Sunday, May 31, 2015

Scenes from the East Side

As I deal with the funk of a slow-healing climbing injury, I must be grateful for so much in my life.  I truly am blessed with a great wife, usually awesome health, a really cool dog, and the freedom and financial resources to explore our beautiful corner of the planet.  I'll write more about injury later, but this is a post to celebrate the wonders of nature and our spiritual home, the East Side, as aficionados call it, that wild place between Carson City, NV, and Ridgecrest, CA.  We got away for a few days and dreaded coming home.  It was hard not to climb, but who can resist such places?  Jodi took the photo above of a late spring iris below the ramparts of Mt. Humphrey and Mt. Emerson. Viva Sierras!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Training, Riding, Life

We need to keep our eyes open, for life, in it's seemingly infinite variety, will come rushing in to amaze and inspire us, give us a glimpse into another world.   Yesterday, while so many were just learning of the death of Dean Potter, I was out riding, getting in shape, preparing for a big tour in June.  The world keeps turning and so must we.  I set out with a thickly loaded trailer tugging at my heels,  my legs protesting but taking the demands well enough.  Blessed by cool May skies, intermittently cloudy, moody, I dropped off our home slopes and climbed steadily for about an hour to a favorite summit and plunged down the other side, gingerly working the brakes, keeping the Haluzak and Burley trailer in check, the wind ripping through my hair, whistling across the vents in my helmet.  I banked smoothly, endured the cattle guards and bumps and began the return leg.  I stopped to take a photo of my rig for this post, but not a dozen yards later, the devil pictured above blocked my path.  Horned toad lizards are rare in these parts, so I had to stop and get his autograph--and clear him from the road.   The beast was surprisingly easy to sneak up on--but not so easy to catch.  After the slick close up, a Keystone Cops' routine ensued with the little bugger running under the trailer and bike and back and forth until I finally pinned him.  These lizards don't bite, at least in my experience, and the spines, though fearsome in appearance, don't harm the skin.  I love these little micro-dinos!

I set him a few yards from the blacktop and wished him well--or her.  Who can tell?  The road was waiting...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Losing Dean

We've lost one of the greatest athletes of this or any generation.  Much will be written about Dean Potter in the coming months and years.  In the world of adventure sports, no one has left a bigger mark.  I never had the honor of meeting him, and the world he lived in, the climbs and base jumps and slack lines that formed the center of his life will forever be outside my experience, but for all of us who climb, who risk, who strive in the wild places, his loss hits hard.  He did not die climbing as featured in the photograph above (from the web), although the climb he ascends there is aptly named: Heaven.  No, it was flying that finally took him from the world, a base jumping accident that also claimed his partner, Graham Hunt.  We'll likely never know the exact cause.  All that most of us can do is honor his great talent and achievements and wonder that such people sometimes walk among us.  You made the world a more exciting place, Mr. Potter.  You pushed the limits of the possible, and in so doing helped so many of us find that our own limits were not so close afterall.  You will be missed.  Rangers can't bust you for base jumping in Heaven.  Fly!

Portrait from the web--Dean Potter:

Dean and his super hound, Whisper, in happier times:

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Although it's been the driest of dry years, spring still pops out through the cracks here and there.  Above are the poppies of California popping most gloriously on a challenging ride I did last week--45 miles/4,400 ft. of climbing.  We were rolling through Walker Basin, and I had to stop and record these beauties.  Below are a few other photos from recent outings.  California, for all its problems, is an amazing place.

Climbing shots from the Alabama Hills:  Jodi getting vertical.

My partner for the upcoming tour--Danny Edwards--during our big ride last week:

Hiking today on the ridge about our home:

Friday, May 8, 2015


I've managed to well and truly tear some intercostal tissue.  This is NOT fun, and I only recommend it to my enemies, violent criminals, ISIS members and their ilk.  Back in March I was pulling for glory on--for me--a challenging climb.  I pulled something in my lower right ribcage area, but after only a few weeks, I really started to improve.  By late April I was working out pretty hard, climbing well. On the mend, yo!  Then, last week, going good in a workout with only very minor sensations in the affected area, doing a big set of pull-ups and...POP!  I felt it go, almost heard it.  I did a little climbing a couple of days later--mistake.  This puppy is screwed.  I have to get very serious about recovery and giving it time, which I should have done earlier, damn it.

I guess if I can influence one person to be more careful with this kind of injury, this experience and blog post will be worthwhile.  If you have this kind of injury, BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WITH REHAB!  If you have ANY twinges or sensations in the recovering area, STOP.  Back way off.  Don't go big, like I foolishly did.  I feel like a right idiot about now, and my climbing plans for this late spring and summer are almost certainly ruined.  I don't see why I can't ride, so thank goodness for recumbents, but still, who votes for painful limitations?

On Monday I go to see a chiro who specializes in "Graston Technique," which looks really promising.  I'll report back.  Be careful out there, folks, and be good to your bodies.  They're all you've got.