Friday, September 13, 2013

The Song Remains The Same

Dos a Cero!!! Dos a Cero!!! Dos a Cero!!! Dos a Cero!!! I guess it is more of a chant than song. Whatever it is, it is not going away anytime soon. Since 2001, the US has played Mexico in Columbus, Ohio every 4 years during the Hexagonal Round of World Cup Qualifying. The US has won all four games by the score of 2-0. I was in Columbus on Tuesday, September the 10th for the latest Dos a Cero event. This was my third time making this trek for this particular game.

I arrived in Columbus on Monday, September the 9th. US Soccer hosted a Pep Rally at The Bluestone in downtown Columbus that night. I went to that. It was pretty fun. US Soccer legends Brian McBride, Cobi Jones, and Frankie Hejduk were there. Current players Damarcus Beasley, Alejandro Bedoya, Jose Torres, and Michael Bradley also made appearances along with Coach Klinsmann.
A video of Frankie Hejduk doing a little song and dance.

L to R: Allen Hopkins (Host), Klinsmann, Beasley, Torres, Bedoya, Bradley
After the Prep Rally, I met up with my cousin Ray at the American Outlaws party at the 4th Street Bar. Finding Ray was hard. The size of the crowd was ridiculous. I came across former US Soccer player Alexi Lalas, Fox Sports-Soccer Host Rob Stone, and Sports Illustrated Writer/Fox Sports-Soccer Reporter Grant Wahl before I found Ray after about 45 minutes. It took some texting to find him. I also saw some people I know from Colorado. Later I saw John Harkes who is another former US Soccer player. Massive party but the beer they served in the outside portion of the party was not that good.

Tuesday was game day. I met up my brother and his buddies. They arrived that day. After lunch and checking into our hotel, we walked to the 4th Street Bar, which was one of two spots where the American Outlaws were having a tailgate. We met up with my cousin Ray again, and we sweated like crazy in the heat. It happened to be the hottest day of the year in Columbus. It was the stickiness that made it horrible. I hadn’t felt that much humidity in a long time. We hung out in front of a refrigerated cooler of beer to try and stay cool.
Enjoying the cool air from the beer cooler
The march to the stadium was epic. Nobody has ever seen such a large march by a group of supporters for US Soccer. The American Outlaws had sold over 9000 tickets to the game. Then there were people like us who hang out with the Outlaws, but prefer good seats. I don’t how many people were in the march, but there were US Soccer fans in both directions as far as the eye could see.
The march to Crew Stadium
My Brother plus two blimps over the stadium
Me and a bunch of other people
As for the game itself, it was mythical. The US has had a hard time getting a pro-US crowd for this game in the past. They definitely got a pro-US crowd this time. It was a sellout crowd of 24,584. I would say it was at least 90% pro-US. There was some green here and there, but you definitely didn’t hear the Mexican fans. The score line and the stadium have certainly gotten into the Mexican players and fans heads. I was actually happy that Clint Dempsey missed a penalty kick in the closing seconds that would have given the US a 3-0 victory. The missed penalty kick keeps the mythical score alive. Not only have the US beaten Mexico by the score of 2-0 in Columbus in the four times they played there, the US also beat Mexico in 2002 by a score 2-0 in the only time they ever met in the World Cup. So the song remains the same. Dos a Cero!!! Dos a Cero!!! Dos a Cero!!! Dos a Cero!!! Dos a Cero!!!
Starting line-ups
More Tifo
Victory Lap
Jim, Hunter, Matt, Jason, & Mike

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

This Is Massive

On Labor Day, I summited Mt. Massive. At 14,421 feet, it is the second highest peak in Colorado. This mountain has been high on my list of 14ers to do since I moved to Colorado in 2006. It didn’t disappoint. I did what is considered the standard route that goes up the east slopes of the mountain. The route is 13.75 miles long. I decided to do this hike over two days. I got to the trailhead late in the afternoon. I decided to have my dinner at the trailhead so that I didn’t have to carry it. I then hiked about 3 and half miles to tree line. It rained a little bit on the hike, but it had stopped by the time I made camp.

I was on the trail way before sunrise on Monday morning. It was quite dark. Just a slither of the Moon was visible in the sky. I was above 13,000 feet when the sun finally rose. It was good to feel the warmth as well as see the beauty that was all around me.
Looking towards Leadville in the early morning light
The summit of Mt. Massive saw the sunrise before me
Hiking towards the saddle (13,900 ft).  From there, it is a right turn and follow the ridge to the summit.
View of La Plata Peak from just above the saddle.
I made the summit around 7:45 AM. There were a couple of other people right behind me. They started at the North Halfmoon Creek Trailhead and went up the southwest slopes. That route is becoming the more popular route due to it being shorter. That way is steeper and requires a four-wheel drive to get to the trailhead. While I didn’t get to have the summit to myself, it wasn’t that crowded. The view was pretty amazing. Mt Massive has more area above 14,000 feet than any other mountain in the lower 48. Mt Rainer in Washington is a close second.
The summit from the false summit
Looking back at the false summit.  Mt Elbert is just to the left of the false summit.  La Plata Peak is on the right.
The summit of Mt. Massive
Me on the summit
View to the west.  North Halfmoon Lakes are below
The northwest peaks of Mt. Massive
After spending about 45 minutes on top enjoying the view, I decided to slowly make my way down the mountain. On the way down, I picked up my camping gear at my tree line camp. I made it back to my car without any problems. I was tired but quite satisfied.
Looking back at the summit
Looking back at Mt Massive
On the way back to tree line
Mt Elbert & my campsite