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One of my favorite memories of Axel is on the beach in Mexico playing with another little boy. Axel had his two trucks with him and the other little boy came over and just sat beside him clearly wanting to participate in the fun. Axel looked over at the little boy and happily handed him one of his trucks. From then on they were best buddies playing with their trucks in the sand.

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In the spirit of Axel’s giving soul we want to give away 5 Strider bikes for Christmas.

If you know of a family that could use a little help this season and they have a toddler that can use a Strider then send an email to randy@axelproject.com with their story. You can also nominate yourself. We have 5 Strider bikes to give away and we’ll make the deadline the 15th for submission. Must be shipped in the US.

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Axelove!

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We’ll we’ve had one hell of a year! It has not even been a year yet since Axel was killed but it really feels like he’s been gone longer. The thing is, even when tragedy happens life does not slow down one bit. We had been back only a few months and Jen found out she was being laid off from her job! We defiently had a few days of feeling sorry for ourselves but once we finished that we took it as an opportunity to focus on and launch some new projects we are passionate about. Our first one is for the Axel Project. We are planning a road bike charity ride here in our town of Ridgway, CO. The ride will go over the world famous Million Dollar Hwy AKA Red Mountain Pass. We will be holding this event on Aug. 30th 2014 which is the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Plan on coming out for the long weekend and join us. On Saturday, in addition to the main ride, we’ll have a family ride on our bike path to the Denise Weaver Memorial park as well as a Strider adventure zone and bounce house set up for the kids (all free). We plan to have the website up my mid-December to keep and eye out for it.

We are currently back on the road in our camper for a month. We left on November 6th taking the scenic North route towards San Diego, CA. This is a beautiful drive down SR24 through Boulder, UT, Capitol Reef NP and then onto Zion, NP. Our main destination for this leg was Zion to hike the Angels Landing. Kalden had a blast on this hike!

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From Zion we headed down to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. This place is a bit off the radar but a pretty nice find. A real playground for an 8 year old boy and his dog.

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So yes, life goes on both good and bad! I can honestly say there has not been an hour in my day since losing Axel that I,ve not thought of him. My favorite thought that always comes to mind is how he liked me to sit on the couch leaning forward and he’d jump on my back to make me tip over so we would “crash”. He held on so tight and I miss that a lot.

This brings us to the next chapter of our life and why we are on the road for “only” a month. A while back Jen started feeling a bit off. mostly tired all the time and just dragging. A quick pregnancy test revealed, to our surprise, she is pregnant! To say we were shocked would be the understatement of the year. You see, when Axel was born we decided two kids was enough and since Axel was delivered via C- section she had her tubes tied. I’d like to think this gift is from Axel who was taken way to soon from us and feels Kalden really needs a sibling in his life.

So, life has been an emotional roller coaster and I’m sure we have plenty more to come, including a lot of sleepless nights starting in May 2014!

Again, thank you all for supporting the Axel Project and helping to keep our little boys memory alive.

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I’ve been a huge cycling fan for many years now. I follow all the Pro Tour races and it’s kinda my sport. It’s pretty funny, when I sit down somewhere and a person asks “do you follow the Bronco’s (Football, Baseball, Basketball) etc?” I say no, pretty much just road bicycle racing. That’s usually the end of the conversation.

One of my favorite teams has always been Euskatel-Euskadi. These guys are always the underdogs, excelling in the high mountains and just looking to poach the occasional stage win. Through thick and thin the ‘orange armada’ of fans are always there for them. The other day I was reading a story in Velonews that the team was folding at the end of this season, the economy is horrible in Spain and they simply could no longer find a sponsor to fund the millions of dollars it takes for a Pro Tour team. With their imminent demise looming just around the corner an associate of the team sent a random SMS message to a Spanish F1 race car driver, he was Formula One superstar Fernando Alonso who is also a big fan of cycling and the Euskatel Team. Literally, within one week the team was saved and Euskatel lives on!

That’s the way life is and it’s a lesson we have learned in getting Axel Project up and running. You see, Jen and I have never been ones to search out the spotlight and we’ve also (thankfully until now) never had to actively look for donations, etc… for an organization. Getting Axel Project off the ground has been a huge and eye opening process for us and the one thing we’ve learned is there are lots of great people out there who want to help…we just need to ask!

Our 3rd board member Brian has been wonderful with this and is teaching us daily to just get out there. Jen and I are not use to this but we are getting there. We have a couple of great things we are working on at the moment, the first is a children’s book which will feature Axel, his brother, and their dog which we hope to have published within the next six months (fingers crossed) and the second is our Axel Project Gran Fondo which we hope to run here in RIdgway on the Million Dollar Highway early next September.

Jen heading up the million Dollar Hwy above Ouray, CO

Jen heading up the million Dollar Hwy above Ouray, CO

Anyway, Axel Project wouldn’t even be here if it was not for the support all of YOU have given us. I’m finding it takes a lot of courage to ask for help and I’m so glad all of you have stepped up to support us.

Thank you,

Randy, Jen and Kalden

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Awhile back Jen and I decided we wanted to take Axel’s ashes up on Mt. Sneffels and disperse them. Mt Sneffels can be seen right out the front window of our house and is the prominent peak in our area standing at 14,150ft. While it is not considered a very technical peak by most standards it is a fairly serious undertaking and with Kalden (our 8year old) joining us for his first 14er it added a whole other element.

Mt Sneffels on the right.

Mt Sneffels on the right.

By alpine standards we got a late start at around 9AM but with clear skies and only a 10% chance of PM showers we felt confident we could get up and back down dry and safe. We drove in as far as the trail went to minimize Kalden’s hiking (boring to him) and get him right onto the rocks. From the upper trail head at 12,600ft we hiked first across then straight up the scree fields to the saddle.

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From the saddle it was up a couloir to the notch.

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Once on top we had fairly clear skies and no wind so we were able to hang out and relax for a bit.

Kalden on the summit.

Kalden on the summit.

The views of Blue Lakes up there are stunning and as you can see they are aptly named!

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After a few summit shots and signing the log book we were ready to turn to the main purpose of our trip. We got out Axel’s ashes and each of us threw a handful out into the breeze.

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It was a pretty incredible day and I’m really happy we were able to bring Kalden up with us. I think it’s wonderful that he can look out our front door at Mt Sneffels knowing he climbed it and left a little bit of his brother up there to watch over us.

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Three years ago Jen and I were in ripping shape. A race called the Breck Epic was in its second year and we were training for it. The Breck Epic is a six day Mountain Bike Stage race held in Breckenridge Colorado. Unlike other stage races where you go point to point everyday and finish in a new place, the Epic is based solely out of Breckenridge and finishes back in town at the end of each stage. Each day begins at over 9K feet and you just go up from there. Stages range in distance from 30-40+ miles and elevations go over 12K feet. Our training had us putting in a ton of miles, lots of hill intervals and some races around Colorado. Everything was on track for a strong performance at the 2010 Breck Epic. Then Jen started to feel a bit ‘off’. A quick trip to the drug store for a pregnancy test confirmed it, Jen was pregnant with little Axel. We went from supercharged race training to full brakes in a day! Of course that race never happened for us but Jen still stayed on the bike throughout her whole pregnancy and we had a lot of fun regardless.

Fast forward to 2013, I received an e-mail from Mike the director of Breck Epic. He had heard about Axel’s death and  said he wanted to reach out and see if he could help the Axel Project in any way and also he had two free entries in the race for Jen and I if we felt up for it. This race is no mild undertaking but after some thought we decided to go for it. Axel came into our lives during the Breck Epic so let’s celebrate him by finishing what we started three years ago! We certainly have no illusions of winning this thing but we feel fairly confident that we can finish each day respectably. The race starts August 11th and we are Team Axelove, wish us luck!

 

Any bike will do. Even a pink one :)

Any bike will do. Even a pink one :)

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