Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Look, I'm totally cool with turning 30, okay?

By the numbers:
2- days left in my twenties.
30- my exact age in years at 4:18 AM this Friday
946,080,000- my approximate age in seconds at 4:18 AM this Friday
624- approximate number of days from now until I reach 1 billion seconds old.

p.s. 840,000,000- distance in miles from the Sun to Saturn
75- approximate number of minutes it takes for the sun's light to reach Saturn

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Bi-Polar Weather

It is January 8. There was a time in my life when January 8 meant about 45 ski days on the year so far (this year it just means one month until my 30th birthday!). However, New Years' Day we saw a healthy storm drop a 12-15" white blanket on parts of Northeast Ohio, including the two places where the lake Metroparks maintains some excellent groomed cross-country ski trails and I squeezed in my FIRST TWO SKI DAYS OF THE YEAR!!! Then by sunday it was 55 degrees and every last flake of snow either was melted or decimated by an incessant rain.
Meanwhile, Aspen is getting completely dumped on with the most snow ever recorded in December and a strong start to '08 with like 40" or something already.
I'm super psyched for Aspen, even though I'm not there, because you know what? You gots to love what you gots while you gots it- whether it's 6 seasons of skiing the sickest pow or 2 days of XC in good ole' Ohio. Enjoy it while you got it, amigos.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I totally added a few new links; check 'em the heck out! --> --> -->

Pretty cool sky, eh?

That is literally all i gots fer ya' fer now. I know that's lame because it's been so long since I've added anything, but here are several reasons:

  1. I really liked that last post. Those photos make me really happy. I mean, it was the sickest fall ever. (Editor's note: Mike San Marco is bitter because he lives in the city in Cincinnati and that's why he was complaining about the fall not lasting long enough with all those comments on the last entry. I still love him even though I pushed him head-first into a door once during a pick-up game of front yard hockey- but after all, that was 8 years ago.)
  2. We've been in a time of transition between the fall and winter, so I haven't taken many photos and I don't want to bore you with long stories, like the one about my team in the YMCA 25 and older basketball league (I'm serious) being 3-1. But since you asked, we recruited a high school friend of mine who's 6'8" and used to play in the NFL. Nice. It's not just him, though; everyone else is playing pretty awesome. Tonight we play the blue team, which is composed of a lot of slightly older individuals including 2 guys with grey hair, a woman that would crush me in a fight, and a fella that wears huge thick-rimmed glasses who could honestly pass for one of our fathers. Here's the catch: the teams's really good. They're super fundamental and they've been creaming everybody so we've got our work cut out for us. By the way, my brother Dave calls them "The Nerd Team." We're screwed.

Also, it is with much sincere delight that I let you know that it is officially winter in Northeast Ohio and we have received about 5" of snow in the last few days. Alpine Valley has been furiously making snow, and I hope to make the transition from running to XC skiing real soon.

Speaking of skiing, I turn 30 in February. I'm not one of those bashful people who don't bring up their birthday until the day after; I believe in extended celebrations... especially because I barely scraped by to this age by the skin of my teeth. So let's make it official: I'm starting to promote my birthday 2 months and 4 days in advance. February 8, 2008: Get ready for it.

I'm psyched to be turning 30. No, this is not denial; I feel like I've been in my twenties forever (almost 10 years, ya' know). Remember when you're young and all the old people are like, "enjoy this now because time flies... college is the fastest 4 years of your life" and all that crap? Well, I listened. My body feels like I'm 24 but my mind feels like I've been on this earth for 50 years. I've experienced the fullness of life and the nearness of death, and feel like I've earned 30. It's go time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This time of year...

There is no question that autumn is the best time of year to be in Ohio, and Fall 2007 has done nothing but reinforce this belief in me. Last year, autumn was literally three weeks of rain. It was downright nappy. I sought comfort by pretending that I lived somewhere where the rain made it romantic, like Ireland or something. There is no need for that this year, as it has been nothing short of glorious: cool, crisp, and colorful.
I've always enjoyed defending Ohio, so when I lived in Colorado I used to say, "Ohio is just as beautiful, just not as spectacular." Yes, it's hard to beat the azure skies, golden leaves, and snowcapped peaks of the Rockies. But Ohio's pastoral, complex beauty sure gives it a run for its money. Check it out:

The first frost of the year in the foreground, the morning sun has already begun burning it off the slopes of Alpine.
Until I one day reside again in the mountains, this'll do just fine.
Happy Halloween, everybody. Stay warm, and of course, pray for snow!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Happy Indian Summer... errr, Fall

Our Indian Summer, which produced some nappy humidity and scorching high 80's temperatures last week- has left us and Autumn is back. Here's a few photos from Wednesday morning before the rains came... Beautiful Alpine Valley Ski Resort: my childhood ski mecca and current running grounds. My house is hidden in the trees behind the red barn in the middleground.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Moonset over Ohesia- Fall edition

My last entry was my first ever photo-less entry. I sincerely apologize. Enjoy these images of the onset of fall, and don't forget to take a closer look.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I just kept running clear across Greenbow County

Blogs are pretty funny because we just write in and tell stories about stuff we did that's cool. It's a little narcicistic, don't you think? I mean, I never write a post entitled, "All the money I lost for my business today" or "I sat on the couch last night and watched 'Maverick' for the 20th time in my life". Maybe the sparsity of my posts is testament to how many times I've watched 'Maverick' (one of my all-time favorite movies, by the way. Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, and the dude that plays the Indian chief in 'Dances With Wolves' are very funny together).
Actually, I honestly feel like things happen everyday that are worthy to post. Sometimes the guitar just sounds particularly good and you need to tell somebody, or your coffee machine didn't blow a gasket that morning and burn your imported Hawaiian espresso. Or maybe you decided to go into work early to get some stuff done, and then also had to make an unplanned mad dash to an ARB meeting in South Russell at 6 o'clock, which conspired in an unplanned 12 1/2 hour day but also resulted in pushing back my evening run to sunset, which was far more dramatic and beautiful... kinda like yesterday.
Well, life is good friends. I'll make it a point to write some posts about a few particularly mundane things in the near future and then we can truly judge how rad our lives really are.

In the meantime, here's something else that's cool...
Remember my post from July 2 about my friend Timmy's brother who wheeled himself up a 10,000 volcano in Maui back in April? Well, I mentioned that he had inspired me to ride my bike 100 miles in a day. Saturday morning, my bro Dave and I spent 6 1/2 hours on our bikes, went through 4 counties, somewhere around 18 townships or cities and ended up at 102.6 miles. It was a diverse experience that included such polarized experiences as touring a 2 million dollar home in Aurora as well as an epic trek through the 4th largest Amish settlement in the world in Middlefield. We also got wildly honked and swerved at by some goofball (a-hole) in a Hummer.
In the end, it was strenuous but not all that hard as long as you're well-hydrated and eat some good chow along the way.
So in the end, it's dedicated to Sean the epic wheelchair volcano climber, who recently returned to Maui for a secong attempt of his climb. No word yet on whether or not the park rangers shut him down this time, but I'll keep you posted.
Keep on pedalin' amigos...

P.S. Movie trivia: do you know where the title of this post comes from?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

That John Denver is NOT full of s@*#, Man!

I hadn't been above 14,000' since climbing Pyramid Peak (left side, 2nd prominent ridge back) nearly 2 years ago so I was chomping at the bit. Pyramid Peak was also the first mountain I ever climbed in my life... how weird and ironic? (July 21, 2001... a very memorable and auspicious date for me). Here's the view from the summit of 14,092' Snowmass Mountain which... Aron and I climbed together via the seldom traveled "S-Ridge" on the West side of the mountain. What a happy lookin' fella. Incidentally, he climbed the entire day and therefore a lot of technical rock without the use of a prosthetic for his missing right hand; not easy... nice work, homey.
The Bri fro was in full effect and we had a gorgeous, off-the-charts, top-quality climb. One of the top 3 or 4 in my life. We started with a semi-off-trail wilderness approach after a 4:30 wake-up call and 1 1/2 hour drive, then climbed beautiful, solid granite for the entire 2,000 vertical feet of the ridge itself. Incidentally, Aron was mildly bummed that I wasn't looking at the camera in the photo below. Obviously, the ridge was fairly exposed to some serious drops. Would you rather insure the safety of your hand-hold or risk a precipitous drop by looking at the camera? I'm just being dramatic; it wasn't nearly that intense.

The obligatory "Consider your future" shot; The S-ridge is the one in the middle-top that's in the shape of- well- an "S."

This is also not nearly as intense as it looks, but it's a cool photo. This is where we stopped for our post-hike, pre-climb lunch at 9 AM. There was an easy way on to this beautiful rock bench where we dined, but Aron made me climb it. We were at about 12,000' at the time.
The obligatory summit pseudo-karate kid pose. Nicely done, Lefty.
The obligatory Rocky pose.
And of course, a photo for posterity. I have to say, almost all of my most memorable and exciting wilderness experiences have been with Aron- from 26 mile hikes to skiing 13,000' mountains to relaxing afternoon hikes, we've been through 'em all.

14,130' Capitol Peak in the background; our descent route is the ridge in the foreground. Nappy!

Looking down the S-ridge with a tired Bri Guy about 100' from the top.
The intrepid climbers after a quick natural rinse from an afternoon rain shower on the way out... safe & sound.
And of course, the route: Green = up, red = down.
The gully in the center is how we accessed the ridge on the way up. I went in the gully, Aron chose the rib in between the 2 gullies for technical variety.
Snowmass was the only 14,000' peak in the Elk Range near Aspen that I had never climbed. It was a beautiful, memorable, and pivotal 10 hours of my life, and it was truly inspring to stand atop that peak after the transition and life change of the last 2 years. It feels good to visit your soul from time-to-time.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I guess somethings never change

My old front porch in Aspen. 9.2.2007 (the mountains are behind the camera... photos of them are forthcoming).

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Aye' Captain; there's a storm a-brew

Check out some light show photos I grabbed last night after volleyball. The Payne & Payne World Headquarters, looking a little ominous.

Friday, August 03, 2007

From the Big Apple to the middle of nowhere

So here's a couple pics from my trip to the Big Apple in February. I'm flying into LaGuardia today then driving up to Vermont for a few days with my friend Grant & his wife & his dog and our acoustic instruments.

Look at that giant city. Dang-o.
Keep on keeping on with it up in the heezy and keep o truckin' until it ain't so breezy.
L8, the doctor.

Monday, July 09, 2007

See Ya' There...

Final Copy... with map!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Right Outside Your Door

I have had a lot of interaction in my life with people who regularly do extraordinary things, especially when it comes to athletic endeavours. Aron's 100 mile mountain runs and winter mountain climbs, Timmy O'Neill spending weeks upon weeks trying to conquer big wall climbs in inhospitable places, Elliot Larson competing in a 40 mile all-night-time race across one of the most rugged mountain ranges in the country, my skier buddies launching 50 foot cliffs... upside-down; the list just seems to go on and on.
Well recently something clicked when I witnessed an extraordinary feat firsthand. You may remember my story in Maui about my friend Timmy's brother Sean, pictured above. In addition to being a persistent and talented rock-climber, mountain road-scaler, and all-around adventurer, Sean is also paraplegic. He had started with his wheelchair wheels in the ocean and endeavoured to scale all 10,000' and 40 miles of road up the Hawaiian volcano Haleakala under his own power. I flew to Maui early one morning in April with dreams of sitting on the beach with a Mai Tai, the sounds of the steel guitar serenading me to an afternoon nap, maybe even a nostalgic drive on the road to Hana...
Well, within literally a few minutes of stepping onto the tarmac, I was sitting in a rental car on the side of the road watching someone I had just met that day slowly wheeling himself through traffic at 6:45 in the morning. Of course, I was spending some quality time with Timmy as well (as he force-fed me triscuits and cream cheese), but there was still that anticipatory tension of desiring to 'vacation' while on Maui. As it turns out, 20 hours later I was doing the same thing, and a few hours after that I was on a plane bound for the Big Island.
But I wouldn't have had it any other way.
There were, of course, some personal kicks- the nighttime sky in the middle of the Pacific from an 8,000' vantage affords the best stargazing on the planet (literally and scientifically speaking), watching the sunrise from the top of a 10,000' volcano was pretty sweet- but what I truly took home was the realization that -although extraordinary- what Sean was doing was waiting for me right outside my door.
In other words: I was inspired.
This past Saturday morning I went for a bike ride and was feeling great, so I figured I'd shoot for a solid 30 miles. As the day went on I realized that there was no good reason why I couldn't push myself a little more- no better time than the present. The temperature was in the crisp mid-70's range with low humidity, the sun was shining and my pedals were practically turning themselves, so I went a little further south than I had planned, cruised through Chagrin Falls, and upped my psychological goal to 40 miles... grabbed a snack and some water, rode the length of County Line Road and then I took a left- away from my home- down Hobart Road. This cycle of perpetual extension continued on through three counties and 10 townships. At the end of the day I had ridden 60 miles and felt great. It felt like a 100 miles and 10 miles at the same time: Physically challenging yet natural. Next step: 100 miles. I want to ride to Pennsylvania and back. It will be my pilgrimmage to recovery and to Sean... because of all the examples that my friends- and even myself- had set before and all the daily inspirations that I let slip through the cracks, I didn't recognize it until that extraordinary day and extraordinary feat that Sean performed.
So thanks Sean, I'm on my way...

Re-Mark Your Calendars

I'm gonna need everyone to change their airline tickets to my party from July 13th to July 20th. The house will be ready by the 13th, but I have decided to give myself an extra week to fully take advantage of a more thorough marketing approach.
p.s. I have a cool story to tell on my next post.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Milestones, Happenings, & Raining Threes

Very exciting stuff... I started the remodel on my house last weekend and things are going smoothly- in fact, faster than scheduled. I will soon have "before & after" photos, which will be a prelude to my massive housewarming party that I will be hosting once the project is finished... a month or so. I realize that many who read my blog are far away from beautiful Fowler's Mill, Ohio- but I am asking you to come to my party anyway.I hit 1,000 miles on my road bike the other day. Rad.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, the Cavs are down 0-2 to the ridiculously good Spurs, I encourage you to read the Optimist blog at http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/features/optimist_spurs3_070611.html to find out why. I never thought I'd be so into basketball... you see, as a kid, I adored the Cavs' "Six-Pack", including such almost-legends as Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, Craig Ehlo, and uhh, the two other guys. Then I moved to Colorado, became a ski snob, moved back to Ohio, and "witnessed" the majesty of King James (LeBron James)- watching the Cavs beat the Pistons was one of- if not THE- highlights of my sports fan life. But now, we are in great peril- so let's hope for another amazing comeback. It would be truly an amazing underdog story for a very unique, entertaining, & diverse team. Go Cavs...