Sunday, August 30, 2015


This past week, my mom, dad, and I went to Colorado to visit the CU Boulder campus and also do some exciting hiking and bike riding while we were there. It was a BLAST! I seriously do not think it is possible to be bored in Colorado! Here are the highlights of our trip and some pictures to go along!

All packed up and ready for adventure
First off, the campus is at the base of the flatirons, so even if you are crammed with class work and other boring college junk(as I will be, if/when I attend the school), you can at least go outside and enjoy the view while you get that junk done. 

Campus and the Flatirons

Saturday afternoon, when we got there, we checked into our hotel and headed straight for some food - food is always the best way to start a vacation. After eating, we took a drive up the long, winding mountain road to see what places we might hike and find a good view. Later, we met up with an old friend of mine, Bronwyn, who took us to a local pasta restaurant and showed us around the local restaurant/business scene known as Pearl Street. One of the best parts about this trip was getting to see her and catch up after more than 3 years. After pasta, Bronwyn took us to this amazing place on Pearl Street, called Boulder Baked, that serves made-to-order cookies and we made sure to visit a few more times before leaving Boulder.

Waiting for pasta

After pasta
Sunday morning we went for a short but steep hike partway up the mountain. About 60% of this hike was uphill and at elevation, so while it was somewhat short, it was not easy. When we got down to the bottom, we headed over to meet Bronwyn and her family at her Residence Hall, as they call them. We all piled into a van and headed off to a local chinese restaurant for lunch. 

lounging on a rock-chair

team photo

the top-ish

I took a climbing route

Monday started off with a tour of all the main parts of campus and i got to see a really old tree! The tree was next to the building known as 'Old Main' because it used to be the main, and only, building on campus. When the college first opened in 1876, there was nothing but the building and a tree on the campus. Now, Old Main houses a Lego model of Folsom Field(the schools football field) and a 'Hall of Fame' of sorts, where they have pictures of many famous people who went to CU Boulder. Some cool people I was surprised to see in the Hall of Fame were Steve Wozniak(co-founder of Apple. He was actually expelled for hacking into the schools main-frame) and Matt Stone(who writes South Park, along with Trey Parker). We went to the 'C4C' for lunch - the C4C(Center for Community) is where students eat most of their meals and also where my tour started. 


Tuesday was our last full day in Boulder so we needed to do something exciting. What better way to finish off your stay in boulder than hiking to the top of the first and second flatirons! It was a long, rocky, uphill hike - gaining a total of approximately 1500 feet over the entire length. I ended up climbing up a lot the way which added some extra excitement! The view from the top was amazing and totally worth the work to get up there. You can see the peak of the second flatiron from the top of the first and it so happened that some people had just finished climbing(like real climbing) to the top of the second right when we were looking over at it. After such a long hike, we needed food, so we met up with Bronwyn and her boyfriend Tyler to get some classic college food, pizza!

Wednesday was the day we were leaving, so we slept in. We were leaving Boulder and heading to Winterpark, where our old neighbors have a condo they were letting us borrow for the weekend. On the way there we stopped by their house in Parker to visit. Their daughter, Kirsten, was in my kindergarten class and I really haven't seen her since then. It was super great seeing her again and catching up and looking back at our kindergarten/first grade classes and telling her how all the people changed and which ones I still knew and talked to. This all made me realize how much life changes in 12 year(holy crap I just realized it was 12 years...that's very long). When we arrived in Winterpark the first thing we did was walk up the road and rent some bikes for the next 2 days. Then we asked where we could go to get some good food and headed over to get some fish tacos. After food it was time for sleeping again; sleeping is so much better on vacation.

Thursday we went for a wonderfully gigantic breakfast at a local restaurant and then returned to the condo to get ready for a bike ride. We followed along a trail known as the Frasier River Trail and some other trails which was really quite flat. Riding in this part of Colorado can really be very easy if you stay away from the hill/mountain. Between all the mountains it is pretty darn flat so you can ride for a while without seeing a real hill - for some this is a blessing but for others it is quite boring. Thursday night we went to a restaurant that turned out to be quite fancy. I got a burger, a rather large burger, and it was very satisfying! I'd been craving a burger all week!

Ride prep
front brake works!

team photo round 2

check out those stickers!
Friday was our final day in Colorado and to be honest, I was excited to return home and see my friends. Friday morning we went to another local restaurant for breakfast which was once again large. On the way home I was swayed into getting a pair of Birkenstocks which ended up being extremely comfortable. We went for another ride, but this time on some trails that were a bit more exciting, though still pretty flat. When we got back to the condo we cleaned up and hungout for a while, and then we went to return he bikes and eat our last meal in Colorado - Mexican. We returned to the condo for the last time, packed up our bags, and went to bed as early as possible.

Just a few more photos

Spotted these guys on the way to the airport 
View from the hotel - unreal

Thanks so much to my mom and dad for making this trip possible! And thanks to Bronwyn(who might not even read this, but just in case) for showing us the local scenery! Also thank you to the Painters for allowing us to stay in their condo for a few days!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Vacay 2015

Where has the summer gone??  It seems like last week, I was celebrating surviving another school year, but here we are, starting the another one already. UGH!!  I didn't think that I could hate the first day of school any more than I did when I was just 8 years old, but this one is the most dreaded. New location with 2 districts, one of which is very high maintenance.  bring on the Ibuprofen!

In spite of dreading this since we got out on June 5th, I managed to have some good times over the last few months. Sure, there was racing and riding bikes, but there were also cookouts, bonfires, weekend excursions, and of course, VACATION!

As  I usually do, I headed to Maine for another week hanging out on the shores of Penobscot Bay in the Midcoast region of Maine.  To say I love it there would be an understatement.  I always look forward to the next trip because I know I can always count on having my batteries recharged while I am up there and this year was no different. And I really needed recharged this year too.

72 hour prior to our departure, I was racing in the ACA Masters field when another rider made a dumb mistake, crashed, and took me out in the process. As I was hurdling towards the earth, so many thoughts raced through my mind, including how it was going to affect my trip North. Among other things, I said a quick prayer to not hear the sound of bones crunching.  I hit the pavement with my left sidae and thankfully didn't hear THAT dreaded sound.  I wasn't injury free, but no known bone breaks... just bumps, bruises and road rash.
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The elbow turned out to be the worst of it all. Still, it aches a little from prolonged use or if I bump it wrong. But other than needing to change the bandages a few times through out the drive, had very little impact on our trip. We left at 3:30 in the afternoon on the last day of July and arrived in Licolnville Beach, Maine at a few minutes past 4AM, just in time to watch the sun come up over the Atlantic Ocean. 

The elbow kept me from my goal of 400 miles (I actually only road 25 because I was sore) but we still managed to find something new to take on every day.  The first full day, we hiked up the Maiden Cliff Trail on Mount Megunticook and got to enjoy the breath taking view of Lake Megunticook below.  When I used to spend the whole summer in Maine, I don't think I ever went more than a week or two without making the trip up. 

We also took a drive up to Bar Harbor and visited Acadia National Park.  We got up on top of Cadillac Mountain early, but still had to park in one of the lower lots and hike to the top because there were so many people visiting that day. And while the view is spectacular, I only visit every few years, because battling the traffic and tourists just isn't worth the headache.  Everyone HAS to visit it once in their life and Amber and Mackenzie can officially check it off their bucket list.
Cadillac looking towards Bald Hill

One of my favorite things to do while we were in Maine was to go to Thomaston and shop at the Maine State Prison Showroom. This is where the inmates who work in the woodshop, get to sell the crafts, furniture, and artwork and make a few dollars to buy the incidentals that help make prison life bearable. I don't know that I have ever come back home empty handed either.

We also stopped by the nearby Owls Head light.  Its very short when compared with other lighthouse people are familiar with from the coast of the Carolina's, but that's because its sits high about the water on a prominent bluff.

And of course, we ate AMPLE amounts of seafood.
Cappy's Chowder House Crab Roll
Fresh lobster on the back deck of The Whitecap
Another lobster, this time accompanied with fresh steamers and mussels
And LOBSTER ROLLS with a can of Moxie. Nothing says Maine like this meal.
We've only been home for 3 weeks now and I am already dying to head back up. I can't wait for JR to put out the new road race schedule so I can start planning.  Let me know if you want to take it all in with us!


It was a long 6 weeks. The first earthquake in Nepal gave me a feeling in my stomach I will never forget. I don't remember ever feeling quit so helpless. It was probably nothing compared to the feeling of the climbers stuck in Khumbu unable to assist the tragedy on Mt. Everest but regardless I own the feelings.

Helplessness without the desire and act would be a tragedy. I knew that I had no choice but to end up on the ground in Nepal as soon as possible. My wife and I spent days sending inquiries to support groups such as the red cross, All Hands, the UNITED Nations, and the Ambassadors to Nepal both in the US and Nepal. I even contacted the US military to try and get on a flight with them(no joke). It seemed that no US support groups were heading to Nepal for immediate relief.

 My adrenaline never stopped and I could hardly sleep. I knew that I had to be there. There was a natural flow and fight against the door closing options in front of me. It was much like the 2014 Hilly Billy Roubaix. Around every turn there was an obstacle that gave an option to quit. I never did and never would have. I wasn't going to stop this fight either.

Days turned to a week and I felt the time for my useful skills was fading so my wife and I decided that it was up  us to make it happen. I approach my current managers the following day with the news that I planned to leave for Nepal so we needed to "work it out." I sent this message to the head of nursing also. I also sent a message to our friends at global links. This is an organization that takes discarded medical supplies and repackages the supplies for the needy. They committed to donate all the supplies I could physically carry! It seemed like things were falling into place so I purchased my own ticket to Nepal and notified my job that I was going to be gone. They weren't happy but they agreed  personal leave.  Ill leave it at that.

The next week was a blur while working normal hours and gathering supplies and packing personal things. I contacted my friends in Nepal and informed I will be arriving. I was not prepared for what was to come.

Arrival in Kathmandu

Meeting a few itrekNepal team and New Hope Society members

Working with great people at the Bhaktapur Community Health Clinic

Supplies and Tents for Urban Health Medical Clinic and Community Health

After 2.5 weeks working at the clinic and then spending extra time helping to break down houses my friend and coordinator of New Hope Society presented me with an option I could not refuse. They needed someone to go into the high mountains to deliver medical supplies, tents and assess the damages to plan future relief. How could I say no to some hard days in the Khumbu mountains. I left the next morning without questioning.

Tea house destruction

Thame village

Thame medical tents

I've tried to explain how special of a country Nepal is but it never seems to sound as wonderful as I feel it is. I'll leave it at this - the countryside is beautiful, the culture is spiritual and the people are warm and welcoming. It's not the people but the souls of the people of Nepal that will change you forever. It is like nowhere else on earth. I'm not even sure it is on earth...