Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Road Ahead, Literally

The car is packed, the sails are set, and the cow is fat. Time for the slaughter.

Yes, I get to see Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington in the next 2 days.
Yes, I will be driving my Thunderbird with my bike in the front seat, chained to my wrist.
Yes, the rest of my earthly possessions will be in the back seat.
Yes, when jumpstarting my car this morning, I blew out the stereo and will have no music.
Yes, I'm considering driving with earbuds in at a low volume, and I don't care what you think. (Mom, I do care what you think, and won't do that just so you won't worry)
Yes, I will be spending 600 consecutive miles of my weekend on I-84.
Yes, I will be reviewing two hotels for Yahoo! Travel solely on the basis of their continental breakfasts, which I will be sampling after assessing the serenity of their parking lots overnight.
Yes, I will be signing up for trial memberships under aliases at two gyms along the way to stay on my training program.
Yes, I know all of this is ridiculous.

And no, I wouldn't have it any other way.

21 hours of America, baby.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Preparing for the Road

As astounding as it seems to me, and as near-unbelievable as it may be, tomorrow is my last day in Dillon. It's been a very rewarding and enjoyable 3 weeks. I've trained with more discipline than I ever have before (it's easier than you think when you live in the gym and your profession demands at least 10 hours a week of working out), enjoyed some of the most picturesque views Colorado has to offer (I would have preferred to use "panoramas" instead of "views", but I couldn't bring myself to utilize such cheesy alliteration in this blog), got in a few more (perhaps my last of the season - gasp!) snow days, and spent a lot of time reading, writing, and relaxing. It's been borderline luxurious (although my mother would probably not consider living out of a backpack for 3 weeks and sleeping on a couch that may or may not house a dead mouse (I can avoid alliteration, but witty rhyming was irresistible) in the back room of a gym "luxurious, I would, and do).

All that being said, it's still exciting to have the open road lying ahead. I leave first thing (well, second thing - I have to spin first, of course) Friday morning, heading points northwest to Seattle, WA. After almost 8 years of telling all of my friends I'd come back, I'm finally making good on my word. Interestingly enough, I don't get even the slightest impression that any of them ever doubted me. I'm excited to spend some legitimate time in the Pacific Northwest again - part of me never really left. It's not so much that I know it's my home, but that I know it can be my home base.

Seattle is near the Cascade mountains (which serve to complement both my cycling and snowboarding obsessions), the Puget Sound (for the stray day - more witty rhyming - when I need the water), Canada (it's always fun to be able to shoot into another country for a day or even just a beer should you feel like it ), and is home to a major international airport (which makes getting to major international destinations a lot more accessible).

I struggle to find things I don't agree with about Seattle. I look forward to jazz shows, city (real city!) commuting by bike, excessive amounts of coffee, and the hundreds of other little luxuries a city proper has to offer. I look forward to reconnecting with friends, and to finding new ones. I look forward to learning how to ride a bike all over again. I look forward to rejoining my first kickball team on the field of competition. I look forward to what I don't know yet to look forward to.

"The world is as a book, and those who do not travel read but only the first page." - St. Augustine

Monday, April 26, 2010

My First Ever Repost

Below is an excerpt from the Do Lectures ( blog, and I felt it was worth reposting. Enjoy.

The magic is in the middle.   If the polo mint didn’t have a hole, it wouldn’t be the same.   Of course, you would have around 25% more mint.   But the magic would have gone.   The Polo would no longer be The Polo.   It’s often the case of what you don’t do, don’t have, don’t say, ends up defining you.   Take The Do Lectures as another example. It’s special because of the bit in the middle.   Of course, the talks are inspiring.    And yes, the attendees are the most progressive and driven people you could ever wish to meet.    But those things alone don’t explain the magic.   The bit in the middle is in the canteen, in the pub late at night, around the campfire until dawn. It’s all the talk that takes place there that gives The Do Lectures the magic.   You see, most talks, most conferences do a great job of inspiring you, then you have a cup of tea or a beer and off you go on your way home.   But ideas need conversation, they need debate, they need challenging, they need people with different viewpoints, they need airplay.   In short, they need you to stay.         (The Do Lectures – Sept 16th -19th 2010)

The magic is in the middle.

If the polo mint didn’t have a hole, it wouldn’t be the same.

Of course, you would have around 25% more mint.

But the magic would have gone.

The Polo would no longer be The Polo.

It’s often the case of what you don’t do, don’t have, don’t say, ends up defining you.

Take The Do Lectures as another example. It’s special because of the bit in the middle.

Of course, the talks are inspiring.

And yes, the attendees are the most progressive and driven people you could ever wish to meet.

But those things alone don’t explain the magic.

The bit in the middle is in the canteen, in the pub late at night, around the campfire until dawn. It’s all the talk that takes place there that gives The Do Lectures the magic.

You see, most talks, most conferences do a great job of inspiring you, then you have a cup of tea or a beer and off you go on your way home.

But ideas need conversation, they need debate, they need challenging, they need people with different viewpoints, they need airplay.

In short, they need you to stay.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

One Of My Clients Has It Together

Below is a link to a story about one of my clients here in Dillon - he has successfully built the county's first net-zero energy home (meaning it produces more energy than it uses). Using special building materials, solar paneling, a masonry heater, and many more very cool advances, he's got the coolest house on the block.

Congrats, Clark - I'm inspired.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A thought

How can one compete against others without first staking a claim of victory within one's self?

I think of this while pondering the names and legacies of the great champions in their venues. No matter the arena, this statement holds altruistic.

I'm challenging myself, because I have not yet won. I have not defeated all of the shortcomings that reside inside of me, and their strangleholds - although abstract and even fragile at times - continue to try and hold me back. Their cries of restraint are what limit my potential, not the will or the talent or the positioning of those ahead of me.

I think of this not because I have misstep, but because I believe I am starting to learn how to succeed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Yes, Christmas. It's snowing outside, the NFL is on TV today, and I ate entirely too much food for breakfast. It's just like Christmas.

The training week is going well, and I feel as though my body is starting to catch up to the demands I'm imposing on it. 25 hours a week is a lot for a body to get used too. I'm loving the new bike more and more every day, and it seems as though this investment has fueled my desire to succeed on the bike more so then ever. My view of the wonderful two-wheeled machine is changing slowly, from just a way to get around to that and so much more - a fitness tool, a weapon in competition, a benchmark to measure one's self with. You can spend all the time working on the vanity of physical appearance, but I know how true it is that you're only as fit as your heart and lungs.

My days have been consisting of a lot of training, a lot of resting, a lot of reading books (I'm in the middle of Timothy Findley's "Famous Last Words", a riveting novel about an eccentric author's life and demise in the madness of WW2), and a lot of chocolate milk and peanut butter. Admit it, you wish you could copiously imbibe chocolate milk by the gallon as a part of your fitness protocol. Bike more, and you probably can (gratuitous plug for

Touching on the TYB front, things are progressing. We're refining our website daily, building our support base, jumping through all of the legal hoops that are involved with setting up a NPO (trust me, there are many), and fine tuning our promotions efforts as they pertain to our Border2Border tour this fall. Realizing that most of the population can't drop their job and other obligations for 5-6 weeks and bike down the Pacific coast, we're going to be marketing and organizing "minitours" such as Seattle-Portland, San Francisco-LA, and LA-San Diego. The main benefits of this move include appeal to local/regional sponsors (local bike shops, bike clubs, and other startup advocacy groups) and accessibility to our target market (the real commuters, for a whom a 2-3 day bike trip is within reach amidst their life priorities). This is most definitely a growing process, and one that I'm rather enjoying at that. The options of the world never cease to humble me by shedding light on that which I don't know.

It's astounding how a simple snowfall and the right song can define a mood for a day... my optimism and enthusiasm today is proof of that. Do yourself a favor and take a listen to Nada Surf's "Inside of Love". It's worth making the time.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ah... weekends.

It's an intriguing feeling to wake up with one's legs feeling heavier than when you went to sleep, and then to check the time and realize that your body demanded a full ten hours of sleep. For some of you this may be a common happening (the sleep part), but for me a ten hour night's sleep is near unheard of. Taking into account the sensation of ballast in my legs, I couldn't deny the argument that my body needed it. I suppose these are the sorts of revelations I can look forward to as I acclimate myself into a full-fledged training lifestyle.

You could argue that I've been living a training lifestyle for some time now, but what I'm referencing here is an entirely different beast. I would argue that the corner was turned when I started viewing meals as "refueling" or sleep as "recovery". To do so - in my mind, anyway - dissipates a certain humanity from the day's offerings, but within the sacrifice lies the discipline. It's not to say that I don't enjoy a good meal with good company or a good night's sleep for what they are, nor do I diminish the value of these things as they stand, but my perspective has shifted. The first steps are being taken.

I enjoyed my weekend (which includes a "rest" day in my self-imposed training program) smiting Mother Nature and going snowboarding. I had grand plans to do some cycling, but a mid-April storm fouled up the streets - unswayed, I headed for the resorts and chased down some turns.

I spent both Saturday and Sunday at Copper Mountain, which is a freestyle Mecca in the snowboarding world (I'd argue top 10 in the US) and the home base of Camp Woodward, the US's premier snowboard and skateboard training facility. The camp is home to a number of trampolines, foam pits, air bags, and dive pools - all of which exists solely to allow riders to hone their skills in a low consequence environment before waging battle in the real venue. Pretty cool stuff, and a very unique perspective on the sports.

Copper was a good time, and their many parks (you can hit 5 in one run) provided a plethora of stimulation for my freestyle-oriented mind. I didn't push the limits much, but I had a lot of fun looking at some new features, thinking creatively (one of my favorite lines of the weekend was a rail-to-fence ollie out of the park- to fence ollie back in- to jib barrel combo), and playing around. Something about closing weekend brings a little mischief and mayhem out of people, and throwing snowballs and spraying unsuspecting skiers never gets old...

I'm back at my home/office/training compound now, and am fresh off of a 90 minute hammerfest on the spin bike (the streets were still too fouled up to launch an outdoor assault on my legs), and am looking forward to that aforementioned "recovery". I have a heavy week ahead of me, and hope to do some sightseeing as well.

Keeping busy is a skill only granted to the creative and a burden only laid upon the subservient. Perspective is everything.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Dillon is nestled right in the heart of Summit County resorts cluster along I-70 in Western Colorado, and on a nice day it's very easy to see why people like it here. I like it here. The pace is 1/8 of that of Denver, but you have much of the same amenity base here and four times the scenery (see above photos, which I took today). You're a free bus ride away from 8 of the biggest name resorts in the country, and while many of these resorts are still open for skiing up in the hills (I use "up in the hills" relatively - Dillon is at 9,100 feet), I can easily ride my bike for miles in every direction in 50+ degree weather. Not a bad deal.

All is going well with the bootcamp I'm running here - the participants are excited to learn some new tricks and give their own fitness regimens a booster shot, and I'm expounding upon my experience in the fitness industry every day. It hurts a bit to wake up at 5:30 every morning and lead a spin class within an hour, but I feel like a million dollars by 8 AM.

A note on my experience here: I'm currently living in the back room of a gym, sleeping on a couch and operating day-to-day out of my backpacks. For those of you who have a shred of normalcy in your own lives, this may sound weird and unappealing. But for me it couldn't be better: I have a shower, a coffeepot, a place to sleep that isn't in my car, I'm 10 seconds from my office when I wake up in the morning, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. Vagabonding on your own presents a very interesting phenomenon: I have the time to do exactly what I want. Today I woke up, taught spin, enjoyed breakfast, listened to some jazz while working on some necessary client programming, went out for a ride, enjoyed a nutritious lunch, read every last page of Lance Armstrong's "It's Not The Bike", and now am updated this blog and recovering. I have a class to lead in an hour, then I get to enjoy my own strength workout and unwind with some tea afterwards. This is exactly how I wanted to spend my day. No obligations outside of what I committed to by my own volition, and no petty "real world" errands. Think: you don't have to mow your lawn when you don't have a lawn, and you don't have pay your cable bill when you don't have a TV. It's liberating.

Living in a gym is also terribly conducive to managing a 25 hour-a-week training program into your schedule. Again, it might not work for you, but spending 3+ hours a day working on my cycling or functional fitness in the gym is incredibly satisfying for me. Perhaps that's why I find myself currently residing in a gym....

This weekend I'm getting in some snowboarding at Copper on their closing weekend, riding my bike a bit, and sleeping in (think: 8 AM). I'll try and keep you all updated and be sure to take some photos.

Go have fun this weekend, will you?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Catching Up

Phew. It's been a crazy last few days - sorry about the lapse in blogging. It's tough to live the dream and juggle computer time all in the same day sometimes.

To catch up on the last few days' happenings:

- I spent 2 fun-filled days in Denver, and had one of the craziest cycling experiences of my life.
- I saw the Colorado Rockies play baseball at Coors Field.
- I attended a bike shop in Littleton, CO's grand opening and geeked out on $14,000 bikes with a bunch of weirdos like me.
- I had a Coors in Golden, CO where they brew the stuff
- I snowboarded in Arapahoe Basin and enjoyed one of the best park days of my season.
- I spent more than half of my reported taxable income from 2009 on a new bike.
- I rode that bike and realized that it was entirely, unequivocally worth it.
- I checked in at Elevation Fitness in Dillon, CO, where I'm running a 2-session-a-day, 3 week cycling boot camp (yeah, I'm getting paid to do what I'd be doing anyway. You're jealous)
- I've eaten a lot of bagels and peanut butter, and drank a lot of chocolate milk (again, you're jealous).

So let's recap in detail, shall we?

My first day in Denver I spent on my bike (of course) and was fortunate enough to stop at Adrenalin Cycles in Littleton (a suburb of Denver). The new shop is run by some of the most enthusiastic and personable bike geeks (said with the utmost of respect and admiration) I've ever met. Sean and Ryan - keep it up. They stock some ridiculously high-end race frames, so if you're into cycling and want some in-person bike porn (sorry Mom) to look at, check out their shop when you're in Denver. Their grand opening featured some excellent food and green tea, which was delicious, and I spent a good hour just oogling and talking about bikes with all of the other obsessives in attendance. Think: Star-Trek-convention-level-nerdiness.

Day 2 in Denver was a blast. After a week of trying bikes and searching high and low, I found my dream bike (for the moment...). It's a 2010 Cannondale Supersix 3 (pictured above), and it's ridiculous. I invested more than half of my reported taxable income from 2009 (it's a pricy bike, but this stat is much more a reflection of my less-than-poverty level income than the price tag) on this gorgeous machine, and after 2 rides I am 100% certain I made the right choice. It's going to be a fun race season, and I'm determined to kill it. To quote Johan Buyneel - "if we're racing, we might as well win."
I then went and enjoyed a Rockies game a Coors Field - met some new friends and had a great time. I don't care who you are - major league baseball games are cool. Some of my new friends asked if I wanted to grab a beer after the 14 inning game, which got my wheels turning (bike pun). I decided on the spot that grabbing a Coors in Golden (home of the Coors factory) was the best idea out at that specific moment, so I hopped on my bike and set out. 28 miles, a lot of climbing, a 6 mile stretch of Colorado backcountry roads with no streetlights, a failing headlight, a slow leak in my bike tire, and one of the most intense solo rides of my life later I sat down and enjoyed a pint of the good stuff. Worth nothing: you get some weird looks when ordering a beer at 12:30 AM with lycra cycling pants, cycling gloves, and a flickering headlight on. I didn't care though - I had more fun that day than anyone at the bar. Plus, they had a claw machine that housed a lobster tank, and you could claw machine your dinner. It was too late for that, but what a cool deal. If you're really good at claw machines, you could land the cheapest lobster dinner ever.

On a race note, the Mt. Baker SkitoSea team I'm competing with is complete. We're racing under the moniker Team MurderKill, and I bought a sweet skull-laden black and red bike jersey to celebrate the occasion. If you want to see just how epic this is going to be, check out I'm doing the road bike leg (of course), and some of my best friends are on the team with me. I can't wait. The 1st place cycling finisher managed a 30+ mph average pace for the 38 mile course, so I've go some training to do.

Snowboarding at A-Basin was a good time, despite the snow conditions. I even ran into another guy wearing a Sonics jersey in the park. We high-fived.

Running this cycling camp is a hell of a thing. I'm 24, have a mohawk, am living on the couch in the back room of the gym, and teaching Spin every morning at 6:30 AM and running a weights/core training session every day at 6:30 PM. I'm making a mental note so I don't forget this - when I'm old and lame I'll be able to laugh about how cool this was. Basically, 6 people have paid money to spend time with me every time the clock hits 6:30 for the next 3 weeks. Hammer time.

Doug, the owner of the gym, is the man. He's a New Jerey native and a relic from the powerlifting/bodybuilding golden days, and has a miniature yippity dog (I think it's a type of terrier) named Momo. It's hilarious. But he's a gym fanatic like the rest of us and an avid musician. Not to mention he's letting me sleep at the gym (a nice alternative to the front seat of my T-Bird). He teaches guitar here in town as well, and we're hoping to be able to sit down and play something this week. I'll be sure to let you all know how that goes.

Well, it's noon and I need to fuel up before setting out on a 40 mile day touring the Dillon area. I'm circling the lake, which should be very scenic. I'm riding my new race bike, and I'm brimming with excitement, so it's time to go. launches in 1 day! Stay posted, and try and get a bike ride in today or tomorrow to celebrate with me!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Yesterday was yet another fantastic day on the road, with all sorts of exploring, interesting people, and great sights.

I arrived in the Denver area midmorning after a delicious breakfast and some stimulating conversation (see Colorado Springs entry) but decided to challenge myself. Instead of heading all the way into town, I parked my "mobile home" in Littleton, some miles outside of the downtown area. Why not? Through no extra effort whatsoever I afforded myself some 20+ miles of additional cycling and exploring. Why not take my bike?

I decided to create a game of my day yesterday. Instead of relying on technology and the mundane precision it provides, I planned my day (in terms of sights and places I wanted to see) and wrote down the cross streets for each location on a piece of paper. I set out from my "base camp" with a bottle of water, a few Clif Bars, my camera, my cell phone, and this piece of paper. In doing so I created an exciting adventure: I'd actually have to explore. I'd have to actually engage local people for insight and direction. In forcing this "predicament" upon myself I opened a world of interaction, which brought an indelible realism to the day's events. The next time you're traveling in an unfamiliar part of the world, I highly recommend trying this exercise.

My first stop was a bike shop (go figure) called Adrenalin Cycles. Stop number 4 on my quest to find a real-life Ridley frame to tangibly experience outside the realm of the internet brought a result I'm used to by now: they don't actually have any bikes on hand. The staff consisted of two very cool racer-types, though, and I stayed and geeked out on bikestuff for over an hour. I'll be attending their "grand opening" today to show my support. Good people. All proceeds from every Adrenalin Cylces shirt they sell benefit, which is a very cool organization. If you're in Denver, stop by and buy one.

From there I set out for Wheat Ridge, CO - some 15 miles away - to go pick up my ticket to today's Rockies game at Coors Field. God bless $10? You've got to be kidding me. Try finding a cooler way to enjoy 3+hours of your day for under $10. I dare you (Seattle residents who can go to Mariners games, you're excused). I arrived at the library only to find out that they're closed, which confused me since I was planning on meeting my vendor at her work (the library). Upon calling her, I realize that in my haste I misread the email, and she works there on Saturday, and that she would be at home on Friday. Where does she live? In the neighborhood less than 200 yards from the bike shop I just left. Irony. You can't make this stuff up.

After about a minute of laughing about my stupidity and kicking myself a bit, I remembered that I thoroughly enjoyed my bike ride there, and that I was now on my bike in a new place, which is the whole goal of the day anyway. Filled with an odd sense of accomplishment, I pressed on.

It of course couldn't be any other way (thus is the essence of travel/exploration) my detour led me to discover some very cool places. Highlands is a suburb/borough of Denver, and a very quaint one at that. Think: Carytown, Richmond, VA or Fremont, Seattle, Washington or Ghent, Norfolk, VA. Probably the coolest little shop I stumbled across was Urbanistic, a combination fixed-gear/commuter bike shop and loose leaf tea lounge. Very cool. The bike mechanic, Ethan, might join the team on our Canada-Mexico tour in September. I'm building an army.

I then hopped on Speer Avenue and cascaded toward downtown with the exuberance that only a winter off the bike could bring and stopped at least a dozen times to take pictures and soak in the city feel. I think that there is a large part of me that is at home in the city; although I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the woods at the end of the road (Crested Butte), I am relieved to find myself in a big city again. A summer in Seattle is sure to be invigorating.

I spent at least 2 hours just cruising around downtown, finding bike shops and meeting new people - as a game I pedaled around until I found a local fixie commuter and then followed them to their destination. I got some good exercise, found some cool places (including a coffee shop at the end of a one-way alley, that I would've never found otherwise), and met some cool people. A girl named Veronica has the sexiest single-speed Bianchi in the world. She lives in Denver, and she taught me how to correctly pronouce Biciclette.

My last stop on the downtown tour was Coors Field - site of the Colorado Rockies' home opener. "Zoo" would be an appropriate descriptor.

More to come soon - all of yesterday was excellent, but they're closing the breakfast room at the hotel I'm currently borrowing breakfast, electricity to charge my phone and computer, internet, and I should probably exeunt before they start asking questions. Adventure!

Listen to Jose Gonzalez' "Veneer" record. It's excellent.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs brought a lot of breathtaking scenery, some great conversations, a lot of good cycling (albeit with more headwinds and hills than I've ever tackled in one day), and another fantastic day on the road. I started my day with an americano and a copy of USA Today at the fanciest hotel in town (they had an appealing little coffeeshop in the lobby, and I felt like putting on the ritz this particular morning), then proceeded to come back to reality and went to the visitor's bureau to wash up in the bathroom sink. After a pleasant conversation with Paul, the clerk at the visitor's center (who, at 64, is still an avid hiker and was beaming with pride while letting me know that his plans for the weekend were to push 7 miles up the Pike's Peak trailhead and 7 miles back), I set out with a map and my bike to do some exploring.

65 miles and 6 or so hours later I had ridden through downtown Colorado Springs, the scenic old capitol city of Old Colorado, the unbelievable Garden of the Gods (my second time!), the quaint Flying W Ranch, the adventurous Greenway Bike Trail (dirt path and all), and the Air Force Academy. I even found the time to stop at 4 area bike shops and oogle their fancy new bikes (I even got to take a 2009 Felt F4 SL out for a spin, which was a blast).

Downtown Colorado Springs is very much a city proper, and has a tremendous amount of cultural variance. There are cyclists aplenty (as expected), but there is also a large contingent of monkeysuit-clad 9-to-5ers and hardhat-toting laborworkers. Street vendors are not uncommon (a la NYC), and there are plenty of chain stores and restaurants to go around. Maybe I wasn't quite ready for this after a winter in Crested Butte...

Old Colorado is place that my mother would love to look at from the car window, but not quite one she'd be chomping at the bit to get out and explore by foot. Despite all of the quaint antique shops, etc., it seems to me that they town sort of deliberately let's sanitation slide a bit here in a vain effort at "authenticity". Just my observation, though. I enjoyed my time there, and almost bought my mother a flower put that was on sale at 65% off before I realized that I have no room for a 4 foot tall flowerpot in my car and moreover that she couldn't possibly get that thing to the Far East. C'est la vie.

The Garden of the Gods: go. Stop whatever you're doing and go. It's worth it. Trust me.

After about 25 miles more of fighting up the infamous Colorado Springs hill climbs (it's evident why so many athletes live and train here), I arrived at the Greenway Bike Trail. I was excited to get on a bike trail, as I am primarily a road rider out of necessity. Much to my dismay, about 1/8 of a mile in the path went to dirt. Unswayed, I charged forward with my sense of adventure being too strong to shelve away. It was an interesting ride, and some loose sand almost claimed victory over me on more than one occasion, but I made it. I had reached the Air Force Academy, and the last stop on my self-planned day tour.

The first obstacle in my path was a stopped train. I waited about 30 seconds before a gentleman in a pickup at the front of the wait said they had been there staring at a stopped railcar for some 40 minutes. As appealing as that sounded, I thought I'd utilize my mobility and solve the problem actively. Sitting in the cab of a pickup chainsmoking Newports didn't seem quite as appealing to me as it did to him, I suppose. I followed the rail line about 1/4 up the road until I reached an endpass - a small tributary of the stream running through the Academy. My thoughts centered around one truism: train + stream = bridge and underpass. I unclipped and carried my bike on my shoulder through some brush past a "Home of the West Nile Virus" sign and carefully crossed the stream using my long-ago honed hopscotch abilities, triumphantly reaching the other side without a scratch. Victory was mine. Only 3 miles of clean, paved road separated me from my day's goal: Falcon Stadium (over 30 miles from my starting point for the day) and the AFA Airfield.

The stadium was a treat to see in person; the backdrop of the Pikes Peak range and the clear Colorado sky was the icing on the cake. After a gratuitous photo op and some self-high-fiving I made my way to the airfield and spent a few minutes watching planes take off and land. Great fun.

A painful ride "home" (dead into the wind for 25+ miles) left me pretty exhausted, so I called it an early night last night. Early to bed, early to rise - and my 7 AM start today will serve me well.

I just had the most pleasant of conversations with an elderly couple traveling from Idaho to Cozumel, Mexico to celebrate their anniversary. How cool is that? The couple and I were forced to sit together at breakfast (the hotel lobby isn't built to accommodate the sort of numbers they had today - perhaps they weren't planning to host vagabonds like me who stumble in from their parking lot chateaux at 7 in the morning), and ended up talking about every little thing for some 45 minutes. The gentleman and I talked football (he's a Boise State University and Seattle Seahawks (!) fan), and his lovely wife and I talked about the gorgeous scenery to be found here in Colorado. I recommended Crested Butte, and if she has her way they'll be seeing that town sooner than later. The gentlemen seems to be a disciple of the golden rule - happy wife, happy life (thanks Dad).

On to Denver, more cycling, and some bike shopping. Sunshine and blue skies.

PS I just used the miracle of Craigslist to score Rockies tickets for tomorrow! The agenda: morning park laps on the snowboard at Arapahoe Basin, then a Denver bike ride to Coors Field and the great American pastime.

Keep the rubber side down, team.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

First Day Back On The Road (A Recap)

Me: Sorry I was late....
Colorado Springs: What kept you?
Me: I stopped to go snowboarding.
Colorado Springs: Sweet.

Today I accomplished one of my many life goals: I rode my snowboard in the lovely powder fields of Monarch Mountain and rode my gorgeous bike through the city streets of Colorado Springs. Throw in an unbelievable drive through Colorado on US-50 and I have to admit I had a pretty awesome day. It was bittersweet leaving Crested Butte, but with the sunshine breaking through after the 2-day storm and gracing the Elk Mountains with some appropriate glorylighting (I made that word up, but you know what I mean) I felt comfortable with leaving; I know I'll be back someday. And as many of the great locals I've met who have staked their claim in CB for over 2 decades will tell you, "When you do come back, not much of anything will have changed." Crested Butte is indeed that town at the end of the road: you can't "happen through" Crested Butte, you have to mean to get there. That (I think) is one of the many reasons it maintains its charm. Here's to that.

So my departure started with a pleasant morning drive then turned awry just past Gunnison. You'll only really empathize with this next anecdote if you've logged your fair share of road miles, but if you do I think you'll get a kick out of this. As I'm switching albums for the next leg of the journey upon my exit from Gunnison, I realize that all of my power steering is gone and my battery shows dead on my dashboard. That's funny, I thought, since I was still driving the car and it hadn't shown any signs of trouble up until that point. Thinking it's better to err on the conservative side, I turn off the road and into the parking lot of the last (I mean "there's nothing but trees for the next 67 miles after this" last) establishment in town: a service station. I'm vocally laughing to myself as I check under the hood and realize that my tension pulley has left my engine for the open road (the irony amuses me). This would be a major issue had it happened even a few miles ahead (tow truck, me swearing a lot, expensive parts, more swearing, etc.), but given my unbelievable luck (or misfortune, depending on your point of view - do you think they have a booby trap rigged for cars with out-of-state plates a few yards before you get to their station?) I coasted into a service station and was back on the road within 20 minutes only $92.17 lighter. With the bad stuff out of the way, I pressed on.

My anxiety was up a bit as I barreled toward Monarch Pass (which is notorious for ruining travel plans of anyone not in a Thule-carrying, Colorado-plate-wearing Suburu), but the roads were clean and I claimed victory without incident. For my victory dance, I thought some snowboarding was in order. A 30 second detour later I was in the Monarch Mountain parking lot booting up, a fat smile on my face. 2 hours of riding, some pow laughs, a cornice 3 that was entirely too much fun, and a cliff drop later I'm back in the parking lot debooting for the next leg of the trip. "Rest stop" just got a facelift in my dictionary.

US-50 from Salida, CO to Pueblo, CO is unreal. "Power of God" unreal. The natural twists and turns of the canyons, the overwhelming rock formations, and the vistas at the Royal Gorge panorama are not of this world. Dare I say this was the highlight of my day. Seriously, go check this out for yourself.

I finally arrived in Colorado Springs around 4:30 PM, which left me ample time to do some two-wheel exploring. It was exciting to finally get back on the bike in a real-world setting; after weeks of indoor riding it was borderline cathartic. Colorado Springs is a pretty place, and I have vowed to never get tired of looking at Pikes Peak while riding my bike.

Tomorrow promises to also be exciting, with a lot of cycling (include my second-ever ride through the Garden of the Gods), some bike shopping (yes.), and stopping with the rest of the civilized world to watch Tiger's first tee shot at the Masters since all of that mess. It's going to be riveting, and I can't wait.

More to come tomorrow.

PS I wrote this entry from the Clarion Hotel on Bijou Street, which has some of the friendliest staff on this planet (especially considering I've been sitting on their couch charging my computer and phone and noodling on the internet for hours and am staying in their parking lot tonight, not the hotel itself). Hospitality is alive and well in the US - never forget it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Too Much To Blog About...

But I'll try... today marks my last day in Crested Butte for the foreseeable future, and it couldn't be more fitting. Mother Nature was kind enough to grace us with a foot or so of fresh snow (not when the resort was open all season, not when I'm not making trip after trip out to my car while packing, not when I have a free day to go ride backcountry) as if to say "It's epic here - you'll be back.". Mother Nature - you're right. I've had an unbelievably fun season here, and the last few days were some of the best. This spot on the planet is etched in my brain, and I will indeed be coming back. For the foreseeable future, however, I have some new places to see and new people to meet. This is the best part of the vagabonding adventure. I have no idea what tomorrow holds. With the snowstorm in full force, my travel over Monarch Pass may be postponed. Although my heart has been set on riding my bike in the Garden Of The Gods in Colorado Springs tomorrow (go.) for some time, I know that flexibility is a traveler's best virtue. After all, if I can't make it over the pass, my day will be comprised of parking at the bottom of the climb, grabbing my board, hitch-hiking to the resort, riding all day on a new mountain (with a veritable cornucopia of powder stashes), then strapping in and making turns on the shoulder of the highway all the way down to my parked car (if I do this I'll be sure to get video - it's not every day that you get to ride with semi-truck traffic within spraying distance). So it's not so bad, I think. I may do that, find that conditions on the roads have improved, and still get to ride my bike in CO Springs! Rest assured that whatever happens, it will be well documented here. From tomorrow the options increase as I make my way to Denver and ultimately Dillon. I'll hopefully be doing a lot of cycling and meeting a lot of new people, all the while breathing in the wonderful culture and scenery that Colorado has to offer. I may be sleeping in my car, I may sleep outside, I may sleep in the home of some new friends - friends I haven't even met yet. Therein lies the thrill of the adventure: I might find my new friends out riding bikes, on a lift ride at Monarch, hitching a ride up the Pass, at a tavern in Colorado Springs, or in a coffeehouse while I write my next blog entry. The possibilities more numerous than the certainties, and that's the beauty of this whole thing. is now less than 10 days away from going live, so keep posted and get excited! In the meantime, you should track us down at, (I know, I know. I can't believe I'm on Twitter, either.), and on Facebook (just search for the group or find the link on my personal page). Once you've made absolutely certain that you won't miss any detail of what we're doing (I think subscribing to all of those sites should do the trick), grab your bike and go out for a ride!

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment of excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. - Paul Meyer (thanks Eric)

Monday, April 5, 2010


Things I've Done In The Last Week:

- snowboarded everyday, and enjoyed over a foot of fresh snow
- competed in a rail jam contest, and finished in the top 10
- made it to the summit of Mt. Crested Butte, enjoyed my first official mountain peak experience, then used my snowboard to get done (best run of my entire life)
- participated in the Crested Butte Moon Bus tradition, whereby the passengers of the bus coming from the mountain to town that have the privilege of sharing the ride with the Flaushink King open the windows, drop pants to half mast, and greet the town with a two cheek smile throughout the 10-block town loop. Epic.
- rode my bike while watching the entire Duke-West Virginia game
- jumped off of what my friend Tom estimated to be 400+ feet of cliffs in one day on my snowboard
- played a show at Crested Butte's finest drinking establishment (Lila and I make beautiful music together)
- finally saw Fishbone live (if you get the chance and like to dance/mosh/jump around don't miss them) at Crested Butte's 250-capacity music venue
- had one hilarious dinner conversation after another with some great friends at Crested Butte's Slogar
- started reading a very interesting book called "Chess Story" by Stefan Zweig
- had entirely too much fun doing all of these things

Things I'm Doing In The Next Week:
- getting my VO2 Max and LT tested in a performance lab (at least 2 of you reading this will think that's cool)
- snowboarding Monarch and Arapahoe Basin
- cycling in Colorado Springs and Denver, CO
- shopping for/buying a new race bike (!)
- working on the "to do" list for the site launch (only 10 days away)
- camping
- seeing new towns, meeting new people
- touring Dillon, CO
- starting a new job running a performance boot camp for cyclists
- listening to a lot of jazz music
- eating a lot of Clif bars
- smiling a lot

What's your calendar like? Email me at

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Schedule your priorities, don't prioritize your schedule. - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Vagabonding's Two Faces

For all of the positive facets of a vagabonding lifestyle (and there are many, as I'll tell you), the lifestyle does have its drawbacks. As I am officially in my last week here in Crested Butte (for the foreseeable future), the brevity and frailty of the personal relationships I've made here, the lessons I've learned, and the experiences I've stumbled into are shown in uncompromising clarity. That sounds a bit cynical, and I by no means mean to imply that because I'm continuing my travels next week that the people I've met are going to disappear from contact, the lessons I've learned will be shelved away, or that the value of these experiences will be diminished, but it must be noted that the slate will be wiped clean again. There's no two ways about it - I will miss a lot of the people, places, and experiences here.

That being said, I am filled with an exuberance I've only felt once before (when moving from Virginia in October) - the exhilaration of adventure. I'll be leaving on Wednesday for a town I've never been to with no concrete plans of where I'll be staying or what I'll be doing when I get there (sure, I've got a job there, but if you let your job define your experience of a place you miss a lot). The open book of travel is a good read. I can't wait to meet new people and experience new things in the new places I'll be going.

I have a few days of cycling in Colorado Springs and Denver to look forward to, then a new adventure in Dillon for April (as if cycling with no destination or preconceptions in Colorado Springs and Denver isn't an adventure unto itself). I have a lot of work to do in Dillon for - keep posted on the development at It's going to be epic. Are you interested in riding with me from Canada to Mexico in September and October? Email me. You're invited.

I'm living with the intention of dying broke... and I'm ahead of schedule. - guy I met on the bus today.