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.

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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!

 


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


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!

 


My blog-tivity – 2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.  My numbers aren’t particularly high or anything, but I really enjoyed dusting this blog off and getting it active again.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, too.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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.


Squeaky Wheel

Friends, what have you taught me?!?

A few weeks back, I posted A (non-)ode to Bad Coffee (which you should read for context before going on), a tongue-in-cheek gripe session about the chalky, bark-flavored swill I’ve been drinking during graduate school.  It’s sold as “coffee” but I think it was mislabeled.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.  So far, the non-ode has yielded six pounds of delicious, high-quality, free trade coffee beans.  Is more on the way?  I’ll have to wait and see.

Attached to a pound from Durango’s Raider Ridge Cafe was a response poem, reprinted here without any form of permission:

An ode to Good Coffee:

Here is some coffee that is not shitty,

It will wash away your sad self pity.

It does not taste of bark or soil,

It will not make your tummy boil.

It is 100 percent Fair Trade, you see,

The beans are roasted locally.

It has the most delightful aroma,

It would even wake you from a coma.

The taste, oh my!  It will make you swoon,

You may choose to add cream and stir with a spoon.

So toss out that cheap bad coffee swill

And dig out your trusty coffee mil.

Don’t fret about saving your hard earned dough!

I think by now you already know:

That some thiings in life

Are not worth such strife.

Special thanks to my bean providers, Dave Noir (from Kaladi Coffee), Mother Dearest (hooking it up with Camp4Coffee) and Tracey and Jarrod (of the aforementioned Raider Ridge Cafe).  You’ve all reinforced the notion that I should bitch and moan until treats arrive to shut me up.  I appreciate it!

Now, about the shitty beer I’ve been drinking…


What I learned over Xmas break

Joan and I spent 17 days in Colorado over the holiday break, and during that time I was reminded of some basic life lessons. To share with you:

1. Hold your friends close and your family closer.
Often, those two categories are the same. Especially when growing up in a small town like Gunnison, friends become family. When challenges face a community, people come together. Tragedy provides a powerful reminder of just how important the people in our lives truly are. Hold them close and tight, and enjoy the good times.

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2. Flexibility.
Living out of a suitcase is hard (but Joan and I already knew that.) Sometimes, it’s easier to let other people make the decisions and go with the flow.  This was particularly true when people began to get holiday flus and colds.  We have the most control over how we react to situations.  We can have influence on the events that are going to happen, but awareness of our responses and understanding the circumstances makes adapting to those events much, much easier.

3. You can’t do everything…
My, what grand plans I had! I’ll back country ski with Jordan and Lani, we’ll hang out with John and Jackie in Denver, we’ll check out Ft. Collins as a possible next home base. Oh, let’s go to CB for New Years, too! These are all plans we had that didn’t quite pan out. High hopes fell short this time.

4. …But you can do a lot.
We got to see our nephews, go to the zoo with little ones, skied Crested Butte, Monarch and cross-country, saw TONS of friends, spent time with family, saw an incredibly creative dance show (directed by one of Joan’s old friends, ascendanceproject), stayed up till 12:02 New Years Eve and plenty more. We make our to-do lists long and difficult to complete but we fill those lists with great things, so those items we do get to check off are just as sweet.  Quality and quantity.

5. Bringing joy is the best.
We had a top secret plan in the works for several months and executed it masterfully. Thanks to many individuals, one of Joan’s long-time dance friends received an aerial dance cube as a surprise present. And she flipped! It was so much fun to bring her out, blindfolded, and surprise her with this dance apparatus. Jess is going to have so much fun getting to know this piece of equipment and it was super cool to be a part of the gift giving.

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6. Home is where we are.
Crested Butte, Gunnison, parts of the front range, and Flagstaff all represent a little bit of home to us. Wherever we were, we were able to enjoy it. Yes, we do keep all our possessions here in Flaggy-boy, but we still feel very connected with other places as well. With that said, Flagstaff has been a great home to us, and we were glad to get back after a long road trip.

What lessons did you learn over the holidays?

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