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  1. #1
    Chillaxin 'n Chilcotin!
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    MTBR Karma -- Long passion post with pics

    I used to be a regular on Passion back in the early days of MTBR, but for the last few years I have been more active on the CO Front Range forum. As much as the CO-FR forum is involved here, Passion seems like the right place for this post.

    On June 11th my wife looked up from her home office and saw smoke nearby our house. Before her brain fully engaged, she ran downstairs and ran towards the fire to see if there was any chance she could do anything to put it out. When she saw how large the situation was, her brain re-engaged and she called 911, and then frantically called me at my office. I dropped everything and drove home at 80 miles an hour--luckily my office is only about 5 miles away from the house. By the time I got there, the smoke had grown to a curtain and it was obvious that this was going to be a very bad fire. My wife had already grabbed the computer, the baby book and a few professional pictures that couldn't be replaced. I looked for our three cats, but only found one. He was firmly entrenched under our bed, and it was clear that we didn't have time to wrestle him out. I grabbed the fire safe box and we made a hasty exit. As I climbed into my car, I briefly thought about grabbing at least one of my bikes out of the nearby garage but decided that was stupid.

    We drove down to the end of our street and my wife and I each ran to a different neighbor's house to bang on their doors. After making contact with each of them, we decided that going to the Black Forest Fire Station would be the best place for us to gather information so we drove there. The people at the station were incredibly nice, and they did everything they could to comfort us and let us know they were doing everything in their power to fight the beast that was quickly growing to our east. They set up a computer on their projection system and tuned it to the local TV station so we could get news on what was happening. It was on that huge screen that we saw the helicopter footage of our house burning down on live television.



    My wife and I were in shock. The house was our dream house sitting on 5 heavily wooded acres. We had gone through two major remodels during the 4 years we had been there and the house had become our perfect home. We mourned for the kitties and then decided to leave the fire station and go pick up our 20 month old daughter at her daycare.

    As painful as it was to see the house burn, we knew right away and were able to get moving as quickly as possible. We had 510 other neighbors who would slowly find out over the next few days about their losses. Overall, it was an amazing effort from our local firefighters, firefighters from all around Colorado and the surrounding states, and our local Army and Air Force. The fire was elevated to a Type 1 command in record time, and the mobilization was faster and larger than any previous fire. Unfortunately, Colorado Springs has become an expert at dealing with large scale fires. All in all, 511 houses and 14,000+ acres burned during the next week and a half, but there were only two deaths and no reported injuries. The fire fighters were able to save over 2,600 houses which is amazing considering how dense the forest is and how quickly the fire spread.

    My wife, daughter and I were lucky to find a nice apartment nearby my office and our daycare so we jumped on it because we knew things would quickly be in short supply. We've begun the cleanup process at the house, and we have already engaged our builder to rebuild on our property. With all of the tragedy, we have been focusing on the silver linings to get us through. One of the biggest silver linings is the ability to re-build exactly how we want to and make the house even more perfect than it was.

    The other thing that has helped get us through has been the amazing outpouring of support and love from our family, friends, employers, and the Colorado Springs community as a whole. One of the most touching things has been the "Karma bike" project that Jaydude initiated on the CO-FR forum to organize people sending spare parts to build a new bike for me. Last night on our weekly Wednesday evening ride, they presented the bike to me and I am absolutely blown away. This bike is absolutely perfect for me. The parts that the MTBR community provided are top notch and I can't begin to describe how moved I am. The frame is a Canfield Bros Nimble 9 with custom tie-dyed stickers saying "Kristian" and "Karma" with tie dye flames. The fork is a pushed Reba with U-turn Air which is the perfect fork for this bike. Every other detail is exactly what I would have picked too.



    To kick off the ride correctly, I brought my Kona Unit frame to symbolize the birth of the new ride. The Unit was in the ash under a brick wall. All of the aluminum and magnesium parts has melted away, but the Hellbent Ti bars made it through the fire too. It is true: STEEL IS REAL!



    It only took 1 pedal stroke to realize how amazing the Karma bike is. The handling is telepathic, and it is lighting fast--plus I had a lot of aggression to work out so releasing that really pushed me faster. The more I threw the bike around, the more it begged for more and it really ate up the chunky trails in Palmer Park. The ride last night was one of the best rides I've ever had!







    Thanks again to everyone who donated parts, money, mechanic work or anything else to the project. I am so blown away by your generosity, and I'm completely stoked about how well the bike turned out! I look forward to putting many, many miles on it!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    I remember years ago when your posse was accused of not being flexible in their weekly ride choices and Inflexibles became the groups name.
    What a proper name because they showed no waivering in their drive to get wheels back under your feet and I admire them for that effort.

    Best wishes getting life back to normal ASAP.

  3. #3
    Candlestick Maker
    Reputation: baker's Avatar
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    Looks like the build turned out great! Awesome to see you back on the trails, Kristian.
    baker

  4. #4
    gotta get up to get down
    Reputation: p_DuBs's Avatar
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    Truly amazing to see a community come together like this, and I hope we can get out and pedal more ASAP Kristian!

    a few more photos here:
    MTBR Karma Bike ? The Revealing |

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    Awesome in the true sense of the word. I'm literally in awe of the heart break and devestation that watching your dream home burn to the ground must have caused you.

    I'm totally in awe of your riding buddies who pitched in and got you back on a bike and riding to help smooth the rough road ahead as you rebuild your dream.

    Glad your family is OK.

    I assume the Chilcotin was lost in the blaze?

  6. #6
    ali'i hua
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    as an old school lurker, I'm glad you and yours got out without too much issue. i cant even imagine.

    here's to a speedy rebuild to the house and life.

  7. #7
    Feel Good About Hood
    Reputation: Pedal/Paddle's Avatar
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    That is fantastic! What an incredible group of friends.

  8. #8
    Chillaxin 'n Chilcotin!
    Reputation: kristian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post

    I assume the Chilcotin was lost in the blaze?
    Nope, the Delirium T was lost in the blaze. The Chicotin was (or soon will be) found in the blaze !

    Thanks for the well wishes everyone!

  9. #9
    This place needs an enema
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    Thanks for sharing. Ever since you and yours started posting steeeeeeeeeeep, creative roller lines in your backyard, your backyard has been on my radar. Glad to hear that the people in your life are as quality as the trails.

    Hope that you can enjoy the rebuilding process, too.

    Best,

    MC

  10. #10
    inexperienced at large
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    Re: MTBR Karma -- Long passion post with pics

    The zone takes care of its own. It takes someone who is at least half decent to be taken care of like that, thanks for being you.

    I wonder what I'd grab. Sometimes I think I'd grab a bike in a fire, but really I'd just want to get out. Okay, maybe I'd try to get the 66' SG, but that's another story.

    From one to another, happy trails man. I'm glad its working out. I don't know if I could say its working out 'for the better' ... Maybe its too soon, but who knows.

  11. #11
    Professional Crastinator
    Reputation: Fleas's Avatar
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    The pic of the burning home really smacks you. Glad to see you can still smile about something.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
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    Nice post. Glad you and your family made it out OK. And sorry for the loss of your home.
    2013 Salsa Horsethief 2

  13. #13
    mtbr member
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    MTBR Karma -- Long passion post with pics

    Story's like yours are great! How can you not like the Mtn bike world!

  14. #14
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    Great story. Best wishes to you and your family!

  15. #15
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    No good

    So you left the cat?
    Last edited by SB Trails; 06-30-2013 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Mis-read and typed before thinking

  16. #16
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SB Trails View Post
    So you left the cat to burn -- but grabbed the bike??
    Easy shot to take from the anonymous safety of your keyboard, SB Trails. Look again, as you apparently couldn't take the time to read close enough to get your facts straight before taking aim. And clearly you've never been in the OP's situation.

    Great post, Kristian. Sorry for the multiple losses your family suffered in the blaze. You must be doing something right with your life to have friends like that. Enjoy the new ride!
    The older I get the better I was...

  17. #17
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    No.. not a easy shot to take ...I was in the very same experience a few year ago-- but made sure to get the cat ...

    With this said -- though i dont agree with how the op handled the pet--- i am glad that his kids and wife and the rest of his family along with his neighbors were safe.. Its a shame anyone-- pet or people had to be lost..

  18. #18
    mtbr member
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    The "very same" experience? Seriously? I'm pretty sure fires are unique events. If you had written about your experience, I wouldn't be second guessing your choices in a life threatening situation requiring split-second decisions. I'm glad you and your cat made it, and I hope everyone and everything you cherish was saved.

    Of course it's a shame the cat perished. I'd be devastated if I lost my dog. But the OP tried to get the cat and failed. He never grabbed the bike, only thought about it. All of that misses the point. The whole thread is about friendship, the antithesis of what, from you, sounds like needless fingerpointing.
    The older I get the better I was...

  19. #19
    High Desert MTBer
    Reputation: rockerc's Avatar
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    Not knowing the exact circumstance or thought process it is not valid to judge in any way, and I cannot imagine what it was like to watch your house burn down. But, I know I would have left the baby book and fire safe and done everything in my power to get the pets.
    It's all Here. Now.

  20. #20
    Chillaxin 'n Chilcotin!
    Reputation: kristian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SB Trails View Post
    No.. not a easy shot to take ...I was in the very same experience a few year ago-- but made sure to get the cat ...

    With this said -- though i dont agree with how the op handled the pet--- i am glad that his kids and wife and the rest of his family along with his neighbors were safe.. Its a shame anyone-- pet or people had to be lost..
    I'm glad you were able to get your cat. I miss ours dearly...

  21. #21
    High Desert MTBer
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    "Its not about the ****ing cats. He only had a few minutes to get what he could and get out."

    Thanks to the person who posted this in my neg rep comments... Like I said, I do not know the exact circumstances, and I guess you don't either. Pets to me me are family members, and I would have done everything in my power to get them out before grabbing pictures and documents. You don't seem to be much worried about ***king cats, if that's how you describe them.

    I am very glad everyone else was safe, as the OP said, he is now able to build a new home more perfect than the original.
    It's all Here. Now.

  22. #22
    Chillaxin 'n Chilcotin!
    Reputation: kristian's Avatar
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    Do you think I haven't replayed those 5 minutes I was home over a million times in my head thinking about things that I should have done differently??? The house didn't burn down for over an hour after we left so we should have had time to get the cats and a lot of other irreplaceable things too. But that's not what goes through your head when you see a WILDFIRE BURNING ON YOUR PROPERTY. Two people lost their lives in this fire because they stayed too long, and I'm glad that my wife and I made it out with our lives. Besides, you have no idea how much our cats were A) freaked out and B) don't like to be picked up.

    How dare you judge me and think I wasn't worried about the cats. You deserve every negative rep you get for posting on this thread--in fact, you're about to get another one from me!

  23. #23
    High Desert MTBer
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    Like I said Kristian, I have no way of knowing what was going thru your head, neither do I wish to find out. I was not judging you, I was merely pointing out what I think I would have done, and where my priorities may have been directed. My biggest issue was with the person who neg repped me with the remark that they were just "***king cats"... My pets to me are like my children, and I have both 2 and 4 legged. I am extremely glad you and your wife escaped unscathed, and it is gratifying to know that your friends rallied round to replace your bike. There is hope for humankind... neg rep me all you like, that is irrelevant.
    It's all Here. Now.

  24. #24
    Team Inflexible
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    Re: MTBR Karma -- Long passion post with pics

    Quote Originally Posted by rockerc View Post
    My biggest issue was with the person who neg repped me with the remark that they were just "***king cats"...
    My negative rep comment to you was" it's not about the fvcking cats", which is what you are making one of the most positive threads I have ever seen on mtbr about.

    So who ever else wants to question kristians decision making just before he lost everything please just do us all a favor and keep it to your self. Thanks!

  25. #25
    The 5th knuckle
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    Thanks for the turd in the punch bowl rockerc
    Quote Originally Posted by Hernando Gutierrez
    The only thing you have to figure out is don't fall down. To keep riding the bike.

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