Monday, April 30, 2012

Skidding Sideways to the Grave is Expensive, and some words on running 1x10

It's been said that "I don't want to reach the grave with a well preserved body, but rather slide into it sideways with a well used one."  I like to live my life with that attitude.  Living a life full of trepidation is no way to really live. After all, what are you really doing?  I don't want my life to be about the things I've not done, but rather the things I kicked ass doing (or the things that kicked my ass while I was doing them!)  Either way, I want to have scars and stories to tell my grandkids about what crazy adventures I had.

This doesn't come cheaply, however.  It's important to remember that any action has an equal and opposite reaction, and breaking a bone, cutting your skin, or concussing your head is as good a way as any to realize how expensive medical care in this country can be, particularly when you don't have health insurance!

Of all the crazy things I do, and all the crazy things I've done, I've been lucky to have had few injuries.  I've busted my face, gotten stitched up a bit, and incurred other non-lifethreatening trials and tribulations, but I, fortunately, have remained largely unscathed for the amount of craziness I've subjected this body too.

My current injury is costing me north of $2k.  Not a light sum by any means.  I could go on and on about what I might have done differently to change my fortune, but there's no use in spending time pondering something that can't be changed.  There's not time machine and there's no way to do it differently.  The only thing I can do is learn from the mistakes I made and attempt not to come across the same mistake again.

"Live and learn"- One of the truer statements muttered.

1x10 Gearing:
If you don't know what 1x10 gearing is, and you ride a mountain bike, get to hitting the books (mags) and learn what it is you're missing.  I've ridden mountain bikes exclusively for a few years now, and in that time, I've tried just about everything available.  I've owned more bikes than I'm comfortable confessing, and I've bought into just about every hype and trend there is.

When I began riding, 29ers were just hitting the scene in a big way.  I got a single speed 29er (which I later switched to a geared 29er) and went to work on learning how to ride.  Soon I was on to 26 inch wheels, going backward from what the current trend is.  Then, just as I got used to the 26ers, I went back to 29, and then, in an act of genius, I went back to 26.  Follow?  The flip flopping had more to do with the type of riding I was doing, but nonetheless I got to ride all kinds of bikes, play with all types of components, and learn what it was that fit my riding style the best.

In my 'mountain bike journey', I've now come to the range of riding mostly trail and all mountain bikes.  These are the most versatile of all bike types in the mountain bike world, and with that, have the most technology imposed on them.  For example, take a look at an XC (cross country) bike from the mid 90's and then take a look at what guys are riding these days.  With the exception of bigger wheels (29ers) and disc brakes, not a whole lot has changed.  Sure suspension has gotten more advanced, but not by much when you consider the drastic changes that have come in downhill and free ride bikes.  To think that guys were riding downhill courses in what most people would race cross country on now is a frightening thought.

The result of the changes in technology generally trickle down from the downhill market to the all mountain and trail categories of bikes, and it's there where we find ourselves.  The idea of running a single ring setup on a downhill bike is not new.  After all, it doesn't make much sense to run a surplus of gears when you're only going to need the biggest ones for pedaling downhill.  With the availability of 9 and 10 speed cassettes and derailliers, the gear ratios have become high enough to make it not unreasonable to now run a single ring, 9 or 10 speed setup on a trail or all mountain bike.

Before I decided to try this out for myself, I was afraid not because of the fact that I might run out of gears and have to walk, but for the fact that I was afraid to have someone see me run out of gears and have to walk.  I'm no stranger to hiking my bike up a steep grade to rip back down.  I find a sense of pride in having to walk up something that is too steep going up, but super rip-able from the opposite direction-I'd say all mountain bikers do.  No, it was in contending with the long climbs I was concerned.  The climbs that are not particularly steep, but seem to go on forever.  Completing these with a lightweight XC bike is often hard enough, but what about when it comes to slogging a ~30lb "big bike" up these monsters?

I'm happy to say that my fears were completely unfounded.  Soon after my first ride I came to realize that small chainrings mated to big chaingrings (see 2x10) have a home on road bikes with road gearing but not necessarily on their studded tired cousins.  Even on my biggest bikes, I've found gear parings that allow me to climb easily and smoothly, yet have enough range to get me moving on the flats, and never leave me feeling like I've run out of gears.  And best of all, at least in my mind, there are no duplicate gears.  I'm able to use the full cluster of gears as they were meant to be used.  It's a small victory, but one that does mean something.

In all this, the most important thing is to know what you're looking for.  I personally run a 12-36 cassette on my heaviest bike with a 34 tooth chainring up front and have no problems.  I'm happy with the simplicity of not running any front dearailliur, and more than happy with the resulting lighter weight of the bike-not that it's all that much though.  One other benefit is that I have fewer controls to distract me when riding.  Now, instead of my left thumb being responsible for shifting and hitting my dropper post remote, it's only responsible for the post remote.  Seems like a small thing, but when you're forced to make a quick decision on the trail, less is always more.

Finally, I'm not insisting that 1x10 is for everyone.  Although many XC racers run 1x10 setups, many more don't.  I have a feeling that will soon change though, as the ever slow to adapt XC'ers find that they can save precious grams from their carbon race rockets when running less gearing.  Just tell a roadie or XC mountain biker that you have a way for them to make their bikes lighter and they'll do anything.  Anything.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Enduro EVO Build

Swapped out a few things for the following parts:
MRP Mini G2 Chainguide (1x10)
Mavic Crossmax SX Wheels
Easton Havoc Bars (750mm)
Easton Havoc Stem (50mm)
RaceFace Chainring (34t)
Specialized Command Post Blacklight

I love this bike.  It just feels right.  A couple weeks ago (the last time I rode, in fact), I rode with a guy named Jeff.  Jeff is a terrific rider and said something I'd never heard before.  Something that, in a lot of ways, is quite profound.  He said, "If you don't notice it, it's good."  Pretty simple really, but a concept looked over by a lot of riders.  We get caught up in the hype of new bike parts, lighter equipment, and state of the art technology, that we forget the most important aspect of any bike: How it rides!

I think as a former roadie, I'm oblivious to the fact that I shouldn't notice the bike underneath me.  Truth is, with the exception of the fit, a road bike is a road bike.  Sure, materials like carbon, steel, aluminum, and titanium all have a different feel-I won't argue that.  Some offer smoother rides, some offer stiffness over comfort, and yet some others offer responsiveness.  Some give you a lively feel, while others may leave you feeling as if you're riding a piece of wood.  What I'm getting at here, is that a road is a road.  All road bikes are going to be predictable in that they all are meant to be ridden on relatively smooth and predictable surfaces.  Don't give me the argument that routes like that of Paris-Roubaix are riddled with cobbles.  Sure, that's an exception, but it's still much smoother than the rocks mountain bikes roll over.

Nature is unpredictable and therefore mountain bikes need to be able to handle whatever comes their way.  Suspension, geometry, and tire choice all play a large roll in what makes a mountain bike.  Even further, Adjustable seat posts, handlebars, and stems make things that much more complicated.  I'd argue that most road riders could get away running a setup that wasn't quite dialed without noticing it much, while a mountain biker (particularly one who rides more technical courses, downhills, and jumps-sorry XC riders, you're almost like roadies is this regard) is going to notice even the slightest modification.

So, getting back to Jeff and my Enduro EVO, I ride this bike and barely notice it.  Though it's the heavier of the two I own, it disappears underneath me.  It's got some beefy tubes, beefy suspension, and beefy tires; beefy bars, beefy stem, and beef, beef, everywhere.  It meant to go up and over whatever is in your path, and that matches my riding style perfectly.  While I'm smooth on flowy single track, I enjoy rocking through rock gardens without being picky choosy about a line.  I tend to get way over the rear of the bike on the steep stuff, and the laid back geo of this rig allows me to do that.

I've made changes and I can be honest in saying that I'm a bit concerned about how they will change the bike.  In addition to the components, I've swapped out the stock spring in the shock and fork (coil for both), for a little bit heavier weight springs.  I was finding that on any big jump or drop, I was bottoming out the suspension.  Nothing all too brutal, but it was definitely a little discerning.  With the heavier springs, I'll be able to take more big hits, but I'm afraid of what that will do to the ride-ability I had through chunky rock gardens and heavy roots.

No matter what though, I still feel the bike will offer me the same reliable "invisibility" it provided me with before the changes.  i can't possibly see it not being the same, if not better bike in the end.  Can't wait to ride!!!


Thoughts are about the most exciting thing I've got going on a day to day basis recently.  There is a lot to look forward to, but for the moment, I've been stuck in my head, thinking about life, bikes, skateboarding, the things I have coming up, and the things I've done in the past.

Getting outside of your head can be difficult when you're used to allowing your emotions to fly through your physicality.  Exercise has been a staple in my life.  Without it for these last weeks has been tough, as evidenced by every post I've composed since my injury.  It amazes me how much my temperament and general personality is dictated by sweat.

I'm not going to say that I'm addicted to exercise, but for arguments sake, let's just say that I am.  Is that so bad?  Is it a bad thing to give in to one of your primal urges to work?  I mean, after all, when we ride our bikes, lift weights, run, swim, or play whatever sport we choose, all we're doing is mimicking what our animal bodies are designed to do in nature.  We're meant to sprint from bigger animals tracking us, and run after others that are our prey.  We're meant to move rocks and logs to provide shelter for ourselves and our families.  And we're meant to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion so that we may sleep well at night. So I ask again, is it really an addiction that I have? Or is it rather, giving in to the primal urge to satisfy my bodies purpose?

Whatever it is, life is not the same without it.  I can't imagine being a person who does not move their body on a daily basis.  Sure, some of us have more talents physically, and some have more talents mentally, but we all can benefit from running, jumping, and lifting things. I'm reminded of the television commercials for Planet Fitness: "I pick things up and put them down. I pick things up and put them down."  Yeah, the guy is a meathead, and yeah, he comes off as dumb, but we all have the 'dumb meathead' in us, only most of us don't let him come out.

Working out hurts, and training out bodies to perform the way we want is not always a painless process.  Still, the results of the work, the process, and the procedure, far outweigh the temporary discomfort we find as we push our bodies past their previous limits.  The old adage, "no pain, no gain" is spot on.  We don't get anywhere, physically or otherwise, without discomfort.

This injury is a demonstration of my growth as a person. It's an exercise of the mind, in which I am obviously quite weak.  The discomfort I feel is a test of how I can become a stronger person and how I can ultimately help myself and others get through similar situations.  No doubt, something such as this will come into my life again, and into the lives of those I care about.  While my plight is quite small in comparison to others, the lessons learned will transfer.

Friday, April 27, 2012

One more week...

That's what the doctor said, "One more week."  It's been almost 2 weeks since my foot was sliced on the roots of a fallen tree, and it hasn't been easy. Every day I've complained and complained about how much I'm in a hole with this injury, and how much I can't wait to get back on my bike.  I've said I'm upset and missing my bikes, and I've written extensively on why riding is so important to me.  I've expressed the idea that I didn't want to be upset, and that I would overcome this whole thing being the better for it at the end, and I've completely thrown that idea out of the window as well.  Fact is, I can't do shit about it.  Things have to run their course, and nature has to work it's magic.  The wound will heal when it heals, and no matter how much complaining I do, I'm not going to be able to make the time go any faster.

So what, then, makes this post any different from any other that I've written in the past two weeks?  I'm not sure.  I think I've been through the worst of this, and to be honest, I expected the diagnosis the doc gave today.  Something inside told me that I would need at least another week to heal, and no amount of wishful thinking was going to change that.  It's funny, the biggest 'sting' of this entire process didn't come when my foot was being split open, it happened when I was told I would have to go into a second week without riding.  Since, I've been up and I've been down, but not down to the extent of being so depressed as I was at that moment.

Since the time I began taking exercise seriously, probably around the time of my 17th birthday, I can't remember a time when I've gone more than seven consecutive days without sweating it out.  Sure I've had 'rest' weeks, but that was more of doing what I normally do, but just with less intensity.  I've never been sidelined.  This is new ground.  Perhaps this is in preparation for the day when I can literally no longer continue to do what I love.  I hope by then I'm able to fill that void with something that will excite me the way that riding and physical actions do.

The most frustrating part of this is that I do not have complete control over what's happening.  Sure, I can do everything in my power to help the process along (washing, keeping it clean, not doing too much on it), but even with all that, it's going to take time.

I'm not sure when I became so high strung, but perhaps my personality dictates that I don't like to wait.  I've been lucky in my life to have the ability to attain whatever I put my mind to.  I know that if I really believe in something and want it bad enough, I'll get it.  It's a gift as well as a curse.  It's never let me down, at least in the way that I've achieved many of the goals I've set out before myself.  Disappointment, though, is something that I don't like.  Who does?  If anything, this process has taught me to be just a bit more patient.  I can't say that I'm cured, but I'm closer to being more accepting of things that don't quite go my way.

Whatever the 'lesson' is in this, I know that I'll be changed in some way or another.  I don't classify this as a life changing event,  but rather a life learning event.  This is the same lesson we learn the first time we burn our hands on the stove out mother's told us not to touch, or hit out fingers with the hammer that our father's said to be careful with.  It's one of those lessons that primitive man learned for survival.  Don't drop big rock on foot. Foot hurt after big rock drop on foot.  AAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!  I'm convinced it was at this point in history when curse words were invented.

Moving on.  This weekend should be another in which I'll hopefully get some work done and expand my brain while my waistline does the same.  Sitting on my ass is not something I like to do often, but I suppose I'm getting used to it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This is rough

Again the foot is still on the mend and I'm still incredibly frustrated.  The wound has all but completely closed up.  The last part left to heal is still a small slit where the skin seems to be moist.  Not to be too gross, but between the toes is an area of a lot of moisture.  This makes it tough for healing to occur, hence the reason why I'm still waiting for things to 'dry up' and close up.  I head to the doc tomorrow to get my stitches removed, and I'm hoping he's got some good news for me.  Things are definitely headed in the right direction, I just need them to speed up a bit.

Along with all the complaining I've done this week, I've managed to do a lot of thinking as well.  Got a lot on my mind and being 'in my head' all the time doesn't make things better.  I've realized that exercise, whether it's riding my bike, lifting weights, skateboarding, or what have you, is really a means for me to get out of my head and forget about all that stresses me.  Being an only child, I guess I've always been forced to be alone with my thoughts.  This isn't a bad thing.  It's not like I never had friends to confide in, or people that would listen to me when I talked.  It's just that more often than not, I was by myself, forced in a way, to work things out in my head at my own pace and on my own time.  This habit has followed me into adulthood, and with the addition of more responsibilities and 'grown up life stuff', it is getting more and more difficult to simply solve things in my head.

I just started reading a book called "On Writing: A memoir of the Craft" by Steven King.  There's plenty in the book which I won't go into detail on here, but one thing that he wrote that has stuck out in my mind is that writing (and any art in general) is telepathy.  It's transferring your mind to any different place, time, setting, etc.  You're in effect, 'getting out of your head' and using your mind to transport your body to any place you wish.  Certainly I do that when I read and write, we all do, but I think the most evident place for me in which this happens is on two wheels.  It's not because it's some natural place, but rather because it's by far my most practiced place.  It's the place where I've spend hundreds and hundreds of hours, sweating, smiling, bleeding, and laughing.  My writing will be there soon, as will other aspects in my life.

Moving through this week has been difficult.  I've been up, but mostly down because of my foot.  It's a small thing, but it's taken away my most efficient form of transporting my mind to a different place.  A simple thing has caused great turmoil in the 'flow' of my general life, and I've done a pretty shitty job of getting the boat back on course.  Maybe I'm being hard on myself.  And that's ok.  The most important fact of this matter is that I learn from it and progress.  Going through this process without learning more about myself would be a shame.  Whatever the case, and whatever the future holds, the one certainty is that I'll be ready for an event such as this if and when it comes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another day and more stuff

Not a whole lot has changed since yesterday.  Still miss my bikes and still frustrated that my foot isn't healed yet.  Friday will tell the story of whether or not I'll be riding this weekend, so we'll let the cards fall as they may.

To be honest I'm getting used to not riding.  It's not that I miss it less, it's just that the 'sting' has seemed to have worn off.  The intensity of the idea of not riding has worn down, and I'm happy doing what I'm doing.  I guess I've made some peace with it, and I'm filling my time with more, and being productive in different ways.

For exercise today, I got back in the gym.  There's a certain endorphin rush that comes from moving a lot of weight, not to mention a sense of 'manliness' (haha), and that's a good thing.  It'll never quite replace what the bike brings to me, but it allows me to get out the stress that would otherwise fester in my head.

Lets keep the fingers crossed for a good report on Friday.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I miss my bikes

I know, I know, all I've been doing for the last week and a half now is bitching and moaning about how much it sucks to not ride my bike, and how much I want my foot to heal.  If you look back, I was super positive about the whole thing for about a week.  Then I hit a total low spot, and now I think I'm managing to dig myself out of it.

Occupying myself with different things than riding isn't the problem.  I've found ways to occupy my time and now seem more busy on a daily basis than I was when I was riding everyday.  I guess I'm just catching up on all that stuff I'm actually supposed to be getting done when I'm out in the woods.  The real problem is that I'm missing something I genuinely love doing.  I'm missing something that can always bring a smile to my face.  It's cliche to say that "any ride is a good ride," but in honesty, any ride is a good ride.  Just being out in nature, hearing the crunch of your tires on single track, and listening to your heart rate and breathing combine to make a symphony of suffering is something you can't get anywhere else.  Sure there are other things in life that bring me similar joy, but nothing I've yet done has produced the same feeling of freedom and ultimate confidence I get from riding my bike.

I've evolved over the years on two wheels.  First I was a triathlete, then a roadie, then a xc mountain biker, and now I've moved on to something all together different.  I surely like more gravity oriented riding, but skillful climbing makes me happy too.  I like getting air, but I'd rather ride down a steep rocky trail, or focus my attention on a chunky rock garden that doesn't seem ridable.  I like riding the stuff that looks like it belongs on the moon rather than on a trail.  Skills have taken a new meaning, one that has more to do with enjoyment than getting from one place to another in the least amount of time.  I used to ride to go fast, now I just ride to ride.  In many ways, I consider myself an artist when I ride.  Like any medium, riding to me is an expression and an extension of who I am.  It's more than just exercise, and it's more then just competition.  It's something I would do if no one was watching, and more often than not I like it better that way.

Sure there is stress that comes along with my riding, but I'd imagine it's no more than what a painter or a sculptor feel for their tools.  Without a chisel, what is a sculptor?  Without a brush, what is a painter?  I stress over my bike not because I see it as an object of desire, but because I see it as an extension of me.  It's the instrument that allows me to create, and with it I feel limitless.  Handlebars, wheels, suspension, tires, and gears combine to allow me entry to a world of my own making.  It's a place I can go where there are no rules other than the ones I prescribe myself.  They can be changed and rearranged as and when I see fit.  It's my universe of one, only allowing the natural progression of my riding as evolution.

Like I said, I miss my bikes.


It's amazing how decisions we've made in the past continue to influence our daily lives.  It's probably the closest form of time travel we have.  Things that I've done years ago have come back, some in good ways, others in bad.  Still they have as much pull over my life today, if not more, than they had the day that I made them.

When most of us think about bad decisions, we usually think about the credit cards we ran up in college, the questionable drink we slugged down at the bar, or the interesting character who's room we woke up in during college (ok, well that last one might not include ALL of us, but you know who you are!).  Bad decisions might include not having made the right decision, or not having taken action at all.  It may be anything from not having gone to the doctor when we were ill, the dentist when we had that toothache, or buying that stock we had a hunch on.

In many other ways it might be good that we took no action.  The party that we didn't go to where there was a fight, or the car ride we didn't take resulted in a crash.  I'm afraid I'm beginning to sound like an Alanis Moresette song, but the "ironic" part is that's it's all true.

I've been spending a lot of in reflection of my life these past days, recovering from what's most likely the most frustrating 'little' injury I've ever had.  I've been in my head quite a while, thinking of things I did, things I haven't done, and things I want to do.  The important thing and most relevant thread through it all is not to regret anything and to go after what you want with this life.  I've regretted more things in my past than I am happy to admit.  With the years I have left I want to reverse that trend. Sure there will be things that are bad, decisions that don't turn out like I wished them to, but at least I'll be able to say at the end that I went for it.  I'd rather miss the game winning goal on a shot that sailed over the net than have been sitting idly on the sidelines watching all the action unfold.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Good news but not the kind I wanted

I know I said earlier in the week that I wasn't going to piss and moan about my foot.  That I wasn't going to make a big issue over it because I'm much more of a person than just a bike rider.  I insisted that no I was going to use the time in a positive way, and appreciate the time I would spend away from my bikes.  Well screw that.  I have taken the chance to use the time constructively, perhaps not to it's fullest, but certainly a good chunk of my down time (which has been abundant), has lead to me completing some tasks I may have otherwise put towards riding.  And I've tried to remain positive about healing and taking the time to make sure I was doing everything in my power to heal effectively.  But, as evidenced by my post yesterday, I hit rock bottom yesterday.

I feel like a complete ass complaining about such a petty injury.  In the grand scheme of things, two weeks away from the bike is merely a blink of the eye.  It's nothing.  A mere speck in the cumulated time I've spent riding bikes.  I could go on with the cliches, but you get the point.  The problem comes when you can't ride, not when you choose not to.  People have suffered much more than me, and have been forced to take much longer periods away from the things that give them joy.  I should only consider myself lucky that I've been fortunate in nearly all the sports I've participated, not to have been forced away from it.  I guess this is what's so hard for me to deal with now.

I got a checkup from the doctor today and everything looks good.  The wound is healing properly, and there is no sign of infection.  The stitches must remain in for another 5 days, but afterwards I should be able to do some light riding.  Good news, and in reality what I expected, but I had hoped for more.  Still, I'm going to try and not whine, take it in stride, and do what needs to be done.  The fact is I'm healthy, I have a wonderful life, and 5 more days is absolutely nothing.

I apologize for these last posts being less than positive, and if you know me you know that I'm not much of a negative person.  I'll be back out soon enough as well as not crying like a baby in the near future.  In the end, it's my blog and I'll complain if I want to. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

This is getting tough

I'm at that point now in the injury process where everything is just too much.  I'm so bummed and disappointed that my foot isn't magically healed that it's beginning to play with my head.  I feel fat, out of shape, and just generally depressed.  I've not done anything physical in exactly a week. My body is not used to this.  It's as if I'm going through a drug withdrawal.

I know I've vowed not to whine about this in previous posts, but I'm at my end point here.  I can't imagine more days like today, much less a week if that's what it has to be. I spent the day working on my bikes (which, when thinking about it now, probably wasn't the best idea).  While it served to take my mind of not riding for the moment, it served to give me further grief when the jobs were completed.  Working on bikes all day is fine, but having a bunch of upgrades on said bikes that you can't even take to then end of the driveway to test-drive is just plain torture.  I'm left with a dull headache and a feeling of being unfulfilled.

Perhaps my time these days is better spent reading and writing rather than working and thinking constantly about the bikes I can't ride.  Or even the skateboard I can't take out, or the poor dog I can't walk.  This is plain and simple the worst injury I've had, not because it's given me pain, but because it's taken away the very thing that I cherish the most-my physicality.  I've never felt like more of an absolute bum than I do at this moment.

Going to bed now.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Lot

Theres'a  lot I could write about right now, and even more I choose not to.  I've got a lot of things on my mind right now and going on in my life, so my usual demeanor (whatever that may be) is a bit different these days.

For one, I can't ride a bike right now.  It's been nearly a week since my accident, and I'm sure any regular readers are getting sick of me moaning about my stupid foot, but this has been the longest time I've spent away from my bikes in well over a year.  There's really never been any reason or circumstance to stop.  Even when I was dog tired and still racing, I found a reason to swing a leg over the top tube, even if I wasn't 'required' to by my training schedule.

Riding gives me a sense of peace and a sense of purpose.  Even since I've decided to take a step back and away from racing, it still gives me direction.  A lot of times it gives me reason to sweat, reason to get up, and reason to scare myself.  It gives me reason to start the day with an idea of doing something I've never attempted before.  It teaches me what it means to learn about myself and my willingness to 'let go' of the safety in which I'm often immersed. Sometimes, like with my recent injury, it backfires, but more than not, it develops me not only as a rider, but as a person alike.

The question with all this is what have I been running from?  What have I been trying to hide about myself.  What is the aspect of my personality that has been subconsciously suppressed as a result of my athletic endeavors?

I have a client that brought something important to my attention the other day: I'm an "all or nothing" person.  In sports, life, and everything, I'm either completely dedicated, or I loose interest.  Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say that this is 100% accurate, but I would attest that the greater majority of the activities I pursue wind up in the "all or nothing" bin.

I've been this way from the start.  Playing hockey as a kid, football, lacrosse, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and on and on.  Being athletic and good at just about any sport that I try, it's been very easy for me over the years to develop the 'crutch' of chasing a dream that will never materialize the way I imagine. I'm good enough to compete at the highest level, but not good enough to make a living.  I know that some will say that there's nothing wrong with that, but my make-up as a human has me dropping more important things (friends, family, etc.) to pursue my athletic goals.  This,  is not healthy.  The time that I spend working on my "crafts", as they were, is not balanced with equal amounts of time away from it.  I'm encompassed by what I do, and that has stunted development that I otherwise should have had.  It may come across as confusing here, but in my head it's all starting to make sense.

The past year has taught me a lot about myself and what I want.  It's delivered some sweet victories and some vicious defeats, but most important, it's allowed me to learn about who I am as a person and the best ways I can go about getting to where I want to be.  Gone, most importantly, is the "all or nothing" attitude.  If nothing else, I've learned over the year that I was not a very balanced person and that I was living the life of a dreamer, rather than a doer.  That being said, it's more than ok to have and follow dreams, we all should, but with that, and what is often left out of any dreamer's recipe, is that balance must be in place or we are to fall flat on our faces every time.  We will wind up frustrated and empty handed if we are not to place a priority on balance in our pursuit of dreams.  Understated as this may be, it's what I believe to be the most important piece of the puzzle.

This is all obvious to any individual who has lived through similar circumstances.  Everyone must develop and grow in their own way, and surely we all go through our own 'stages' as they choose to present themselves in our lifetimes.  Some may see these changes occur sooner, and some later, but what is important is that they happen.

The high school I attended put great priority on being a complete person.  It was paramount for all students, regardless of talent, ability, or desire, to be concerned not only with their academic pursuits, but as well with athletic goals, extra curricular activities, and working for and as a part of the greater community.  Talents were rewarded, yes, but more important was an individuals character, made up of much more than just one part of who they were as a whole. I had forgotten many of the lessons I learned there until recently.  They've always been a part of me, it's just now that I'm choosing to relive the lessons I was taught in my teen years.

So where does that leave me now?  I'm not entirely sure, but the one thing that I know beyond the shadow of a doubt is that I'm a different person than I was a year ago, a different person than I was a day ago, and a different person that I was an hour ago.  I'm looking to continually progress into someone that is developed and rounded.  I've always thought that experiences mold the person you are.  In some aspects this is true, but I'm learning now, that it's more a case of the person doing the experiencing.  That is to say, without the development a person achieves, the experiences they have mean nothing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Really Cool Vid

This is a video I found on another blog I was browsing on the inter webs.  Transition is an awesome bike company that make some of the coolest bikes I've seen.  Nothing overly flashy, or dynamically engineered by the latest robots and machines in the world, but just good, durable bicycles.  I can say directly from my own personal experience that they have fantastic customer service and are willing to help fellow riders in anyway they can.  If you have never heard of them, look them up.  You'll be happy you did.

For me, today was like trying to control a cobra by its tail.  I was running crazy all day, never managing to sit for more than about 5 minutes (well while not in the car driving).  I slept very little last night, but managed to over caffeinate myself throughout the day and take care of the things on my "to do" list, the last of which was a trip to the dentist.

I haven't been to the dentist in about 8 years, and given that fact, I was greeted with the realization that I've got some cavities to take care of.  Not the best news in the world, but it could be worse.  Also, at the very least, after I get these taken care of, I've not got much to worry about provided I take care of my teeth in the future-something I've obviously not done a good enough job of in the past.

Otherwise, I picked up and received all the goodies for my bike I spoke of a couple days back.  Got the Mavic Crossmax SX wheels, E13 chain guide, Race Face chainring, and heavier springs for the shock and fork on my Enduro.  The worst part, of course, is that I cannot use any of these things immediately as I'm still on the mend from my foot injury.  That being the case, I'l have to install all these wonderful new toys and only look at them until my foot is good enough to shred.  I guess it's a small price to pay for what could have been a much worse injury.  And a few more days isn't going to kill me so I should probably stop whining.

The rest of the week looks to be a bit more mellow, so I should have the opportunity to catch up on some sleep and do a few more things that require my attention.  I might try and get in a light weight workout or two in the next few days as I've done absolutely nothing since hurting my foot last Saturday.  The rest has been nice, and I know it's helped my foot not to over stress it, but I'm chomping at the bit to do something physical.  At this point I think I need more of the mental release it brings than anything else.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

When did I get so cool?

It's funny, you always think about how lame you were in the past.  How much of a loser you were way back when you were wearing JNCO pants and rocked a chain wallet.  How silly you looked when you were wearing those Airwalks with the lace cover that Tony Hawk was sporting.  Then you fast forward to the present time.  You couldn't be more "with it".  You're on the cutting edge of fashion and pop culture.  You know all the dirt with celebrity gossip as well as what's going on in your close circle of friend.  You're the epitome of the person you want to be...for the moment.

I've witnessed this same trend with my evolution into mountain biking.  In the beginning of my knobby-tired endeavors, I was a strict cross country guy.  Lycra, road helmet, steep and aggressive angles, and chose a 29er to ride for goodness sake! My most important goal was to get from point A to point B in the fastest time possible.  Screw enjoying the scenery, I didn't even want to see the scenery-it should be only a blur as my 29 inch wheels whuuuur through the trail.

Then, because of health problems associated with my racing, it was time to take a step back and get off the "race or die" bandwagon.  Soon the 29ers were gone, the Garmins no longer uploaded my workouts, and getting in those 6 hour Saturday and Sunday rides took a back seat.  I began looking for different, bigger, and better things to ride.  Soon grew a fascination with riding rocks, progressing my technical skills, and getting back to the roots of what I feel mountain biking is all about: being out in and enjoying the nature that is all around us.

The carbon frames, shoes, and components were replaced with burly, long travel bikes, bulkier shoes, and baggy attire.  I began to shun the world of lap times, lycra, and anything associated with what now constituted structured training, or as I saw it, work.  I sold all my technical equipment-Garmin, Power Tap, Heart Rate Monitors, etc.  The objective from here on out was fun, and to have it, I needed to free myself from the confines of what was structure.  I was a rebel.

The journey continued.  I focused first on trail riding, then progressed to All Mountain-whatever that is.  Mix in a little Downhill and the result is where I am now.  The truth is there is not a definition for how or what I ride.  The common denominator is enjoyment.  If I see something I like, I ride it. Simple.  There are no satellites involved, and nothing to upload when I get home.  There is no stress, only a smile as I attempt to wipe the grin off my face from cleaning a section that seemed previously impassable.  Gone are the days when I worry about power output and getting enough nutrition in.  If I get hungry I eat.  If I get thirsty I drink.  There is no priority because I'm not worried to stop.  Bonking is a prime excuse to stop and enjoy the woods.  When people ask me how far I rode my answer is "I have no idea."  When they ask me how long I rode for I answer the same.  Truth is, I could care less.  As long as I've got the right supplies and equipment with me, it doesn't matter how long I'm out for.

Riding a bike has become, to me, what it should be.  I ride because it's fun.  I ride because it's an escape from my stress.  I ride because I'm good at it but I want to be better.  I find enjoyment in leaving some of my blood and sweat on a tough rock section that eats me up, for I know there will be a time, sooner or later, where I come back and conquer it.  In my riding lies a pure sense of what my intentions are, and where I want them to be.  I'm not in the cloudy fish bowl of race numbers, performances, and disappointment.  I've found my way through the murk, and am better and happier for it.

When did I get so cool?  When I found out what makes me tick.  Riding a mountain bike has done that for me.  I don't proclaim the riding I do to be what's best for everyone, and I don't care if it's not.  If I'm the only one that rides my way, and the only one who finds enjoyment in the things I do, so be it.  I'm not doing this for a race t-shirt or a plastic trophy and a check that doesn't even begin to equal the amount of time and effort I put into getting it.

I'm not bashing the ones who find what they're looking for in Watts, Heart Rate, and Lycra.  More power to you.  I couldn't hack what you do, and it's more obvious to me now than ever.  Continue on your path and I'll continue on mine, for in the end, we'll both wind up at the same place.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another Day

Another day, more sitting with my foot in the air.  Today was a little busier work-wise, so that made things a bit easier, but damn if it's not hard to sit idle while my body (foot) heals itself.  The amazing part of this, is that I cannot help but think that if this were a hundred years ago, I'd more than likely be dead or have an infection nasty enough to take my foot and possibly my leg.  Ok, maybe that's not fair, a hundred and FIFTY years ago and I woulda been a goner.  Hmmm....

In other news, and for all you tech heads, I've decided to switch things up with my Stumpy FSR EVO.  About a week ago I sold a fork, which netted me enough to order some new Crossmax SX wheels below.
The attractive part of these particular wheels, for me, was the fact that they will fit both my bikes.  Both my rides, the '11 Spesh Endruo EVO and the '12 Stumpy FSR EVO, run a fork that uses a 20mm thru axel.  However, both bikes run different rear wheel spacing and axels.  The Enduro runs a traditional 135mm quick release, while the Stumpy runs a 142mm wide, 12mm thru axel.  I can't say that I actually notice the difference in stiffness between the two, but as bike companies go, progression is king and riders have to deal with different standards for different models, years, bikes, etc.  Anyhow, With the Crossmax wheels I'm covered.  Obviously the front wheel won't be an issue, but if I want to swap the wheels between bikes, all I have to do is swap things around, add some spacers, and I'm all set.

Next, for the Stumpy, I chose to swap out the original 2x10 setup for a 1x10.  I've run this before, and the simplicity is something that I think most riders take for granted.  With the newer 10 speed option that mountain bikers now have, for most situations it's possible to find a gearing that is just about as close to "do it all" as you can get.  For me that's running a 34 tooth ring up front, with a 11-36 tooth cassette in back.  In a cross country racing setting this might be a different case, but for the type of riding I do, it's perfect.  So, I ordered up a new RaceFace 34 tooth chainring and a E13 LG1 Plus chain guide.
D_075 EVILW9.jpg
D_080 RACSR1.jpg
I intend to do the same to the Enduro at a later time, but for the time being it's staying the way it is.  That is, with the exception of putting some heavier weight springs in both the coil rear shock and coil fork that the bike runs.  I love the plushness of the softer springs it now has, but with that, I give up the "big hit" capabilities that it has.  That is, it's great in chunky, flat rock gardens, but when the trail turns down, or big drops come without a smooth transition (read: a landing flat as hell!), both the fork and the shock bottom out.  Now, I'm a fan of a slight bottoming out-that's usually how I know that I'm running the right pressures or spring tensions-when hitting the larger drops, but I wasn't quite comfortable with how the Enduro was bottoming out.

So that's it for now.  Just a few upgrades and swap outs.  I'm probably most excited about the wheels, but going to a 1x10 setup is just so much fun.  It's a small change, but simplicity is something that, in my opinion, makes mountain biking more fun.  Though there's a limit, and I certainly wouldn't want to ride a bike without the advances of suspension, dropper posts, and tubeless tires, it's still nice to have one less thing to think about when you're out on the trails, not to mention one less cable running in the "birds nest" of cables parked out in front of most people's handlebars.

Switching gears back to my foot, I'm actually ok with this little bit of a layoff.  It's a pain, yes, particularly with this being the best week of weather that we've had in the Northeast all year (as if this winter wasn't mild enough!).  I love the heat and we've had plenty of it.  Temperatures in the 70's and 80's have me on the edge of my seat wanting to get on two wheels.  Still, being off my bikes for now gives me a greater appreciation for them, and allows me to reconnect with myself as a person and not just a bike rider.  After all, I don't get paid to ride bikes.  I ride because I love the hell out of it and it keeps me healthy.  Well, when I'm not bashing my foot into objects and bearing witness to the inner workings of said foot that is.  But all too often I forget that I'm a multi faceted person, with plenty of interests, desires, and goals.  It's important not to forget that.

I'll keep thinking of things to do to my bikes, and ways to change them when I'm not riding, but at the same time I'll allow my thoughts to funnel elsewhere, giving me the opportunity to keep and develop my other skills and talents.  Being one dimensional is fine for some, but for me it's a dangerous recipe for disaster, one which I wish to avoid given experiences of the past.  As they say, you learn from experience, and knowing myself, I'm more productive and feel better when my attention is spread in different ways.  I'm happy for a change, but excited to get back to it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

On the Shelf

I've been fortunate in my athletic career never to have suffered many injuries.  I've had my fair share of concussions, but otherwise, nothing more that has forced me to stop a particular activity.  Sure I've twisted ankles, sprained wrists, and busted my fingers and toes.  I've had more stitches now than I can remember, and for years I woke up hunched over like an old man, careful with my first steps as my body warmed up to being vertical.

Never in my memory though, have I been out of commission for longer than a day or so.  And even then, there was still the option to move or not to move.  The current injury to my foot is more.  It's not only forced me off the bike for the time being, but also forced me to alter my life to some extent.  Nothing profound, but simple things like going up and down stairs, driving, and even getting from one room to the next have taken on a new light.  The customary 5 minutes to get ready this morning took nearly 15, and the walk from my car to the door of the gym seemed strangely to have doubled.  It's not easy hobbling around on one wheel.

It's a struggle, and something I'm not used to, but I'm determined that I'll make the most of it.  Those who know me know that riding my bike is one of the things I'm most passionate about in life.  I can barely remember a day in these last few years where I haven't been on two wheels for at least a portion of any given day.  It's like breathing for me.  The flow of the trails, air rushing past my ears, and the adrenaline rush I get when I crash or nearly crash.  I could go on and on about it's meditative benefits, and the ways in which I've escaped reality on knobby tires.  Rubber tires scraping along dirt and rock; rooster tails flying up from loosely packed berms; and the familiar feeling of weightlessness as I and my bike break free, momentarily, from the constrictions of gravity.  These are some of the things I cherish most.

Back to reality, I'm stuck with a bum wheel, stitches, and pain.  Antibiotics, bacitracin, gauze, and an ace bandage now replace my Stumpjumper, dropper post, wide bars, and dialed suspension.  It won't be long before I'm back, but this little layoff gives me more of an appreciation for what I so often take for granted. I'm alive and I ride.  It really doesn't get more simple than that.  Two wheels, pedals, handlebars, heart, and lungs.  Simple but so meaningful.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Ah, yesterday... It was that kind of day.  Beautiful weather, wonderful riding friends, and a trail that couldn't have been better (although to be nit picky it was bit dry for my liking).

I drove up to meet with some friends and their friends-who are now my friends-to ride at one of the better places around.  Blue Mountain Reserve is about an hour and forty minutes from my front door, but worth every minute of the ride.  It's rocky, but not overly so, with some great rollers, and sweet single track that at times is swoopy and fast, but at others steep and tight.  It's got technical climbs and descents, and things that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, but it also has tame trails that make you look around and appreciate the Spring that has come.  It's a wonderful place that leaves me with a smile every time I leave-even after what happened yesterday.

One of the guys we rode out with, Jeff, was about equal in ability to me.  I say this (not to sound like a jerk) because most of the guys I ride with aren't as good as I am technically or have as much stamina as I do riding wise.  Not that it matters, I still enjoy their company immensely, but it's nice to have someone of an equal or greater skill set that know the trail to push you.  Needless to say, Jeff and I were fast friends and rode together very well.  The guy is an animal and I was stoked to be shown the trail and new lines by someone who's been riding for well over 20 years.

Like any ride where you're pushing yourself, there's always the possibility that you may go down.  I had a few tumbles and miscues, but nothing too major.  Then it came.  Something stupid and freakish (they always are right?).  As we rounded a simple corner on the single track, I struck a downed tree with my foot, the exposed roots of which tore into my light weight XC shoes, slamming into my toes.  It hurt like hell, but I didn't think much of it.  I've had incidents like that before, and I've always come away with nothing more than a stubbed toe, a torn sock, and a story.  Looking down, the shoe was ripped apart, but still ridable.  I didn't think anything of it, ignored the pain, and sprinted to catch back up with Jeff.

We probably rode for another half hour or so, got back to the trail head and chatted some more.  After a while I took the shoe off to asses the damage, saw nothing more than a few cuts on swollen toes, rinsed them with water and called it a day.  Nothing out of the ordinary for certain.

After getting home, I got into the shower, washed up, and started to clean out the cuts on the toes with some soap and water.  Scrubbing them, I spread apart the two toes that took the majority of the slam from the tree to find that I could see inside my foot.  That's right, tendons, ligaments and all.  Greeeeaaaaatttt.... Here comes the ER visit!

Got to the ER last night and would spend the majority of it there.  The nurses were nice, the doctors were nice, and even the other people in the waiting room were nice.  What will not be nice is the bill I get in a couple weeks.  The irony in all of this is that I'm in-between health insurances and the new one starts tomorrow.  Sweet.  The important thing in this all is that I'm ok and that I'll be riding again soon.  It was a total freak thing that I don't think I could ever do again if I tried.  Just another step on life's journey I suppose.

Friday, April 13, 2012

(No) Motivation

The simple fact that I'm logging this post right now is a direct conflict to what I'm going to write in the coming sentences.  I know I should have all the motivation in the world right now-the sun is out, the weather is gorgeous, and the time is coming for me to change gears in a dramatic way-but damn if I'm not finding it hard to get some of my mojo going.

I've been struggling in the past week (at least I think it's been a week) with getting moving, both with my writing and with my own exercise.  I find it easy to "fake" a workout, and once I'm get the cranks turning or the weights lifting I'm always glad, in the end, that I did, but when I don't have the sheer motivation to punch the keyboard, it's a little harder to get moving.  I suppose this is just a facet of my personality, but I can't stand this side of me.

Like the exercise, I've pushed my writing along, but the danger in that, as all writers and well read readers know, is that when you force it, it quite simply blows.  There's writers block and then there's low motivation.  The two, I believe, are as different as night and day.  But, without the simple act of writing through both, neither can be overcome.

So, in effect, I've just solved my own problem.  Just as with exercise, the answer is "Just write, stupid." Nothing fancy, just put finger to keyboard, get stuff down, and go from there.  Not at all complex.

On another, but related note, work has been absolute shit this past week.  With a lot of people out, taking trips with their families and/or looking after kids that are off from school, my business has been all but nonexistent.  It's not the fact that I haven't been physically busy that's lingering on my mind, but the fact that I feel that I should be doing more to get people to come in.  So, simply put, it's the fact that I feel that I'm not living up to my responsibilities that's keeping my mind occupied and at the same time stressed.  This then leads to worries about finances, which keeps me up at night and thinking that I should be doing more to save money.  In cliche terms, "it's a vicious circle."

What's the answer to all this?  Simple, take care of what needs to be done.  Don't get caught up with one thing, but move on to the next when one stalls.  Don't "get stuck in the muck" but rather power through it.  It's like those guys that drive their snowmobiles over lakes; if they don't keep momentum they're sunk.  Simple.

With all this said, I'll get to work now.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Another Video

Not sure if I posted this before.  This section is at one of my favorites at one of the trails I ride often.  It's a lot steeper and chunkier than it looks, but the camera angle I chose flattens it out a bit.  Ether way, it took me a few times to be able to clean this section without problems.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Not Quite

Kind of a funny mental state I'm in as of late.  Up, down, up, down-when will it end?  I know that a bunch of this has to do with my sleep pattern, which can be best described as "shit" lately, as well as my eating habits-see previous description of "sleep pattern", but dammit if it's not frustrating.  The frustration is a result of not doing what I know I should do, and repeating the cycle over and over.

The simple fact of the matter is that I'm not taking care of myself.  I'm getting in exercise, mental stimulation, and all the rest, but when it comes to actual rest, I'm doing a terrible job.  More than anything right now, I've got to make the decision to actively pursue sleep and eating habits that will set me up to be successful in all areas of my life, and not just my athletic endeavors.

This is all pretty simple and doesn't really need to be explained, but dammit, it feels good to get it out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Tale of Two Bikes

This is a bit of a departure from what I've been writing about lately, but just go with it.  I've got two mountain bikes at present.  I've cut that number down from having several more, but in the spirit of being a "normal" person, not to mention the idea that having more bikes than you can possibly ride in a week is in itself ridiculous, I decided to sell off the others and stick to two that get the job done every time.

I would say that the major difference in these two steeds is the amount of suspension travel they each have.  My Stumpjumper FSR EVO has 150mm front and rear, getting the job done on just about any trail, while my Enduro EVO has 170mm up front, and 160mm rear.  The Enduro is a great bike for just about any trail as well, only it climbs a bit more sluggish.  As well, along with the bigger fork, steep grades are a bit of a hassle, though not so much as to stop me from saying it climbs decently well for such a big bike.  Both bikes weigh just about the same, a result of the Enduro, even though it is the bigger and burlier of the two, having better and lighter components.  A carbon crank, nicer wheels, and better derailliurs have taken care of any extra weight.  Still, each bike shreds, and each is a blast to ride.  For what the Stumpjumper gains in climbing, the Enduro makes up for in descending.  The bikes are a wonderful interpretation of my "split mountain biking personality".

The dilemma I face on a daily basis regarding these bikes, lies more in the fact that my personality (and perhaps this is an American trait more than just a personal trait) dictates that I must debate the argument of "if I only had one bike, which would it be?" over and over in my head.  There is no clear cut winner.  For what one bike has, another may lack, but in that lacking, another advantage is uncovered.  Follow?

All of this was perhaps spurred by an event that took place this past weekend.  Sunday, as I mentioned in a previous post, was a big ride for me. I had a blast getting lost in the woods and riding trails I never have before.  At the end of the ride, while descending a section of double track, my Stumpjumpers down tube was struck by a large rock, giving the bike it's first real "ding" since I've got it.  Ah, an imperfection!  From there, I inspected the bike and found yet another-deep cable rub on one of the chain stays.  Oh boy! The bike is now worthless!  Sarcasm aside, the bike has now lost it's luster that only a person who rides bikes everyday can understand.  It's not a roadie thing, and it's not a mountain biker thing, it's a cyclist thing.

Anyhow, because of my now "imperfect" bike, I'm fighting the battle of "which one would be the one" if it came to that.

Well, in the end, the good news is that neither has to be.  I've got two solid bikes that work, and work for what I use them for.  We can get stranded in the conflict of upgrades, bike lust, and the n +1 is the perfect number of bikes (where "n" represents the current number of bike one owns), but in the end, we've got to just get out and ride.  You can go blue in the face thinking about bikes, swapping parts, and dreaming of what you would do if you only had the money, but the simple fact remains: If you're lucky enough to have a bike, or two, or three, ride the hell out of it.  For all the time you waste "thinking" about riding, you might as well be out there getting the most from what you've got.  Remember, some people don't even have ONE bike to ride.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I'm back!

Not exactly sure where that last "drab" couple of days came from, but I've managed to get out of my funk and back to "Cool Dave" once again. It could have been the great time with family today, or the awesomely fun experience of getting literally lost in the woods for a few hours.  Or, it could have just been the stoked feeling you get after having a good ride, not matter where or when it is.  Whatever the case, I'm happy again and looking forward to getting some work done this week.

The "lost in the woods" part of today was terrific.  I rode out on a trail that I had only previously visited once before, didn't pick up a map, and honesty didn't care much about finding my way until I was really lost.  That pang of fear grew a bit as I got the eery feeling I was going around in circles.  The feeling of being in "Deliverance" didn't help matters either as I was more than freaked out a few times at the odd pickup that seemed to be following me.  Pretty sure I could have taken the tobacco spittin' fella drivin' the rig though-that is, unless he was packin' more than that "tobacky" in his cheek.

Eventually I found my way and got back to the trailhead, but not before I managed to get my first ding in the new bike.  Guess that's a little bit of a "Godsmack" for spending Easter Sunday enjoying my time on the bike instead of enjoying my time with family.  Oh well, they know I'm crazy!

At the end of the day, I think this was everything I needed to get me out of the funk I've been in.  Now just to carry these good vibes and positive outlook into the coming week and getting down to work.  Need to get a lot done in this week and it starts tomorrow.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Pretty lame day today. Not much motivation, drive, or anything else pertaining to what people normally do when they are successful.  Not entirely sure why, I'm just not with it today.  Could be that I've not slept well, or that I've got a lot on my mind lately.  Could also be that I'm just simply depressed for the moment, and need a jumpstart to get out.  No matter what, it was one of "those" kind of days.

Tomorrow is more than likely going to be fun.  Seeing some family that I like and sneaking in a nice ride on some new trails is bound to bring me out of this little "mini-funk" that I find myself in.  And if that doesn't work, there's always Easter candy to drown away my sorrows!

Friday, April 6, 2012

More Videos

These two are short, and I didn't even put music to them.  I had some time today so I got out to one of my favorite riding spots and fired up the GoPro again.  The other day (in my last post) was the first time I've used it in a while and I'm hooked again.  I shot a lot of footage today, so there will be a bit longer and better edited clip coming soon.  Enjoy these in the mean time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


As promised, here is a video of my ride the other day. As I said, I haven't used the GoPro in a bit, and I wanted to get in some good shots.  Unfortunately, I still didn't manage to get in a lot of good shots, but at least I got in some shots.  Can't have everything, right?  Anyway, the shots aren't the best, the editing is weak, and the music ain't quite right.  I'll get it together someday.  But for now, enjoy!


Inspiration comes in so many ways-but we already know that.  People can see videos that inspire them, books, stories, events-you get what I'm saying.  More often than not, for a lot of us, inspiration comes out of necessity.  Having to get things done and being up against a wall is great inspiration.  "Do or die" as it were.

Yesterday, my inspiration for riding came from the mountains.  It came from the rocks.  And it came from the beautiful scenery all around me.  The newly green greens that are beginning to poke their  heads out from the mild winter season we've had.  The buds on the trees that have appeared where they weren't the last time I rode.  And the wonderful smell of fresh air filling my lungs with every muscle searing pedal stroke.  We rode for only two and a half hours, but I believe I could have gone on forever.  It was the closest thing to a perfect day for riding as they come.

Today, however, my inspiration comes from the "back against the wall" variety.  This isn't to say that I'm facing a life or death situation, or that I'm looking down the barrel of a gun.  To the contrary, I'm placing myself in a spot where things must happen and change must occur.  Through struggle comes change, whether good or bad, and struggle is what I'm placing in my path.

The truth is that I've come to a figurative crossroads in my life-my career more accurately.  The way I see things, I've reached the apex of a job that has, for the last 10 years, has provided me with the means to do, for the most part, what I've wanted to.  It's given me the freedom to explore different areas of my personality, and most importantly, has given me the confidence and "way" with people that have made me successful in many areas of my life.  I cannot thank it more for that.  I'm a different person than I was and that is a direct result of my choice of employment.

The time has come to break the chains though.  The job has become more of a restriction than anything else.  I've found that I'm continuously stuck and bogged down in a rut that I don't seem capable of getting away from, unless a drastic change is to occur.  It's not that I'm tired of the people-nothing could be further than the truth.  I've been blessed with meeting some of the kindest and heart warming people.  I've also meet some duds, and learned much about human nature.  Nevertheless, I've been rewarded with great relationships that will transcend jobs and life choices.

The point of all this is to explain my decision to myself.  Sounds a bit redundant.  I'm placing myself in a spot that scares me, but it's a must in order to grow and rediscover the fire in my belly.  It's said that if you do something you love, you'll never work a day in your life.  I've been fortunate in what I've done, and I truly feel as if I've only "worked" a handful of days in this lifetime.  To quote the book/film "Fight Club", as Tyler Durden says, "It's only when you've lost everything that you're truly free to do anything."  There's a lot of power in that, and I plan to use that motivation to move into the next arena of my life.  Let's get it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Took a few

Took a few days off from the blogosphere.  No reason in particular, just nothing really important enough to report.  The weekend was pretty drab from a bike riding point of view.  I got out on Friday for a sweet ride alone at one of my new favorite trails.  Saturday was a washout with cold temps and rain for the day. And then Sunday I was out for a ride, meet up with some friends, and rode casually with them for the most part.  A bit of a frustrating ride as their fitness isn't quite as much as mine at the moment, but the conversation was nice and what lacked in riding was made up for in laughs.

Today I'm heading out with a buddy to the previously referred to "new favorite trail".  He's not as strong as  rider technically as I am, but his fitness is there, so I don't imagine it will be all that slow of a ride.  I'm hopefully going to remember to actually use the GoPro2 that I got, so check back for some video and pictures.  I really don't use that thing enough so I'm gonna force it today.

Otherwise I've got some cool and exciting things on the horizon that are in line with where I want my career to go.  For as many crappy people in the world there are that want to shove you down when your almost out, there are just as many that want to lift you up when you're looking for it.  You just have to go after the things you want and never take "no" for an answer.  Chase your dreams because in the end, we're all going back to the dirt.  If you don't take advantage of what you want in this life, when exactly are you planning on doing it?