Friday, March 30, 2012


The weather this weekend is supposed to be less than good, so for today, I decided to get off this stupid little sand bar of an island and head up to Blue Mountain to ride.  Could not have been a better day (well, unless you took all the damn bugs away).

I got up to the trail around noon, and rode for about 2 hours.  The more I do these little solo excursions, the more I realize that it's as much about the mental as it is the physical.  Getting out and by myself allows me to calm myself, be with my thoughts, and "un-focus" on anything that's troubling me.  I have a tendency to over think most things in my life, but when I'm on the trial, something about not going over my bars and breaking my neck allows me to force stress to the back burner.

This is all cliche of course.  Everyone who rides always preaches the benefits of being forced to focus on only the trail ahead of you. This is nothing new.  I'm only rediscovering all the benefits riding mountain bikes has brought to me.

The rest of this weekend will be played by ear as far as riding is concerned.  Not planned much and I want to keep it that way.  I'm thinking I might try to get out on the road if that's possible, but more than likely I'll be hitting the gym and working on my strength.  Things are progressing quite well in the weight department, and I'd like to keep the trend alive.  I've got a feeling there will be many sunny days in my future to ride my bikes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


The problem with writing a blog (particularly one that you wish to update daily), is that you must have content.  A problem I think a lot of people have, including me, is deciding on what exactly they should write about.  I guess the answer lies in who you want reading your posts.  I'd imagine that most of the folks that read my blog are athletes, but a lot of what I've been writing lately isn't exactly to that audience. I mean, some of it may translate, but I've really just been writing about what's been on my mind.

As I compete less, race less, and ride more for fun, I find there's less "interesting" things to write about concerning my days.  I doubt anyone wants to hear about the great piss I took when I woke up, or some of the people I had to deal with at work (you know who you are!).  In the end, though, it's more about writing whatever you feel.  There are thousands of thoughts that enter and quickly exit my mind every day, and remembering to write them all down is impossible.  That's not to say they're not important, it's just that if I don't get things down right away, they float off, lost perhaps forever.

Where am I going with all this?  Not sure.  Today was a bit blah, so there's really not much exciting or interesting to write about.  I woke up, went to work, ate some food, took a power nap, rode my bike, and now it's back to work.  Just another mundane day.  Maybe I need to make some changes-all good ones of course!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I have seen the future...

...and it is Enduro!  If you ride a mountain bike and don't know yet what Enduro is, you soon will.  In the States we have Super D, which, in reality, is nothing even close to what true Enduro racing is.  For lack of better definition, Super D can be generally defined as a long downhill race, generally less technical than that of a straight up Downhill race, with a hell of a lot more pedaling envolved.  Enduro, on the other hand, is a long ride, "interrupted" by timed, technical downhill sections.

For most of us, Enduro is what we do on a regular basis with friends.  Chill out, talk, laugh, talk shit, and race to the bottom.  To me, it takes the best part of being on a mountain bike, rolls it into one day, and adds some good natured competition to the fold.  It only takes a trail bike (somewhere in the 5-6 inch travel range-conincidentally the most popular selling category of mountain bike), some desire, and a smile.  Contrary to most cycling-oriented sports (i.e. road racing, triathlon, xc mountain biking, etc.) you can have a "regular" life and still be competitive.  Sure hours of training will make you better, but in the end, a lot more of your result comes from your skills rather than fitness alone.  Though fitness is a big part of Enduro, a better skilled rider will have an advantage over one with great fitness and lesser skills.

Fortunately, Enduro is getting some attention in the U.S., though we are a bit late to the party.  Europe has been running these events for some time (see: Megavalanche), and have a leg up on us in terms of terrain and participation.  I believe, though, that once people get a taste of the excitement and fun that can come out of these events, things are really going to take off.

As I've stated many times before, I've been competing in one sport or another for the great majority of my life.  It's not that I'm washed up, but rather a bit burned out.  At this stage in my life, and racing career, Enduro seems like the perfect fit: competition with the focus on fun and enjoyment.  Just about the place I want to be at in my life.  I've got a good feeling that much of this summer will be spent pursuing the fun aspect, and ripping up some Enduro courses.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Great ride out on the trails today, though I've got a bit to rant on today.  In the past weeks I've been doing a lot of technical, rocky, rooty riding.  The stuff that scares the crap out of you at least a few times a ride, but leaves you feeling completely satisfied at the end.  It's the type of riding where no one actually thinks odd of you for wearing body armor (namely kneepads).  It's also the type of riding that, for me, derives the most pleasure.

There are occasions when I like to get airborne, but more interesting to me, still, is actually riding obstacle.  I like rock gardens, rollers (the bigger and steeper the better), and the like.  Anything where there is a crazy line, or big step downs is great.  I like tight switchbacks with impossibly steep angles.  I like down better than up, and I like it when things get slow to the point that you have to actually balance  yourself and the bike, and not just ride it.

Fortunately, there happens to be quite a lot of this type of riding around these parts-well, within 60-90 minutes anyway.  Unfortunately, the local trails are pretty tame, and by all means getting more and more tame by the day.

While I was riding one of my favorite local spots today, as I often do, I spotted areas where "work" has been done.  Now, before I really dig in, let me just say that I'm all in for keeping trails in good shape.  That is, keeping them in good shape, not shaping them.  Trails are what they are, and unless there is a specific problem, danger, or other thing not normally associated with mountain biking, the trail should remain "untouched".  Of course this is open for interpretation.  What one person may consider ridable another may completely dismiss.  However, things like roots, small tree stumps, and small rocks are a no-brainer.  NEVER should things like this be removed, even if they have been the cause of a crash.  If they're small enough to ride over, they should be a permanent piece of the trail.

I saw today one of the most disturbing things I've yet seen on any of the local trails.  I've seen small rocks removed, small stumps uprooted, and even exposed roots literally cut out of the trail, but never have I seen someone actually fill in the spots in between exposed roots to make the trail smooth over them.  Keep in mind, it's not as if these roots posed an immediate danger to any rider, and there was a rather smooth and efficient line over and through them.  Erosion was not an issue, and the roots were not damaged as to pose any problem to the tree/trees they branched out from.  It seems that someone, in an effort to make the trail faster (read: more like the damned road), took it upon themselves to smooth things out.  Ridiculous.  I'm flabbergasted as to why anyone would do such a thing.

Certainly, Long Island is no hotbed of mountain biking.  You'll never see it as one of the mountain bike "Meccas" in any glossy publication, and it'll never be discussed in mountain biking circles anywhere outside of the Long Island Sound.  With all that, I've since I've begun riding I've always defended it as a riding location.  "It is what you make of it," I'd say, insisting that it was not exactly the "pussified" trails everyone off the island insists that it is.  With what I saw today, though, I can't say that I'm any longer justified in taking such a stance.  I'm beginning to believe the hype, drink the Kool-Aid, and talk the talk: Long Island Mountain Biking is a FARCE!!!!!

With people making changes to the trails as I've detailed, it makes it impossible for me to go on saying that our trails are even decent.  They are, in fact, turning into the garbage that everyone insists they already are.  And the worst part of it all, is that there is no end in sight.  The local group that is responsible for taking care of the trails are stuck in the early days of mountain biking, when simply riding a two wheeler on anything but a paved surface provided an adrenaline rush.  I'm beside myself over this.

I've spoken up before and made my voice heard, but it has time and time again fallen of deaf ears.  Perhaps folks are content in riding what they ride, and not interested in developing as riders any further.

I'm not of a one track mind regarding this situation.  I realize that people progress at their own level and will only push as far as they are comfortable.  I'm not delusional, believing that everyone aspires to ride at a very technical and proficient level.  I'm fine with this.  What bothers me is the fact that all parties are not being heard in this situation.

In order for things to progress, a change needs to occur.  Otherwise, the local trails are going to be what they have been reported to be, and deserve the reputation of being great trails to "teach your little sister how to mountain bike."

Sunday, March 25, 2012


After a great bunch of rides this past week I'm taking today to reset my body and get back on track.  Less and less I've been getting my full nights rest, not for any specific reason I suppose, but I notice that my brain isn't quite functioning like it should.  I'd compare it most to being jet lagged.  You know what's going on, but you're not quite all caught up with everything you should be.

All too often it's easy for me to overload myself with the things I want to do, and neglect the things I have to do.  More times than not this takes place when comparing things like riding my bike and cleaning my kitchen, but at times like this it comes when comparing working out to resting.

More than most things in this world, I love riding my bike, being active, and having fun in a physically demanding way.  Unfortunately, just like anything else, when not in moderation, even the "healthiest" of pursuits can produce adverse effects.  Such is the case when riding your ass off all week and then wanting to thrash yourself in the gym on a Sunday afternoon.  Feeling like a lazy ass sitting on the couch doesn't do much to help this feeling, but you've got to remember that you're not gaining anything by breaking yourself down beyond repair.

Our society is so work oriented that we feel only hard work will yield results.  Certainly this is true in many forms, yet when it comes to matters of the body, you need to offset that effort with equal (or often times greater) amounts of rest.  Along with this comes healthy eating, moderation of sugar and alcohol (my biggest downfalls lately) and consuming a more than fair amount of water.  Simple things, but so elusive to so many.

With all that, I'm planning on siting on the couch today.  I'm sure that my body will thank me for it come tomorrow.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shreddin' the gnar

Had another one of those "game changing" rides today.  Went up to Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill, NY and whooped it in the whole time.  The goal was to get up early, hit the road, complete the 1 hour and 30 minute drive in about an hour and ten minutes, and rip it up until the rains came.  I didn't get out exactly as early as I would have liked, but I was still able to get about 3 hours of rolling time in.

Truly one of my most favorite places to ride, Blue Mountain really has it all.  There's a lot of techy stuff, some scary stuff, and some flawy downhills to make everyone happy.  It's a place that is equally suited for a light free ride bike or a hard tail cross country bike.  Just as many other trails, you ride what you want, and make of it what you will.

Again, one of the best parts about these rides is meeting other folks like myself.  It's not always about who the strongest rider is, or who can clean the most gnar, but rather how good the company is, and I've been lucky to meet some real cool people so far this season.  Also, the biggest piece of advice that anyone should take is to ride with locals.  Kind of a no-brainer in reality, but the better the people you ride with know the trail, the better and faster you'll ride as well.  It's not just about picking lines, or watching someone ride something you didn't think was possible, it's about directions and the motivation NOT to give up because you know people are watching.

Terrific ride again today and I've got that sweet mellow feeling.  Gonna ride this out for the rest of the weekend and hopefully into next week.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Holy Geez

Not sure why I titled this post with that, just felt the need.  Been thinking a lot about life today.  Not entirely sure why, just been thinking.  What I've come up with is the fact that you just can not regret anything you do.  You've got to just let go and do what feels right.

I met with some financial advisors today, and we talked about life insurance.  I've never really contemplated my mortality (in a real sense I mean.  Sure I've thought there were times when I was going to die, but I never have actually "planned" for it in an economical sense).  Anyway, it just got me to thinking how ridiculous this all is.  Not exactly in the sense of leaving people with a bill upon your unfortunate passing, but just the fact that we, as a species, actually plan in our future for our deaths.  Follow me here.  Do any other animals actually make arrangements for their demise?  Do they not just live every day as if it were their last?
Michael Landon once said, "Someone should tell us all, on the day we are born, that we're dying so that we'd live life to it's fullest."  So unbelievably true.  Every day we are slowing decomposing.  We're breaking down.  Little aches hurt that much more, wrinkles are that much deeper, and our skin sags just a bit more.  The question is, are we really living, or are we just biding our time until we return to the dirt?
I've always said that I want to be a grandfather with stories.  Nothing amazes me more than sitting with someone who has lived their lives, scared, broken, and battered, with a smile on their face, recounting it all in a light than can only be possessed by the one whom is experienced.
It sickens me sometimes how much of my life I spend sitting and contemplating, rather than getting up and doing.  Each second that passes is lost in a time I'll never get back.  Every hour is gone to a place I'll never see and never go.  The days I've wasted are lost.  The weeks I've worried away are gone, and the months spent in worry are nevermore.  The time is the present, and the future is what I'm concerned with because that is where my days will be spent.  The only regret I want is not regretting anything.

Sorry for going all deep there, just thoughts in my head brought out by the beers I had at happy hour.  Here's to life!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What a day..

Yesterday was one filled with a major "down" and then some major "ups" thereafter.  I woke up in the morning with a migraine that must have started during my sleep in the night, then had to deal with some personal stuff which put a serious damper on the day.  After, it was off to work (involving a ride with a client), and being able to get my mind on work and off what was going on helped ease the situation.  Then, I got in the car and drove up to my own little "mountain bike heaven" to ride for the afternoon.  That, again, provided some really nice opportunities to get my mind of things and concentrate solely on not busting my ass over all the rocks.  Next up was a ride with the boys at one of the local trails, putting me further into the "happy Dave" zone.

I could complain for hours about my day yesterday, and how bummed out it was to start, only to end on a high note, but I won't go on with that.  Shit happens to everyone and I'm no different.  If anything, this has just fueled my fire to do my own thing and break away from my dependance on others.  More times that not in my life, when I've relied on others, I've been let down and/or disappointed.  That's not to say that people aren't reliable.  Maybe it's that I just expect too much.  Or perhaps I'm too much of a perfectionist to let others take the reigns.  Whatever the case is, once again I have to travel my own path.  This isn't a bad thing, of course, it's just that other plans were being made.  Gotta start from the beginning now.

Moving on, today is more likely to be a little more low key-hopefully.  Got off to a rough start, waking up early, getting all caffeinated, only to have my client cancel 20 minutes before we were to meet.  I've got two more people to see this morning (if they don't call to cancel!), a class to teach, and a doctor's appointment to take my father to early this afternoon.  I might catch a ride later with a friend, but to be honest, I'm pretty shattered right now.  Then again, there's plenty of time to rest when I'm dead.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Karma is a fucking bitch.  Life is what happens when you're making other plans.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Just simply tired.  Not much else.

As I've stated in the last couple posts, the past few days' weather has been nothing short of beautiful.  Summer-like temps are making it really easy to get out and play.  I've been riding, skateboarding, and just generally spending all of my free time outside.  With the exception of lifting weights, all my exercise time has been out in the good 'ole sunshine.

The rub, though, is that with all this exercise and excitement has come little rest.  Being so pumped up all the time and stoked on the good weather has me staying up too late and waking early for work.  The past nights have brought me about a total of 8 hours of sleep in 3 days. Not gonna cut it with the amount of energy I'm expending.

Tonight I'm going to make an effort (after I finish this second Guinness) to get in bed, read a book, and go "lights out" before 10pm.  I've got an early wake up time tomorrow (what else is new?), so I've go to make it a priority to get the sleep in early.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What. A. Day!

Ridiculously nice out today and I made the most of it.  Started in this morning with a ride on the road bike (yeah, that's right, the ROAD bike!), then got in some clients at work, some shopping done, a skateboard ride with my pup, and even managed to get back to the gym for some weight training.  Not a bad day by a longshot.

The rest of the week is supposed to bring more of this wonderful weather, so the only thing to avoid is doing too much.  I, like many others I imagine, get excited and energized by beautiful, sunny days.  I see now why I have a tendency to loose so much weight over the summer-all I wanna do is ride my bike all day!

Anyway, I'm probably going to try for a round 2 at some point this week of the trails that I rode in yesterday's "Frustrating" ride I spoke of in the last post.  I'll probably wind up heading up alone, which will mean being a little more careful and hitting a few less sketchy obstacles.  It'll still be nice to get in more than 5 miles, scary stuff or not.

Looking forward to good things on the horizon for sure.  Amazing to think of where I was in my personal life a few months ago as compared to now.  I'm only hoping this positive trend continues far into the future.


Went out and rode with a couple buddies and some other guys yesterday.  It was fun, but unbelievably frustrating at times.  Not to toot my own horn, but over my time of riding mountain bikes, I've become a very strong and capable rider.  I like a lot of tech, rocks, roots, and drops.  The gnarlier the track there better.  I'm not one to get way up in the air, or do any crazy Red Bull Rampage type canyon drops, but I like to challenge/scare myself every time I ride.

The fellas I rode with yesterday (and I knew this before we set out), weren't quite as strong or capable as I.  No problem.  I love riding with everyone.  Whether beginner, intermediate, or advanced, any ride, for the most part, is a good ride.  The thing I don't like, is stopping every 5 minutes to talk and/or contemplate a section to ride.  I'm all for having fun and making things social, but when the stop time outweighs the ride time nearly 2:1, things need to change.

We wound up getting in just over 5 miles of riding in over 2 hours and 20 minutes!!!  For anyone this is ridiculous.  Granted, the trails were very rocky, and we did stop to session a few cool spots, but the stoping and waiting killed the ride.  It was a beautiful day (temps in the 70's) with sunshine, and we spent more than our fair share of time standing around in the woods.  And, to make things even more frustrating, there were mechanical issues, crashing/injury issues, and general "out-of-shapeness" issues.

I don't wanna sound like a sour, pissed off jackass, but what could have been a great day of riding turned into a great day of a little riding, mixed in with a lot of talking, stoping, and general lolly-gagging.  While I'm not seriously training anymore (at least for the moment), I still want to spend most of my time in the woods with my bike actually riding it and not standing around talking about it.

Don't get me wrong, the group I rode with yesterday are a great bunch.  Nice guys that love riding for sure.  My only gripe is that they spend a bit more time talking about riding than actually riding.  Get the wheels down and turn the cranks boys.  Next time I'll either choose my riding partners a bit more carefully, be a little more firm about riding more, or simply ride alone.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

New Skateboard!!!

You may be saying to yourself, "Isn't 31 a little old for this guy to be buying a new skateboard?" And to some extent I agree.  However, as of late, meaning about the last two years, I've really seen myself focusing more on fun, than on competition in my athletic pursuits.

As I've mentioned several times before, I've competed all my life.  Ice hockey, lacrosse, football, baseball, MMA, you name it and I've more than likely tried it about once.  You cold say I'm quite the random athlete.  I like to do it all, and I like to test myself.  I'm guessing that's why triathlon appealed to me so much.

Anyhow, the last two years have found me getting more back to my roots.  When I was a kid (pre-17ish), I was all about the sports that no one was into, a.k.a. the "extreme sports".  I liked the stuff you now see mainstream on XGames.  The stuff that guys who drink Monster and Redbull Energy drinks dig.  Stuff that could get you hurt, but the adrenal dump is worth the pain.  Originally my re-birth came in the way of mountain biking (of which I started with xc and since that has grown monotonous I've moved onto Enduro and Super-D), which is still my true love.  Now, though, I've decided to broaden (or "re-broaden" as the case may be) my horizons by exploring, once again, the skateboard game.

Now, I'm not looking to be grinding rails, jumping stairways, or getting myself in a half pipe (not for now anyway), but rather, I'm getting a new longboard to indulge in my teenage ways.  I've wanted this particular one (Original Skateboards Apex 34) for about two years, and now that I've finally splurged on it, I can't be more stoked on getting it.  The way I see it, like a tattoo, if it's something I've been after for two-plus years now, it must be something I'm  really gonna get some use out of.

There are really two reasons I'm going this way.  One: I really enjoy taking my dog out with my current skateboard.  It's fun for me, and it's fun for her.  She gets in some fun running time, and I get to have a blast and not get board just walking.  And two: You can only ride a bike (mountain, road, bmx, whatever) so much before you get burned out.  I'm not saying that I'm burned out on mountain biking-nothing could be further than the truth, but adding a little variety in your physical pursuits is never a bad thing.  Not to get off on a tangent, but I really believe that the biggest problem facing both people looking to get fit, and young, up and coming athletes, is the fact that they both go overboard in doing only one activity or one sport.

When I was young, my biggest and most favorite sport was ice hockey.  I'd play everyday for hours on end, waking up at 2am some mornings to get in some ice time before school, and then heading back to the rink the moment school was out to get back out there.  By some means I was fanatical.  (*This probably explains my "all or nothing" attitude I've carried into adulthood-yeah, working on that...)  I progressed for the first few years of my hockey career, getting quite good for my age, only to hit a giant plateau.  I got to the point where mentally all I thought of was hockey.  This lead to being extremely hard on myself, and allowing myself to become consumed to the point at which I was only happy if I was playing good.  When general "life happiness" is dictated by your performance, it's a recipe for disaster.

Once I entered high school, my parents enrolled me at a school where it was mandatory to play a sport each of the three athletic seasons.  I fought tooth and nail against it, but I was committed to the school and therefore committed to it's rules.  Football was in the Fall, hockey in the Winter (though there wasn't a school team I was allowed to play with my travel team), and lacrosse was in the Spring.  The funny thing was, once I spread my focus among the three sports, I excelled in all.  No longer was I a slave to my own mind, I was freed up by the aspect of believing that if I had a bad performance in one sport, there were always two others to fall back on.  In effect, I could no longer worry so much about one because the others demanded my attention as well.  Yup, I'm a little sick in the head.

In regard to where I now find myself, it's taken me about 30 years to realize that overemphasizing one aspect of your life, whether it's relationships, family, sport, work, or whatever, is never a good thing.  To be a complete, and therefore happy person, you must surround yourself with challenges of a physical, intellectual, and emotional level.

In ancient Japan, there were men called Ronins.  Basically, a Ronin was what we might refer to as a modern mercenary.  They fought for cash, and were generally considered some of the most efficient killers and assassins of their time.  They were trained in sword fighting and martial arts of course, but what set them apart from so many of history's warriors was their education in other aspects of life.  They were poets, artists, philosophers; skilled in different trades, and could produce thoughtful insight on life as well as death.  They were first and foremost complete human beings.

When you look at not only athletes of today, but the general population as well, so many are focused mainly on one thing.  There is very little balance to the way the western world works.  More times than not there is a set plan: Go to school, get a job, meet and marry someone, buy a house, have kids, and die.  All the while being unbalanced as hell, and trying to be "happy" as it were.  Kind of unoriginal if you ask me.  The point is that you can still do all these things, only with a balance that comes from developing yourself in different ways.  You can still be a master of one thing while being a jack of all trades at others, but realize that you must balance your mind and body to be successful and happy.  Otherwise, we're just a bunch of ants carrying sand to make an anthill.  Sure we serve a purpose, but in the end, what did we really do with our lives but add another peace of sand to a hill that will be gone faster than it was built.

Rant over.  Moral is the story is, I got a new skateboard, and I'll damn sure bet it's going to make me a better mountain biker.  Have a good day. :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Back to Life

The past week has seen me get less and less sleep on consecutive nights.  Five hours, then four, then three.  Not good for anyone, much less someone who actually tries to ride their bike quite a lot, as well as box, jiu jitsu, and lift weights.  As a result, I was a complete zombie yesterday.  Coffee got me through the morning and an afternoon ride, but by 6pm I was ready to check out.  I had to see a couple clients, but was home by 7 and just about drooling on myself.

I managed to get in bed by around 9, and was asleep, I'd guess, by no later than 10.  My body had gotten on such a schedule with my shit sleep pattern, that I actually shot up like a rocket at 3am.  Gladly I went back to sleep of course, but it was nonetheless a bad feeling to wake up like you were late for something.

Today is dreary and rainy out, though still warm enough to give you that good feeling of spring.  I'll most likely try to remain mostly chill on the exercise front, but get other life stuff done through out the day.  Gotta hit work, take the dog to get groomed, and clean my apartment.  Kind of a mundane day, but after my zombie-like feelings of yesterday, it'll do my body some good to be on chill mode.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

So Stoked!

Completely stoked on today.  The sun is already shining, the weather is warm, and there are a lot of good things happening.  I get to ride my new bike later and see some folks I'm looking forward to seeing.  Add to this that the weather is awesome, I'm feeling great, and don't feel bogged down by superficial things going on in my life.

So many times we get stuck on things where we are.  Work, relationships, friends, etc.  It's almost like we're just dug down in a hole, unable to poke our heads out the top to see what's really going on in the rest of the world.  I'm happy that at this time in my life I've seemed to poke my head up and out of the hole to see the world around me, and the opportunities that are available to me.

I was watching a piece on Jeb Corliss, a wing suit skydiver.  In the interview, he explain thats we're all going to die, and that's inevitable.  What's important is what we do with our lives while we're here.  More than all the cool footage of guys dressed like flying squirrels speeding through canyons within an inch of their lives, this notion stuck with me.  There are a million reasons we can make for not trying things, not doing stuff, or making decisions that aren't what we really want.  I think, though, that the biggest part of why we don't make certain decisions is fear.  In the wrap up of the piece, when asked if Jeb was ever scared while jumping, the interviewer explained that Jeb had the ability to turn off the fear to get the jump done, and enjoy the experience once his feet left the earth.  I have to think of what a wonderful notion that is.  Of course all wing suit diving isn't' for all of us, but what if we could break through the fear we have, let our "feet leave the earth" and enjoy the ride.

In my life I've been presented with several options.  I'm ready to leave the earth, escape the fear, and fly.  Sure there's a chance to crash head first into a mountain, and find myself broken at the bottom, but what's worth living if there isn't a chance of failure.  The flight is that part that matters, and we just have to get out of our heads and do it.  Otherwise we'll never get a chance to really live.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Another Day, Another Bike

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time (all 2 of you raise your hands, NOW!), you'll know that I'm quite a bike junkie.  I go through bikes quite a lot, but that's not to say that I waste a lot of money on them.   My system, as it is, involves buying a bike, riding it for a few months, then selling it for nearly what I paid for it, and buying a new bike with the money that I've made off the sale.  It's kind of like "leasing" a bike if you will.  In the end it only really costs me a couple hundred bucks to get a new bike.  Not a bad deal to keep up with all the current tech that's involved with modern mountain bikes.

So, the vicious circle continues today, but this time with a bit of a twist.  In an effort to consolidate the number of bikes I own, not only giving me more space in my apartment, but also giving me some extra cash in my pocket, I decided to sell three of my mountain bikes.  One was a Cannondale Jekyll, one a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR, and the last a Transition Trans Am.  I put them all up on Ebay the past week, and to my delight everything sold.  In the end I didn't get quite as much as I wanted for the lot, but the sales still afforded me the opportunity to get a new rig, and put some cash in my pocket.  Thumbs up!

On to the new steed...

I picked up a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR EVO.  This was the original bike I wanted when I picked up the Stumpy FSR I just sold, so it was a long time coming.  Looking back, obviously, I should have gone with the EVO version from the beginning, but hey, I'm a dumbass sometime.  Anyway, I couldn't be more stoked with the bike.  It's everything I want in a complete package.  I've been riding long enough to know exactly what I like, and this bike just about has it all-adjustable seat post, bulky wheels and chunky tires, slack geometry, and nice long legs (suspension that is).

So far the only change I've made has been the bars.  It comes stock with 720mm bars, but I like 'em a bit wider, so I threw on 750's.  Otherwise, I might go with a zero rise stem (probably in the area of around 65-75mm), and possibly a 1X10 setup.  All this is just playful thoughts, and I'm sticking to my assertion that this bike really doesn't need any changes.  It's totally dialed right out of the box.  I'm just a little picky every now and then, and like to test my mechanical skills.  Gotta keep myself busy!

After picking up the new ride, I met up with a buddy to take a quick lap around some of the local trails.  There's nice mix of hardpack and techy stuff there, and I got a good opportunity to test the new beast.  In honesty, I couldn't be happier.  The suspension is plush, but not swampy, and the light weight of the bike truly shines through.  I got her up in the air several times and the balance was great.  The Rock Shox Revalation Fork is so comfy and simple I wouldn't think about changing it, and the Fox Float RP2 Shock is legit.  Very sturdy in the chop, but doesn't overdo it.  I can tell I'm going to have a long love affair with this bike.  Muy Bueno!

Tomorrow I'll probably take some time off the bike and hit the heavy bag and lift some weights.  I'm really enjoying being strong again, and lifting weights and fight training has re-energized my desire to be fit.  It's kinda nice not training for a specific race or event, but rather working toward just being healthy, feeling good, and being strong.  Interesting also how it opens up time to do other "life" things and take care of actual responsibilities.  Kinda digging' where I'm at in life right now.  :-)


People use terms like "epic", "amazing", and "extraordinary" so much it takes a lot of the weight out of the words.  So many times I'm guilty of saying something was amazing that I sound like the kid who cried wolf.  Anyone who knows me knows that I can get pretty excited about things, especially when it comes to riding a mountain bike. But...I have to say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that yesterday was one of the most AMAZING rides I've ever had.

The plan was to go to Sprain Ridge with a buddy of mine and his friend.  Sprain is one of my favorite trail systems (See yesterday's post), and it never disappoints.  The technical trails, rocks, roots, rollers, and exploratory aspect of trail just makes me smile.  

The three of us met up in the parking lot, exchanged whatever it is that guys do when we say hi to each other, talked about how much our bikes rock, compared notes and started riding.  We were about a quarter of the way through the trail when one of the guys had a gnarly crash.  He wound up fine, just a few small scrapes, but his bike was wacked.  Bent derailleur hanger, bent derailleur cage, and he was walking.  He decided to bail, which left myself, his friend, and a new guy that had asked to ride with us.

Soon we were back riding, and managed (of course) to get a little turned around.  We found another rider, asked directions, and got back to riding.  The rider, who's name was Joe Joe, also asked to join our little group.  He lives 5 minutes from the trailhead and knew every nook and cranny of the trail system.  He took us out where we wanted to go, and showed us lines I never thought were ridable.  Riding behind him was a lesson in what exactly can be done on a bike.  It was awesome to follow his flow, and hit some stuff I would have never imagined was an actual line.

Joe Joe is 47 and rides a single speed hard tail 26er with about 120mm of front suspension.  For comparison, I ride those same trails with a 170mm fork and 160mm of rear travel.  In other words, it's like I'm driving a Ferrari and he's driving a Datsun.  He truly puts to rest the notion that riding skill and tackling objects as anything to do with the bike you ride.  Dude was simply amazing.  

As we got back to the lot, packed up our bikes, and exchanged phone numbers, it hit me that when I woke up this morning I didn't know any of these guys.  We all knew each other for literally a matter of minutes before we rode together and enjoyed a Sunday afternoon in the woods together.  I found it so cool that no matter what our ages were (they ranged from the youngest, Sean, 23, to the oldest, Joe Joe, 47), or what we did for a living, we were able to ride and be completely stoked on good weather and awesome riding.  Furthermore, we all had different skillets.  Some of us were good at riding some spots, and other times had trouble.  No matter, we all had fun and can all say that we made some friends.  

Great day!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Not much...

Not much to post up today.  I'm making an effort to write every day, so sometimes my content might be a bit boring, but DEAL WITH IT! :)

Heading up to ride some of my favorite trails today with a couple friends.  Trails really are what you make of them.  A year ago, I would have thought these particular trails were crazy.  Too techy, too slow, and not enough flow.  I still don't think there's much flow, but for what they lack in that, they more than make up for in technical challenges.  I always think of the rides I do there as "skill work", getting me out of my comfort zone and allowing me to get my bag of tricks up to snuff.

There's all types of riding in mountain biking.  There's fast and flawy, smooth and groomed, rugged and rocky, etc.   None is really better than the other, but knowing to ride all of them is important if you want to be a complete rider.  I hate when people get carried away with how "techy" the stuff is they ride, and put down others for riding smooth and groomed trails.  The truth of the matter is that no matter what you ride, you can make it more or less difficult by the lines you choose and the speeds you travel.

My local trails are probably what would be considered easy by most "hardcore" east coast riders.  There aren't many rocks, not too many crazy roots, and generally, they're hard packed and fast.  But, that's not to say that they can't be ridden hard and taken at speeds that will make you hurt if you come off the bike.  I've had gnarlier crashes on the local stuff than I've ever had on the "crazy"rocky and technical stuff.

What I'm getting at is that riding is what you make of it.  You can always challenge yourself no matter where you are as long as you're creative and use your imagination to inspire your riding.  The longer I've been at this, the more I look off  the trail at what I can jump, ride, huck, or whatever.  Recently I've been known to just tear through the woods, going through low lying brush, thorn bushes, and branches to take a line that no one sees but me.  Sure it's given me some flats, crashes, and bangs, but more importantly, it's given me a smile from ear to ear.

Again, not much to say on the day here, but this was something that has been on my mind.  If you ride mountain bikes, don't forget about the purpose of what exactly they were created.  It wasn't to get from point A to point B as quick as possible (though that's certainly fun); and it wasn't to put others down because they didn't ride what you rode; the purpose of the mountain bike was to ride whatever, wherever you want.  The mountain bike broke the limits set fourth by the modern road bike, and shattered the perceptions of where you could go with two wheels and pedals.  Don't let your thinking be limited to the thought that you have to ride somewhere in any such matter.  Shred what you want and don't apologize to anyone.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ray's Mountain Bike Parks


I can't wait to go to one of these! I have no plans as of now to make the trip (as there are none even close to where I live), but whenever the chance may arise, I'll be sure to make it happen.

One thing I thought of when I was watching this vid, was just how afraid we are to be the "new guy", or novice at something.  In the gym where I work, there are so many people, particularly men, that simply can't find it in them to be the novice, or to try something new.  I was thinking about it yesterday, and I realized just how many male clients I've had stop coming in only after a few sessions because they didn't want to be told what to do-that is, be less than an absolute expert at something.  I'm guessing this is one of two things.  Either we all, as guys, wanna be the "Alpha Male" so bad that our egos prevent us from taking the instruction of another male that may know more, and/or we have reached an age at which we are no longer accustomed to being a beginner at anything.  It amazes me how often this happens.  Furthermore, there is no greater way to stunt your growth as a human being than by being the one that neglects the teachings of others, no matter how you may perceive them at the time.

In an age where we can find instant anonymity behind out computer screens, it's really rare that you meet someone that is willing to take the chance at being a fool to learn something new.  We've all been the fool at one point or another, and more times than not I'm willing to bet that we've come out better for it.  Ha! With this type of thinking, I'm going to aspire to be a fool every day! Maybe I'll "git learn'd sumthin!"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fitting it all in

There comes a time when every organized person has to say "no" in the face of something they cannot do.  I, while certainly not the most organized person, had to come to that decision this morning.

I had planned quite a lot for today.  I expected to have a few clients, take one for a road ride, go to Boxing and Jiu Jitsu, drive out to ride with a friend, and head back home to build a couple of dressers I just got for my apartment.  Probably the first mistake I made was to wake up late.  Getting a late start to this morning was not what I needed, and forced me to reconsider some of my plans.  Jiu Jitsu and Boxing would have been nice, but in reality there was no way I could come home and turn right back around again to get there on time.  Ok, so that's nixed.

Next up on tap was checking my sales on Ebay, which are going well (fingers crossed), check my email, and have some coffee.  Check.

No I'm getting up to hop in the shower, drink some more coffee, load both my bikes (road and mountain) into the car, pack a bag, and get on the road.  The rest of the day is going to be pretty busy, but I'm hoping to get it all in.  I'm thinking that the little bit of extra sleep I got in this morning will power me through the day, but you never know.  Ether way I have a feeling I'm gonna crash big time by this evening.  At least it'll be a well deserved ending to a potentially productive day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Feelin' good

No matter how many times it happens, I'm still shocked by how different events in your life can have an influence on how you feel.  Maybe I rely too much on external things to make me happy, but so be it.  I can't remember many times when I've been happier in my life.

There's a lot of bullshit going on where I work right now, but to be honest I can't care an ounce less.  Though there are slimy characters, and unprofessional things afoot, I continue to look forward to what opportunities present themselves in my life.  Motivational speakers might call this positive thinking, and in many ways it is, but for me, it's a calmness that has come over me, with the confidence to take the stress load off my shoulders.

I'm usually an abnormally nervous person; that is to say that I'm quite the anxious bastard.  I suppose like everyone, that I loose sleep over bills and other "life" things, but so many times I can't shake the everyday stress of life without doing something physical.  That's my outlet.  Days without sweat are like being in solitary confinement.  I bang my head against rubber walls, and struggle to move in the straight jacket I've created in my mind.  Very many nights have been spent struggling and wrestling with my own brain.  I always know in the end that it's useless (I think Lance Armstrong once said, "You can't solve anything laying awake in bed at 2am" but that's me, what can I say).

Anyway, without getting off on too much of a tangent, things seem to be making more sense these days than they have previously.  Life has seemed to slow down enough to understand what's going on, giving me a clear and concise course to follow.  I can't remember the last time I've been able to think so clearly.  Maybe it's maturity.  Maybe it's finally getting the pieces in place.  Whatever the case, it's a good feeling.  I just hope it lasts.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Busy day of getting bikes ready for selling.  Not as much real "paid work" as I'd like, but good stuff nonetheless.  If all goes well, and the bikes all sell, I should be getting a nice return on my efforts.

Capped off the day with a night ride with my buddy John and a few (too many) beers and dinner at a local bar.  Nothing says male bonding like spending a couple hours in the woods followed by some beers at the local watering hole. Maybe a little more "Brokeback Mountain" than macho, but still had fun:).

I should have another bike listed on ebay by tomorrow, and with any luck, the last one will be up by the evening.  I'm really hoping that they go quick, but either way I'll be happy with a sale.  I've got lots of plans for the money!

Everything Must Go!

I've been spending a lot of time lately reorganizing my life.  I've cleaned my apartment, organized my drawers, cleaned out my tools, and even started lifting weights regularly again!  Of everything I'm most proud of the weights and the benefits that it's shown already.  Training for triathlon, cycling, and mixed martial arts fighting has given me incredible will, determination, and a great aerobic base.'s taken away much of the size and strength that I built up over the years previous of playing ice hockey, football, and lacrosse.  Nevertheless, it's not too late to get some of that size and strength back into this 31 year old body.

With the idea of cleaning everything out, getting fitter in a different way, and generally reorganizing my life, I also need to get rid of some of the billion bikes I feel like I have.  So here goes: I've got three bikes that I'm looking to move.  They're all bikes that are similar in capability, and in reality there's no good reason to have all of them.  What I've decided to do is clear house, order a new rig from the shop, and narrow things down to one road bike, and two mountain bikes.  In doing so, if all goes right of course, I'll be able to clear some space and have a little extra money left over from the sales.  At this point in my life (and my plans for the future), it makes more sense to have two less bikes and more extra cash in the bank. Time to grow up a bit I suppose :).

This morning will be spent getting things ready for the sale, and I'm hoping to have the bikes posted up on ebay by the latest tomorrow afternoon.  I'll post a link to this blog as I post the bikes.  They're all great bikes in great condition.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Old Wu...

Just listening to some old Wu Tang on Pandora.  Reminds me of high school.  I had a friend named Chuck who's family was richer than rich.  We used to go and drink (and smoke weed-though I never used to partake in the herb) at his house when we were in high school.  At 17 I had a convertible, a loud stereo,  and a wallet full of cash.  What a life...

Anyway, we'd rock on over to Chuck's house, his parents out-either sleeping or actually out-and fill his basement with the sweet sounds of the Wu.  Ah, the good times we had.  Crazy to think that was actually more like 13 years ago.  Crazy how fast time goes.  What a wild and crazy ride it's been since.  I remember thinking that things couldn't possibly get any crazier.  Amazing how naive I was and how little I knew at the time.  

This post I'm sure doesn't make much sense.  I guess it's hard to describe smells, sounds, and experiences that are uniquely  mine.  Well, I could do a better job, but to be honest, I'm just lazy right now.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Motivation, Change, Etc.

Lots going on these days.  Mostly in my head.  I tend to be one of those people that keeps everything in their dome, thinking, planning, and re-planning things to the point of obsession.  Some people have OCD that shows itself in the form of turning on and off the light switch, folding clothes just so, or vacuuming circles in their rugs.  I have a brain that never stops thinking, worrying, thinking, and worrying.  More times than not I make things into a bigger deal than they have to be, only because I'm not always good at getting thoughts out of my head and into action.

I'm trying to work on this.  I'm writing much more, not for others all the time, but when I can for myself.  I've got a few projects I'm working on that may never see the light of day, but in my own therapeutic way, are helping me to get my mind straight.  I've always had athletics as an outlet, but as I mature, I find that using my mind can be almost as useful.

The high school I went to stressed (when I was there at least), the use of mind and body.  There was the Greek ideal of using both thought and physicality equally to be a complete human being.  I think there isn't quite enough of that anymore.  We've got these monkey bodies that have remained unchanged for so long, with these big brains, and more times than not, we don't take advantage of how physically and mentally gifted we are.  Maybe it's a condition of the times in which we live, ripe with technology to make things easier, closer, and generally less of a hassle.  Remember when we had to actually get up to change the channel on the tv?  Or when we were actually stuck to the wall by a coiled wire when we spoke on the phone?  How did we ever manage!?  Perhaps we've just grown too soft as a species, and we lack the same primal need to express ourselves physically.

Mentally as well, how many times a day do we challenge our minds, thinking creatively.  I, personally, fall into the trap of not improvising nearly enough throughout the day.  There can be weeks on end that I find myself going through the motions, bleeding one day into the next.  When I finally "wake up" from this mind numbing coma of repetition, I'm amazed at how much time has passed and how I've virtually accomplished nothing.  I can say without a doubt, that our ancestors certainly did NOT have the freedom to have a day in which they did not, at multiple points, need to think and react to what was placed in front of them.  Fires don't make themselves.  Shelter is not always made by nature alone.  And survival is not a right, it's earned through careful thought, planning, and in some cases, luck.

Where am I going with all this?  I'm not sure.  This is just a little bit of what goes on in my mind on a daily basis.  With the coming changes, and new challenges I find in front of me, I feel revitalized in that "primal" way of improvisation and thought.  I've got the physical attributes to survive, and the skills acquired to make it happen.  Now I've just got to sharpen my mental game and display the ideals that were taught to me in my teenage years.  Damn, I knew that one of these days I'd go back to the things I learned when I was in high school...

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Migranes suck ass.

After having my head blocked and my mind not working (mostly as a result of a lack of sleep), I hit the gym yesterday in search of an outlet for my stress, only to find the shitty sauce which is a migraine on my first set of compound rows.  Sucked.

My migraines begin by effecting my peripheral vision.  Only after my vision returns to normal does the pain begin.  During the tunnel-vision state, I usually take a few aspirins and prep for the discomfort that is to follow.  Being that I was in the gym, and obviously couldn't drive, I decided to take about 4 Advil, and proceed to wreck myself with a hard workout.  I mean, why the hell not, right?

The workout turned into a slugfest with myself, beating my body into oblivion and enjoying every moment.  Every endorphin rush is different.  Running elicits a certain "high", as does cycling, as does jiu-jitsu.  Weight lifting gives me a very satisfied feeling, similar to that of running.  I'm enjoying getting my strength back, as well as having a bit of extra muscle on me.  As one of my clients mentioned, I "don't look like an AIDS patient anymore."  I guess that's a good thing.

With another shit day of weather ahead, I'm going to take the day easy.  I've got some work to get done, and some ideas that need to be hashed out, so those will be the focus.  If I can, I might get in an easy jog/walk with the dog, but my priorities are definitely work first, workout second.