Confederation 150 Relay

Except for a year and half of rugby in high school, I’ve always gravitated toward more-or-less individual sports—skateboarding, running, martial arts, and, in recent years, triathlon. My default sphere of comfort and control extends a couple feet away from my body. I have few close friends, I tend to think of myself as self-reliant, I’ve been called solitary, distant, intense (appellations over which I exercise a certain degree of romantic pride, though in reality it’s dysfunctional and likely the product of an emotional diet of Cap’n Crunch during my formative years).

And as I say, so it is with sports. I prefer to hold the controls. Even in triathlon, if I have a mis-shift on the bike, the fear it potentially signals something more sinister is about to happen often makes me think, ‘Fuck I can’t wait until I’m off this untrustworthy p.o.s. and in my running shoes.’ Smaller sphere of control, right? Continue reading “Confederation 150 Relay”

Anarchist and Mt. Baldy

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The toughest single day of cycling I’ve ever done. This is the top of the Anarchist Mountain climb, a relatively steady 17km traverse that constituted our *first* training zone of the day. The second zone, Mt. Baldy, was a pitchier struggle over 14km that we did near the end of the day. On Baldy, I dropped my chain halfway up the climb, and halfway up a particularly pitchy portion (I had to ride *downhill* a few feet just to clip in again), which set me back a minute, and managed to f*ck up my rear derailleur so I couldn’t shift properly. This event was a kick in the gut, the emotional impact so pronounced, so dramatic that my *will to climb* turned into a *struggle to hang on* nearly instantaneously. What’s significant about this for me—and what probably saved my skin for the rest of the climb—was the fact I was able to recognize what happened *when* it happened, to acknowledge it, package it up, and thereby gain some purchase over it, instead of melting down completely. I actually said to myself, “that just happened, and that is why you feel the way you do,” instead of questioning “why me?” Part of this comes from experience (I’ve shouted down tantrums in races before), part of it from the mindfulness work I’ve done through various forms of meditation, and part of it from reading about, and trying to emulate, the strategies of others (e.g., see Matt Fitzgerald’s book *How Bad Do You Want It*). Could I have handled the experience better? Probably. Could I have handled it worse? DEFINITELY. . #cycling #triathlon #fatcamp2017 #motivation #anarchist #sasquatch #mindfulness #grit

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Wide View

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#TBT to 2014 and the California Superbike School. The School has camps all over the world—I did mine at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and over the course of two days I learned critical lessons about riding, and, curiously, life. Proper throttle control, turning points, rider input—these are some of the essential and potentially life-saving skills you should employ on the motorbike, and coincidentally many of them translate very well to cycling (which accounts for my comfort and relative skill descending). However, another skill—the *wide view*—has implications beyond the track or the highway: Ever find yourself on a long, steep descent on your time-trial bike, full aero position, and you happen to look down at the pavement around your front wheel? It’s a little unsettling, isn’t it? You can’t keep track of everything going by, and you have to look up to gain some sense of perspective, to *slow things down*, as it were. Next time, extend this concept a little further: don’t just look up five, ten, fifteen feet in front of you. Look *wide*, take everything in—'truck at T-intersection, guardrail on the right, patch of gravel on the left, ocean in the distance'—and notice how time slows down, as if someone hit the “slo-mo” button on life. You minimize the risk of surprises occurring (which can lead to survival reactions such as target fixation = very bad), and you’ll have much more time to respond when they do. If this concept resonates at all in this context, ask yourself, where else might it apply? . #triathlon #motorcycle #cycling #tbt #lifehacks

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The run…

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I respect swimming. I like cycling. I LOVE running. Last fall, I injured my MCL from what I think was a combination of (i) slightly asymmetrical running mechanics, and (ii) a couple-millimetres-too-high saddle on my new CX bike. A few hard workouts and I was on the injured list. It’s been an agonizingly slow return to form, but over the last couple months my cycling has come around respectably, and just recently my knee has really started to come online for running as well. And man, I am grateful. To be sure, cycling is one of my favourite activities and I salivate at just the thought of my Maui cycling trips, but with running—I don’t know, it’s just that much more visceral, immanent. Shedding my bike in T2 is tantamount to that moment when Forrest breaks away from his splints—that Tito Puente song (popularized by Santana) “Oye Como Va” often pops into my head, which, in the context of the song, translates to “listen to how my rhythm goes”. A few years ago I won my AG at the Kelowna Apple, and I remember playing cat and mouse with a guy during the last 20k of the bike. He exited T2 a few seconds before me, and within a hundred yards I had drawn even with him. I was holding a 4:01/km pace, and after about 10 seconds he said, “You go, man.” It was one of the best moments I’ve had in a race, and I look forward to getting there again. #run #running #runyyc #whyirun #triathlon #cycling #fitness #athlete #instarunner #instarunners

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The Speed Project 3.0

Since early Friday I’ve been following this race on Instagram with envy and awe. THE SPEED PROJECT 3.0 is a running relay from Santa Monica to Las Vegas. 20 relay teams set out early yesterday morning, with the finish line, the infamous Las Vegas sign, 340 miles of scorching asphalt and desert away.

Scott Carmichael, a former colleague of mine at my triathlon club in Calgary, found his dream job with Strava in San Francisco a couple years ago, and he’s one of six runners on Team Strava this weekend. As of this post they’re duking it out with one other team for second place, and within hours they’ll be hitting that sign and then hitting the town (or a pillow).

As far as bucket-list items involving giant RVs go, this beats Burning Man by a desert mile.

The Iron-Man


The first “Iron-Man” triathlon was held 39 years ago today, on the island of Oahu, conceived from a debate regarding who were the fittest athletes: runners, swimmers, or cyclists.

The first modern triathlon actually occurred a few years earlier in California — modern because there are documented instances of tri-sport events in France as far back as the early 20th century — but it was diminutive in comparison to the goliath distances proposed for that first Hawai’i race: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run, so chosen because the race essentially combined three long-distance events already on the island.

Those ambitious distances have become the standard for “iron distance” races today, including those under the ubiquitous Ironman brand (owned by World Triathlon Corporation), as well as other organizations who put on iron distance events (e.g., Challenge Triathlon). Continue reading “The Iron-Man”


My brother Jim and his band The Barrel Dogs open for the Kirby Sewell Band at the Ironwood Stage & Grill this Friday, November 25th.

When I was in high school, my Mom and Stepdad decided to try their entrepreneurial hand in Dallas, Texas, which left me and our hapless German Shepherd Freeway alone in a large house in Coach Hill. Sensing imminent mischief, my folks asked my older brother Jim to move into the house while they were in the U.S.

This was good timing, as Jimmy was making life adjustments after coming out of a relationship, and, as typically happens after coming out of a relationship, he was entering that raw period of uncertain freedom and growth, where one sheds the carapace of the past and emerges, naked, into a novel world of self-reclamation and discovery. Continue reading “Jimmy”

The Wreck of the Miss Katie


This happened a few years’ back and I never got around to writing about it. But, since it’s kind of an interesting story, if you’ve got a few minutes to kill, take a read.

In early 2011, I flew to Roatan, just off the coast of Honduras, for a dive trip. Al, my first dive instructor, organizes trips like these occasionally, and I went down by myself and met up with about 20 other folks, all from Calgary. A few of them were dive masters, and a few others (including me), had around 20 or so dives, and had a decent feel for the water. And rounding out the group were a number of brand new students doing their open-water certification.

We stayed at a small resort on the east end of the island, and on the very first dive of the very first day, part of the group set out on the resort’s boat, the “Miss Katie”, a modest, utilitarian vessel, just big enough to accommodate around a dozen divers. I was on that boat with my dive partner Clint, along with Al who was certifying all the new students. Continue reading “The Wreck of the Miss Katie”

Haleakala, Maui 2016

The first time I attempted Haleakala was in 2013, and I got turned around at the park gates (roughly 7,500 feet) because of the U.S. federal government shutdown.

Second time was almost exactly one year ago, and I was successful.

Third time was this past January — also successful — and I shaved 90 minutes off my previous time. It was a glorious, challenging climb, and an exhilarating, swift descent. Here’s the viz from that day.

Music: The Blues (Original Mix) – Mike Teck