Break me into bigger pieces, so some of me is home with you.

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Letter of Intent

I know Jefe from my hometown of Gunnison, CO, and the dude is amazing. He rides. every. single. day. and shreds. He rides further, faster and funner than anyone I know, and he’s the most humble guy out there. You got it, Jefe, go crush the divide!

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Everyday I confront the question of riding the Divide again.

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Some wonder, why do it again? There are countless other challenges and adventures out there. The TD doesn’t just leave you once you’ve rolled through Antelope Wells. It is there, for me, with all it’s glory and misery every time I close my eyes. I can see the seemingly endless misty rolling mountainsides of Northern Montana, feel the mighty winds of the Great Basin and taste the stale crack of dried lips deep in the washboards of the Gila.

getting pummeled

Good and evil, I want to be out there again. Miles and miles from home, nothing to do but ride my bike as far as I can. Everyday pushing myself to the limit, deep in the pain cave, all the while soaking up every minute from sunrise to sunset, smiling the smile of true love. For all the pain, discomfort and…

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Circus happenings

We’ve been doing a lot of circus stuff lately. Like, LOTS of circus stuff. For example, we taught a three-week youth circus camp this summer, complete with aerial acrobatics, unicycle riding and juggling. We’ve also opened a circus arts studio. Yes, you read that right.

Circus ain’t free, though. Our blood, sweat and clown tears have gone into funding the Circus Arts Studio, but we need a little extra help. That’s why we launched this indiego-go campaign, with amazing perks!

https://www.indiegogo.com/project/support-the-circus-arts-studio/embedded

This is an awesome resource for creatives throughout Flagstaff. Yes, I’m spamming you a little bit through my blog, but it’s just because circus is such a lucrative enterprise, we can use some help! Thanks for considering supporting The Circus Arts Studio!


Love, the outlaw

Remember this post, when I said I was going to try to make this summer better than the last two?  The last two that included climbing to the roof of Africa and rafting the Grand Canyon?  I think, with Joanie as my partner in crime, we’ve succeeded in creating the best summer ever.

We rode our bikes a ton, and during 100 Miles of Nowhere, we rode well over 100 miles and raised more than 700 dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association.  We made 6 trips back to Colorado to spend time with friends and family during weddings, reunions and adventures.  Our annual Utah trip to Crumbly Rock was a blast.  And then, something special happened at the beginning of August.

Judge for yourself…

 

Yup, that’s right!  I’m making an honest woman out of Joan.

We’re gettin’  hitched!

“When two people meet and fall in love, there is a certain rush of magic.

The bottom line is that people are never perfect, but love can be.  Loving makes love.

If love is the outlaw, the most any of us can do is sign on as its accomplice.

Love belongs to those willing to go to extremes for it.

True, most lovers don’t work hard enough at it or with enough imagination or generosity.

Who knows how to make love stay?  What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start.  It’s hard work, especially when it seems superfluous or redundant, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay.

Now that I’m in love, I haven’t a clue.  Now that I’m in love, I’m completely stupid on the subject.

Love is the ultimate outlaw.  It just won’t adhere to any rules.”

-Excerpts from Tom Robbins’ Still Life with Woodpecker


Next weekend – 100 Miles of Nowhere – Phil’s World edition

A quick note from G Danger:

Here’s your friendly neighborhood blogger reminding you that next week (June 8 to be exact), I’ll be riding 100(ish?) miles to celebrate my 10 year cancer free anniversary!  And I want you to join me!

The details can be found in this posthttp://wp.me/p2wWFV-dt


 

With 100 Miles of Nowhere coming up, a few people have been asking if I’m ready for a 100 mile effort.  I’ve only ridden +100 in one day on a mountain bike twice before: freshman year spring break on the White Rim and the 2008 Leadville Trail 100.  I trained a lot for the latter, and went off the couch for the former.  What kind of shape will I be in for next week’s event?  Umm…the shape I’m in now, I guess.

I’ve been riding a lot, training hard and am ready to celebrate.  Really, I have been training.  Some.  I mean, more than none.  Joan has been too.  Some, really.  We even have “evidence”!

For example, here you can see my bike, artfully posed to demonstrate thoughtful trail consideration:

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And here you can see my sweetie getting her shred on, with a tasteful visual metaphor likening her to a desert flower:

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Here’s definitive “yes-I’ve-been-riding” evidence in the form of a “selfie” with my sweetie looking over my shoulder.  Of course we’ve been riding!

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And finally, a contemplative “pre-action” shot showing the beauty of Moab, which was where we were riding.  We were!


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Yes, we’ve been training.  100 miles sounds reeeaaallly long right now, but we’ll put in a good effort.  My uncle Mark, bummed he couldn’t make it to Phil’s world, has been harassing some of his friends to get a remote 100 Miles of Golden/Tabletop/White Ranch/etc going in his neck of the woods.  He said it best in his cajoling email: “Yes, 100 miles on a mtn bike is a bit rough, 10,000+ vertical feet hurts, but so does chemo when you’re 8 years old”

He got that right.  On both counts.

RSVP for the event here: http://gg100miles.rsvpify.com/?preview=1

Looking forward to riding with you!

 


…and it begins.

The summer of 2014 has officially begun for me.  I just got home from my last class of the spring semester, I’m not taking any summer classes, and we’ve started packing for our first road trippin’ adventure.

This milestone gave me the opportunity to reflect on my last couple of summers.  It was a nice trip down memory lane.  I’ve had some pretty incredible summers.  Monumental.  They’ve included travel to exotic locals, outdoor pursuits, laughter, joy, pain, tragedy, love, family, friends and so much more.  I’m so excited for this summer, and we’ve got some crazy cool plans for the coming months.

Taking a look back, 2012 gave me the opportunity to climb the highest peak in the continent of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, in an effort to raise money for the Cancer Climber organization (founded by my buddy Sean Swarner.)  I met the most amazing people and was humbled by the beauty and challenge of Africa.

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At the summit: 19,304′ above sea level.

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Approaching high camp, a.k.a. garbage camp.

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Truly a life changing experience.  That summer was liberating, challenging and mind-blowing.  I also went skydiving, gallivanting with old friends and explored several 14ers in my backyard.

The summer of ’13 was similarly impressive.  I rafted the Grand Canyon.  Yes, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  I spent 16 beautiful days with 16 beautiful people in one of the most amazing places on earth.  We hit the tongue and rode it straight (mostly!  Oops, Lava!) for over two weeks of laughter.  Thanks to LBK (Josh Kruger) for giving me the opportunity to take the trip.  It was another one for the books.

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Head first into the spray!  Face shots for dayz.

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Exploring the countless side canyons was a true highlight.

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We live here right now?!?  COOL!!!

grand canyon 13 095_edited-1That’s why I come out here: nature.

So what does this summer hold for Joan and I?  Sooooo many things!!  Five trips back to Colorado, including a bachelor party (sorry Joan, I’ll be going solo for that!), the Dolores River Festival and 100 Miles of Nowhere, and a Rockies Reunion.  We get to enjoy our family in Colorado a couple of times and play with our nephews, siblings, parents, cuzes, etc.  We’re performing several times and teaching a three-week circus camp (Funtown Circus!) and exploring our new home in Flagstaff.  We’re leaving for a week long camping trip in the vast deserts of Utah tomorrow.  Life is good and summer is just beginning.  Here we go!

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100 Miles of Nowhere – Join us!

This June, I’ll be observing my 10 year cancer-free anniversary.  That’s a big deal.  It’s crazy to think how much I’ve been through in that time, much less to think about what I was going through during and in between treatments.  I endured six years of chemotherapy and in June, I’ll be 10 years out of the woods.

The amiable Fat Cyclist has a pretty cool tradition that he started in an effort to raise funds towards cancer research called 100 Miles of Nowhere.   Every cycling destination seems to have a gimmick for endurance racing, with centuries, 24 hour, multi-day epics and a hundred variations on those themes.  Fatty, in his typically absurd nature, decided he’d do a 100 mile race…

-against himself…

-on rollers…

-in his basement.

And thus, 100 Miles of Nowhere was born.

It became a tradition that his faithful followers began doing in their basements, and then around their blocks and in other ridiculous locations for a race.  The key was creating a crazy specific race category for your event, one in which ONLY YOU could possibly win (eg; 27-28 Male half way through grad school and 10 years off chemo).

I want to invite you to join me to celebrate, raise some money and ride some great trails.  My 100 Miles of Nowhere will take on Sunday, June 8, in (an admittedly, non-ridiculous and actually really, really incredibly fun location) Phil’s World, an ideal location for group multi-lap rides.  A few things to point out about the gathering and the riding:

  • Don’t be intimidate by “100 miles”!  The great thing about a loop system like Phil’s World is that you can make laps as long and as short as you like.  Teams are encouraged for 100 Miles of Nowhere, so if you don’t think you have 100 miles in your legs, share the distance with a partner or two.  The idea is that every gets to ride as much as they like and have a good time doing it.
  • We want a festive atmosphere!  Please come with fun things for the “pit zone”, aka the parking lot, the destination that all laps will pass through before heading out for me.  This means bbq’ing, tasty treats, beer, music, (we might even bring our aerial dance rig!) etc.
  • Phil’s world requests a $3 donation at the trail head for all non-annual members of Kokopeli bike club.  Let’s throw them some additional cash for maintaining such awesome trails.  You’ll understand why when you ride there…
  • Unfortunately, there’s no camping allowed at the Phil’s World trail head.  According to the BLM website, there’s camping “just back from the access point for Phil’s World” which is where we’ll probably end up.
  • While this blog post, RSVP process and donation system are all very sophisticated, this is going to be a relatively bare bones event.  The spirit is to get together, ride and have a good time.  We’re not catering this thing.  Bring food, gear, costumes, everything you’ll need for 100 miles in a somewhat remote location!
  • The Dolores River Festival is happening Saturday, June 7 and if you’re coming for 100MoN, you might as well come early and watch Joan and I perform at DRF!

We haven’t established a fundraising goal and I don’t plan to get an official donation site up and running.  I do ask, however, that if you decide to participate (and please do!), please make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Heck, if you’re reading this and can’t participate, please donate anyway!  I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at ages 8 and 13 and the research successes seen by this organization are partially responsible for me being here today.

Let us know if you’re coming here: http://gg100miles.rsvpify.com  

More instructions will follow as RSVPs start to come in.

We hope to ride with you in June!


Ain’t it Grand?

This Friday at midnight, hundreds of brave souls will voluntarily venture into a cold, hostile, barren environment.  Many of them have been looking forward to the adventure all year long.  Their collective goal?  Travel, by ski, 40 circuitous, snowy, back-country miles and climb over 7,800 vertical feet to arrive at the Aspen base area smiling.

The Elk Mountain Grand Traverse (aka EMGT, aka GT, aka “the Traverse”) is an annual ski mountaineering race from Crested Butte to Aspen, CO.  In the racing world’s seemingly endless search for “furthest”, “fastest” and “highest” superlatives, the GT is America’s oldest ski mountaineering race.  It’s one that I’ve competed in four times and finished only twice.

The race can be brutal.  It requires navigation of serious avalanche terrain in the dark.  The race rules stipulate mandatory two-person teams rather than individual racers, as the dangerous nature of the event is somewhat decreased by traveling with a partner.  Frostbite, gear failures and whiteouts have caused countless evacuations over the years, and occasionally the race changes format to an out-and-back loop due to treacherous, impassible conditions.

I’ve never had a really good race run in the Traverse.  Twice my team had to turn around because of gear or body failures.  The two times I’ve finished, my partner pulled me across the line (I was dragging ass) and I pulled my partner to Barnard, at which point he had to be evacuated on a snowmobile (he was dragging ass).  In sum, none of these conditions were ideal and none left me with a satisfied, accomplished, “I (and my partner) really showed that race who’s boss” feeling.

That’s why, all the way in Flagstaff, Arizona, I’ll be watching at midnight on Friday.  Racers are required to carry tracking devices and fans can watch their progress live online.  I’ll be watching Smithy and Wick, JB, Billy, Ryter, the Western State Colorado University endurance ski team and all my other friends from back home, as they sprint up warming house hill and venture into the cold, dark night.  I’ll feel their elation as they crest Star Pass and steel themselves in preparation for the decent into the basin below.  I’ll feel the anxiety as the leaders take their mandatory 10-minute respite at Barnard Hut, nervously watching the trail behind them, strategically gauging their lead.  And I’ll celebrate, with my hot coffee and fuzzy slippers, comfortable on the couch, as each of my Gunny/CB friends glides across that finish line in Aspen.

I’m looking forward to the night that I can once again step into my skis and try to raise my finishing average over .500.

Good luck, all you traversers.  Giver ‘er hell.Image


Home and away…

“This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”

For best results, please have the following tune playing (loud) whilst reading this post…

 

 

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Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
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I feel numb – burn with a weak heart
(So I) guess I must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It’s ok I know nothing’s wrong . . nothing
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Hi yo I got plenty of time
Hi yo you got light in your eyes
And you’re standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
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Never for money
Always for love
Cover up say goodnight . . . say goodnight
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Home – is where I want to be
But I guess I’m already there
I come home she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
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I can’t tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time Before we were born
If someone asks, this where I’ll be . . . where I’ll be
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Hi yo We drift in and out
Hi yo sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
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I’m just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two
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And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I’m dead
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Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head Ah ooh
Adventuring in a new home.  Exploring the love.

(Thanks, LJ, for the care package.  And obviously, I own zero rights to Talking Heads property and I’m broke so don’t sue me.)


Go Broncos! (…and my dad is cooler than yours)

What’s your fondest memory of childhood?

I have so many great ones to choose from, it’s hard to pick just one.

There were all the family vacations to Moab, UT to ride the White Rim Trail over several days.

We went to Disneyland/world once each, and did the whole tourist thing.

And then there were lazy Sundays doing nothing much beyond watching the Denver Broncos with dad.

My dad taught me to love football.  If you’d like to know about my prowess on the field, you’d have to ask Anthony Poponi or The Dave Noir (we played a few years of flag football together, and we were all pretty rusty.  Actually, “rusty” implies that skill has decreased with time.  Truth be told, we started rusty.)  No, while I enjoyed playing football, I’ve come to realize that I’m much better at watching it.

I’ve always been a hometown fan.  No matter the odds, you could find me pulling for the Broncos.  And for a lot of my childhood, this taught me disappointment, then acceptance.

Until the season of 1997, when the Broncos won their first Superbowl (XXXII) in franchise history.  The John Elway era ended with a repeat Superbowl win (XXXIII) in the season of 1998.  And it was good.

What followed Elway’s retirement was a sad, winless post-season drought.  On the rare occasion that the Orange Crush would make it to the playoffs, they’d likely be tossed within the first round.  Opportunities were missed.  My dad and I would watch, despondent from the couch, hopes high but expectations low.

After a series of greasy, could be plumber, cry-baby, (somehow fitting Orton in here), no prayer quarterbacks, my team has landed the prettiest girl at the dance.  P.F.M.  And he’s taking us to the Superbowl this Sunday.  The Broncos are a new team with P.F.M. at the helm.  While currently living in Arizona, I don’t have the opportunity to watch many games with my dad.  But, without fail, we always talk about the most recent game over the phone.

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A package addressed to me arrived on the doorstep yesterday.  I eagerly took it inside and cut it open.  This is what I saw:

 

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That’s my Broncos hat from childhood.  My initials and home phone number (!) have all but faded away, written on the inside with felt tip marker.  This thing is from when I was single digits years old!  And it came with a Dales Pale Ale stuffed inside it!  And a chocolate bar!

 

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I know the title of this post says my dad is cooler than your dad.  Sorry if that hurt your feelings (or your dad’s feelings.)  Your dad is probably pretty cool as well.  But did your dad find your favorite childhood hat in the attic and send it to you since your team is back in the Superbowl?  Did he stuff it with your favorite beer?!

My dad is super cool.  We aren’t able to watch the game together this Sunday, but we’ll definitely talk about it over the phone.

Go Broncos!

 


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Graduate Student Guilt: Epidemic or imagination?

 

 

It took a couple of weeks to get settled after the holiday break, but I’m back in classes and into the swing of the second semester.

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This cute little cat with the tasteful beret (come to think of it, it’s kind of a raspberry color…) really epitomizes the spirit of those first two weeks.  I’ve been in a state of constant vigilance since the start of the semester, and it has been a little trying.  Getting used to new classes, expectations and a fresh schedule has required my full attention.  But I think I’ve come down with something.  A few other members of my cohort have shown symptoms as well.  I’m not sure what the prognosis looks like, but I think I’ve got a little thing called “Graduate Student Guilt”.

GSG is described as, “a hyper-vigilant state in which otherwise reasonable graduate students are irrationally and illogically anxious and nervous about phantom commitments, imagined assignment due dates and fictitious upcoming exams.”

GSG is most common in first year graduate students, however it has been diagnosed in 10th year All-But-Dissertation (ABD) doctoral students.  While the sufferer tends to believe a steady diet of caffeine and Tostino’s Hot-Pockets to be the cure, GSG has best been treated through a series of rational discussions with a significant other (also known as “talking off the ledge”) and long hours of rest.  This condition is more frequently diagnosed at the beginning of academic terms.

I’m still in the early stages of this affliction, and my outlook is uncertain.  I’m remaining positive and we’ll see how it progresses.  I’ve got a great support system.  I’ve actually been lucky enough to encounter many individuals who have successfully made it through their battles with GSG.  Overall, they still seem pretty neurotic, but I remain optimistic.  Wish me luck, friends…

Have you ever experienced GSG? Any advice for current grad students who occasionally feel the crushing pressure?  Share your insight in the comments!