Sports & Recreation

  • Best gift for the sports fan/architect

    Blueprints of the new Denver Broncos stadium

    Who cares about what's in a name. What really matters is what's inside. Which is why the blueprints for the Denver Broncos' new, still-under-construction stadium make the perfect, if slightly pricey, gift. But then, who's counting? Certainly not the Metro Football Stadium District, which is selling two kinds of numbered, limited-edition blueprints. The larger framed version (32 inches by 42… More >>
  • Best new sports venue

    Magness Arena, Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, University of Denver

    That drafty old barn where the University of Denver Pioneers pounded the puck for half a century has been replaced by beautiful Magness Arena in the new Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, a $70 million Italianate vision in Hansen sandstone, limestone and copper. Seating 6,200 for hockey, 7,200 for hoops and up to 8,000 for concerts, lighting and high… More >>
  • Best use of parking spaces

    Colorado Rockies Wheelchair Softball League, Coors Field, north parking lot

    You haven't really seen softball until you've seen it played by athletes in wheelchairs -- it's a whole new ballgame demanding ample space and smooth ground for all the sharp turns and attendant maneuvers required. But the Colorado Rockies Wheelchair Softball League is covered: The Colorado Rockies baseball organization not only provides monetary support, it's also opened up the north… More >>
  • Best Nugget

    Antonio McDyess

    Dan Issel's largely forgettable Nuggets continue to be anchored by sharpshooting forward Antonio McDyess, who ranked ninth in the NBA last season in field-goal percentage (.507) and sixteenth in rebounds (8.5 per game). The franchise player, Dice averaged 19.1 points per game, but his biggest night probably came in a 115-114 overtime win against the L.A. Clippers on April 15,… More >>
  • Best Av

    Peter Forsberg

    Patrick Roy's net-minding lapses and Joe Sakic's vanishing act in the Western Conference finals reminded Colorado Avalanche fans that the master of finesse, Peter Forsberg, is still the best player on a club well-stocked with -- excuse the expression, Dallas-haters -- stars. Always a great passer and playmaker, the former Swedish Olympic standout showed more willingness to shoot the puck… More >>
  • Best acquisitions

    Ray Bourque and Dave Andreychuk

    After dreaming through more than half a season of mediocrity, a listless Colorado Avalanche club was suddenly awakened by the arrival March 6 of two veteran Bostonians, Dave Andreychuk and Ray Bourque, who reminded their new teammates what they had going -- a rare shot at the Stanley Cup. Bourque, in particular, set the Avs aflame. In twenty years as… More >>
  • Best fan banner

    "Stick a Bourque in 'em!"

    The author of the original "Stick a Bourque in 'em!" banner remains unidentified, but the sentiment rang every fan's bell at the Pepsi Center as the Colorado Avalanche put the finishing touches on a badly outclassed Phoenix Coyotes team in the first round of the NHL playoffs. The Bourque the Avs stuck in the Coyotes (because they were cooked) was,… More >>
  • Best pro sports announcer

    Mike Haynes, AM-950/The Fan

    So what if he's a bellowing hometowner, or if his game-night excitations go way over the top. Hockey announcer Mike Haynes, who does Avalanche games for 950 The Fan, gives a dead-accurate, right-on call of a lightning-fast sport, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Many Avs fans watching the game on TV pay him the ultimate compliment by offing the volume… More >>
  • Best Rapid

    Junior Agogo

    A March acquisition from the Chicago Fire, speedy forward Junior Agogo is quickly becoming a fan favorite at Mile High Stadium, thanks to six goals and six assists in his first ten games for the Rapids and solid play since then. Just twenty, he was born in Ghana and played last season for Sheffield Wednesday of the mighty English Premier… More >>
  • Best University of Denver hockey player

    Mark Rycroft

    The University of Denver's captain last season, tough right-winger Mark Rycroft, would have been the Pioneers' top returning goal scorer this fall were it not for the two-year contract he signed this spring with the St. Louis Blues of the NHL. Six feet tall and 197 pounds, the 21-year-old led DU in game-winning goals, penalty minutes (87) and hard checks.… More >>
  • Best University of Colorado football player

    Daniel Graham

    A six-three, 240-pound junior, Daniel Graham may well be the fastest tight end in college football, but he sat out three games last year due to injury. Still, he had nineteen receptions for 264 yards and four touchdowns in 1999, and the Football News named him to its All-Big 12 first team. Blessed with soft hands as well as speed… More >>
  • Best Air Force Academy athlete

    Shane Rogers

    This year, junior distance runner Shane Rogers of Wilcox, Arizona, was the Mountain West Conference champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and he won the flat 3,000-meter run at the Air Force Classic, against Oklahoma, Colorado State and Stanford. He's even swifter (and clears higher hurdles) in the classroom: As a physics major at the Air Force Academy, Rogers carries a… More >>
  • Best name for the new football stadium

    Mile High Stadium

    The winner, and still the champ.Readers' Choice: Mile High Stadium … More >>
  • Best college athlete you've never heard of

    Kara Wheeler

    An All-American at the University of Colorado, Kara Wheeler won both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events in early June at the NCAA Track and Field championships at Duke University. Only former CU star Adam Goucher has earned more national track titles (three) for the school, and Wheeler was the first CU runner to win multiple events at the same meet.… More >>
  • Best examples of genuine athletic role models

    Colorado's scholar athletes

    It can be easy to forget that outstanding college athletes are also capable of being outstanding college students. Many top university football and basketball players, in particular, never bother to graduate; others attend classes just so they can showcase their talents on the field as a warmup for a lucrative professional career. But it is possible to both study and… More >>
  • Best reason to wear Vaseline in the cheap seats

    Denver Police Department

    After Colorado State's 41-14 upset win over arch-rival Colorado in the football-season opener at Mile High Stadium, CU players were pelted in the end zone with bottles and taunts from the CSU faithful. This, in turn, prompted a worked-up army of helmeted and shielded Denver police to Mace and teargas every animal, vegetable and mineral in sight -- including old… More >>
  • Best high school athlete

    Alicia Salas

    As Cherry Creek High School's number-one singles player, eighteen-year-old Alicia Salas this spring won her fourth Colorado state tennis championship in as many years, equaling a record set by Cheyenne Mountain's Becky Varnum. The four-time winner, praised by her coach as a respectful opponent and an admirable role model for younger players, will head for Notre Dame University this fall… More >>
  • Best local sports team -- amateur

    Columbine High School football team

    Following the gruesome massacre in the school library on April 20, 1999, Columbine High School students had little to feel good about until December 4, when the Columbine Rebels beat favored Cherry Creek 21-14 to take the state 5A football championship. Fittingly, the winning players gave the trophy to Adam Kechter, the thirteen-year-old brother of their late teammate Matt Kechter,… More >>
  • Best local sports team -- professional

    Colorado Rockies

    The Blake Street Bombers have long since flown their last mission. In the new millennium, the Colorado Rockies' general manager, "Dealin' Dan" O'Dowd, and field manager, Buddy Bell, have replaced the old power urges with speed, finesse and pitchers who throw strikes -- and so far the results have been striking. The nouveaux Rox -- seventeen new names graced the… More >>
  • Best sports coach -- college

    Mike Dunlap Metro State basketball

    After losing the NCAA Division II basketball final to Kentucky Wesleyan in 1999, Dunlap's 33-4 Roadrunners dominated the rematch March 25 in Louisville, Kentucky, 97-79, to win their first national title. Stocked with Coloradans and five players recruited in Australia, the Runners gave local hoops fans the touch of March Madness that the state's major college teams regularly fail to… More >>
  • Best sports coach -- professional

    Bob Hartley Colorado Avalanche

    Okay, we know: The Dallas Stars have knocked off the more-talented Colorado Avalanche two years in a row en route to the Stanley Cup Finals. But Avs' coach Bob Hartley, formerly at the helm in Hershey, Pennsylvania (Colorado's top farm club), also guided Roy, Sakic, Forsberg and company past detested Detroit in 1999 and 2000, and the continuing confidence general… More >>
  • Best-dressed coach

    Mike Shanahan

    This is partly a process of elimination. Buddy Bell wears, well, a baseball uniform, and really, how fashionable is that? While Bob Hartley, coach of the Colorado Avalanche, cuts a manly figure, his clothes are "eh," and there's a reason they call Dan Issel "the Horse." So the honor goes to Mike Shanahan, who, while generally swaddled in Bronco-wear during… More >>
  • Best new use for purple

    Colorado Rockies' new uniforms

    With splashy baseball stadia debuting in Houston, San Francisco and Seattle, Coors Field looks ever more elegantly understated. And so do the Rox, who rolled out several new uniforms this season. The team retired its boring gray road togs for ones with purple pinstripes that are equal parts color and class. An alternate home and road jersey, in deep purple,… More >>
  • Second-best name for the new football stadium

    Qwest Stadium

    Assuming we have to make peace with the fact that we're going to be whores about this, let's find us a good john. What better incentive than guilt? The state's Public Utility Commission will soon consider the proposed merger of Qwest and US West, and there ought to be plenty of complaints about local telephone service. So what about a… More >>
  • Best monsters

    Dragons of Komodo Denver Zoo

    Some people walk in and look at the Komodo dragons at the Denver Zoo and shrug, not realizing they may never again see lizards -- living dinosaurs with darting tongues and unblinking, beady eyes -- like this in a lifetime. It's the kids who know, though, and they're fascinated by the four monstrous Monitors, who rarely move but can cause… More >>
  • Best dinosaur

    Cedarosaurus weiskopfae -- Weiskopf's Cedar-reptile

    You don't bump into a sauropod every day, which makes this monster discovery, made by Denver Museum of Natural History volunteer Billy Kinneer during a 1997 museum-led excavation in the Cedar Mountain Formation near Arches National Monument in Utah, all the more extraordinary. Though the remains sadly lacked a skull, Kinneer found enough bones to establish the 120-million-year-old skeleton as… More >>
  • Best off-leash dog park

    Stevens Grove Chatfield State Park

    The sign at the parking lot calls Stevens Grove a "picnic area," but "paradise" would be more like it -- at least as far as dogs are concerned. Below the Chatfield Dam, trails wind lazily beneath groves of grand old cottonwoods around a couple of gentle ponds, with plenty of sandy spots that are perfect for beach romping, kong fetching… More >>
  • Best birdwatching -- west

    Chatfield State Park

    There are plenty of lakes and wetlands around the metro area where you can watch birds, but Chatfield State Park is still the biggest, best place to see the most varied array of feathered friends. Watchers have recorded more than 300 kinds of birds there, from migrating loons, hawks and warblers to rare tanagers and thrashers to the permanent residents… More >>
  • Best birdwatching -- east

    Denver International Airport

    All right, maybe Denver International Airport isn't exactly a nature preserve, but try and tell that to the birds (not the giant steely ones). The airport has had to catch and release intrusive sparrows from Concourse C, halt construction for migrating burrowing owls on several occasions and alter flight paths to protect the sensitive ears of bald eagles at several… More >>
  • Best place to catch a trout without leaving town

    City Park

    City Park's two lakes are continuously stocked with fish, generally trout. And the park is nearby, devoid of hazardous mountain roads and the other fishing folk are friendly -- parents teach their kids how to fish, and more skilled anglers try out their new rods and reels before heading to the mountain streams. And if you don't catch anything, there's… More >>
  • Best south suburban alternative to Clement Park

    The Ridge at West Meadows Regional Park

    Clement Park remains a beautiful facility, but its proximity to Columbine High School means that it evokes some painful memories for some, and it continues to attract a certain percentage of media types and other assorted voyeurs. Fortunately, the Ridge at West Meadows, a 140-acre facility north of Coal Mine near Dakota Ridge High School, offers many of the accoutrements… More >>
  • Best new bowling alley

    Fat City

    What a difference a few million bucks can make. Formerly known as FunPlex, this facility is in the midst of a major overhaul -- and if the bowling alley is any indication, the completed work will be something to see. The alley's interior has been remade in kitschy retro-'50s fashion, complete with leopard-print stools and a central bar dubbed the… More >>
  • Best old bowling alley

    Sport Bowl Lanes & Billiards

    When Ralph Cramden went bowling, he didn't go to some glitzy joint filled with video games and screaming kids. He went to a place like Sport Bowl, a classic old bowling alley on South Broadway, where the biggest concession to children is the rubber-baby-buggy-bumpers -- specifically, two padded alleys, designed for little kids and bigger ones who can't stand… More >>
  • Best tours for tourists

    Gunslingers, Ghosts and Gold Walking Tours

    Dee Chandler and Beau Blakemore, guides on the Gunslingers, Ghosts and Gold Walking Tours, strolled into their chosen profession as tourists themselves, so be assured: They've done their homework, though they've probably worn out more then a few pairs of shoes in the process. But it's paid off -- Chandler and Blakemore work with an arsenal of funny, gory and… More >>
  • Best Bronco

    Terrell Davis

    If the Broncos hope to regain their Super Bowl form after a miserable 6-10 year, the 1998 league MVP must rebound from the leg injury that cost him virtually all of last season. Hard-running Terrell Davis is the best in the game when he's healthy, consistently rolling up 100-yard totals and taking pressure off Bronco quarterbacks not named Elway. An… More >>
  • Best tours for locals

    Walking Tours by Phil Goodstein

    One of Denver's prime eccentrics, historian Phil Goodstein's made the city his oyster to mine, and that's just what he's done -- he's excavated every nook, cranny and obscurity in the town's history and turned the dirt into an entertaining series of trivia-heavy tours, loaded with stories about graft and ghosts and grisly murders, including his popular Haunted Halloween rambles… More >>
  • Best canoe trips

    Swallow Hill canoe trips

    While the rest of us toil and sweat to pay off the mortgage, the folks at Swallow Hill Music Hall came up with a better idea: make it fun. So, this summer they organized a pair of leisurely floats down the Gunnison River, with gourmet camp vittles and music to match: The first, which embarked last weekend, featured zen cowboy… More >>
  • Best place to plan your campout

    Colorado State Parks activities and facilities Web page www.coloradoparks.org

    This page is so handy and neat, you'll never again mail away for another brochure in anticipation of planning your Colorado camping trip. Want to go swimming? Rock climbing? Sailboarding? With a mouse for a muse, you can easily find the park that best suits your interests and specific needs, whether it's birdwatching, interpretive programs, school programs, wildlife watching, ice… More >>
  • Best winter camping trips

    Colorado State Parks yurts

    Nomadic Mongolians became a horde because they knew how to survive, and you can bet the yurt played a part in their survival: A circular, portable tent that kept them warm while they hoofed it through the frigid wasteland, the yurt is now proving to be a popular alternative for winter campers in Colorado. Colorado State Parks now offers yurt… More >>
  • Best leks

    Wray

    They love their Greater Prairie Chickens up in Yuma County, where every spring the citizens like to provide ringside seats to the biggest show in town: The lucky folks who sign up are taken out to the lek (or booming ground) at four in the morning to watch the male prairie chickens do their strange and amazing song and dance… More >>
  • Best place to cuddle an alpaca

    Switzer-Land Farm, Estes Park

    Chris and Phil Switzer may be the state's foremost alpaca people -- they were the first in the region to raise the woolly creatures, and Chris -- who has a college degree in weaving -- has published a primer on how to spin llama and alpaca wool and runs workshops at the annual Estes Park Wool Market. Phil has credentials,… More >>
  • Best kids' nature programs

    Colorado Bird Observatory

    These are programs with meat on their bones -- whether it's a daylong school field trip or a two-week summer camp, the kids involved are truly there, participating and learning as they go. One of the best and most novel is Women Afield, a series of daylong workshops designed to encourage an interest in science among girls ages twelve through… More >>
  • Best kids' recreation programs

    Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness

    When you start with a state-of-the-art facility, the rest simply falls into place. The brand-new Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness more than qualifies, offering just about every sport under the sun beneath its shiny copper skin: youth hockey leagues, figure skating, basketball, gymnastics, lacrosse, swimming, climbing for kids and more. There are also various summer camps, including overnight and… More >>
  • Best kid place that really lives up to its name

    Funtastic Fun

    Forget all of those overpriced, underwhelming entertainment warehouses and theme parks that cater mostly to the teenage crowd. The owners of Funtastic Fun know what kids -- and their parents -- like, and it shows. Just about everything here sets FF apart from most other play places in town. The indoor amusement park comes complete with a Ferris wheel, carousel… More >>
  • Best birthday parties for active kids

    Gymnastics birthday parties

    Kids will go head over heels for this one: For $65, you get one hour in the Meadowood gym for up to eight rowdy little gymnasts ($5 per additional child), followed by a half-hour in the party room indulging in bring-your-own cake and refreshments -- and this is one birthday party where they'll need some excess sugar to burn. Available… More >>
  • Best Broncos Super-Bowl coverage in a year the Broncos weren't in the Super Bowl

    AM-950/The Fan

    Prior to this year's Super Bowl, which didn't include the Broncos (the combatants were the St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans), the Fan replayed last year's Super Bowl, which did. The main difference between this broadcast and Orson Welles's panic-inducing radio production of War of the Worlds was that Broncos fans didn't start rioting in Larimer Square after it… More >>
  • Best kids' gardening experience

    Mr. McGregor's Garden, Denver Botanic Gardens

    What kid isn't hardwired to dig in the dirt? Unfortunately, today's canned urban society doesn't always allow for an available plot -- so what's a babe with a shovel to do? The Denver Botanic Gardens' Mr. McGregor's Garden is open -- free -- to little diggers and worm-hunters every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., throughout the summer. The… More >>
  • Best flying pumpkins

    Denver Urban Garden's Jack-O-Launch Contest www.dug.org

    We've all got a contrary little guy sitting on our brains, telling us to do things we know we shouldn't. But most of us have the willpower to keep him in check. Well, this was one event where folks could just let it all go: When their little guys saw a big, round pumpkin and wanted to smash it to… More >>
  • Best community project

    Box Canyon Restoration, City Park

    Visitors to City Park in recent years may have noticed the Box Canyon ruins meandering behind the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and wondered what the heck it was all about. Well, it was once quite something -- designed in 1953 by noted landscape architect S.R. DeBoer, the miniature canyon waterway ambled through the park before emptying into a… More >>
  • Best sports date night

    March 17, 2000, Stevie Johnston vs. Julio Alvarez

    Denver's homegrown (now-ex) boxing champ, WBC lightweight title-holder Stevie "Li'l But Bad" Johnston, wasted no time on March 17 reducing his opponent to rubble. Cut over the left eye in the first round, Johnston pelted the gape-jawed challenger, Mexico's Julion Alvarez, with a furious barrage in the second and was soon aloft on the shoulders of his corner men. That… More >>
  • Best fitness retreats for women

    Women's Quest Fitness Retreats

    Women's Quest's motto is a quote by Helen Keller: "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all" -- and that's pretty much the point of these rejuvenating multi-sport retreats for women of all skill levels and ages organized by Boulderite Colleen Cannon, a leading female triathlete in the '80s and still a mighty tough cookie. Kind of a… More >>
  • Best locale to place your bets

    Red & Jerry's

    Red & Jerry's is a cozy little nook containing fourteen pool tables, two huge bars, several acres of explosive video games and enough dining tables to seat the U.S. Marine Corps. It is also the best public off-track betting establishment in the state -- mostly because the food and drink are so good. Start your exacta off with a big… More >>
  • Best racing greyhound

    Shootyz Groove

    The top-ranked Karen Legg Kennel has produced many champions, but few are as thrilling to watch as Shootyz Groove, a two-and-a-half-year-old sprinter with a dazzling burst of early speed. In the winter meet at Wembley Park (aka Mile High Kennel Club), Groove hit the wire first in fourteen of his twenty-three starts, including the Winter Sprint Championship, and he won… More >>
  • Best thoroughbred racehorse

    Moonlight Maverick

    Tangaray Farms' promising Colorado-bred, Moonlight Maverick, has done almost everything right since he began racing last year. As a two-year-old, he won the $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity at Arapahoe Park, then kicked off his three-year-old campaign June 3 with a win in the six-furlong Inaugural, under rider Don Frazier. In six career starts, the dark bay son of Seattle Sleet… More >>
  • Best place to bag a bull

    Game Management Unit 201, Moffat County

    There are better places to hunt elk if the only thing you're after is surrounding yourself with the big animals. Game Management Unit 24, for instance, in central Colorado, is ground zero for the White River National Forest herd, a swarming mass of nearly 48,000 elk. Yet the ratio of bulls to cows there is only nineteen to 100 --… More >>
  • Best place to go when you absolutely must fill your tag

    Game Management Unit 20, near Estes Park

    Prospects for elk hunters in Colorado for the past several years have been dismal. On average, only about 16 percent of the people who have headed into the woods aiming to bag an animal have successfully managed to fill their freezers. That's not the case in Game Management Unit 20, however, where the accessibility of the backcountry has resulted in… More >>
  • Best new reasons to canonize John Elway

    Brian Griese and Gus Frerotte

    When San Francisco's concussion-plagued star Steve Young wisely decided to retire rather than risk further injury in Denver, he left the Broncos with the same problem they've faced since May 1999 -- how to replace a legendary quarterback and team leader with a mere mortal. In the absence of John Elway, head coach Mike Shanahan will turn to third-year man… More >>
  • Best place to check out shred betties

    Loveland Ski Resort

    This is a matter not of comparative ogling, but of mathematics and economics. After all these years, Loveland still has a higher percentage of shred-everymans than any other hill within driving distance of Denver, so it follows that a comparative percentage of them are female. Furthermore, if you are a nineteen-year-old shredder of either sex, you're broke unless you have… More >>
  • Best quick ski fix

    RTD's ski-n-Ride to Eldora

    Bus to the slopes -- and back again in a day? What a novel idea! You won't be hitting the powder at Aspen or Vail, but funky Eldora still offers plenty of great snow for skiing and boarding, and a nordic center maintaining a plethora of marked cross-country trails. And you can take the bus: RTD's Route N makes frequent… More >>
  • Best black diamond ski run

    The Plunge at Telluride

    The name says it all. Much of Telluride's ski mountain is dauntingly "steep and deep," but its signature run -- ominously named the Plunge -- transports lionhearted experts from 12,000-foot heights almost straight down to the picturesque village below -- and very quickly, too. Take your pick, hotshots: Half of this harrowing run is carefully groomed, the other half infested… More >>
  • Best public golf course

    Arrowhead Golf Club

    You may get distracted stroking your three-footer for par, so spectacular are the red-rock vistas at Arrowhead Golf Club. But that's the price you pay for playing this gorgeous and challenging Littleton layout designed in 1972 by the estimable Robert Trent Jones Jr. The wildlife at large among the traps and lakes includes foxes, bear and deer, and unless you're… More >>
  • Best golf shot

    David Toms, 1999 Sprint International

    Shreveport, Louisiana's David Toms, one of the best-kept secrets on the PGA Tour, led last summer's Sprint International at Castle Pines the entire way -- until the sixteenth hole of the final round. There, Toms scored an egregious triple bogey and gave up the lead to hard-charging David Duval. But Toms wasn't done. On seventeen, the long-hitting pro pulled himself… More >>
  • Best tennis courts -- public

    Gates Tennis Center

    The city of Denver owns dozens of park tennis courts that you can play on for free, but if you have a couple bucks burning a hole in your pocket it's more than worth the price of admission to stop by the Gates Tennis Center in the Cherry Creek neighborhood. For $4 an hour per court (that's $1.25 each for… More >>
  • Best tennis courts -- private

    Greenwood Athletic Club

    This well-appointed club south of Denver has five outdoor courts that are open year-round, but the real draw is the seven scrupulously maintained indoor clay courts. Naturally, such luxury doesn't come cheap; initiation is $300 ($350 for a couple), with additional monthly dues of $107 ($161). That's more than $1,500 per year to swat around a tennis ball, but if… More >>
  • Best tennis player

    Jeff Loehr

    With amateur tennis, any player can beat another of similar ability on a given day. But Loehr has shown amazing consistency on the Denver club tennis scene. Last year he won both the Denver Open Tournament and the Colorado State Open, an unusual enough accomplishment on its own. But he also won the state tournament in 1998, as well. That… More >>
  • Best swimming pool

    Wheat Ridge Recreational Center

    Recent breakthroughs in swimming-pool technologies almost dictate that the best swimming pool be the newest. Standing at the recently opened Wheat Ridge Community Center pool, surrounded by so much aquatic flash and dazzle, it's hard to imagine what people did in the six-lane cement ponds of yesteryear. But this is a fitness center, and quite a workout can be had… More >>
  • Best climbing wall

    Rock cliffs outside of Morrison

    Climbing walls have become a hip form of exercise, and there are a growing number of them in Denver on which you can test your perpendicular prowess. (Not included in this list: the wall at the new downtown REI store, more display than challenge.) Yet there's something about scaling an indoor face that violates the spirit of rock climbing. So… More >>
  • Best local jock quote

    Bubby Brister: "Back in the day..."

    What tribulations hath the post-Elway era wrought? Unceremoniously demoted in the 1999 pre-season by coach Mike Shanahan, former Bronco starting quarterback Bubby Brister fussed and fumed, then considered his options, then decided to stay on as young Brian Griese's backup out of loyalty to his teammates. But the fiery Louisianan's animus for Shanahan was evident: Said Bubby: "When I had… More >>
  • Best mountain-bike ride on which to break your neck

    Dakota Ridge, Jefferson County

    Some "rides" on the Front Range are so grueling that they are little more than paths for you to walk your bike on. We're talking rides that, with enough skill, sweat and stupidity, are still possible to navigate. Dakota Ridge begins on the east side of Route 26 outside of Morrison, and traces the hogback separating Rt. 470 from Red… More >>
  • Best road-bike ride on which to burst your lungs

    High Grade Road, Littleton to Conifer

    Serious road bikers ride a fine line between simple masochism and insanity. Colorado hosts several full-day rides for the certifiable (the Triple Bypass, or Denver to Aspen), but if you are simply looking for a three-hour (or so) ride that will cause you acute pain, this one can't be beat. Begin at Chatfield State Park on South Wadsworth Boulevard. Head… More >>
  • Best casual bike tours

    Blazing Saddles

    How to get out-of-town guests out of the house: Put 'em on a bike and let 'em go. They'll be in good hands at Blazing Saddles, which is centrally located and close to the bike paths and offers an entire stable of new, state-of-the-art wheeled steeds, from trusty, serviceable mountain bikes to high-tech, full-suspension Stumpjumpers for hardened trail riders. Once… More >>
  • Best bicycles built for two

    Tandem Cycle Works of Colorado

    Lynn Dexter and Patrick Gibbons are living proof that two heads -- and pairs of legs -- are better than one: Bike enthusiasts who decided the only way to ride together effectively was to go tandem, the couple opened their shop in reaction to the blank looks they were getting from folks selling what they call "half" bikes at other… More >>
  • Best bike-riding lesson

    Pedal Magic

    Reginald Joules has transformed the trauma of learning how to ride a bike into a source of excitement, pride and joy. Joules, a management scientist, first came up with his system in 1984, when he had to teach the sport to his five- and seven-year-old children. In 1996, after he taught a group of kids to ride, one mother suggested… More >>
  • Best trail run

    Alderfer/ Three Sisters Park

    The hills west of Denver are crisscrossed with trails aplenty, but they aren't all wonderful. Some are poorly maintained (or mangled by mountain-bike tracks); others are too exposed to the harsh summer sun, which at 8,000 feet can fry you before you've hit the two-mile mark. Alderfer Three Sisters, on the west side of Evergreen, offers the best of all… More >>
  • Best race to forget you are running

    Colorado Run, Fort Collins

    Sometimes it's nice to run a race in which the running plays second fiddle and you can just trot along and enjoy the sights -- like the Bolder Boulder would be if there weren't 40,000 other people trying to do the same thing. So instead go north, to the Colorado Run (September 2 this year), a five- or ten-kilometer run… More >>
  • Best race to run a personal record

    Evergreen Town Race, Evergreen

    This is not advanced human kinetics here. The easiest way to run an extremely fast race is to make sure you are always heading downhill -- not a sheer drop, but a nice, steady decline in elevation. And the nicest place to do that in the Denver area, by far, is the Evergreen Town Race, this year to be held… More >>
  • Best place to ruin a personal record

    U.S. Vertical Kilometer, Vail

    Now in its fourth year, the U.S. Vertical Kilometer will present you with possibly your worst time ever. The course begins at the base of the Vail ski resort and ends at the top, rocketing nearly straight up 1,000 meters in anywhere from three to three and a half miles. (Although the best route is marked by flags, runners can… More >>
  • Best Rockie

    Todd Helton

    Former National League MVP and two-time batting champ Larry Walker gives way to the 26-year-old Tennessean Todd Helton, a rugged third-year man who led the league for most of the spring in four major offensive categories -- batting average, runs scored, runs batted in and hits. The oft-injured Walker, now 33, may still be the Rockies' greatest talent, but the… More >>
  • Best performance by a Rockies starting pitcher

    Pedro Astacio, June 3

    In three seasons as a Rockie, ace Pedro Astacio has never pitched a shutout, but he came within one teammate's error of doing it June 3 in Milwaukee. After scattering three hits and striking out seven over the first eight innings, the Dominican righty gave up a leadoff single to Geoff Jenkins in the ninth, threw a wild pitch and… More >>
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