Monday, December 29, 2008

A Dream Restored

When I attended Saint Simon and Jude, a Catholic elementary school, Friday's were art day. We were allotted an hour of constrained creativity; coloring in between the lines or cutting construction paper with plastic scissors. Like those of my older siblings before me, my contributions to the cork board of student art often got the teachers attention. My brother even caused a parent/teacher conference when he was the only one in his class to think outside the box (or bushel, in this case), and colored his paper apple green, rather than the usual red. Without knowing this legacy, I often followed in his rebellious foot-steps. My generic little indian boy cut-out for thanksgiving: decked out in camouflage. My dream house, drawn in second grade: a mobile home.

That dream has been restored. It makes me laugh to think that as early as second grade I wanted to travel and appreciated simplicity. Now, with a license to drive and a taste for travel only fortified, a mobile home doesn't sound that far fetched. This Airstream Interstate might be six figures straight off the lot, but damn its sexy:

It's no 'Scummy Deluxe'(pictured below, with proud owner), but where it lacks in character (and sheer creepiness) it makes up with class.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I remember when I thru-hiked the AT I would avoid watching documentaries about the trail ahead or look at pictures of sections I have not walked yet. I did not want to spoil the experience. I wanted to encounter those places on my own terms and not first through someone else's lens. It fell under the purist mantra I suppose. (come to think of it...I didn't know what Katahdin looked like until I got to Maine and saw it with my own eyes.)

New trail. New experience. New mindset.

I came across this video and was instantly convinced to watch all of it. The Irish accent pulls you in right away. It's an excellent preview of not only the California PCT I'm going to do this summer, but also of thru-hiking in general.

I also figured out that I will need to do consistent 19mile days to complete California in the time I have. I was planning on doing high 20's and 30mile days. I still intend on doing that many miles per day, this just means I'll have plenty of zero mile days.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bikelapse from Tim Humphrey on Vimeo.

I love this video. My friend Rooney Toons (Tim) made it and has it on his website. He's also the one who took the heading picture of me on Franconia Ridge. One of the most genuine persons I've ever met...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Jean shorts. Worn mostly by children and douchebags. Jorts are perhaps the easiest way to recognize people you will not like. If you wear jorts, you probably don't talk to girls. The term "jorts" does not apply to jean shorts worn by black people, as those are entirely acceptable.

The kid next to me was definitely a total dick; he was wearing jorts.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Damn the Dam Half!

I'm running a half marathon this Sunday called the Dam Half. I ran last night for the first time in several weeks. I know I can do it, I just don't know if it's going to be too fun. haha.

At least I get a tshirt...

Iron Cross VI

There are finally some pictures from last weekend posted from Iron Cross. It was an awesome weekend, starting with the Velo Swap in T-town (got a new fork for the cross bike), camping/ reminiscing in Pine Grove Furnace State Park (half way mark for A.T.), then racing the longest cyclo-cross race in the country. Spending time in Pine Grove reminded me of how awesome people can be; from drinking a couple good beers with two local guys in a gravel lot, to warming up at a fire with a young couple and their 8 month old, the hospitality and friendliness I recieved was one of the most alluring features of "trail life". I hope I can find the same warmth on the West Coast on the PCT...

Iron Cross was a good time all in all. Awesome course. Good aid stations. Beautiful weather. It would've been cool to do the shorter race on Saturday. The taped off grass course (shown in pictures) was Saturday's race and the start to the long race. It was real turny and lots of fun. I did better than I expected. Towards the end of the race I was suprised when I figured out that it was possible to finish under 5 hours. If I didn't take my time on the walk-ups, I think I could've done it. Oh well, 5:05 isn't bad either. Full results here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I'm not sure of my official results, but when they're posted they should be here. The first race I did I may have finished in the top ten, but in the second race (an hour later) I just couldn't keep up. My ribs got really sore after the first race so I popped a pain pill. That slowed me down a bit. With two laps to go in the last race and with all the fantastic cheerers yelling "come on single speed!", I got my second wind and was riding really well. This year they ran the course through a deep sand volleyball court twice in one lap; I was able to ride through it all but once. I was cornering decently too. The new wheels and drop bar felt awesome(Thanks Jordyn!). I was quite pleased to see that a fellow San Jose rider won the first race. Bearded too! I guess I came in second for the bearded single speed category...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Boo Boo

Though they didn't have to pull my skin off like this poor creature (I ripped-up enough on my own), I did have to sit around in the hospital for two and a half hours. I spent all day avoiding the ER after I took a nasty crash while mountain biking. In avoiding the hospital, I was quite productive building some lovely celeste wheels for my cyclo-cross bike though (pictures to come). Turns out, I have a minor fracture to a lower rib, but the area that hurts the most is just bruised. Damn rocks!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I miss the trail.

Katahdin reflected in the Penobscot River at Abol Bridge, Maine.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Back to Earth

The next two weeks I will be leading college freshmen on five night backpacking trips for the Orion program, here at Penn State. I'm envious of these kids because they are so quickly learning the surrounding area even before they start classes. I remember it took me some time to force myself to go explore. They get not only the opportunity to see the surrounding area but also to interact with a wide range of other freshman. Friendships made backpacking tend to be strong for some reason. The opportunity I have is to instill a sense of responsibility and respect for the local and extended environment. Even if they never return to the areas we travel through in this program, the Leave No Trace principles we teach will hopefully be applied everywhere they go.

Needless to say, these next two weeks will be hard and bittersweet. I will be missing my ripening tomatoes, opportunities to read ahead for the fall semester, chances to properly digest this summer's developments, and of course, time on my bikes. My backyard crop was so successful this summer that I was even forced to put excess veggies out for friends to pick up while I'm gone(Enjoy!). There are harder ways to make money, so I can't complain too much.

Looking forward...
-Classes begin August 25th
-Aug. 31st I get older.
-Sep. 7th there is a marathon in my hometown. I might give it a go. I've done more stupid things.
-Sep. 13th I'll head back to Bethlehem for Lehigh University's mtn bike race.
-Oct. 4th PSU Mtn bike race.
-Oct. 11th Tom and I kick ass in the Tussey Mountainback, a 50 mile running relay race.
-Oct. 19th I continue to run, this time on trails in a half-marathon called the Dam Half.

'07 Mountainback. My running-mate Jon finishing in a pink bunny suit.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

This is partially why I'm piecing out my super fancy road racing bike. Why, no matter how awkward someone looks on a bike, it makes me happy to see them riding. Why I try to nod, smirk, or if I'm really in a good mood, wave to fellow bike riders. It's why it doesn't faze me to hop on my bike an hour and a half early to ride up over a mountain to go to work. It's not just about saving gas, it's about being happy. Ride a bike to enjoy life; not to get fit, or simply get somewhere. Don't take everything so seriously and get out and ride! It makes you happy : )
Here's a guy who does not take it too seriously...

Friday, August 1, 2008


I've recently completed the epic Wilderness 101. It is a hundred mile mountain bike race here in central PA that goes through state forests on single-track and fire roads. The week leading up to the race was not the best preparation. I lead a backpacking trip for the Orion program and did not get much sleep. Nevertheless, I pulled through in just under thirteen hours last Saturday, completing one the hardest physical endeavors I have ever put my body through.

Thanks are in order! I pushed the pedals, but I could not have gotten through the day without the advice, encouragement, compassion, and work from the following people.

Frank M.
Eric D.
Rachel, Jess, Alyssa (Trail Angels!)
And of course Chaya and Coco!

Extra Special Thanks to:

E. Roman- I didn't do it on my San Jose, but I agreed to do it because of you. Thanks for pushing me to be a stronger cyclist. Thank you for all the fitting/technical advice. One more "death march" down!

- Thank You for looking into the mountain bikes for me. The Sok was awesome! I needed some spare tubes the day before the race, but the real reason I came into the shop was for a pep-talk from you : ) I needed some words of encouragement and you came through to help ease my mind. Luckily I never had to use the Pringles patch.

Scott W.- The aide stations were full service because of you. You told me what I needed to replenish my body and were so incredibly helpful. It was so good to have you around at the stations! I owe you and Ieva some PBR pounders ; )

Mom/Dad- Thanks for driving 3 hours to see your crazy son in another race. It always means a lot when you're there cheering for me.

Leah- I would've changed my mind that night if it wasn't for your attempts to "lighten me up". From the dinner to driving me there and back, your presence, hard work, and compassion was genuinely appreciated. I would have slept in Saturday if you didn't push me. Thank You...for everything.

Check out Leah's pictures of the race here.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A weekend with the boys and a bike.

The weekend began in Bethlehem with some coffee downtown then a fine home cooked meal. We then made our way to T-town, threw some back and went to the now infamous Macungie Pub. Not sure how we got back, but there was karaoke, many shots and plenty of PBR. In a haze the next morning , Brent and I drove a block to the oven that was the Trexlertown Velodrome. We baked in the high ninety degree weather and had a good time racing. With some cash from his mother, we got some fine food at the Coopersburg diner as we drove down to Southampton in the afternoon heat. Showered, repacked, then rolled out on our brakeless fixies to the train station. Our urban assualt on Philth-adelphia began at Temple and ended up in Manayunk. We navigated our way with courier bags full of beer and all sorts of sweat pouring out of us.

Saturday night was chill at first, then got interesting at these "pimp-ass condo's" where a friend of a friends old frat brothers were throwing down. Many more of the fine brew, PBR, were had. We even chilled out on the roof of this place that looked out over all of Philly. Sunday was the pro cycling race, with just as much heat as Saturday. We had a late morning because our hosts couch and air conditioning were quite comfy. Our bikes were ogled all day and once in a while we returned the favor. The race was pretty cool, especially since there were some current Penn State riders and alum's racing. We probably got twenty miles of fixed gear fun in on Sunday, all said. Cooked was the most appropriate adjective for how we felt. Train ride back to Southampton, another family meal, then we returned to State College via the four wheeling, gas guzzling method.

Here are some quotes from the weekend:

"He has the voice of an Angel..."

"I got so shelled!"

"Can I get a chocolate milkshake, please? Two straws."

"That roof was the tits!"

"Dude, I'm so cooked."

"We definately need some coffee."

"We need to get some more Wa before we leave this area."

"Brent, are you riding safe?"

"Yo guy!"

"Thanks pal-sy"

"My grandparents are going to think I'm gay now."

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Back to the Track!

I just realized that it has been 7 years since I've raced at the velodrome, doing track cycling. I didn't think it has been that long. It used to be how I spent my summers; driving out to Trexlertown two nights a week to train and race Saturday's at noon. I've dreamt about it ever since. It was such a good time. I was never very good, but I felt so cool back then for doing a sport not many people knew about, not to mention how fun it was. I remember thru-hiking the A.T., daydreaming about getting back home, getting back on a bike, and really getting good at racing on the track. I told everyone about it. I spent many days pondering the day I'd be back to T-town racing again. This weekend it's finally coming true...and on a freshly re-surfaced track nonetheless. I hope my first day back isn't like my very first time on the track. That road rash was really nasty...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Starvation run

I once came to a pond so clear you could see all the life it embraced, and it soon held me in its beauty. A day of intense pain, wearily limping through freezing sheets of what could've been my own tears. Cold, hungry, and alone, I found myself finding friendship with the body of an element I cursed that day with every aching step. It reflected the pastel sunset to hold me in its warmth. I sat on a jagged rock, not caring for I was dry finally, sitting at the edge of my sorrows. There’s a time, but not always a place, of incredible reality. When there is both it could never be captured, a glimpse of perfection in an imperfect existence. I slept that night in an ice-cold stillness with a forever frozen dream. You can only walk there.

30 Mile Days on the AT

The first was hard with chafing and rain. Hard pack trails without any hills. Hot dry summer day, the beginning of a long period of late afternoon thunderstorms. It was all about being a bad-ass. Thirty-four miles of glory. Running for the hell of it. Sleeping never felt so good. We earned it. Sleep you deserve is so sweet and delicious. A birthday cake on your 90th. My final thirty I found poetry in the power of three. Celebrating the triad, invigorated by the idea that after the first ten miles, I get another, and yet another. There’s something about three that is both forbidden and desirable, punished and treasured, captured and embraced. I was discovering the latter in all of these.
My second thirty was the only one out of necessity. And somehow I enjoyed it the most. I was constantly entertained. At the base of a long mountain climb, I stopped to prepare for the early storm, threatening me with wind and growls. As I pushed hard, I was rewarded with cooling downpours and intense surges of rain. Howling at this present from the sky, I rejoiced with every slosh of my footsteps. Soaked to the bone and happy to the marrow. Walking in a river, swimming up to the sky. Sweat washing away before I could feel its heat. I passed a hiker and his poor load carrying dog, watched them melt away before I passed them on my cleansing climb. There’s nothing more spiritual than water on a mountain; whether it’s flowing from it or pounding on it. And on top it all stopped. The steam consuming the valleys below, pouring from my purified body. A view into fog, millions of crystal clear prisms. I breathed in their light and all the colors they had for me to hold. I exhaled, in glory bound pace, the next twelve miles. Finding myself at my predestined road before dark.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Well, Hello There!

Sometimes he'll dance with paddles. Sometimes he'll just dance. Sometimes he'll curl into a ball and fall asleep. And sometimes he'll walk an extra flight of stairs to my room and fall asleep in my bed.

Ah, yes. Coming home in the morning to find your roommate passed out in your bed. Priceless.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lighten up.

Coco lives. She is the soft-spoken, hard-headed unofficial mascot of this cycling outfit I'm a part of. She travels to races and tries to get as good of a view as she can. It's not easy not having legs. The legs she once had weren't hers anyway. Here she's showing a little skin to get the boys rowled up. She sure is somethin'.

The reason I bring up miss Coco is because much of what is on my mind lately relates to the fast approaching race season. I've been stressing out about it. I've always told myself that racing should be fun. My competitiveness does not run deep. I don't strive to be a great athlete. I just like to push myself. I like the people and the times before and after an event, the jokes, sleeping on floors, living out of a car, leaving town, and so on. Coco embodies those good times. She reminds me to keep it light, like her (cause after all, she's just a hollow fiber glass torso).

First time on skis

I spent valentines night learning how to cross country ski. A good time was had by all. My roommate may have enjoyed himself a bit more than me, seeing as he got pulled down a snow covered fire road behind an suv. It was touch and go for a while. I was riding in the car behind him, laughing as he slid to either side of the road. Good times.