By: Audrey “Stormy” Paulus
When I saw a challenge with the word “twister” in the title spreading around Facebook, I had to check it out and enter. When it said it had to be completed in 9 hours, I wanted to do it in 8 hours. A few of us from Cool Biker Lunch and Rides participated and had a blast! It was a true challenge of endurance, with the combination of breathtaking scenery and endless twists and turns. I even learned about two routes that I never knew about, Rist Canyon and Devil’s Gulch. I felt like I was in a foreign country surrounded by green pastures and quaint little ranch homes. It was amazing!!
I interviewed the man behind this challenge. Graeme Wallace left his home in Scotland and moved to Colorado to pursue a life-long dream. That was when his Hogback Distillery was established, and his goal to make Scotch-style whiskey in America began. The name Hogback is inspired by the Dakota Hogback Ridge that runs along the entire length of the Colorado Rockies. Traditionally, the spirit for blended Scotch whiskey is sourced from the most independent distilleries throughout Scotland. This is the model followed by Hogback, with the bulk of their blended whiskey coming from other U.S. distilleries.
Graeme expressed his passion to me, “as someone that has been riding motorcycles for over 40 years in Scotland, riding curvy roads is what motorcycling is all about for me. Part of the reason for moving from Scotland to Colorado was to ride the mountain roads, so the first thing I did when I arrived four years ago was to buy a Harley Davidson Fatboy. It did not take long to discover four canyons, including Clear Creek Canyon and Golden Gate Canyon. Gradually, I explored more canyons to make a circuit.”
As Graeme toured me around his Boulder distillery, he explained how he came up with this twister challenge. “It occurred to me that others might enjoy the same roads, so I road each one in both directions to feel out which direction flowed the best. The idea kept developing and growing until I reached the current 9 canyon route with minimal overlap and maximum enjoyment for riding curves. The fact that the canyons cut through the Dakota Hogback Ridge and that my Hogback Distillery has the same name is a pure coincidence but an apt one.”
A few of the participants had some great stories to share about their experience:
“I mostly ride alone to ride at my own pace, but I’ve been itching to branch out and ride with others on some local motorcycle events. Luckily, I came across the Hogback Twister Challenge on the web and decided to sign up to meet other local riders and to ride not just a few but all of the canyons in the front range of the Rocky Mountains between Fort Collins and Evergreen.
With all events, you start the day on your own and end it on your own, but the in-between is all about riding with others. Arriving at 6 a.m. at the Hogback Distillery parking lot with 30 plus motorcycles with their lights on in the late dawn is a wonderful feeling. I’m not the only crazy one! It’s great to see all these other riders coming out to challenge themselves with 350 miles of twists and turns.
I have ridden most of these canyons as part of my quiver of local rides but never gave it a thought to ride ALL of them in one day. That seemed insane!
The first two canyons I rode alone. Then three Harley riders caught me in Lyons, and I decided to tag along for the ride. And what a ride it was! It was great to ride with a group of very experienced riders and looked out for each other. They had no idea who I was, but they paved the way for a great ride together! I hung on for a few more canyons and then decided to ride on my own again for a while.
My 2020 Harley Street Glide Special threw some engine codes at Meeker on the Peak to Peak Highway. I decided to continue on the route, which went close to a Harley dealership to stop by and see if it was anything serious. The codes resulted from some temporary glitch, and I cleared the codes and resumed the Twister Challenge at the bottom of Lookout Mountain, where I joined up with a group of adventure riders. Traffic was now an issue. My left thumb started to cramp from all of the clutching throughout the day in the canyons – much more than any average long-distance road trip. I got through Evergreen, and then the rest of the ride was doable since the traffic was less and the roads were freer of cages.
It was a great feeling when other bikers in the challenge were coming towards you, and you acknowledged them with the motorcycle greeting. Although separated by our motorcycles on the road together, we were experiencing the great ride of the Hogback Twister Challenge.”
“Sometime in July, I saw an event that intrigued me!! A twister challenge? I love the twisties and often go out of my way to incorporate some into my route when I get a chance to ride – just to ride. I wasn’t sure who was going and the 300-bike limit lit a fire under my butt. I signed up. I may have psyched myself out a few times, awaiting August 7th, but I have ridden more than one canyon in a day ride before this. I was going to complete the ride regardless. There was a 14-hour time limit on this 350-mile challenge. More than enough, I thought to myself. I decided to take an early wave to ensure I had plenty of time. As luck would have it, I knew a few people planning to ride, and I could team up with a friend. That always makes the ride a little more fun, in my opinion. Our wave was at 6:05 a.m. We turned on our Rever apps to track our ride and time as we left the parking lot. In my mind, the challenge was: to complete the ride unscathed and in the best time possible.
The morning light was just starting to brighten when we left the Hogback Distillery with 8 other bikes. We hit the first canyon before we had time to get warm in the safety gear we had donned. At first, the bikes were pretty grouped up, and we caught the last of the 6 a.m. wave, but soon small groups of bikes were traveling at their own pace, and my riding companion and I were just two bikes taking the twisties with ease and enjoying the ride. Lefthand, St Vrain, Big Thompson, Rist, Coal Creek, Bear Creek, Clear Creek, Golden Gate, and Boulder Canyons. The option to stop was not one we took, as we both wanted to see what time it would take for us to complete this ride. We stopped once for gas when we doubled back through Estes Park to just stand up and take off our helmets at the top of Lookout Mountain. We did make it back to the Hogback Distillery in 8 hours and 33 minutes – including both stops. Eight hours and six minutes was our riding time. Not too bad if I do say so myself. The Hogback Distillery put on a good event with BBQ, music, and whiskey at the end of the ride, making this a destination worthy of the ride itself. Next year I plan to ride it again. I may slow down and observe the scenery a little more. Maybe even stop for lunch somewhere.”
“It was dark as we turned our two Road Glides into the staging area at the Hogback Distillery in Boulder. We were preceded by a woman riding a Ducati sports bike. This exemplified the range of riders and machines gathered to accept the Hogback Challenge. The times, the turns (1,300+) melted away effortlessly as our navigator negotiated every intersection, every route perfectly laid out. It seemed we had only left the starting line moments before when we crossed the finish line. We now have stories to tell, friends made, friends met, and memories shared. It all made for a great day. I am looking forward to participating in this challenge next year, although I would like to suggest that the route be run in an exact sequential order, and if there is any variance from the route, the rider should be disqualified.”
“This challenge wasn’t a challenge to me, but just a fun day riding the canyons. We were in no hurry and even took an hour for lunch. If I do this challenge next year, I will make this a challenge and earn my prizes and certificate.”
Shirley Kuuipo Soares
“The Hogback Twister Challenge was exactly that, a challenge. It challenged my endurance, riding skills, and facing my fear of heights while experiencing Colorado’s beauty. It was an amazing ride with my group smiling every time we took a break and talked about what we saw through a canyon or over the lookouts. The Hogback Twister has is now a great addition to our yearly riding must-dos.”
“If I didn’t follow the couple riding in my 6 a.m. group, I would have been lost because the Rever app was making me turn at roads that didn’t even exist on the map. We had a great time riding the curves at fast speeds. At the finish line, someone had asked me ‘what was my favorite canyon’. I couldn’t answer because to me, it’s not so much about the road or the challenge from Point A to Point B, but it’s the people you ride with is what was important.”
Cheryl Lynn & Kui Bean
“The Hogback Twister Challenge was an awesome experience! It was fun, interesting, and of course, challenging. It was an unknown territory for us that turned out to be invaluable. At first, we didn’t think anything about doing it. We’ve never ridden the mountains or been on any long distance runs. Coming from Hawaii, the longest we rode was twice around Oahu. Not the same! We started just talking about it then all of a sudden, we began our journey to the Hogback! We made new friends, got some dinner whiskey and a cool shirt; we went to places that we will definitely head to again, and most importantly, learned a little bit more about each other. The Hogback gave us the confidence to push past our limits and grab hold of more challenges.”
From talking to some of the participants, each came away with something different from this challenge. Some discovered that their stronger than they thought they were, some found that friends watch each others’ backs, and some felt they are a piece of something more significant than they could ever be alone. I often wondered how many people can go through the same thing or see the same thing, and yet the experiences are different as night and day. That is pretty awesome.
I am sure some learned quite a few things from this challenge and are already planning on what not to do for next year’s Hogback Twister Challenge. I know I am.
On July 31st, over 144 Registered riders left Port Charlotte, Florida, with the sole desire to break a world record for the longest poker run. This poker run would take these riders over 3,200 miles, eight states as they made their way to their final destination, 81st Sturgis Rally.
The riders completed their poker run on August 6th at the Buffalo Chip. Their Coppertone tans and pure adrenaline could finally relax and begin to let it sink in what they had accomplished.
At every stop, they were welcome by dealerships, biker bars, and sponsors. They did their best to soak up all the local color they could in the short time they had there. They averaged over 500 miles per day, so they had to rest and be up bright and early the next day to do it all over again when they stopped. During their evening festivities, these tired riders raised money for the charity of choice, BikerDown Foundation. To date, these riders and organizers have raised over $12,500 to help injured motorcycle riders nationwide.
A Little History
In January 2021, Sonny and Angie (known as “The Badgers”) from supportbikers.com had the vision to break a world record for the longest poker run and wanted to raise money for a charity that helped the biker community. Sonny said, “you would be surprised when you take a look at what is out there; there are hardly any charities that help the biker community.” After some suggestions from their steering committee of riders, Sonny began reaching out and writing emails. BikerDown reached out to me within minutes of me hitting send on my keyboard.
After a few emails and conversations, The Badgers were confident that they had found the right charity.
One of the biggest frustrations BikerDown experiences is an overwhelming number of help requests nationwide where we do not have chapters. BikerDown Bylaws prohibit them from releasing funds outside of our chapter states. The Badgers and WRPR riders have now made it possible for us to give services to riders all over the country.
As President and Founder, I took a flight out to Port Charlotte, Florida, to send off the riders, meet The Badgers and their crew and do all that I could to let the riders know just how appreciative I was on behalf of future injured riders. I was so impressed with how focused and ready they were for these riders; many had already ridden over 800 miles just to start this ride in Port Charlotte.
My next meeting with the crew and riders was in Golden Colorado at Dirty Dogs Roadhouse, where you could see what the riders’ were experiencing. They had almost 2,500 miles under their belt, they had been thru the heat, rain, hail, breakdowns, a couple of accidents, but most importantly, they had overcome every challenge as a group.
On Friday, August 6th at 6 pm, all the riders had to report to the Buffalo Chip for their final check-in; they were happy, hugging, and had such a feeling of accomplishment.
BikerDown will forever be grateful to these riders, organizers, and sponsors for what they went thru for their fellow bikers.
All I can say is the next time Angie and Sonny get a crazy idea; I will say I am ALL IN. Rumor has it they want to do it again next year and break their record.
September 11, 2001, is a day that lingers in the hearts and minds of many Americans, especially those who were there for the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
Almost 3,000 people lost their lives during the attacks at the Twin Towers, Pentagon, and aboard United Airlines Flight 93. Many died in trying to help the injured during the terrorist attacks on our nation, and it’s a day to honor their lives, courage, and memories. It is a day of remembrance.
At 8:46 am ET, American Airlines Flight 11 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) hit the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. At 9:03 a.m. ET, United Airlines Flight 175 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) hit the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. At 9:37 a.m. ET, American Airlines Flight 77 (traveling from Dulles, Virginia, to Los Angeles) hit the Pentagon Building in Washington. And at 10:03 am. ET, United Airlines Flight 93 (traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco) crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
This day is also a time to show that we will never forget the horrific events that occurred. It was one of the worst days in our American history, in which we saw some of the bravest acts. We learned that the unthinkable could happen and did! It was intended to break our spirit, but instead, we became more unified and stronger.
It showed us that life is so precious of a gift. The fathers, mothers brothers and sisters, the grief, the fire and ash, the last phone calls and the funerals of children. Every life has a purpose, and that we have a responsibility to those that we, Americans and the World NEVER forgets.
Twenty years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. Since then, we have lived in sunshine and shadow, although we can never unsee what happened here. We can also see that children who lost their parents have grown into young adults, grandchildren have been born, and good works and public service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost. Please remember that on September 10, 20 years ago, 246 people went to sleep in preparation for their morning flights. 2,606 people went to sleep in preparation for work in the morning. 343 Firefighters went to sleep in preparation for their morning shift. 60 Police officers went to sleep in preparation for morning patrol.
None of them saw past 10:00am September 11, 2001. As you live and enjoy the breaths you take today and tonight before you go to sleep in preparation for your life tomorrow, kiss the ones you love, snuggle a little tighter, and never take one second of your life for granted! In just a single moment, life may never be the same.
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Tree & Shrub/Trimming Removals
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ON SITE HANDYMAN
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
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LEGAL/MOTORCYCLE LAW FIRMS
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18425 W. Colfax – (303) 238-0425
Mile-High Harley-Davidson (Aurora)
16565 East 33rd Avenue – (303) 562-1603
Mile-High Harley-Davidson (Parker)
6280 East Pine Lane – (720) 307-3745
Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson
2885 W. County Line Road – (303) 703-2885
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If you would like to be in our Biker Owned Business “BOB”, please email email@example.com
Thunder Harley-Davidson announced today that due to circumstances beyond their control such as COVID concerns, staffing, and supply issues, they sadly must cancel their Annual Thunder in the Rockies for 2021. This will be the 2nd year in a row that Thunder Mountain has had to cancel, however, this publication commends them for doing what they felt was best for the community, as well as not settling on an event that doesn’t meet the standards of what attendees are used to.
Here is their post on their ThunderInTheRockies.com website:
THUNDER IN THE ROCKIES 2021 CANCELLED
We are heartbroken to announce the cancellation of the 2021 Thunder in the Rockies bike rally. This extremely difficult decision was made based on many factors including potential restrictions and entertainer concerns related to the most recent rise in Covid-19 cases. Lack of support due to supply chain issues and labor/inventory shortages throughout our vendor, sponsor, and business partner communities were additional factors.
All 2021 concert tickets purchased through our official Ticketweb outlet will automatically be refunded within 30 days. Any tickets purchased at Thunder Mountain Harley-Davidson can be turned in at the Thunder Mountain front desk for a refund anytime within the next 30 days.
The Forever Family Ride will still happen on Monday, Sept 6th. It is very important to the Thunder Mountain Harley-Davidson team to support Realities for Children and encourage our customers to get out in the fresh air and ride! Check-in and breakfast will begin at 9 AM at Thunder Mountain Harley-Davidson, kickstands up at 10:30 AM. More information can be found at www.ForeverFamilyRide.com.
We have extended our Bike Night series an additional week to hold the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America giveaway. This event will be our last Bike Night of the season at Thunder Mountain Amphitheatre on Thursday, September 2, 2021, from 6 PM to 9 PM. The raffle prize drawing will be held promptly at 7:30 PM and the bike giveaway qualifier drawing/key turn at 8:30 PM. You must be present to win for both drawings.
The 2022 Thunder in the Rockies planning is already well underway so mark your calendars, Labor Day Weekend (Sept 2-5, 2022). We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your support. Ride safe!
It is estimated that over One Million motorcycle riders are at this years 81st Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Vendors are everywhere and a shopper can get brain damage trying to see all that the vendors have for sale from Biden Sucks tshirts to leather and fishnet outfits that would frighten fish.
However, a motorcycle loving 8 year old’s lemonde stand has become a popular attraction at Rally this year. Wyatt Dennis opened the stand last year to earn a little money toward a Lego set he wanted. He raised enough money to get his Lego set and donate $200 to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
This year, Dennis’ lemonade stand went viral after someone at a nearby campground posted about him on social media. But when Wyatt realized he had such a lucrative business, he sought some financial advice. He and his parents came up with a plan that 50% of what is earned should go to his college fund, 30% to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and 20% to buy a dirt bike.
As of today, Wyatt had raised about $9,000 at his lemonade stand. MedVed Autoplex in Denver also offered to match up to $1,000 in donations for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
In addition to quenching the thirst of Rallygoers and others, Wyatt believes he’s making people happy by operating the lemonade stand.
“When they come up to the table, they have a smile on their face. I think I’m inspiring people,” he said.
Wyatt, who will be a third-grader at Piedmont Valley Elementary School this fall, is thrilled to be able to donate some of the money to the children being treated at St. Jude’s.
“It feels like I’m making other kids and their parents happy, but also making me happy that I can help them,” he said.
Wyatt’s mom and dad, Robin and Devin, warned him that if he wanted to do the lemonade stand he was the one who would have to work it, not them. They agreed to be there with him, but he was the one to wave in the customers and serve the lemonade.
If you stop at the Wyatt’s lemonade stand, please share photos with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8/9/2021 – UPDATE ON WYATT’S PROGRESS – It has been reported that the Black Hill Riders and South Dakota Sport Bikes got together and presented Wyatt’s with a dirt bike today! Watch the Youtube video here
By Kristi Strother
Bikers have their traditions. It may be to attend a rally each year or visit a special friend each year; short rides, long rides don’t matter, and they all have a special reason attached to them.
Our tradition: each year, around Memorial Day, we gather a few women riders and leave beautiful Colorado for sizzling Arizona.
Bikes packed, flags waving, we head down I-25 out of Denver with our throttles open and the road in front of us. It’s not that we don’t want guys going; in fact, deep down, we miss our men, but it’s ladies only for this trip. And since we celebrate International Female Ride Day in May, it just seems appropriate that a few of us biker chicks head to the desert on a long ride.
We take the same route each year. On the way down, we stay on I-25 past the Springs, past Pueblo, past Trinidad… and then we hit Raton Pass. Oh! Raton Pass. We all get a bit giddy as we start the climb. The Pass is only about 10 miles long, but it provides us the chance to open them up and race through the swooping curves. Reaching 7,834 feet, we often miss the welcome to New Mexico sign. It may seem a shame not to slow down to appreciate the National Historic Landmark and all its beauty, but there has never been a year where each of us isn’t smiling ear to ear after racing Raton.
Russell’s Truck Stop on the other side of Raton is the perfect place to fuel up and have some fun: kiss Elvis, take a selfie with Marilyn Monroe, or even get playful with the deer statues; traditions don’t have to be serious or involve bikes!
Now on to Albuquerque. But wait before we hit the gale force winds of the New Mexico highway (you know the wind storms, where you clutch your grips tight, squeeze the tank with your thighs and pray your glasses don’t blow off )…we always stop for ice cream. The DQ in Las Vegas, NM, never lets us down. Bikers and ice cream, they go together.
Hitting Albuquerque feels good. An accomplishment, 425+ miles. And a new road: I-40
Although the timeline is different in different areas, I-40 once was the historic Route 66. The famous “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” road can still be traveled at various spots along our route. We like to stop in Grants, New Mexico, to ride under the Route 66 neon arch. After that, we ride a short 36 miles on Route 66 up to the Continental Divide. If you know your history, it’s the ‘Great Divide’. It separates the watersheds of the Pacific Ocean from those of the Atlantic Ocean. And each year, we make sure to stop in Winslow, Arizona, and stand on the corner, made famous by the Eagles. And yes, “standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” plays in our heads for hours.
Outside of Winslow, we head south on Highway 87. Pretty lonely for miles, but then the beauty of Coconino National Forest surrounds us on all sides. Breathtaking.
As the sun sets, we merge with Highway 260, an incredible biker road full of tight corners lined with towering pine trees. We fall into unison, swishing down the mountain, radios blaring, flags flapping, pipes growling. Somewhere around Payson, we connect back to Highway 87 and make our final push towards Phoenix.
Hot, tired, but always grateful.
We spend a few days in Phoenix and surrounding areas, visiting good friends, laughing, and resting up for the adventure home to our beloved Colorado. Our tradition may not be for everyone, but for a few wind-sisters, it is full of adventure, shenanigans, stunning scenery, friendship, and countless tributes to our brave men and women in the military. We remember them; we are forever grateful that we have the freedom to ride every year because of their sacrifice.
It is a tradition we hope to continue for many years to come.