Tour of California Comes to Big Bear – Again!

December 12th, 2011

Big Bear Lake has been selected as the race’s Stage 6 Finish on Friday, May 18, 2012. The City of Palmdale will serve as the Host City and start location for Stage 6, which ultimately finishes with a demanding climb to Big Bear. This is the second time in three years Big Bear Lake has been selected as a Host City, which reaffirms the mountain resort as a world-class road cycling destination.

Two years ago I served as Community Outreach Director for Big Bear’s Local Organizing Committee. Phil Hamilton and I did numerous presentations to local community groups and brought up professional cyclists to visit our local schools. We even had a student art contest with the wining pieces published in a calendar. I admit it was quite something to witness the peloton racing live up Summit Blvd with the whole world watching.

Footage from the Tour’s 2010 visit to Big Bear:

Cover of the 2010 Tour of California Big Bear Lake Student Art Contest Calendar (all participants received a limited edition silicon bracelet we made just for the students – the winner got a bike):

The Big Bear Climb – Stage 6 of the 2010 Amgen Tour of CA

January 16th, 2010

Millions of fans around the world will watch Stage 6 – The “Big Bear Climb” – of the Amgen Tour of California, which begins in Pasadena and finishes 130 grueling miles later in Big Bear Lake on Friday, May 21, 2010.

Hall-elujah in Boston

April 18th, 2009

Watch Ryan Hall in the Beijing Olympic MarathonBig Bear’s Ryan Hall run the Boston Marathon live Monday at 6:30am PST, Charter Channel 305, KNBC 4.4 with a digital (DTV) receiver, or online at

City of Big Bear Lake Bike Maps

March 17th, 2009

My latest Gobo bike map project is now widely available. Big Bear Lake Bike MapThanks to the support of the City of Big Bear Lake, the Big Bear Valley Trails Coalition, and several local businesses, Big Bear Lake Bike Maps are now available to help you find great road riding in Big Bear Lake. You can find the bike maps in many places around the Big Bear Valley, including the Visitor Center in the Village, the Discovery Center, bike shops, and many card racks located in local businesses. An online version is also available for download here.

The user-friendly maps label bike routes by degree of difficulty, and include points of interest you will find along your journey! The maps also correspond with milepoint markers along each route, making it easy to always know where you are. Stay tuned for a Valley-wide version that will include all trails and all activities…

10th Fastest in the World

August 24th, 2008

Ryan Hall in the Beijing Olympic Marathon

What a thrill last night to watch our own Ryan Hall run the Olympic Marathon in Beijing. Seeing him line up in China with the fastest marathoners in the world gave me chills. Ryan was considered a medal contender and the build-up, especially here in his hometown of Big Bear, was huge. While Ryan’s 10th place finish means he won’t be returning home with any extra hardware, his performance still is exceptional and points to an increasingly bright future. Remember, Ryan is only 25, his first Olympics was only his 4th marathon, and yet he already ranks among the running world’s elite.

It sure is nice when things go perfectly, and admittedly it would have been incredible last night if Ryan Hall had medalled in the Beijing Marathon. But in my experience, a perfect performance can be hard to come by, and the times that things go perfectly are in fact rare. And that is why they are so special. If perfect was commonplace, no one would care. Perfect, again? Ho, hum.

The thing about Ryan that resonated most with me from the very beginning was they way he dealt with challenges, setbacks and disappointment. It’s easy when things go well. It’s when things are tough that we really discover who we are and what we are made of. To me, it’s not Ryan’s accomplishments that are most impressive (even though they are pretty impressive), it’s what he endured on the way to those accomplishments that are most inspiring. I am curious to see what Ryan does with this latest gift of 10th place.

Last week at Big Bear High School‘s Back To School Night, I was in my daughter’s AP US History classroom with her teacher, Mr. Hahn. He had a quote up on the wall that seems especially appropriate:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to go on that counts.”

Amen. Keep Running, Ryan.

Watching Ryan Run the Beijing Olympic Marathon

August 14th, 2008

Beijing Olympic Marathon Course MapIf you are planning on watching Ryan Hall run the Olympic Marathon in person, or are just curious where the course goes, the Beijing Olympic Marathon Course Map below shows the route that begins at Tian’anmen Square and ends in the National Stadium or “Bird’s Nest.”

Screen version: Beijing Olympic Marathon Course Map (JPG)
Printable version: Beijing Olympic Marathon Course Map (PDF)

If you won’t find yourself in China on August 24th at 7:30am, you can watch it on the West Coast on Saturday, August 23rd at 6:30pm (PST) on NBC. The marathon broadcast will be live on the East Coast (coverage begins at 7:30pm EST) and delayed a couple hours in the West. Beijing is 15 hours ahead of the West Coast, which means Ryan will actually be running at 4:30pm local Big Bear Lake time.

Local Big Bear fans have a few different ways to catch Ryan’s Olympic Marathon debut: Residents with Charter cable can watch the delayed KNBC feed as mentioned above on Channel 4 (104.2 in HD or 784 on Digital Service) beginning at 6:30pm PST. Satellite subscribers can pick up the live East Coast WNBC feed beginning at 4:30pm PST (Channel 241 on Dish or 82 on DirecTV). There will be a gathering at the Convention Center in Big Bear City that will watch the delayed feed at 6:30pm with doors opening at 2pm. Sandy’s Sports Restaurant will show the live East Coast feed at 4:30pm. Radio station KBHR will also be broadcasting reports live from Beijing via Mayor Rick Herrick.

Olympic Ceremonies, Olympic People

August 9th, 2008

Picture4.pngLast night on television I watched the amazing Opening Ceremonies in Beijing. It was quite a show, but what really moved me was what I saw before hand. An hour before the Opening Ceremonies began, NBC aired a show called, “The Road to Beijing,” where they highlighted key Olympic athletes. I had heard our local hero Ryan Hall was going to be included, and I kept watching and waiting. And as I watched and waited, I noticed the caliber of the athletes kept getting more significant, and that NBC was staging athletes in a specific order to keep you watching. Finally at the end they showed the segment on Ryan, followed by the final piece on Kobe Bryant. Ryan, then Kobe. Our Ryan next to Kobe. I liked that.

Picture5.pngThe Road to Beijing segment on Ryan was great to watch. Its one thing to see the familiar sites around Big Bear on a daily basis. Its another to see them through the eyes of a network camera. It reminds you just how beautiful it is here in Big Bear. I must admit seeing our Move a Million Miles work on national television was also a huge thrill. I’ve never seen my artwork on television, and I got a kick out of the scenes of Ryan in front of the Coldwell Banker thermometer banner and all the kids with red Run Ryan Run hats. It feels good when your hard work gets noticed. Especially on network TV.

Picture9.pngAfter the Road to Beijing segment, the NBC lead-up to the actual Opening Ceremonies began, and again there was our Ryan, running beside our Lake, showcased among the top athletes in the world, while millions of people watched. I really liked that. I wonder how many others Big Bear residents understand the value of such publicity for our Valley. With the Opening Ceremonies over, I finally went to bed, I’m sure, smiling ear to ear. This morning I was greeted with a very kind e-mail from Ryan’s mother, Susie Hall, thanking us for our efforts on the Move a Million Miles campaign. I wrote her back and said you’re welcome, but really, thank you for Ryan and for helping create this incredible experience and opportunity we all get to share in.

It’s not everyday a small town gets to embrace their own Olympic athlete. We’ve been told that Big Bear’s unprecedented Million Mile Campaign is historic and that no athlete has ever received that level of support. Ryan has said he thinks this Campaign will help give him an advantage in Beijing. I can’t wait to see what happens when he runs the marathon on August 23rd.

Sending Ryan Running To Beijing

August 4th, 2008

ryan_hands1.jpgMonths ago when planning, we all thought it would be a fitting gesture – a send-off event to celebrate Ryan and the Big Bear Community that supported him. We had no clue how many people would show up, and when it started raining, I feared folks would stay home. But in true Big Bear fashion (we seem to have a way with the weather up here and can even summon snow to put out fires), the skies cleared and gave way to a remarkable event.

Thousands showed up on August 5th to wish Ryan Hall good luck. Hundreds of children ran around the Middle School track, the same track where Ryan first discovered running, to celebrate their participation in the Move A Million Miles for Ryan Hall Campaign. Major media covered the event and the emotion. Many tears were shed, including some from Ryan. “I’m glad I am wearing my Oakleys so you can’t see me crying,” he said. As Ryan ran around the track, arm after arm reached out to him in support.

ryan_podium1.jpgAnd to top it all off, we actually surpassed our goal of a million miles, and did so a few weeks early. Back in December when we began work on the Move A Million Miles Campaign, we really didn’t know if we would make it. A million was a big number, and we didn’t have very much time to pursue it. How do we motivate thousands of people to move and log a million miles? But through the hard work and support of a dedicated community, we did it. We presented Ryan a banner with 1,203,556 miles on it. Right here in little ‘ol Big Bear.

Bike Ride for Ryan

April 29th, 2008

R4R_ride_sheet1EP.jpgThe Lighthouse Project has partnered with the Big Bear Valley Trails Coalition for the Bike Ride for Ryan on Saturday, May 24. Join us for a “Day of Biking” with the Lighthouse Project’s “Move A Million Miles for Ryan Hall” Campaign, a community spirit initiative that encourages an active lifestyle by supporting Big Bear running hero Ryan Hall’s quest for 2008 Olympic Marathon gold this summer in Beijing, China. Our goal on this day is to simply get as many people as possible to ride their bikes as many miles as they can in support of Ryan.

Check-in is from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, with all rides completed by 3:00pm. Optional Guided Rides begin at 10:30am, as does the City of Big Bear Lake’s official ribbon cutting for its new bike routes. The rides stage and begin at the Snow Summit overflow parking lot on Brownie Lane. There is no cost or registration fee for this free event. We want your miles, not your money. Riders who have checked-in prior to their ride and logged their mileage when finished riding will receive a free special Ryan Hall ASICS tee shirt and complimentary Gatoraide. Bike riders of all types and skill levels are encouraged to attend, with several ride options available.

Here’s a printable PDF version of one of the bike maps I did for the Ride:
Bike Ride for Ryan Map – Eagle Point Loop, Big Bear Lake, CA (PDF)
I hope to see you there!

Ryan Hall Groupie

April 28th, 2008

After an especially good road ride in Palm Springs, I was in a bike shop rattling off a bunch of statistics about our local Big Bear running hero, Ryan Hall. (He’s an exceptional athlete who will be representing the USA in the 2008 Olympic Marathon in Beijing, China, and the fastest American-born marathoner EVER.) The shop owner commented that I sounded like either a groupie or a stalker. His comment made us laugh, and I responded that I was neither – just a dedicated volunteer helping with the Move A Million Miles for Ryan Hall campaign. Won’t you, too, help us by getting up, getting out, and moving? You’ll feel much better for it. You might even become a groupie.

Move A Million Miles to support Ryan Hall in his quest for Olympic Marathon Gold in Beijing

Snowshoeing the San Bernardino Mountains

March 6th, 2008

Snowshoeing Bear MountainOn Tuesday and Thursday evenings when we can’t bike due to Winter weather, we will often snowshoe up the Bear Mountain ski runs to the top of the mountain range above Big Bear. Usually we do this in the dark with headlamps, but as the days get longer we sometimes are treated to spectacular sunsets and views almost all the way to the coast. Below is a panoramic view of the San Bernardino Mountains from the top of Silver Mountain at 8,564′. In the panorama to the left is San Gorgonio Peak, which is the highest point in Southern California at 11,501′. In the middle you can see Big Bear Lake, and to the right, Baldwin Lake at the East end of Big Bear Valley.

Silver Mountain Panorama

Big Bear Valley Trails Coalition

February 26th, 2008

Big Bear Valley Trails Coalition logo 2I’m excited to have been asked to serve on the Big Bear Valley Trails Coalition and look forward to helping develop and promote responsible use of our Valley’s incredible trails. The Coalition benefits from a variety of stakeholder members, including the City of Big Bear Lake, the County of San Bernardino, the US Forest Service, Caltrans, and SANBAG. Current successes include 26 new “Share the Road” signs around the Valley, an updated bike route system within the City of Big Bear Lake, and a cross-city bike route in the East end of the Valley. To the right is a little logo I designed for the Coalition.

2008 SoCal Mountain Bike Racing Calendar

February 16th, 2008

Mountain BikingAs the updated 2008 SoCal Mountain Bike Racing Calendar shows, there are many competitive events for those of us who like the fat tire. Note that in 2008 there are several events in our local San Bernardino Mountains. I also included some of our other favorite endurance cycling events.

Moving a Million Miles for Ryan Hall

February 16th, 2008

Ryan HallBig Bear’s Lighthouse Project has launched a community spirit initiative, “Move A Million Miles for Ryan Hall,” which challenges the community surrounding Big Bear Lake, California to get up and out, and “move a million miles” between now and Big-Bear-native Ryan Hall’s August 24 marathon race date in Beijing, China during the 2008 Summer Olympic games. I’ve been helping out with the campaign, and even had a chance to meet and run with Ryan and his wife Sara. Support the campaign and report your miles here.

Big Bear Lake Marathon ?

May 19th, 2007

Big Bear MarathonA couple days ago I attended the City of Big Bear Lake Planing Commission meeting intended to review an application for a Marathon around Big Bear Lake next year in 2008. I went with Pat Follett because we both believed events of this sort are important to the vitality of the Big Bear Valley and wanted to voice our support.

Having promoted and managed hundreds of mountain bike races around the Country for the past 20 years, Pat was able to speak to the Planning Comission with some authority on the subject. He spoke to the challenges of pulling off competitive sporting events in the Valley and noted the impact of declining mountain bike racing in Big Bear ever since Snow Summit stopped hosting those events.

I presented a bit different view and mentioned to the Planning Commission that most people who came to Big Bear needed an excuse to visit, and that competitive outdoor events brought a quality guest appreciative of our unique mountain setting. I said how events like the Big Bear Lake Marathon help fill Big Bear Lake cabins, help keep employees employed, and help collect TOT tax for the City of Big Bear Lake. And I reminded everyone that while I wish events like this magically happened with no effort and no inconvenience, the reality was that if we wanted the benefits of this kind of event, we had to all work together.

I also addressed the issue of the brief early-morning road closures necessary for an event like this. One of my neighbors had complained via letter that if Highway 18 were closed, he wouldn’t be able to get his JC Penney delivery. I mentioned how little traffic there is on the Highway from 4am to 8am, and said that I would much rather choose to briefly close the Highway early in the morning for the benefits of an event like this, than suffer through involuntary closures due to fuel spills, traffic accidents, and acts of nature. Pat reminded me about the C.A.V.E. people – Citizens Against Virtually Everything – and it made me laugh. I figured if this neighbor is worried about deliveries a year and a half from now, he probably has bigger problems than a 4 hour early-morning road closure.

The Planning Commission will revisit the Marathon application next month, but several Commission Members did comment on the very professional organization and preparation of those seeking to put on the Marathon.