Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta by the numbers

Cover: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


There are quite a few hot air balloon festivals held each year but, each October balloonists from around the globe make their way to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the world’s largest event, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Why Albuquerque? In an area that is known for its out-of-the-box artistic creativity, balloonists want to be “in the box” and Albuquerque is ideal for it. The Rio Grande Valley and the nearby Sandia Mountains create a “box”, where cool air from the north takes balloonists in one direction, and then, when the pilots want to return to the launch site, they simply change elevation to find winds blowing in the opposite direction.

These ideal conditions make Albuquerque a favorite location for flying balloons and have brought the balloonists back year after year for the event.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

When did the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta begin?

1972

1972 was the first year the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was held with 13 balloons launching from a shopping mall parking lot.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

How many balloons participate in the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta?

500+ balloons

In 2015, 547 pilots registered to fly in the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. A Mass Ascension of hundreds of balloons from the launch site can only be described as a carefully choreographed spectacle of color and grace.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

What is Dawn Patrol and Morning Glow?

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Beginning far before sunrise, ballooning fans head to Fiesta Park to watch the pilots and crews prepare for launch. Each day begins with Dawn Patrol – a small group of balloons that lift off in the dark and provide an early assessment of wind speeds and directions at different altitudes. Following Dawn Patrol, about a dozen balloons are inflated on the ground, providing a pre-dawn Morning Glow show for the crowd.

How do all those balloons take off during Mass Ascension?

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

2 consecutive waves

As the sun begins to rise, so do the balloons. As thousands of onlookers watch and photograph the launch activities, hundreds of balloons are filled with air before gently lifting off into the sky. The balloons depart in two consecutive waves from an area of 72 acres of grass (the equivalent of 54 football fields) that contains 208 launch sites, with the Mass Ascension taking up to two hours.

How many countries are represented at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta?

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In 2015, balloons from 17 different countries participated including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Russian Federation, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.

How many people attend Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta?

840,000+ attendees

It is estimated over 848,000 people attended the 2014 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

In addition to watching the magical show of the hot air balloons taking flight each morning, attendees can stroll through a concourse of 43 merchandise concessions, grab a bite to eat at one of the 45 food vendors and pick up a few of the 60,000 balloon fiesta pins sold each year. In the evening, attendees can return to the park for glow shows, fireworks, and musical performances.

The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, which is operated by the City of Albuquerque, is located adjacent to Fiesta Park and showcases a vast collection of balloons, art work, and aerial artifacts.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Know before you go

Book travel early. Hotels in and around the area sell out fast, so booking travel as far in advance as possible is a good idea.

Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes. Pre-dawn hours can be chilly, with the temperature quickly warming as the sun rises. Enclosed, comfortable shoes are your best footwear choice for the walk from the parking area and for walking and standing in the fields that serve as the launch site.

Leave early – really early. Traffic to Fiesta Park begins to get heavy as early as 4:30am. Park and ride locations are also available. Pricing, parking locations, schedules and other travel information are available on the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta website.

Weather can be a factor. Hot air balloons can only fly in certain weather conditions. If the wind speed is faster than 11.5 mph (10 knots) or if it is raining, the event will be delayed or canceled. If an individual flying session is canceled, no refunds are given however, rain checks are issued that can be used for another flying session during the same year’s Balloon Fiesta.


Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Reno National Championship Air Races

Reno National Championship Air Races

Cover: Thom Richard, Hot Stuff, Formula One class, Reno National Championship Air Races
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


It didn’t take long after the airplane was invented for pilots to decide they needed to race them. As early as 1909 in France and 1910 in the United States, daring aviators took to the skies to race their flying machines.

Reno National Championship Air Races
Andrew Findlay, One Moment, Sport class
Reno National Championship Air Races
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Fast forward to 1964, when a Nevada rancher, Bill Stead, organized an air race in the desert just north of Reno, Nevada. Soon after, the races moved to Reno Stead Airport, which had been named in honor of Bill Stead’s brother, Croston, in 1951. The National Championship Air Races have since grown to an event attracting more than 200,000 spectators.

Reno National Championship Air Races
Reno National Championship Air Races
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The only closed course pylon racing event in the world, the Reno National Championship Air Races, feature a large display of static aircraft, world-class military and civil flight demonstrations and six racing classes.

Aircraft displays and demonstrations

Reno National Championship Air Races
Breitling Jet Team
Reno National Championship Air Races
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Flying with power and grace, jet formation teams perform high speed passes and aerobatics, exhibiting skill, precision, and speed. Always a crowd favorite, jet formation displays are a thrilling combination of loops, rolls, spins and passes with planes sometimes flying within 3 meters of each other – and all at speeds over 500 mph.

Reno National Championship Air Races
Ernie Sutter, Jus Pass’n Thru, Sport class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

For the Reno National Air Races 2015, the world’s largest professional civilian performing jet team, the Breitling Jet Team from Switzerland, thrilled the with audience with their unique formations and graceful acrobatics. In addition to watching air races and jet formation team performances, Reno National Air Races attendees can stroll amidst static aircraft and enjoy both civilian and military flight demonstrations each day.

 Six racing classes

Reno National Championship Air Races
David A. Culler, Jr., Riff Raff and Doug Matthews, Blue Streak, Jet class
Reno National Championship Air Races
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Aircraft from six different classes race throughout the week with a schedule that includes several days of qualifying, followed by four and a half days of heat racing.

T-6

Reno National Championship Air Races
Joey “Gordo” Sanders, Big Red, T-6 class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The T-6 class includes single-engine aircraft used to train pilots during World War II and into the 1970s. They are known by a variety of names based on the model and operating air force. With race speeds up to 230 mph, the T-6 class includes the AT-6, the SNJ, and Harvard, and races over a 5.065 mile course.

Biplanes

Reno National Championship Air Races
Biplane class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Biplane class races on a 3.313 mile course, with the agile aircraft regulated by size, weight and power. Known for their frequent maneuvering and close race finishes, biplanes race at speeds approaching 200 mph.

Sport

Reno National Championship Air Races
Ernie Sutter, Jus Pass’n Thru and Kevin Eldredge, Relentless, Sport class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The sport class races high-performance kit-built aircraft on a 6.968 mile course at speeds reaching nearly 350 mph.

Formula One

Racing on a course of 3.175 miles, the small Formula One aircraft can reach speeds over 200 mph. They must have a minimum wing area of 66 square feet and an empty weight of 500 pounds or more.

Jets

Reno National Championship Air Races
David A. Culler, Jr., Riff Raff, Jet class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Racing at speeds in excess of 500 mph, the jet class planes take off before the race begins, following a pace jet as they line up in formation for the race start. The jets fly the course in a counter-clockwise direction, always making left turns around around the pylons.

Reno National Championship Air Races
Jeff Turney, Robin 1, Jet class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Unlimited

Reno National Championship Air Races
Curt Brown, Sawbones, Unlimited class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Always a crowd favorite, the Unlimited class flies in speeds exceeding 500 miles per hour, typically with with stock aircraft or modified WWII fighters.

The class gets its name from the few requirements placed on the aircraft and the class is allowed to use fuel blends and nitrous oxide injection.

Reno National Championship Air Races
Sal Rubino, Grim Reaper, Unlimited class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

If you go…

  • Get a pit pass. Pick up a pit pass to get an up-close experience with the pilots, planes and crews as they ratchet up plane performance before heading out to race.
  • Bring sunscreen & a hat. There is little to no shade at the air races so reapply sunscreen often.
  • Stay hydrated. At 5,046 ft in the desert, it is very hot and arid at the Air Races. While the concessions offer a wide variety of beverage choices, water is the best drink to stay hydrated.
  • Book a hotel in Reno. The Reno-Stead Airport is located about 8 miles north of downtown Reno.
  • Race and ticket purchasing information can be found on the National Championship Air Races website.

Dedicated to Lt. Colonel Ernest L. Faulkner

Throughout my life, we rarely passed an air base, no matter the state, without my father telling us a story of when flew in there.

Evelyn and Ernie Faulkner
Evelyn and Ernie Faulkner

My father, Lt. Colonel Ernest L. Faulkner, was a test pilot and flight instructor. When he was transferred to the Independence, KS airbase during World War II, he met a clerk, Evelyn, that issued him officer’s equipment. The two were married for 62 years.

Watching the Air Races brings back his many stories of piloting everything from an AT-6 to a B-29. Stories of flying a plane through a barn; a plane catching on fire then crashing in a field in Georgia; “borrowing” planes when he was in Texas to come see Mother in Kansas. And, the list goes on.

Special thanks to him, and to all of the men and women that have served, and continue to do so. Miss you Dad.

Lt. Colonel Ernest L. Faulkner
Lt. Colonel Ernest L. Faulkner
July 16, 1023 – February 23, 2015

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson

Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series

Cover: Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Nothing goes with great wine like fabulous music in an intimate setting.

With a wide range of world-class performers, a stunning venue surrounded by vineyards and, of course, their superb wines, the Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series delivers that and re, and deserves a place on everyone’s must-visit list.

In 2015, the Rodney Strong Concert Series celebrated their 25th anniversary of wine country summer concerts and we were on hand to close out the season with ten-time Grammy winner, George Benson.

Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

It wasn’t our first visit to the series – over the years we’ve seen Mindi Abair, Michael McDonald, and the late, B.B. King.

Mindi Abair at Rodney Strong Concert Series 2014
Mindi Abair at Rodney Strong Concert Series 2014
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

25 years of summer concerts

Curious how the series began, we inquired with Rodney Strong Vineyards and were told:

Before the Summer Concert Series was created, the tasting room manager would put on impromptu concerts every once in a while and based on the success of those weekday shows, the Rodney Strong team decided it was a great idea to create an official concert series. We started with good, local talent covering many different types of music.”

Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

As the years went by the series grew and, as they say… the rest is history.

Today, the Summer Concert Series is a must-see event. Surrounded by acres of beautiful vineyards, guests are treated to top performers in contemporary music while enjoying the winery’s intimate concert venue, The Green. There is no bad seat on The Green! Fans can bring a picnic to enjoy with friends or purchase an assortment of prepared foods from local purveyors on site. Rodney Strong Vineyards’ wines are available for purchase as well as non-alcoholic beverages.

Guests can purchase general admission tickets and bring a blanket and/or low back chair to enjoy the concert from The Green. VIP tickets are also available with up front seating directly in front of the stage with fantastic direct view of the performers.”

George Benson on the Green

Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We plan a visit to Sonoma every year in conjunction with the concerts and that always includes a Rodney Strong tour and tasting. This year was no exception and even included a stop by the stage during set up for the show.

Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Then, in the evening, after grabbing a few shots of the fabulous George Benson, we progressed to sipping the fine Rodney Strong wines while enjoying the smooth sounds of the jazz master as he delivered a fantastic performance to a sold-out crowd of over 1000.

Rodney Strong Concert Series 2016

What’s ahead for the series in 2016? The  Rodney Strong team begins looking for artists for the upcoming season around the first of the year and announces the concert series lineup in late spring. To stay in the know about the concert series and all events, check the Rodney Strong Concerts and Special Events page.


Disclosure & disclaimer: Special thanks to Rodney Strong for hosting us as their guests. The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: George Benson
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Great Reno Balloon Race

Great Reno Balloon Race

Great Reno Balloon Race
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


What began in 1982 with 20 hot air balloons has grown into the world’s largest free hot air balloon event drawing more than 125,000 people each year – the Great Reno Balloon Race. Over the event’s three days, attendees gather before dawn at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park just north of downtown Reno, some in their pajamas, to watch up to 100 balloons take to the skies of northern Nevada.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

First up is the glow show, where select balloons show their glow for the crowd. As the balloons light up like light bulbs in the dark, oohs, ahhs and wows can be heard throughout the crowd as the magical show of colors delights.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

After the morning glow, five or six hot air balloons qualified to fly in the dark rise into the early dawn sky for Dawn Patrol. The balloons dance across the darkened sky to choreographed music as their colors illuminate the early morning hour.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

As the sun inches up and the sky starts to lighten, the crowd begins to wander onto the field amidst the balloons as the pilots and crews prepare for flight. The roar of the fire burners fills the air as the balloons are filled and they begin to take shape with splendor as they inflate, forming a sea of vibrant colors.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Balloons of all shapes and sizes come to life – a stagecoach, Darth Vader, Elvis, Yoda, and dozens more – preparing to depart into the sky as the sun continues to rise and begins to warm the morning, creating a cerulean blue backdrop to the rainbow of hues.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

There is nothing quite like the Mass Ascension. The sheer beauty of nearly 100 hot air balloons leaving the ground at once with such grace and whimsy leaves one awestruck.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Taking flight

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Lifting off with our pilot, Ron Sanchez, in the Wells Fargo hot air balloon, we headed east toward the University of Nevada Reno and downtown Reno. While pilots can control the altitude of the balloon, air currents determine the direction and speed of the flight.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

As we gently glided away, the crews and spectators back on the ground were like ants aside the giants as they formed a parade of colors that soon surrounded us in the sky.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The crew follows below keeping in touch with the pilot by radio. When it’s time to land, the pilot finds an open field or parking lot to bring the balloon back to the ground, as we did near Mackay Stadium at the University of Nevada Reno.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The balloon is loaded by the waiting crew into the van and the group returns to the launch site for a toast and first-time flyer ceremony. Thank you to Ron and the Wells Fargo balloon team for a great flight and a wonderful day!

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Additional activities

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In addition to enjoying the balloon events each day, attendees can stroll Balloon Boulevard where crafts, souvenirs, food and drinks are available. After Mass Ascension, the RE/MAX balloon provides tethered rides for children for a $5.00 donation to the “Children’s Miracle Network.”

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Things to know before you go

Dress in layers & wear comfortable shoes. It’s cold at 5 am but gets warm as soon as the sun is up. Layering will give you the flexibility to adjust as the day progresses. Additionally, enclosed, comfortable shoes are your best footwear choice. The balloons launch from a field that will be dirty and/or muddy and requires a short hike to access.

Leave Fido at home. Dogs would not enjoy the crowds or sounds, so the event asks that they remain at home.

Bring a blanket or chairs is you want to sit. There is a designated blanket area or you can sit along the very edge of the launch field.

Arrive early. There’s limited parking at the event site. Park for free at the University of Nevada Reno’s north lots, but cars must be removed by 10 a.m. Parking also will be available at the corner of N. Sierra St. and McCarran Blvd. for a donation to the event.

Find more event and information on parking at the event, consult the Great Reno Balloon Race website.

 


Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

Cover: Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is Sonoma County’s largest fundraising event, held annually on Labor Day weekend with winery lunches, winemaker dinners, barbecues, one of the nation’s largest charity wine auctions, and the Taste of Sonoma.

Rodney Strong, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Rodney Strong, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A perfect place to close out the summer, the event brings thousands together under the late summer sun to sip fine wines, sample delicacies, and raise funds to support area youth and children.

Ferrari-Carano, John Ash & Co., Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Ferrari-Carano, John Ash & Co., Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend: Where the winemakers pour and the chefs serve

Jordan Wines and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Jordan Wines and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures  © Chasing Light Media

Showcasing Sonoma’s exceptional wines and local chef creations, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is where foodies and oenophiles gather for three days of nonstop eating, drinking and charitable wine buying.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Against the sublime backdrop of Northern California’s vineyards, the event is a celebration of the best of Sonoma – with the chefs and winemakers in attendance, pouring their wines and serving their culinary delicacies in the relaxed, casual comfort the region is known for.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Taste of Sonoma

Sub Zero Ice Cream, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Sub Zero Ice Cream, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

While Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is a three-day feast of the senses, the largest event of the weekend is Taste of Sonoma and a true star in its own right.

What makes Taste of Sonoma work so well?

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

It’s relaxed – not snobby

Paul Hobbs Winery, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Paul Hobbs Winery, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Anyone that’s spent time in Sonoma would not be surprised by that statement but, a non-snobby wine event is actually worth noting.

Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Attendees eat, drink, chat, and relax in the easy-going wine country atmosphere. So, feel free to leave those five-inch heels & the necktie at home. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is about the wine, the food, and the cause.

MacMurray Estates Vineyards, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
MacMurray Estate Vineyards, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Speaking of food – there’s lots of food

Jordan Wines and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Jordan Wines and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Other wine events can be so wine-focused you have to leave the tent and head to a restaurant when you get hungry, but not at Taste of Sonoma.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Most tables pair food with the wines. Fabulous, creative food. From mushroom tartlets to watermelon caprese to shrimp cocktail shots to some of the most amazing pickles you’ve ever tasted – it’s all so very Sonoma – fresh, local, innovative.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Informative and entertaining seminars

Grape to Glass with Ray Isle of Food and Wine magazine, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Grape to Glass with Ray Isle of Food and Wine magazine, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Seminars provide a wonderful opportunity to gain insights from experts about food, wine, and kitchen techniques and add to an unforgettable Sonoma experience.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and panel discussions, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend provides a chance to learn from the masters – who are both informative and entertaining.

Grape to Glass, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Grape to Glass, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

And, of course, it’s about tasting some of the best wine in the world

Breathless Wines, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Breathless Wines, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Wine lovers have the opportunity to taste thousands of wines from hundreds of Sonoma County vintners and the informal atmosphere has wine fans mixing and mingling with the winemakers themselves.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend: The Proceeds Matter

Mark Start, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country
Mark Stark, Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

At Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, the proceeds go to worthy causes supporting the children, environment, and health of the Sonoma County Community.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The 2015 event set a new record with proceeds expected to be in excess of $5.5 million, with Fund the Future, supporting children’s literacy throughout Sonoma County, raising over $1.9 million alone.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sonoma Wine Country

Did you know Sonoma County has more than 370 wineries and over 500 restaurants?The fabulous climate makes Sonoma County a year-round destination so plan some visits throughout the year.


Disclosure & disclaimer: Special thanks to Sonoma Wine Country Weekend 2016 for hosting us as their guests. The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Greg Hull, Tour de France 2015

Behind the scenes at the Tour de France

Cover photo: Greg Hull shooting at Tour de France 2015
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


No matter which bike race we are covering, rarely a day goes by without people telling us how they wished they could do what we do. It’s true, covering pro cycling is pretty cool.

But, it’s also a lot of work. We multitask and function on little sleep to get it done – and, we honestly rarely accomplish everything we want to in a day before it’s time to move on to the next town. So, I thought I’d share what it’s like with life on the road covering the Tour de France. I chose stage 3 which began in Antwerp and ended on the Mur de Huy to provide a glimpse into our day.

7:00 am

First thing each morning, after attempting to remember what town we are in, is to grab the laptop, check social media, post the day’s route map, and have a look again at the technical race guide to plan the day.

Each race provides a technical race guide for the teams, support staff, and media that contains route information, time schedules, maps, parking locations, team hotels and host city information. It is frequently referred to as the “race bible.”

A day at the Tour de France
A day at the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

8:00 am

Following a quick shower and jamming everything back in the bags, it’s back to editing photos from the day before. We each typically shoot several hundred to a thousand images in a day, so many photos will remain unedited until after the race.

A day at the Tour de France
A day at the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

11:00 am

At this stop, we stayed in the same hotel as Movistar. Heading down to check out, we step off the elevator into a lobby filled with fans waiting in hopes of getting a photo or autograph from Quintana or Valverde.

Not disappointing, Valverde appears just after us and stops for photos with fans.

A day at the Tour de France
A day at the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We head out the door and make our way behind the Movistar guys to the stage start, which is about a 10-minute walk from the hotel through the crowds.

Huy, Belgium
From the window of the car – Huy, Belgium Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We also frequently hear, “You get to see so many awesome places.” Yes, sort of. We see a lot of hotel rooms, whatever is along the side of the road as we head from start to finish each day and the scenery at the starts and finishes.

Unfortunately, there is rarely – make that never – anytime for sightseeing or exploring the beautiful host cities we find ourselves in each day. Some of the sights are stunning, such as the stage 3 start location in the center of Antwerpen/Antwerp/Anvers (it’s Antwerpen in Dutch-Flemish, Antwerp in English, Anvers in French) and at the finish in Huy.

Tour de France 2015
Tour de France 2015 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Shooting the start is the most relaxed part of each day. Riders are casual as they sign in, which at the Tour de France, is actually a push of a button by each rider creating an electronic signature.

Tommy Voeckler, Tour de France 2015
Tour de France 2015 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Following sign in, riders stop by the PowerBar tent for some snacks, chat with one another, and sign autographs for fans. On this morning, Tommy Voeckler also stopped by the Vittel water station and used some water from the melted ice to wash his tires.

Tour de France 2015
Tour de France 2015 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

As sign-in grows to a close, we head to the start line. Each day actually has two starts – an unofficial start, where we were near the sign-in and an official start after a parade route/neutral zone. The riders line up, and after they depart, they ride through the neutral zone and then stop again for another ceremony and the official start.

Tour de France 2015 Stage 3 start
Tour de France 2015 Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

As soon as the riders set off, we grab a takeout lunch and head for the car. Next stop, Huy.

Meanwhile back in Boulder….

 

A 1:00 pm start in Belgium means a 5:00 am start in Colorado when Todd Hofert rolls out of bed, turns on the race and begins to write. The one disadvantage of covering a race in person is that you actually see very little of it. We have the app on our phones and in Europe, the race is streamed on the Tour website with the ability to switch between moto feeds, which is really cool.

However, in reality, the majority of our day is spent navigating the off-course itinerary and editing a few photos to put up during the race. Some days we intersect with the actual race course for some mid-stage coverage, but not on this stage as we anticipated (correctly) that the Mur de Huy would be quite crowded.

Which brings us back to Todd, who writes the stage recap as it happens throughout the race, capturing the events as they occur, which on stage 3, included some serious crashes.

3:20 pm

Like Hansel and Gretel and their breadcrumbs, the race leaves a trail of signs for us to follow on an alternate route from the race to guide us from the start city to the finish line. In many locations, we actually drive the last part of the race route, which is quite helpful in understanding the last kilometers of the race course.

On the way through Huy a couple of guys stopped us and asked for a ride, so they piled in the back and we headed up the hill.

Press parking and the press center is normally very close to the finish line at races. We typically stop by the press center to grab water, head out to scout our locations to shoot the finish, then wait.

5:28 pm

The riders hit the finish line, with today’s winner being Team Katusha’s Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez. Chris Froome (Team Sky) was second and Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale) was third.

Fabian Cancellara, Trek Factory Racing, Tour de France 2015 Stage 3
Fabian Cancellara, Trek Factory Racing, Tour de France 2015 Stage 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), who started the day in yellow, crashed mid-way through the stage and was forced to abandon the Tour. Chris Froome (Team Sky) moved into the overall race lead.

Races are carefully choreographed presentations with thousands of people handling the countless tasks that occur each day in multiple locations. Podium at the Tour de France is managed down to the last detail, with a “director” changing the stage background with the push of a button as each jersey is presented and cueing timing with signs.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

After shooting podium, we head back into the press center, which at the Tour is massive. Todd’s article is usually in my inbox when I sit down and power up my computer and TravelWifi, our personal wifi. Travel Wifi is a sponsor and is what’s keeping us connected throughout the entire Tour no matter where we happen to be – in our hotel, in our car, in the press center, or out shooting on course.

Results go up, the recap article gets added, we each quickly edit & add the finish line and podium photos. Rider comments are added as they are obtained.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France – press tent
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

7:00 pm

Time to head out for our hotel  – always a slow process as the thousands of cars leave the parking areas and head through the small European streets.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Our stage 3 hotel was in Namur, about 40 km away. Planning and scheduling hotels for the entire Tour took a little over three days of work and has to be done after host cities are announced but before the actual race route is published, which takes a bit of guesswork and a lot of searching.

We arrive and the guys we gave a ride up the hill were sitting in our hotel lobby. Quelle coïncidence!

9:00 pm

Time for wine, dinner and editing photos. We head to the bar, grab a table near a power outlet, and begin to work again.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

11:00 pm – 1:00 am

Back upstairs for more work. Stage 4 is the cobble stage, so we make our plans on which sectors to cover then decide to call it a day at 1:00 am.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

One day of 21 at the Tour de France.

A day covering the Tour de France
A day covering the Tour de France – Kim Hull shooting near finish line
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
World Series 2014 Game 3

Take me out to the… World Series

Cover: World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Of all the major sporting events held each year, attending the World Series is near the top on most sports fans’ bucket lists.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The crisp autumn air, the red, white and blue bunting, the sea of color in the home team’s park – all make the century-old October tradition the ultimate baseball fan experience.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The first World Series

In 1903, modern baseball’s first annual championship was played between the Boston Americans and Pittsburg Pirates.

World Series 1903
World Series 1903 Public domain image

Held to bring the National League and the newly formed American League together, the first World Series was held with Boston coming out the victor, winning five games to three. The following year, the owner of the National League’s New York Giants refused to compete with the Boston Americans because he considered the American League and the Americans to be inferior.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Since that time, the World Series has occurred every year except 1994, when the post-season championship was canceled due to an ongoing strike by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

World Series 2014 Game 3: San Francisco vs. Kansas City

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Following the first two games of the 2014 series in Kansas City, where the Giants picked up the game 1 win & Kansas City the 2nd, the teams moved west to San Francisco’s AT&T Park, which the San Francisco Giants have called home since 2000.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Located in the South Beach area of San Francisco next to the bay, AT&T Park is a beautiful ballpark with stunning views and a design that celebrates historic ball parks.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

San Francisco, in their third World Series in five years, was ready and waiting for the Series and the world to pay a visit.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Hotels were packed, fans were decked out in orange, and restaurants held watch parties for those not lucky enough to score a ticket, as World Series fever permeated the city by the bay.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Speaking of tickets – we had two and the opportunity to capture a World Series game in all its glory.

Kim and Greg Hull, World Series 2014 Game 3
Kim and Greg Hull, World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Who goes to a World Series game?

Sure, the stars and the wealthy attend because it’s the place to be that night.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

But, for the most part, it’s the diehard fans that are there to participate along with their teams in taking on the sole remaining opponent with hopes of bringing home the championship trophy.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Baseball fans are a passionate group. They are statistic-obsessed and will argue about even the smallest element of the game. They hold on to hope even when they are down at the bottom of the eighth because, in baseball, any team can make a comeback up to the very last out.

My biggest moment was winning the World Series because everyone in my town was able to feel he was a world champion.”
Johnny Bench, Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983, Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

McCovey Cove

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

AT&T Park sits next to the San Francisco bay, with the area just beyond the right-field wall referred to as McCovey Cove. Named after famed Giant first baseman, Wille McCovey, boaters and kayakers float in McCovey Cove during Giants games in hopes of nabbing a home run ball hit into the cove.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Better yet – procuring a splash hit – defined by the Giants as “home runs hit by the Giants that land in McCovey Cove on the fly without hitting the Arcade or Portwalk.” Splash hits are actually tracked on the Giants website (as if there was a baseball statistic that wasn’t tracked).

But, this was the big leagues – the potential of a World Series home run – brought a new level of excitement for those hopefuls in the Cove vying for a post-season souvenir.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Royals take game three 3-2 win to take World Series lead

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Despite the best efforts of the Giants and the 43,020 fans in attendance (ok, maybe a few hundred were Royals fans), it wasn’t meant to be for San Francisco at game 3 with the Royals beating the Giants 3-2 to take a 2-1 World Series lead.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

But, as Yogi Berra famously stated, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” The San Francisco Giants ultimately came back and won the 110th edition of the World Series in game 7 in Kansas City.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Reno Air Races 2014

Reno National Championship Air Races 2014

Reno National Championship Air Races 2014
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull

Reno Air Races 2014
Reno Air Races 2014 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The National Championship Air Races, the world’s longest running air races, are held every September in northern Nevada at Reno-Stead Airport.

Reno Air Races 2014
Reno Air Races 2014 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Reno National Championship Air Races 2014
Date: September 10 – 14, 2014
Location: Reno-Stead AirportNevada


The races, which began in 1964, feature six racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civil flight demonstrations.

The event has attracted more than 200,000 spectators over the last decade and attendees can choose from general admission or reserved seating and optional daily pit passes. Race and ticket purchasing information can be found on the National Championship Air Races website.

The Reno National Championship Air Races 2015 will be held September 16-20, 2015.

Reno Air Races 2014
Reno Air Races 2014
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Reno National Championship Air Races 2014: Schedule

The National Championship Air Races begin daily at 8 a.m. with Biplane and Formula One Class races with the remaining four classes and aerobatic performances and demonstrations following later in the day. Unlimited Class races usually occur during the afternoon with the last event of the day ending at approximately 4:30 p.m. Schedule subject to change.

Reno Air Races 2014
Reno Air Races 2014
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures 
© Chasing Light Media

 

Great Reno Balloon Race 2014

Great Reno Balloon Race 2014

Cover: Great Reno Balloon Race 2014
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Great Reno Balloon Race 2014
Great Reno Balloon Race 2014 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Date: September 4 – 7, 2014
Location: Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, 1595 N. Sierra St., Reno, Nevada


Great Reno Balloon Race 2014
Great Reno Balloon Race 2014 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The most common word overheard at the Great Reno Balloon Race? “Awesome!”
And, awesome it is.

Great Reno Balloon Race 2014
Great Reno Balloon Race 2014
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The world’s largest free hot-air ballooning event, the Great Reno Balloon Race has been held each November since 1982. With more than 100 balloons, the event draws more than 100,000 attendees each year.

Great Reno Balloon Race 2014
Great Reno Balloon Race 2014 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Over the event’s three days, attendees gather before dawn north of downtown Reno at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park to view the glow show, Dawn Patrol, and to watch the preparation and mass ascension of the balloons.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Great Reno Balloon Race 2014 Schedule

  • Glow shows daily at 5:00 am
  • Dawn Patrol on Saturday and Sunday at 5:30 am
  • Mass Ascension daily at 6:45 am

The race is free to spectators. Directions and parking information can be found on the Great Reno Balloon Race website.

Great Reno Balloon Race 2014
Great Reno Balloon Race 2014 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Riding with the peloton

Riding with the peloton

Cover photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Ever wonder what it’s like to ride in one of the cars on the course of a pro cycling race?

The cycling photography aspect of Chasing Light Media provides opportunities to view pro cycling races from numerous vantage points, including within the peloton. One of the most frequent questions we get, is what riding with the peloton is like, so here’s a recap of a typical day…

A carefully choreographed caravan

Riding with the peloton - Tour of Utah
Riding with the peloton – Tour of Utah
Photo Credit: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

A pro cycling race is much more than some guys on bikes riding at high rates of speed on a given day.

The race route is carefully planned months in advance and requires the efforts of hundreds, if not thousands, of people to ensure the race is both safe for riders and enjoyable for fans. As each race day dawns, the roads are closed to the public, as a mix of motorcycles and cars travel amongst the 100+ bike riders, carefully weaving in and out of the cyclists to support them and provide race coverage for fans worldwide.

Who’s in those cars & on those motorcycles?

Riding with the peloton
Riding with the peloton
Photo: Kim Hull
© Chasing Light Media

A variety of people.

First, there are the organizers of the race. That includes race officials, marshalls and race operations personnel that ride throughout the race ensuring the riders are safe and the course is as secure as possible.

Next, communications. Race radio keeps everyone updated on the status throughout the race. Information continually flows over the radio with information on riders, locations and current conditions. An example of an update… “The lead group is 40 seconds off the front and includes 11 riders. The riders are 51 5 – 1, 91 9 – 1, 45 4 – 5…”

Riding with the peloton
Riding with the peloton – Tour of Utah
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Team support cars. Each team has a couple of support cars carrying extra bikes and supplies to assist their riders on the course with flats, broken chains, etc.

VIPs. Let’s not forget that it takes money to support a race. VIPs pay up to a reported $10,000 to ride in a car during certain races.

Press. The motorcycle photographers roam in and out of the riders and along the route to get shots as the race progresses. We were in one of the media cars that carries the press during the race.

And, there are other vehicles, including medical support.

Riding with the peloton
Riding with the peloton – Tour of Utah
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

So, what do you do in the car?

We start out ahead of the peloton.  Typically, a few miles out, we stop and wait along the side of the road for the riders to “catch up,” then, when they get close, we proceed out ahead of the group.

We ride along, listening for news on race radio, waiting for the breakaway. Just before the sprint, we were notified that we could fall into the gap (area between the breakaway and the peloton) after the sprint.

Our driver stops periodically along side of the road so we can get shots of the breakaway as they pass. We then start again, this time in between the break and the main group. As a chase forms, the process is repeated, then we fall in behind those riders.

The first climb

Riding with the peloton
Riding with the peloton – Tour of Utah
Photo Credit: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The route on this day of the final stage of the Tour of Utah was fairly simple – flat with two huge climbs.

On the first climb, the breakaway fractured with gaps forming between the riders as they made their way up the 2.15-miles with up to 22 percent grades. It was hot and the riders were suffering as we passed them on the climb.

After going over the top and the first King of the Mountain (KOM) point, we passed the feed zone, and then we flew down the winding descent, just ahead of the helicopter.

A race back to the finish line

Now ahead of the riders, with just the final pass waiting between us and the finish line, we race ahead to get to the finish line before the riders.

On this day, we arrived back in Park City just about the time the first of the riders went over the pass and began their descent into town. Jumping out of the car at the finish line, we took our places on the course with the other photographers and about 10 minutes later, the riders hit town and race to the finish line.

Tour of Utah 2013 Stage 6
Tour of Utah 2013 Stage 6, Francisco Mancebo, 5 Hour Energy by Kenda
Photo Credit: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media