“RidgeGate Up Close” is our series of interviews with people who make RidgeGate a more vibrant place. Read the unexpected stories of residents, workers and local leaders who live and work here. Know someone who has a unique perspective or life in RidgeGate? Contact us at email@example.com.
This month: Mike Neumann, Original RidgeGate Resident
As one of the first residents to call RidgeGate home, Mike Neumann has watched his neighborhood—and family unit—expand and flourish. Here, he gives tips on nearby biking routes, the best time to eat at Snooze, and a stand-off he once had with two coyotes after proposing to his wife in RidgeGate.
#1. Tell us what you do for a living…
For 12 years, I helped grow and run a government contracting company that my father started in Colorado Springs. My dad decided to retire, and I was itching to get back to my first love, software development, which I had done prior to working in the family business. I recently started working as a Software Engineer for Nelnet, the largest student loan servicing company in the country. My office is 15 minutes away in Highlands Ranch, which is convenient.
#2. You like bikes. Have you ever biked to work?
Mike: One of these days I will! I usually bike after work and on the weekends. The trails behind the RidgeGate development are what attracted me to this area in the first place, and it’s a big part of what keeps me here. The entire Front Range is on display—from Pike’s to Long’s. It’s breathtaking. It’s therapy to me, and I’m up there almost daily. I also see deer every time I go up there, which just adds to the experience. I love that we have this raw, undeveloped chunk of land that we can access feet from our doorstep. After 13 years of living here, it never gets old.
#3. You moved to RidgeGate in 2005, so you were one of the first residents to live in the area?
Mike: I was. I bought one of the Renaissance townhomes, which were among the first homes built here. I’ve watched the neighborhood fill in all around me. It’s been exciting to see.
#4. You had never lived in an area with an HOA until you moved here. What was your experience like?
Mike: I really liked it because they managed the roofing, painting, landscaping, trash, snow removal, etc., and Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) was included in the HOA fees. They handled all the stuff I never had the time to get to because I worked full time in Colorado Springs and was working towards my MBA at DU in the evening. I also ended up meeting my wife in grad school, and then I had even less free time…
#5. So you bought one of the original townhomes in RidgeGate and then decided to move to a single family home?
Mike: My wife and I loved the area but were looking for a single-family home that had a little more space. That townhome still holds a special place in our hearts though. I actually proposed to my wife there.
#6. You proposed to her in RidgeGate? How?
Mike: She came home from work one evening, and I had lit a bunch of candles everywhere. I had bought dinner from the same place where we had our first date. I read her some things I had written for her and about us, and I got down on one knee. I’m not a showy person, but I am a sentimental person. We opened some champagne and went out on our front porch to look at the stars. I’ll never forget this…two coyotes had come down off the Bluff. I guess they were hunting together—I think they hunt in pairs. They trotted down the middle of our street perfectly in sync and stopped right in front of us under a street lamp and just stared at us. We sat very still and stared back at them. A few seconds later they moved on. It felt like the universe was signaling that she and I were now our own pack. It was pretty cool.
#7. We’re sitting on the front porch of the second home you’ve owned in RidgeGate, and a pack of road bikers just zipped by us. Where do you think are they going?
Mike: I actually love the road biking here equally, so I’m guessing they just came back from Hess Road. You can get there easily by cutting through RidgeGate. They hold several races on Hess because traffic is minimal and they have dedicated bike lanes. To get there, you go past Cabela’s, under I-25, hang a right on the frontage road that goes past Schweiger Ranch, and a couple miles down the road you hit Hess Road. It has beautiful views of the Front Range. It’s a roadie’s paradise. Lone Tree has done a lot to improve its bike lanes, especially down Yosemite. You can now ride North on Yosemite and hook in to the path along C-470. You could literally ride that path all the way to Golden, passing by places like Chatfield Reservoir, or peeling off into Deer Creek Canyon if you’re in the mood to climb. So RidgeGate really is a great home base for any kind of biker.
#8. Does your family have any traditions that involve RidgeGate?
We take our son—he’s now seven—to the Schweiger Ranch Fall Festival to find a pumpkin every year, and we try and go to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Lone Tree Arts Center during the holidays. In the summer, we walk down to Yogurtini for fro-yo at least once a week. We go to half-priced wine nights at Via Baci with my in-laws a lot. I also have a Saturday morning tradition with my son. My wife and our 10-year-old pug like to sleep in, so my son and I go to Snooze. He gets a chocolate chip pancake and bacon, I get one of their eggs benedicts. We bring home breakfast tacos for my wife.
#9. Is there an optimal time to get to Snooze and not have to wait?
They open at 6:30 am, and if you’re not there by 7:15, you’ll be put on a waitlist. My son and I have a finely calibrated routine. [LAUGHS]
#10. Final question. What are the first three words that come to mind when you think of RidgeGate?
Convenient. Comfortable. Home.