Skip to content

Bike Dancing


I train a lot. Most of it is by myself. That’s a lot of time to let a mind wander.

I had a roommate in college who made me a mixed tape, and I realize I am carbon dating myself here when I say mixed tape here. It has four instances of Son of a Preacher Man on it, which was prompted after a night of drinking and cards when I kept hitting repeat on the song. This was the tape I listened to on countless whitewater kayaking trips in the southeast. I recently played it again and after all these years my mind wandered back to running waterfalls on the Tellico, playboating on the Ocoee, runs on the Upper Yough, and mac ’n’ cheese surprise for dinner.

Take powerlifting. My lifting buddy Maria always listened to music during her sets. If she missed a lift she would yank her earbuds out in frustration. It was part of her process. She always had her music in while training. All those month of training and I never did. I broke out my iPOD the week before my first competition. My coach said I was nervous. Yes.

At World’s, I listened to Adele’s Rolling In The Deep. For hours. Over and over. Louder and louder. All through my warm-up and in between my three lifts. I could see everything around me but couldn’t hear any of it as I was insulated by Adele’s voice.

Before each lift, I would restart the song as soon as I was in the hole. That gave me the correct timing I needed so when my name was called and I handed over my iPOD to Coach Joe I’d continue the song in my head as I stepped onto the platform and prepared for my lift. Stand at the bar, wiggle from foot to foot to plant my feet into the platform, smile at the judge (this was new in Vegas), grab the bar – right overhand and left underhand – and give a little tug, close my eyes as I envisioned standing up, open them, engage everything, and when I reached the crescendo in my head, STAND UP. Timing. Yes, I deadlift to Adele. And when I hear that song now I return to the lifting platform and relive it all in my head, in that same trance.

During my last race, the Tour Route in the Tour De Los Padres, which was more a training ride than a race given the previous few months lacked any substantial training, I had two songs in my head nearly the entire time: Dancing Queen by ABBA and JT’s SexyBack. It was a constant mashup and I danced my way through the Los Padres to it

Songs on repeat in the Smoke ‘n’ Fire were often MGMT Kids, some other song I haven’t been able to recall since the race ended, and Like A Rolling Stone. And a special version at that: my pal Tommy Karren singing the Rolling Stones’ live cover of Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone as he rides off in front of me. It’s usually just a single line as I hear him singing in the distance, “like a ROLLing stone”.

There were lots of songs during the Tour Divide. The connector road leading up to the climb to Red Meadow Lake gave me a beat down. Climbing away from that road was a grind and I filled it with songs like Machete by Moby and Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead. This parade of songs continued until the track switched to Clocks by Coldplay just as I rounded the bend to my first view of Red Meadow Lake. They were simultaneously beautiful and quiet. It was like riding in a postcard.

There are lots of postcards with music. U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind and Yosemite National Park. Scamming free wifi on the floor of Ritwik’s apartment while listening to Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball one summer. Singer’s and Songwriters of the 70’s (1971 in particular) and the SoCal desert. I once listened to the entire contents of my iPOD, the soundtrack of my life, during a whiteout in the Cascades. A lot of postcards.

Anyway, thanks for the mixed tape Becca.


Photo: DKCH

Tour Divide Letter of Intent


When I came upon this race called the Tour Divide I immediately said to myself, “I must do that.” With a decades-old racing background and an inclination to meandering about, something about racing the Tour Divide was calling me. The simplicity of it. The enormity of it. The community around it.

I’m looking forward to endless miles of riding, unlike the No Trespassing signs I encounter near where I live. I’m looking forward to some un-civilization.


I’ve been riding my bike a lot lately. While riding around in the middle of nowhere I generally come across two kinds of people, yet both kinds immediately recognize me for who I am. And I feel a sense of being from each. With the first group, it’s like looking in a mirror. These are people very much like me: out there, in my karass if we were to find ourselves in the Cat’s Craddle. When I share what I’m up to with that second group, I get puzzled and incredulous looks from their tilted heads, often followed by exclamations of encouragement. This response I take as them seeing and accepting me for who I am even though I’m very much unlike them. I’m on the other side of that looking glass.


So, I’ve been riding my bike a lot lately, encountering my own existence and bumping into my own impermanence, sometimes both at the same time. Like the flying ninja squirrel that hopped down from a boulder in front of me. Could have been a mountain lion for how I screamed (twice). Or, like a field of wild flowers.


I’ve been riding my bike a lot lately. I’ll see you in June.


The Lost Coast

This was originally written in an email to Jim (kind of like a cousin-in law), hence the unusual wording. My bike ride was lovely. I had planned on riding the Lost Coast (Mattole Rd) and then heading south once I got back to the Hwy 101 area. Day 1 started with a 7 mile climb of ~1,700 ft out of Ferndale. I then dropped quickly to nearly sea level and back up and over another 900 ft climb. They were both steep with the second one steeper than the first. I was then riding against a headwind along the water. After a few miles, the route headed up and inland again. This is around where I spoke to a motorcyclist, one of the two people with whom I spoke on my entire trip. We chatted about the road and campgrounds. This is also where I ate some of my one-pound cheese burrito (hold everything but the cheese) and trail mix (I had to settle for Trader Joe’s as I ate all the unsweetened chocolate mix from your house while we were driving away). The one town I rode through is called Petrolia. It had a combo store/post office that was closed for the holiday. My campground was about 7 miles further down the road. I decided to turn in early. I arrived around 3:30 and was probably in bed by 7:30. The campground had great hot showers and I’m pretty sure I shared mine with some leeches. In a panic, I quickly got dressed, put on my long underwear all twisted, and ripped a hole in it. Thanks Jim. I don’t think I would have been so worried about slimy black things inching their way to me if you hadn’t told us about the leech in your swimming pool!

Along the coast for a bit.

I had the campground to myself that night. Despite going to bed early, I slept in late. Part of that was due to waking up really cold a few times in the night because my sleeping pad kept deflating. That happened the second night too. It’s just as well; I’m happy to not be using it anymore and don’t have plans to patch it again. That sleeping pad was noisy. I call it the potato chip because it’s as loud as a crinkling bag of potato chips. So, no more potato chip. The next day began with about 7 miles of gentle rolling uphill to a town called Honeydew. Its combo store/post office was closed due to Thanksgiving as well. But, the porch was in the sun and I had more cheese burrito and trail mix while I soaked in the rays. Leaving Honeydew, I climbed back up and over the coastal range. This was 8.5 miles ascending, the first 5 or so were super steep and the last 3 leveled out quite a bit. By super steep, I mean riding at a 3 mph pace for about 2 hours. Leveling out means speeding up to 5 mph. The climb was about 2,500 ft. Descending was exciting and steep for about 7-ish miles. The road then turned to a gentle slope near some large redwood groves in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. I intersected the Avenue of the Giants route after going under Hwy 101 and camped about 3 miles to the south.

The closed Post Office in Honeydew.


Topping out on a 2,500-foot climb.

I had plans to ride further south, loosely following Hwy 101 but there was lots of rain in the forecast and I had already spent two cold nights with the potato chip and had a hole in my long underwear. So, I had Kristen pick me up in the morning and we loaded all of my now soaking wet gear into the car and headed home. All in all, I climbed (and descended) 8,500+ feet on some terribly bumpy country roads and had a lovely time.

A Few Days along the Great Divide Route


I haven’t been on a bike trip in a while and thought I’d spend a few days on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, from Rawlins, WY to Steamboat Springs, CO.


Wyoming is a vast wide-open place.


Aspen Alley.


Some fire road in Colorado.


Somewhere else in Colorado.

Hey, I’m a World Champion now.


I’ve taken an unusually long detour away from outdoor adventures lately that has seen me lifting heavy things in a gym. This was due to my dear friend Maria asking if I’d like to enter a powerlifting competition with her. “Sure,” I said, “I like to deadlift.” And so began my foray into some serious lifting.

Squats on Mondays. Bench on Wednesdays. Deadlift on Fridays.

We started on our own and along the way were adopted by a powerlifter at our gym named Joe. By the end, he was our coach and we all traveled to Las Vegas together for Maria and I to compete at the 2013 IPL World Championships. The title of this bog post gives away most of what happened in Las Vegas yet this summary barely describes what happened in getting there.

Maria and I were just a couple of beginner powerlifters transitioning from plenty of high-intensity interval training at Gymnazo. After coming back week after week, Joe began to see we were serious about lifting and so began our relationship with him. One that was genuine and generous. One that enabled us to excel in a way that I have no doubt could not have happened alone. We had a little community in the corner of the gym, lifting heavy things and making a mess with chalk. Practicing a state of being around lifting those heavy things. It was mental and emotional training as much as it was physical training.

As for Vegas, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless it’s live-streamed over the internet. And our competition was live-streamed over the internet from the Grand Ballroom of the Golden Nugget Casino. Maria broke the California deadlift record and I broke the American deadlift record (in our age/weight classes). It’s still a bit unbelievable.

My winning deadlift. 292.11 pounds.

My winning deadlift. 292.11 pounds.

Biking at Soda Lake


What I rode by: The San Andreas Fault

It’s been a while since I’ve been on my bike and I thought it was time to set a new goal for myself and start training for it. So, we went camping in the Carrizo Plain National Monument to put in some miles on the mountain bike.

Soda Lake

Painted Rock

Painted Rock, up close.

The Carizzo Plain: a vast open place.

My dog Laila came for the camping trip.

I spent some time on my bike.

The Serengeti


The only other time I was in Africa was in a dream.

What I drove by: giraffes, lions, elephants

The Serengeti is an amazing place. I got glimpses of it as an ecosystem, the intertwined nature of everything and every being, when I saw a lion kill a gazelle. What fascinated me the most were all of the BIG animals and being so close to them, either no boundaries between us (on Meru) or just an open car window (on safari). These are also the animals I’ve only read about or seen in zoos. There is no comparison to being in the presence of a giraffe, lion or elephant in Africa.


Amazingly graceful giraffes.


Lion cubs.


Young male lion.