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INWCXS 2017

This past weekend I headed a couple of hours north to watch the the Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series final race, at Walters’ Fruit Ranch in Washington. The girl and I were actually oven/range shopping but the deal I made was that we could spend the first few hours watching the races.

I’ve never raced cross, but I have taken my mtb around the local circuit several times. Next year, though, I think closing out the summer race season with a series of cross races might just be a thing to do, because why not. My Cannondale frame is now stripped down to almost nothing and the rebuild, turning it into a gravel (but usable cross) bike is going to start in the new year.

Not much news here, otherwise. Last week I cranked up the running miles and may have slightly aggro’d my achilles…so after a week off from running I followed up this morning’s spin with an easy 2 miles and all seems fine. Next week we’ll be heading to Arizona for Thanksgiving to see family, eat, enjoy the warm weather, eat, and probably eat some more. The restaurant scene in our hometown of Pullman, WA is weak AF so we need to take advantage of the chomps when we venture to bigger scenes. We’ll also be bringing our running gear and will hopefully get in some daily desert trail sessions in my old stomping ground.

There isn’t any environment I find more enjoyable to run than the desert. It’s a mix of rolling hills, sand, dirt, rock, and very little shade. Takes me back to when I began running in college and it just fills me with energy thinking about it. Hopefully it’ll offset all of the food intake but I doubt it.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, catch ya in a couple of weeks!

It’s hot, harvest time, and grain trucks are speeding past us on a two lane road in the hills of the Palouse. We’re only about 6 miles into the ride when “POP!” and my rear end begins sliding.

It doesn’t happen very often, and maybe I had overinflated my tube, but I blew out the center of my tube & tire. This sucks because the tire itself is garbage ($50-60) not to mention it won’t even holding a spare tube long enough for me to ride home. There is where cash-money comes in handy; A trick I learned in my MTB days, when you get a flat so significant that it compromises the wall of your tire, you essentially need to reinforce the inside so that the tube doesn’t squeeze itself when it inflates.

I had a twenty spot that was actually for some post-ride tacos but those were gonna have to wait. Folded up and positioned between the new tube and rupture spot on the tire, I was able to make it almost all the way back home before I had burned through the bill and the new tube, flatting again.

Flats suck but it’s all a part of it.

The Fall semester is about to kick off and work has been nuts. So much so, that we completely spaced and forgot to renew our campus parking pass and of course now everything is full. It’s not really a big deal and to be honest, I felt a little guilty driving to work since we live so close to campus. The only real need for driving is either when the weather is absolute dog shit or when I want to hit the student rec center (re: gym) in the mornings.

I decided now was a good time to resurrect my single speed and begin commuting, something I haven’t done since living in Phoenix (where it’s flat). This was my first morning ride in and the route I took wasn’t right. Or at least, my gearing isn’t appropriate for the route I tried. Tomorrow morning I’ll try a different way that’s a little less steep.

Also, my rig which has been in storage for the past three years, is in rougher shape than I had thought. Both wheels are FUBAR’d. They roll, but the rear is far from true and the front has a serious dent. In addition the brakes are pretty sketch. They’re OG and the pads are tiny & dry. I’m thinking this is a solid opportunity to upgrade from 27 inch wheels to 700c with modern brakes. That’ll be a project for next month.

All of that being said, I’m stoked to have a reasonable need to commute and justification for putting some money into my beloved-yet-neglected single speed.

The winter is starting to break. That ‘s not actually true, looking at the 10-day forecast only three of those days will squeak above 40 degrees and the term “wintry mix” is too frequently seen for my liking. This is the time at which planning must take place, for if I wait until the weather is right it’s already too late. This past couple of weeks I’ve met various friends with two necessary tools: booze and calendars.

Planning out trip details such as location, activity, etc. are not important at this stage. Right now, it’s all about blocking off dates. “I’m busy that weekend” is the uttering of a couch-sitting non-planner. By setting specific dates this early on in the year, before anything else (life) creeps in and whittles away at your precious weekends, one is taking away the opportunity to make excuses. There are only 52 weekends in each year, two of those are scratched for Thanksgiving and Christmas, one a month is (should be) set aside for doing whatever the life partner wants to do (which is typically not getting lost in a Utah slot canyon), and you can figure that another dozen or so will be eaten up by work, chores, weddings, or football. That right there is half of the years’ weekends, gone. Pre-consumed.

Yet here I am, on a Sunday morning sipping coffee on the couch looking out at the snow and whatever this shit is that’s falling the from the sky and thinking, “man I wish I were out there.”

As of this writing, my calendar has ten weekends tagged for outdoor exploits. A few have specific titles such as Sun Mountain 25k, Mt. Adams Summit, and Wallowas BP Trip. Most of the others are more vague, for example, Sat. March 4 through Mon. March 6: Freezing My Balls Off With Alex. The war I’m waging isn’t with spontaneity it is with listlessness. There’s an ideology, probably regurgitated upon me by the likes of Tim Ferris, that having a trip set and planned gives one a sense of pleasure, producing serotonin which does all sorts of good things to your brain. And in this day and age under the leadership of an orange jackass, I think that we could all use a little more serotonin in our noggins.

Knowing that I have some physically demanding trips into the wilds ahead of me, any of which could quickly become disastrous epics if I’m not prepared, also serves as a great motivator when I’m powering through a gym session while looking outside at the wintry mix.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the great Ed Abbey, which has served to galvanize many a trip planning session for me in the past:

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

Flipping Off 2016

General consensus says that 2016 sucked major ass. In my personal universe, things weren’t necessarily awful. Assuredly, 2016 won’t rank in my top 5 worst years of life (fortunately, unfortunately?) but it wasn’t particularly rad. I spent a lot of time sitting on my ass working for The Man, there weren’t many major achievements checked off of the proverbial bucket list, and I didn’t achieve any spiritual nexus. The best thing that could be said for 2016, was that I set myself up for a pretty solid 2017.

Professionally, the job situation is poised for a significant change/upgrade from the horrendous 60-hour weeks I pulled all of this past year. Fitness-wise, I’m sitting at 220 pounds and so have teed up the opportunity for a weight loss (re: fitness) renaissance. The calendar is in the process of being populated with weekend trips into wilds unknown and with any luck, there will be no shortage of content for this here blog.

For now, on this frigid New Year’s Eve, I sit with the girl working on a pack of hard ciders chatting about goals and dreams. The overall theme of 2017: Make this year stand out…in any way possible.

Part of my reasoning for starting this personal project of documenting epics (and non-epics, as it were) was to set forth the very general goal of “getting outside and doing shit.” It’s not that I’ve been generally lazy, but rather time-constrained. Currently, I work about 70 hours a week. I wont bore you with specifics but it does hinder my ability to make time for adventure. Within the next few months my situation will change for the better which should allow me to populate this blog more frequently with eye candy of mountains and tales of discomfort.

As I now sit working on a coffee, watching the rain come down outside my window with Jack (the boxer) snoring away on my office sofa, I recognize the small part of my brain that is constantly dedicated to dreaming of the future landscape I hope to find myself in. There are several hundred megabytes of Evernote space-holding PDFs and maps and photos and scribbled notes of places to go that must be taken advantage of.

Many of my friends, co-workers, and internet peers are at the very least up in arms and at the very worst unconsolably devastated at this election bullshit. There are a lot of words being pounded out onto the web and though much of the writing seems rather superficial and reactionary, there are very real feels behind it. Trump is a scary motherfucker; not because he’s some diabolical genius…but rather because he’s a divisive buffoon who seemingly brings out the worst in people. Opinions are set and there is no need for me post mine here, at least any more than I’ve already stated.

frum

The point is, be good to yourselves and eachother. The best way to mitigate much of this gap between “them and us” is to be stoic yet understanding. And the best way to beat the haters is to do better than them; disregard their verbal spew, make yourself a better person and support those you care about. Laugh, smile, enjoy your life and pay no attention to the enemy…that pisses them off more than anything.

Man, life can sure slip through your fingers if you’re not careful. Nearly seven years ago I quick my job as a zookeeper and followed a girl from Arizona up to Pullman, Washington where she was to start a PhD program. By my own account, I’d seen pretty much all there was for me to see in Arizona. Between camping and backpacking trips as a kid, to climbing, biking and exploring every canyon, cave, wall, and general expanse I could find in my 20’s, I was ready for a new part of North America and the pacific northwest was at the top of my list.

Fast forward seven years later and things have taken a downturn. Getting stuck in job that required more hours than should be expected of anyone (for the pay) didn’t help. It occurred to me a few weeks ago when I was visiting my girlfriends’ (new girlfriend, mind you) sister and her fiance; we were planning a backpacking trip and verbally check-listing gear needs when before mentally processing the statement I said out loud that I hadn’t been backpacking in seven years.

Something spasmed in my head. What the hell happened to me? I used to take pride in the fact that I commonly spent more time sleeping in a tent than I did my bed. Now here I am with fifty more pounds on my body than I had when I left the desert and the most use my camping gear saw was the occasional weekend car-camp or music festival.

Priorities shift from time to time. It happens to all of us and usually it’s a good thing. But this, this was not good. I spent the majority of the five hour drive home in my own head thinking up new goals for my life. Nothing too specific, but the paradigm needed to be shifted back closer to where it once was.

So, welcome. Welcome to where it is the gnarly moments in life, that Type II fun we seek out, will be laid down digitally. There really is no point to this site other than a tool of self motivation. Here’s to getting out there into some gnarly weather, remote locations, and into the occasional sketchy situation.

Basically toe-ing the line.

I think I’m ready?

T-Minus 10 Weeks

Ouch.

This will be like last year but more and better.

INWCXS 2017

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