Sunday, September 13, 2015

Arizona Trail Race LOI

The Arizona Trail Race is a 750 mile singletrack race from Mexico to Utah. The route will test my mental and physical limits, as will the preparation. I will being too ramp into training as fall progresses, and once again attempt to find the fine line between maximum gain and burnout.  It is my intent to complete the route as fast as possible in compliance with the unofficial rules.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

This blog is not dead!

I realize my blog has been looking a bit bleak. I'm still writing and riding, I've just been publishing elsewhere.

Here's a few big rides from this year:

Trans North Georgia

Monaro Cloudride

XVT Bikepacking Route

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Green Patagonia Jacket

If there is one piece of gear,
On every adventure Ill pack it,
It’s got to be my Green Patagonia Jacket.

Twice across my nation
East to  the West, Canada to Mexico
I bring it everywhere I go.

To the top of Mt Washington
Skiing Tuckerman’s Ravine
The places its been are quite obscene.
 I brought it to Australia,
 For the Monaro Cloudride,
Together through the rain, we won with pride.

I even wore it.
When I fixed an old lady’s roof.
Here’s a picture for the proof.

There’s not much to it
Its just a simple shell
But it fits and moves so well!

The pit zips vent
The cuffs fit just right
Hood over helmet, nice and tight.

Its waterproof,
Its breathable,
Its really unbelievable.

I’ve worn it so much,
It was time for another
I hope this one works, just like it’s brother.

Just don't mess with perfection.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Spandex Sandwich Shop Stop

"What do you think about when you ride?"
Poetry, I'm constantly rhyming and scheming. Sometimes I write it down, other times it withers away before the ride is over, never to be remembered again. Enjoy my partially delusional state of mind...

Spandex Sandwich Shop Stop

As I stand in line to order,
I chug a chocolate milk
I know you're not from here, wearing tie-dye silk.

I stand there all sweaty,
In skin tight clothes,
I don't like the vibe your hippie yuppie boyfriend throws.

It's only just noon,
But I've already ridden farther today,
Than you've in your lifetime I'd say.

You chat while you stare.
Your look of disgust at my choice,
As strong as my opposition to your voice.

My jersey is smelly, and far from new
Unlike your state,
Please let me get my plate

I eat in a hurry
I'm out in a dash
Unlike your large pile of cash.

Yuppies go home.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Home is where you cook your own bacon.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. While I understand this feeling, after just coming home from the other side of the world, I must say, the grass is pretty damn green where I'm standing now. I love to travel and will continue to chase my dreams to all corners of the globe, but there is something nice about coming HOME!

On the "road" you meet incredible people who you may or may not stay in touch with, but you will probably always remember. At home, there are the people you interact with everyday, from the people you avoid constantly, to those amazing friends who have your back through thick and thin. Even the best friendships can become dull and unexciting, time away between good friends may be the change of pace needed to recognize the importance of this certain interaction in your life. Its the people we love that really make the difference.

It is exciting to be somewhere new everyday, seeing new sights, terrain and architecture. There is also a great feeling coming home and noticing the small changes since you left. The trees are budding and the grass is greening up, the rivers are up from the melted snow, or the last of falls leaves have dropped, or.... The sense of normality is comforting when returning from someone else's "normal."

Long trips are a great way to break up the mundane, but also a great way to realize what mundane things in life you really enjoy. Bacon and eggs in MY cast iron frying pan at 430am, fueling for my sunrise pre-work ride. It's not boring, it's ritual.

There are so many great places, people, and cultures in the world, that I urge everyone to try and go see, meet and experience. While you plan or wait for the next big adventure, take a half step back from your daily life and reconsider throwing on a frown at normal and boring. Instead think of it as comfortable and secure, two important aspects of life commonly swept under the rug.

As mentioned, I have no intention on slowing down, or stopping traveling, riding, or racing. HOME may even change sometime in the future but for now, as I return from a large trip and get resettled, it is nice to be home, to the amazing places I know, and the great people who I am so thankful to have in my life.

It's not about the adventure of a lifetime, its about a lifetime of adventure. Seek happiness everywhere, always. 

*I may or may not publish more writing on my Australia trip, later, non chronologically.
My ticket and underlying reason for the trip was the Monaro Cloudride 1000, my account is documented here:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pre-Cloudride Thoughts.

As the moments tick by in the dwindling days before Cloudride, I find myself with a senioritislike laziness toward training. At this point I have no more time to really gain strength, simply existing in a constant debate between resting up, but not softening up. On top of riding, I have a few more days of work, and I will also be moving out of my apartment prior to departure, and I've yet to pack anything to either move, or go to Oz. Above all else, I have entered a relationship with the most amazing woman! Attempting to stay focused, my head is still in the game, but knowing I won't be seeing her for a month drives me to want to spend as much time as possible with her.


The pre race jitters have been surpassed by other pressures. There is no point in worrying. I could lay up all night concerned about what will happen, but this worry will not solve anything, and rest will ultimately make me stronger. With the near sleepless nights and long days in the saddle that I will be attempting next week, sleep and relaxing will be a mere figment of my imagination.


I know it's going to hurt. If it doesn't, I won't be pushing hard enough. At some point in this race, I will tell myself I'm quitting ultra racing. This is probably the point where I will kick it up a notch and push harder, just to be finished. If history repeats,  my laziness will last for a few days after the race.


Then I'll have a resurgence of motivation, where I want to do a triple crown season (AZT 750, CTR, and TD) PLUS Tour Aeotero(3000k), Kiwi Bravet(1100k), TNGA(350mi), and more, all in a year. (The idea being 10000 miles of racing in a year.) I don't know if it's possible, physically, socially, mentally, or financially, but it falls somewhere into finding the limit. I'm young in ultra racing, both in my career and in age, by comparison to the average competitor. The advantage of this being I have lots of time to fulfill my goals, but also leads to a decision of how serious I want to take racing, vs. the decision of slowing down in a few years to live an "average" life.


In the past, I've thought of taking a step back from competition to refocus on the love of riding, simply to ride, but the drive to push myself keeps coming back up. Non race pace bikepacking trips seem like they'd be awesome, yet I've only ever done a few weekend trips at casual pace. While mountain biking will remain my primary focus for at least a few years to come, it is exciting to think of other long endurance related adventures, both competitve and non. Long canoe trips, backpacking, etc. It's all fun to think about, and I'm sure new ideas will pop into my mind during the long hours chugging through the hills of Australia. After all, I'm not looking for the adventure of a lifetime, I'm looking for a lifetime of adventure!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Yeti With A Flashlight

At the end of a dead end street,
a small path weaves into the trees.
It's a place that keeps me sane,
A world of both pain and gain.

Escaping the drone of car tires on tarmac,
I descend into a snow filled sanctuary.
They say there's a yeti out there,
I'm not sure exactly where.

A marginally plowed dirt road to myself,
An occasional car, you'll hear from afar.
Two eyes watching, blinking intermittently.
I'm pretty sure that's the yeti.

The eyes are trail markers
Bobbing behind maple stems,
Here's my turn,
Time to feel the burn.

I look forward to what some may call a frozen hell.
A climb I know well,
The hill continues into the night
Never completed without a fight.

Mentally I'm in the zone.
Is this what the yeti calls home?
Off to my left hear a tussle,
Just the wind, causing some beech leaves to rustle.

As legs begin to ache.
I convince myself pain is fake.
Sprint for the peak,
Anything else would be weak.

The pitch has begun to mellow.
Excited I may meet this yeti,
He should be a nice fellow,
Shouldn't he?

Still sweating from the ascent.
I layer up with high speed intent.
Hood pulled up, and pit zips zipped
Double wheel drift corners will be ripped.

Face goes numb, and my muscles twitch.
A glittering glow shines through the forest.
It must be a yeti with a flashlight.
Or simply cold nerves, affecting my sight.

I see his light from behind me,
He's going to catch me soon,
As I turn to check,
It's only the bright full moon.

The sweat, the descent, and now rolling hills,
My body is filled with chills.
I find myself alone
On my ride back home.

I know he's out here,
Perhaps hidden with fear.
Wish he'd come out to play.
No yeti today.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Winter Update, a Cloudride count down.

I haven't died, I still ride, and I still write. My computer did die, my tablet is on its last leg, and I don't have any internet other than on my phone, which is new.


So where has the winter gone? It feels like yesterday that I began training again in preparation for the Monaro Cloudride. The truth is, I've been in this training swing for nearly 3 months already. This winter has been very cold, very snowy, and far less than optimal for bike riding, especially for long hours. The snowmobile trails have been pretty well groomed, allowing for decent riding, but these temps have had me limited to 4-5 hours on most days. I've been getting a lot of 2-4 hour rides in after work under artificial light. Several times I've consideredgoing for over night winter bikepacking trips, but after long days in the cold on ski patrol, sleeping outside is amongst the last things that sound like fun. When the weather truly pins me inside, I spend as much time as I can tolerate on the trainer. Typically not much more than 2 hours before I go stir crazy. I've been pretty good about getting out to ride in the mornings as well, although lately most mornings have been spent on the trainer. I definitely have a few mornings each week where I just can't manage to get our of bed at 4 am to get a ride of any sort in before work.


"Winter training is finding the fine line between improvement and not killing yourself before the race season. It's like roasting a marshmallow. Light golden brown and delicious, or bursting into flame. Once you see the flames., there is no going back..."

-Seamus Powell


The snow has been great, for skiing. The soft layers have been kind to my knees, although the combination of riding and skiing constantly keeps me on the edge of painful tendinitis. If I didn't have a race planned I think I would put the bike away for a while and spend more time hiking for fresh turns on skis. I'm not saying I wouldn't ride, but I would change my priority.  Vermont hasn't seen temperature above freezing for already a month now, and I am certainly ready for spring.


The anticipation is rising, time is counting down quickly. For a shake down ride I have chosen to ride the Trans North Georgia Route. 350 miles, with considerable climbing. At this point I am only planning on riding it one direction, and getting a shuttle back, but a down and back is not out of the question if everything goes extremely well. After the TNGA, I come back to work for two weeks, and then move out of my apartment, and fly out to the land down under on March 30th, starting Cloudride on April 4th.


I wouldn't say I feel as good as I could, but I've stayed pedaling and fighting, against the will of old man winter. As Greg LeMan said, "It never gets easier, you just go faster." I'm not looking for easy, I just hope it's fast enough.