Happy Birthday - 303Cycling Turns 4!

Founder, Kris Thompson

To celebrate our 4th year as Colorado's #1 cycling news source we thought our readers might like to know a little more about us:  why we started, who we are and where we're going for year five.  It's time you learned more about Kris Thompson, meet David Kutcipal and our newest team members Brian Patrick and Ben Welnak.  Thank you for your support and Happy 4th Birthday 303Cycling!

Q: What was the impetus for starting 303Cycling?
Kris: I had been involved with online news for years prior to 303Cycling through the software industry as an author of many articles on web technologies in my niche market as a web frameworks specialist.  But writing online for other geeks was not very rewarding personally, so I switched to something closer to my passion, cycling!  

Q: What was that first year like for you?
Kris: Crickets!  A good day we would get about 40 visitors to our site, compared to today when 2000 visits is typical.  Also, I spent a great deal of time tracking down the news, finding out the news sources, making the contacts, following their online presence, etc.   

Q: What is the most unexpected experience you've had with 303Cycling?
Kris: My memory is terrible but I'm certain of at least two. I remember I was scheduled to interview a very high profile cycling character and I was so excited about the meeting but it was a complete disaster. The person was in a "recreational sedated state" and the conversation flew wilder than a kite on a spring day.  Sadly enough I've never published the interview.

Another has to be the amazing photo set that David captured at this year's Mead Roubaix!

Q: What are day to day operations like at 303Cycling?
Kris: Do you remember the Dunkin Donuts commercial from the 80's?  It's a lot like that for me, wake up around 5am and review all of the possible news items I have and get to posting.  I eventually have to cut it off due to the day job but try throughout the day to deal with emails.  Then after work and after my kids are in bed it's back at it, finding the news, communicating with other 303Cycling members and maybe even posting if I have the time and energy.

Q: Where do you see year 5 taking the organization?
Kris: Diversity and professionalism!  I've been working hard this year at trying to have a more diverse content base, I want 303Cycling to cover ALL aspects of cycling in the Denver/Boulder region. This means more commuter news, advocacy, mountain biking, and local company highlights. 

Our followers should see a higher level of professionalism in our work in year 5 as we now have a paid writer to help with our content, giving it more flow, grammar and body.  Hopefully with this extra help David and I can spend more time doing what we do best, being geeks, and making some software/feature improvements to the site.

Year 5 hopefully will see a redesign.  Not my highest priority but we want to move away from the "bloggish" look to more of a news media layout and feel.

David Kutcipal - Photo Credit: SportifImages

I also want to add that although at least one of my colleagues likes to fly under the radar - I do NOT do this alone.  For example, David Kutcipal is actually my partner in the site although very few people know this.  David and I had been colleagues and friends for many years, well before he was into racing, and it was during the first year of 303Cycling that we connected.  He was constantly sending me emails with the subject line, "Did you hear?"  And we ran with it.

Q: What did you think when Kris first approached you?
David: I wasn't really sure what to think.  I was very excited about helping out but wasn't really sure how I could contribute.  Kris did the writing and I started by taking over the calendar.  It was kind of addicting to make sure we had EVERY cycling event out there included.  But I really had no idea what i was getting into or where it would take us.  4 years later and many hours tinkering on the site, I am really happy he did.

Q: How has your photography grown since joining 303Cycling?
David: I was just getting into photography when I started with 303Cycling and the site has not only given me a reason to get out and shoot more but a perfect venue to show some of my work. Photography has since become a true passion of mine, if I'm not on my bike racing, I'm behind my camera taking pictures, especially during cross season. Kris and I also work hard to promote all local cycling photographers. Keeps everyone on their toes.

Q: What is the most unexpected experience you've had with 303Cycling?
David: Lately, unexpected things happen all the time. They range from being able to get photo credentials for big races and being in a position to get those finish line shots or being on the radar of a European marketing firm. It felt pretty good, after their ad campaign was finished, to be asked if 303Cycling would be at EuroBike this year.

Q:What are your thoughts on year 5?
David: It is really amazing where we are now.  Year 5?  Good question. When I look at our year over year growth in viewership, I really don't think we have reached our potential.  I want to fill the gaps within the cycling community that Kris mentioned above and to do so we simply need to cover them better and ultimately connect more people and make the 303Cycling community even stronger.

Other Team members, Brian Patrick and Ben Welnak

The 303Cyling team has grown in year four with the addition of Brian Patrick and his video expertise and Ben Welnak to cover MTB.  Here is a little more information about everyone.  Thank you again for the support and Happy Birthday 303Cycling!

Kris Thompson grew up in the backwoods of Missouri(a) and discovered the bicycle was a means to be free.  His two wheel experiences ranged from motorcycles from age 10 -18 to tons of BMX free styling mixed in.  While living in Europe in 1990 he saw his first bike race and was AMAZED at the speed!  He took that enthusiasm and his first bike race was the next year, 1991 MTB race in St. Louis. Kris moved to Colorado in 1995 after winning the National Road Cycling Championship for Cat 4 with visions of going pro (inflated ego) but soon learned that racing here in Colorado, no matter the cat, is on a higher level than anywhere else he had previously raced and kept working on his career as a developer.  To date he has still managed to get in around 400 races and as a part time resident of Winter Park has renewed his interest in MTBing and returning to his roots by doing some dirt biking as well.  Kris' wife Amy has a strong interest in getting kids on bikes and runs a local elementary school's Safe Routes to School Program.  Kris hopes to get into bike touring one of these days but only after he returns to competitive MTB racing and endurance MTB racing.  Bottom line, 303Cycling combines two of his passions - cycling and "geeking out with software".  Friend him - http://www.facebook.com/kristhompson.boulder

David Kutcipal can say he's been in the cycling industry since 1994 when he moved here from Chicago and took a job with Schwinn, in IT of course.  After years (and years) of abusing his body running marathons, ultras and 24 hour races, he got on a bike to save himself.  He started racing bikes in 2003 and has enjoyed road, cyclocross and MTB.  His interest in photography began as an interest in the then new digital technology.  Soon after he discovered he had a talent for it.  In addition to his cycling photography he has photographed sporting events ranging from his son's soccer to international polo matches. He has also started to show some of his portrait and nature photography locally. He is excited to head back to his home state of Michigan this Fall for his first MTB race in years, The Iceman. And like Kris, 303Cycling gives him the chance to geek out both on bikes and the computer.

Photo Credit: Brian Leddy

Four years, eight bikes, and thousands of miles landed  Ben Welnak in the middle of 303Cycling country.  He has been a  Colorado native-at-heart for the past 2.5 years getting here just as soon as he could convince his wife! Ben quickly learned that the energy and passion of the Colorado Cycling Community is second to none.  He is also a mountain biker at heart.  In 2007 he jumped head first into the endurance mountain biking scene after several years of running marathons and triathlons.  During the last four years he's raced four 24 hour solo races, as well as many 12 hour, 100 mile, and other marathon length races.   The people and the late race conversations with fellow racers keep him coming back.  He is happy to be a part of 303Cycling and the 303Cycling Community.  He looks forward to seeing all of you out on the trail!

Photo Credit: SportifImages

Brian Patrick is originally from Pennsylvania and came west, first to Utah in 1994 and then to Boulder in 1995, for the rock climbing, among other things, and knew nothing of cycling until 2005. Although he became involved in the cycling industry fairly recently, he may have the most street cred. In 2006 he filmed at the Tour de France and several other prestigious US road and cross races. His background is in video production and online media with over 6-years of experience producing video in the endurance sports market. He has covered the local Colorado cyclocross scene for the past 4 years and has produced 3 televised broadcasts of the Colorado Cyclocross State Championships. He is a recreational cyclist that enjoys riding in the mountains and competing in a handful of cyclocross races in the fall.

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