We just spent the weekend in Golden, CO for the 4th Annual Golden Games, the official training ground for the GoPro Games in Vail on June 4-8.
We’d never been to Golden, let alone to the Golden Games because we had heard it was totally an Urban environment and we don’t do urban very well. . But, this year, on a last minute whim we decided to go and are so happy we did. Golden is a small-ish city of about 20,000 people and despite the fact that it is a mere minutes from Denver, it offers visitors and residents alike a small town feel as it’s nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and you don’t see or feel sprawl! I felt completely safe and that’s saying a lot!! 🙂
Our plan was to arrive in Golden as early as possible, but definitely by 8 am when the local campground, Clear Creek Campground, opens as it was supposed to be first come first serve. The website clearly states, No Reservations. However, this isn’t exactly true. We arrived at 7:45, and did a quick walk-thru of the campground. We were pleasantly surprised to see there were vacancies. At 8 am we were first in line to claim our spot, but to our dismay, the vacant spots were … reserved!
But, as with life, when one door closes, another opens and we were afforded a free spot directly on the river – not something we see everyday and not something we see at many River Festivals, so this immediately gave Golden Games and Golden, CO as the host city huge accolades!! We vowed to drop some cash at local kayak shops and restaurants, and at the Games itself.
The festival was a blast. There was live music, vendors and a great lineup of sponsors, from Glide SUP to Jackson Kayak to Shred Ready helmets who really made the Games a river worthy event! Glide SUP was kind enough to lend out a couple boards so all the kids could enter the SUP events and Werner Paddles provided a few paddles for the same intention.
That’s one thing I love about river people, we are all so eager to support each other, give tips, help coach, teach and simply share our love for the sports we wrap our lives around!
Extra bonus … right across the street from where most all the competitions took place, there was a park that offered a nice respite to the younger kiddos who are not yet in the competition world! So when there was a lull, we took off for a few minutes and ripped up the playground. And, interestingly, our kids were not the only ones climbing trees. Apparently, Golden is an outdoor town and it proved itself in the rambunctiousness of it’s local children!
Of course, an event, for us, boils down to the amount of time we spend on the river and Golden Games didn’t let us down. There was freestyle kayaking, a creek race, Slalom, and a whole array of SUP events. I think our kids were in every single kayak event and every single SUP event available, it was such a great time and I think we participated in every single river event offered! The organizers, deserve a huge shout out as something of this magnitude is certainly a feat to pull off.
As is always the case, before the events on Sunday, we traveled through town in search of a church to attend mass. We found St. Joseph’s and were welcomed with open arms. After mass we spoke with several parishioners who follow our journey on Facebook & YouTube – it’s always such an incredible boost to hear that we are inspiring families to live more and more alternate lifestyles!
Two families even came down to the Golden Playpark to watch the kids compete in the SUP Slalom/Cross race. It never hurts to have more people on our cheering squad and these two families saw Brody and Kady both take 3rd in their respective divisions!
That evening we left the PlayPark and headed downtown to the infamous Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza and, I have to say, I’ve never in my life had better pizza! Our favorite, hands down, was the Spicy Guido. It was truly to die for. The service was impeccable, our glasses were never dry, there was a popcorn popper that supplied bottomless bowls of movie theater worthy popcorn while we waited for our pizza to arrive and crayons and coloring pages for the little ones.
We drove out in the evening heading toward our hometown to see the orthodontist and the Doctor for an 18 month well-check – yes, we have to fit all these mainstream appointments into our life as well.
Then we took off toward Vail, CO where Grady and Brody an two friends ran Homestake and we met up with them later and ran Gilman Gorge.
Buena Vista, CO for CKS Paddlefest. And then the following week, we’ll be filming again, this time a sizzle to pitch to networks in hopes of securing a Reality TV Show!!
All in a days (or several days) work!! See you on the Road — SYOTR! (Stole from the SYOTR river dudes) — ya’ll know who you are!! :))))