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

Training

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!

 


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


Grand Canyon sunrise

Across the room, the shining red digits of the clock taunted my restlessness.

2:57 am

“Just close your eyes, the more you dwell on it the less you’ll sleep,” I told myself.  I drifted in and out of consciousness for what seemed like hours and gave myself permission to check the clock again.

3:12 am

Damn it.

On the other side of the bed I could sense a similar sleepless agitation from Joan. We tossed and turned for a while longer, with the optimistic hope that sleep would come and give us passage to a more reasonable hour of the morning. “Want to get up and catch the sunrise at the Canyon?” I asked sarcastically.

A long pause.

“Umm…yeah!  Let’s do it!”

We had already been planning on taking a day-trip to hike around the Grand Canyon.  Sure, we weren’t planning on leaving for another seven hours, but what the heck?  Neither of us was really getting any rest.  How cool would a sunrise at the 7th natural wonder of the world be?

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Turns out, really cool.

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Yes, I look incredibly smug in this picture.

We found an excellent perch away from the crowds and prepared ourselves for a breathtaking dawn.

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We were started cold but knew the sun’s warmth would soon be upon us.

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And in came the sunshine…

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Sunshine!  Woohoo!!

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Boom!

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The sun began to spread, showering the landscape in light.

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As the the day began, so did our hike.

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Signs warned of the dangers of heatstroke.

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The trail crisscrossed and lead us down, down, down.

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Cheerful morning hike!

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A look back at where we started.

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Walls all lined up.

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Desert beauty.

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Deadwood.  Ooooor live wood.

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The return trip.  All uphill from here.

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Adventures need good partners.  I’ve got the best.

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The view from the top is much different from being down on the Colorado River.  This was my first trip to the rim of the big ditch, and Joan’s second (but first in adult life.)  In case I’m stating the obvious, it’s enormous.  Like, really, really big.  Friends, come and visit us and we’ll got check it out.  Seriously, it’s only 90 minutes from our house.  How crazy is that?

Here’s to making yourself feel small once in a while.  Cheers.


Hotel Fitness!! (Sarcastic) Yay!!!

I’m not nearly as excited as that title might suggest!!!!!

The hotel I choose to stay in during my business travel is the best.  It’s got an ideal location to major freeways.  It’s in very close proximity to several restaurants  providing many options for both chain and local flavor.  It’s near the airport and has a complimentary breakfast.  It even has underground, heated parking for free.

But the fitness center sucks.

Apparently I don’t care enough to stay at a different hotel, but I do care enough to complain about it.

This inconvience has forced me to become very creative with my workouts while traveling.  (And a quick note on this: If I can’t fit a work out into my business travel, I go nuts.  Traveling inspires the most healthy people to eat like crap.  I spend most of my business travel days driving around and sitting in coffee shops, milking free internet.  Also, working.  But for me to remain sane, I have to fit in a workout as often as I can.)

I now know how many stairs lie between the Springhill Suites Chicago O’Hare basement and 10th floor.  A fitting number, 187.  (Fitting because, legend has it, 187 is the cop code for murder.  Yeah, I’d classify 10 floor stair-repeats as murder.)

I do step-ups on the treadmill and ski jumps over towels.  The ceiling is too low and when I do burpies I practically punch through the tiles above me.  On the weekends, I walk aimlessly through the city, hoofing it waayyyyy further than a typical commuter might in an effort to counteract the hours of sitting behind the wheel and eating unhealthy food.

I’m glad this will be my last travel season 🙂


Guest post- Friday’s weekend

This post is going to be a bit different, because I let my dog Friday write it.  Well, not actually write it (her paws aren’t dexterous enough to type) but dictate and proof-read it for me.  She’s approved the format and content, I was only the typing dummy.  I, er, we, hope you enjoy it.

Written by Friday

HI I AM FRIDAY I AM A DOG AND I LOVE HIKING!!!!!!!!!

WE DID HIKING ON THE WEEKEND.  IT WAS FUN!!!!!!  WE DID HIKING ON MISSOURI MOUNTAIN AND MT. BELFORD AND IT WAS SO PRETTY!!!!!!!

GARRISON DID NOT STAY ON THE TRAIL.  WE DID BUSHWHACKING.  I LOVE BUSHWHACKING!!!!!!!

THEN WE WERE ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN.  WE WERE ON TOP OF MISSOURI MOUNTAIN.  I ATE BEEF JERKY AND I LOVE BEEF JERKY!!!!!!

WE WENT DOWN AND THEN WE WENT UP AGAIN.  GARRISON LOVES TO GO DOWNHILL FAST.  I LOVE TO GO DOWNHILL FAST TOO!!!!!!!!

TO GET TO MT. BELFORD WE WENT UP ELKHEAD PASS BUT THERE WERE NO ELK.  I LOVE ELK I LOVE TO CHASE ELK!!!!!!!  THEN IT HAILED AND WE ALMOST WENT BACK BUT THEN WE KEPT GOING.

THEN WE WERE ON THE TOP OF MT. BELFORD.  IT WAS SO PRETTY!!!!

MAYBE WE WERE GOING TO DO MT. OXFORD TOO BUT THEN THERE WERE CLOUDS THAT MAKE THE LOUD SCARY NOISE AND WE WENT DOWN INSTEAD.

I LOVE WHEN WE GET TO THE TREES BECAUSE I CAN RUN THROUGH THE TREES AND I LOVE TO RUN THROUGH THE TREES!!!!!  I AM VERY FAST!!!!

WE GOT TO THE BOTTOM AND GARRISON WANTED TO SIT BY THE RIVER.  I WAS READY TO GO!!!!!

GARRISON HAD A SNACK AND I WAITED TO LEAVE.  I LOVE HIKING!!!!  I LOVE DAYS LIKE THAT DAY!!!!!!!

(Note from Garrison:  I tried to explain to Friday that on the internet, caps lock indicates yelling, but she wanted it written that way.  Even though she grossly overused exclamation marks, I think she has pretty good grammar for a dog and I like her simple phrasing.  I’ll have to let her make posts more often.  Good job, Friz.  Regarding the mountains we climbed, Missouri Mountain and Mt. Belford are both 14ers and sit in the Belford Group of the Sawatch Range.  They measure 14,067′ and 14,197′ respectively and are accessed easily off of US 24 outside of Buena Vista.  Mt. Oxford, 14,153′, is often combined with these peaks and sits only 1.2 miles east of Belford.  As mentioned, nasty thunderheads prevented us from the triple-header even though Friday had more than enough energy to get it done.  We’ll save that summit for another day.  -G)
(Note from Friday:  I LOVE WRITING!!!  WRITING IS FUN!!!!  I LOVE HIKING MORE!!!!!  THANK YOU FOR READING!!!!!!)


BroFile: MattB

MattB is a guy you want to have around.  A few phrases to describe him:

  • Excellent Photographer
  • Music connoisseur
  • Computer nerd
  • Outdoors-man

Yup, when you’re stranded in the great outdoors MattB will stump you with music trivia, fix your broken digital camera and, after snapping a shot of your dumbfound expression, post it to every social networking site.  Look, you’re on the front page of Reddit!

MattB was partially responsible for getting me on my first 14er (Wetterhorn Peak, 14,016′).  Our families took a trip together after a great 4th of July celebration a few years back.  It got me hooked.

Not sardines, but just as scary

He also introduced me to sardines as trail food.  I was skeptical at first, but damn, a nice tin of fish, some mini bagels and a packet of mustard really hits the spot at 13,000′.

MattB’s not old, but he has seen me grow up in our small community.  Here he is gettin’ rad back in the day:

Radical!

What a punk kid.

He shreds on tele skis and a bike.  Powder days are heaven, whether they’re white or brown.

Thanks for the help training, MattB.  Let’s hit some more 14ers when I get back!

Really, though, MattB takes the most amazing pictures.  Be sure to check out his site.


Bro-file: JCarr

I’ve decided it would be a cool thing to start a new feature:  Bro-files.

What is a Bro-file, you might ask?  It’s a profile on one of my bros.  Pretty straight forward.  I’ll get a few out there to hopefully get my readers acquainted with some of the peeps I get into the great outdoors with.  For this episode…

JCarr.

I first met JCarr at the entrance to Hartman Rocks.  I think I made a good impression.  You see, a few WSC bike team teammates and I were course marshaling at the turn into Hartmans.  It was just past dinner time and we had imbibed on a few festy-bevs.  And then a few more.  We had just got the portable fireplace raging and started passing the whisky around when JCarr rolled up on his single-speed.

“Uh…hey.  What are you guys doing?”  he asked, suspiciously.

“Hey dude, you want a shot of whiskey?!” another member of the team asked (certainly not me, you guys) and offered up the bottle.

Nice to meet you, JCarr.

A bit later, we hired JCarr at the Tune Up (R.I.P.) as a mechanic.  We rode together, skied together and worked together.  We became friends pretty quickly, as most with such similar hobbies in a small town do.

What is JCarr known for?

Pretty simple.  Cheesin’:

Cheeeeeese.

Haulin’ ass:

Leading the Growler

and Gettin’ wild:

Factory beer bong

We’ve had some good times together.  He’s helped me train quite a bit for Kilimanjaro, while he trains for the Colorado Trail Race (something that I have little to a lot of interest in depending on the time of year.  Typically, no interest before the race happens, lots of interest after it’s over.)

JCarr’s a super fast rider and always down for a new adventure.  Sometimes they end up being misadventures, but there’s fun in that too.  He’s always got something going on, and you can often hear him howl one of his catch-phrases:

“What’s going on YouTube?  Changing tires??”

“OBAMA!!!”

“I could be into that shit.”

Redneck

He’s also a bit of a hillbilly.

Here’s to you, JCarr.  Keep getting stoked.  For America!


The Darkroom

This image is not my property

The Darkroom.  Everyone knows it, even if they don’t know it by that name.  It’s the pits.  The low point during an activity.  The point at which you want to give up, go home and cower.  It’s playing the pain game.

And it’s required.

You can’t have a great time in the mountains or on the trail without getting into the Darkroom once or twice.  Inevitably, at one point during your ride, you’ll ask yourself: “Why the hell am I doing this?  I’m miserable.  My lungs burn.  I can taste blood.  I’m sucking wind and everyone is going faster than me.”

You’ve just entered the Darkroom.

It’s a dangerous place, this Darkroom.  It can make you quit.  It HAS made you quit.  It’s full of hoodoos and demons and all sorts of doubt.  It engulfs you and shakes you up.  You can’t focus on anything but stopping and turning around.  It hurts.

There are those souls out there who intentionally put themselves in the Darkroom.  Society calls them masochists, I typically call them some of my more hardcore friends.  My buddy EFreson calls it “Type A Fun”.  Putting yourself out there, knowing you’ll soon be in an extremely uncomfortable environment takes a certain type.  Admittedly, I’ve opened the door to the Darkroom on purpose from time to time.  I get inside and wonder what I was thinking when I turned the knob.

“Ouch!” I say, “Why did I want to do this?!  My legs burn!” as I make my way up a silly steep boot pack.

“What were we thinking when we thought of this?” I’ll moan as we bushwhack down an increasingly narrow runoff canyon.

“You thought this was going to be fun?!?” I’ll lament in the midst of a 70mph gust on a snowy, exposed ridge.

Luckily, most Darkroom experiences are with other people.  You may be in the Darkroom, but at least you’re with other people.  They can bring you up, unlock the door and get you out of there.  It’s lonely in the Darkroom, and it’s valuable to have partners who know how to rescue you from the depths.

But I’m glad there’s a Darkroom.  Cliche, yes, but how can we appreciate the good without the bad?  Being positive and happy in the mountains all day long is not realistic.  It just doesn’t happen that way all day.  The Darkroom has a way of teaching you appreciation and giving you perspective.

When you get into your Darkroom, how do you get out?  What helps?  When have you willing entered?


Current Favorite Music

LLLLLCCCCCDDDDD SOOOUUUNNNDDDDDSSSYYYYSSSSTTTTEEEMMMMM

But seriously, LCD Soundsystem has been my training music of choice lately.  So awesome.

The album “This is Happening” not only has a terrifically fitting title for how I feel about this trip, but has an incredibly crafted theme and driving motif.  The uptempo songs and heartfelt, meaningful lyrics do a lot to motivate a guy to run uphill.

I’m certainly not an expert on reviewing music, but as non-experts typically say, “I know what I like.”  And this, I like.

It’s not like this is a new album, either (couple years old), I’ve just recently rediscovered it.

Dance Yrself Clean, I Can Change, and Home have been on repeat for days.  If you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommend picking it up.  Check it out on YouTube or better yet, pay for it with real money.