ‘fell’ in the pool and was pulled out unconscious but they think he is ok. “Get to the hospital in San Pancho, QUICK!” We ran the 1/4 mile up a dirt path back to the road jumped in the truck and took off. The whole time we are saying, he’s gotta be fine, they got him out.

It took us about 20 minutes to get to the hospital and once there they had to locate the doctor that spoke english as we waited. Finally he came out, brought us into an office and gave us the news that buckled our legs, Axel was dead. We were allowed to see him, he was on a hospital bed covered in a white sheet, we hugged him, kissed him and sobbed uncontrollably. Though I remember that moment like it was yesterday, it is still unimaginable to me.

And how do you move out of a moment like that? How do you leave your dead child behind and return to any sort of routine?

In what I suppose was our first step towards the Axel Project we left all of Axel’s toys, clothes, and Chariot there and they were donated to a local orphanage.

The following day, trying to put a bit of normalcy back in Kalden’s life we took him to the beach for a few hours and let him go surfing. Jen and I spent a lot of time walking up and down the beach trying to process everything.

We made it home to the open arm’s of our community devastated but with a massive support group. Over the next few months we pieced our lives back together adjusting to the new ‘normal’ and started the Axel Project.

During this month leading up to the one-year anniversary of Axel’s death I find myself unbelievably sad and also filled with guarded happiness. We are having a baby boy in May, a baby that is currently kicking and growing and can now even open his eyes. He is alive while his brother is dead. What to do with this reality?

One year later not much has happened in the criminal case. About 3 months after Axel was raped and murdered the Mexican Police released a DNA report which clearly showed they found Axel’s blood on the man’s cloths. However, he has “appealed his arrest”. Our lawyer assures us this is normal and there is no problem it just needs to go through the process. Both he and the sitter remain in jail awaiting a trial.

The world remains unsafe but yet there are miracles, light and happiness all around. It’s not a coincidence that today we launch our Kickstarter campaign for our children’s book. A ray of light in the darkness. If you have not had a chance to support the Axel Project yet please go over there today and contribute. You can support us with as little as $5.

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