Monday, December 1, 2014

Base 1-Ama Dablam Uncensored









While the Tinkoff-Saxo team was thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro my wife and I were already in Kathmandu preparing for our own 16000ft+ adventure. The journey was 23 days long and the terrain was difficult but the experience was life changing. We learned so much about ourselves in those days and cold nights. We learned new limits and that what was thought to be our personal breaking points were in reality not close to what we could actually endure. We learned about a culture of beautiful people that no amount of writing could ever describe. We learned, most importantly in my eyes, to live in the moment again and appreciate what you have in front of you. 

Our journey covered many parts of Nepal which were vastly different. Each area taught us new lessons and brought together unique people from all over the globe. Some of these people will be friends forever! Lets take a little journey from Kathmandu through Lukla to Ama Dablam high in the Himalayan region of Khumjung...

It all began in Bhaktapur World Heritage Village on the outskirts of Kathmandu. We chose this area to begin so that the craziness of Kathmandu would allow for a more calm preparation period before flying to Lukla. 
Enter the limits of Bhaktapur

Not shown here is the blood stained streets. This is a culture of many Gods. The week before we arrived animal sacrifices were performed all over the city. They were offered to the gods and all parts of the animals were used but the blood remained. It sounds so barbaric but even my vegetarian wife felt that it seemed "normal" for the time and place. I'm not sure we  could have been able to stand seeing it first hand but it truly is a cultural phenomenon westerners only read about.


Streets of Bhaktapur

Streets of Bhaktapur


The local story says that the youth were often married and had children by the age of 12. Since they did not know the actions which lead to conception this temple was "Erected" to teach them. All the pillars are hand carved Wood...












After a day of planning our route we headed out to Lukla. Meet the trekking crew.

Devin Corboy, USA

Caito Amorose, USA

Dan Clements, UK-lives in Singapore-I'm still convinced he is Australian!

Ram Shakya, Nepal


The flight into Lukla is awesome! The mountain views are spectacular but the landing strip is the topper. 100 yards of an obscene grade so the planes can stop before crashing into the rock face. On departure the planes get good speed before dropping off the cliff before getting lift. It's terrifying and awesome at the same time!
Loading up in Kathmandu before going to Lukla


Yes they actually have to fly these planes. Our pilot had on a bomber jacket and aviators! 


Now that's a short runway...

There were many prayer sites in route. You would always keep these on your right when passing. It made it pretty hard when they were positioned on a cliff. That's when Ram would say a prayer for us!
Keep it to your right and spin the wheel. I always prayed for the Gods to allow Caito to make the full trip. She had plantar fasciitis pretty bad from the start. 

"Please make my foot stop hurting." I think that's what she must have been saying. I tried not to bring it up.

Dan and Ram in route to Phakding


After 4 hours of Nepal Flat Terrain we made it to the first village. Time to relax and acclimate.


Phakding-Stop 1 on the Glacier river. It ain't warm...



Glacier River



The views were began to get more incredible as we made our way into the high mountains. These next photos are from the route between Phakding and Nomche Bazaar.



"I can do it-I'm wearing Swiftwick Socks"

The high mountains begin to show themselves

One of the many suspension bridges-This was not a reassuring site as the bottom bridge was broken. We opted for the high road...

Welcome to Nomche Bazaar



View as we climbed out of Nomche


The trail was getting more difficult to climb but the views were getting even better. This is where we got our first views of Mt. Everest.


Our first good view of Mt. Everest! Its the small snow peak on the far left-The peak in the center of the photo is Ama Dablam



Have Mercy



I was able to zoom in on Mt. Everest for the first time!



Ama Dablam (the first ever 8000m summit)-The ice ridge in the middle is really a mouth saying, "Devin-You can't climb me punk." Yeah-we will just see about that...



 We climbed for days into the high mountains. After 14,000ft I think your pretty high. Walking uphill is challenging but Dan and I made it a point to take some of the steep sections full gas just to see what it would feel like. Well-it hurt and I will guarantee I was hypoxic since I was seeing stars.




Ama Dablam



Views to left of the Ama Dablam Summit Ridge



Over 15,000ft and every ridge you cross is challenging. This is where Caito started talking about Greg Brady. That's when we knew she was sicker than she led us to believe.



Caito pushed on. Here she is praying that she doesn't get cerebral edema. Well-if she wasn't she should have been...



We made base camp that day and my wife was alive. It's the first time she ever asked for a Snickers Bar. She was struggling big time...








Me taking some time to converse with the mountain. She asks, "do you really want to come up here?" I reply, "I'm not totally sure, but I'm pretty damn sure!"



What goes up must come down! Unfortunately this is were we realized the true meaning of Nepal Flat! 

Up and Down no matter where you are. Never an easy trail



Caito and Ram heading back down the mountain, So we ask why we are always going up hill. It's Nepal Flat

Looking back on what we had accomplished






Caito says goodbye to Everest and Ama


I'll be back



Days later we finish up our time in the Everest region. It is marked by this threshold and Caito's much needed glacier water foot soak.


I made it back to Lukla!




Heaven!


Thank you Nepal


Things are always seen clear in hindsight. When I look back now I am still overhhelmed by beauity of this place. I'm in awe of the teamwork necessary to make expeditions happen. It reminds me that without support many of the things we love would either not happen or would not be nearly as enjoyable. 
None of this would happen without the support of my wife. She is the glue that makes all the crazyness stick together. I'm happy to have had her on this adventure and am so impressed she could make it in spite of her injuries. If you have someone who glues your craziness together, don't forget to let them know. 

Take time to enjoy the scenery! I do...

















Friday, October 31, 2014

Cyclocross day to day

Cyclocross day to day
Keeping a 'Cross bike race ready

With cyclocross in full swing, conditions are slowly degrading and back to back race days a more frequent.  It helps to keep a smooth running bike day in and out, and a clean bike is a happy bike. I like to use ProGold Biking Products, and recommend that everyone try them at least once. that's all it'll take to see  how great these products are.
sand manages to get everywhere.

ProTowels
These towels are particularly great at a quick clean up the frame and rims, after the dusty early season race.

Blast Off Degreaser
This here is probably my favorite product to use during 'cross season. Whether its clearing dust, mud, grease, or sand out of the drive-train Blastoff  is phenomenal getting it clean. Blast Off is significantly stronger than other similar products i have tried. Where i used a whole can of another product to clean my pit bike of sand, it took just a few quick burst of Blast Off and the grinding sound was gone from my race bike.

ProGold Degreaser +Wash
Is concentrated and recommended to use a 1:1 ratio. A spray down the frame will help cut through the mud and grime. Make it easy to wipe the bike down clean.

ProGold's Xtreme Chain lube
I run a quick layer on before i put the bike away after a thorough. The Xtreme lube is stronger and better suited for off-road use, than it's ultra low friction brother i like to use on the road bike.
A total of 20 minutes and my bike is cleaned and read to get dirty again.

These are just a portion of ProGold's great products, be sure to check out their site, and try some of these product when you have a chance. If your LBS doesn't stock these products, be sure to ask them to, all of these ProGold products stand above the rest.






October


When I first started thinking about what to write for my October blog, I was honestly stumped. It had been a pretty “boring” month, I thought. Yeah I got my license, yeah I raced my first cross race, but for some reason October was not bringing with it the extreme excitement that most other months have. This changed when I changed my thinking. I was only thinking about the extremely “exciting” things that I am accustomed to, like big races, hard training, and of course getting my drivers license. But there are other extremely awesome things to be experienced that many people, including myself, take for granted.  So yeah, October wasn’t a gigantic month of intense racing and big podiums, but it was a great month full tons of great experiences that I almost overlooked. Here is a brief list of all the things that have made October exciting.


Trials:
With all the training and racing and focused riding I did during the summer, I completely neglected my trials bike. I think I may have picked it up once to ride around in the driveway, but that was it. During October however, I picked it up and gave it the love and use that it deserves. I rode it so much that it actually got dirty for the first time in its life. This was wonderful because a dirty bike is the perfect excuse to clean a bike. I got it looking super shiny and riding smooth using my ProGold bike wash and chain lube. And after you clean your bike, what do you do? Take pictures of it, of course. Trials is one of the most fun forms of cycling and thanks to my “boring” October, I was able to get back into it.






Longboarding:
This one is pretty simple, longboarding is great. It’s the best stress reliever I have, actually. This may be surprising to hear from a cyclist, but cycling can be pretty stressful with all the racing. Its just nice to change it up, go cruising around with friends with no goals, just chillin’. Like my trials bike, my longboard was completely neglected this summer. But fall weather just creams “Go Longboarding!” So I did.




Weather:
Fact: Fall is the best season. Colorful trees, crunchy leaves on the ground, cool air, hoodies, and more. Just go sit outside, breath, and look around you, its amazing. If you say you don’t love Fall, you are just simply wrong. Another fact: The word “Perfect” was originally created with the sole purpose of describing Fall. That is all I have to say about that.

This wasn't taken by me but its a great fall pic.
Long Weekends:
Most people reading this probably haven’t been in high school for a while, but one of the most welcomed and celebrated events in a high-schooler's life is the long weekend. October has been a great month in this department. With one or two three-day weekends at the beginning and a four-day weekend rounding off the month. A long weekend means more free time to rest, ride, hangout, and procrastinate homework; it also means a shorter school week when you get back. Unfortunately, people with jobs are often deprived of this wonderful thing that is a long weekend, which sucks. Fortunately, I’m not one of those people!


October 13th, 1st long weekend
October 27th, 2nd long weekend

End of October/November 3rd and 4th, 3rd long weekend


A few more pictures from October:

Finally got my license

Happy Halloween