Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In the flow

Yoga does it again. 

Feeling overwhelmed, fatigued and tight on the way in. 
Guided meditation, chant, sweat and stretch throughout. Focus on just one thought for your practice and create space for it. Reduce the noise, be in the moment and act in the moment. Repeat. 
Practice in the mind but in community. 
Clarity and joy on the way out. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Changing, going up going down

In the blink of an eye the season's have changed yet again, from summer to fall. This year's transition has been marked by a tremendous mix of the high and low, happy and proud, paired dramatically close to disastrous and tragic.

Wedding planning continues in full swing and I'm spending more and more time with Lauren as trips East allow and her schedule opens up. Counting the days until we don't have to spend any more nights days or weeks apart.

Following nearly 9 years with WSP, I left the business in late August to start a new consultancy with my trusted team, on a mission to chart our own course and build an exciting, values-based global business that drives real impact with our clients, and ultimately society and our world. The time and emotional energy invested has been profound, and we've only just begun.

In the midst of these wonderful events, disaster struck in the Boulder over 5 days with biblical rains creating flash flooding the likes of which we haven't seen in 100+ years. It was a who's who of impacts: mudslides, flash floods, hillsides ripping apart, house's swept away, basement's flooded, and roads crumbling under the power of the creeks at 5,000+ CFS, most of which typically run at 100-200 CFS. The destruction was immense if not incredibly unfair. Some parts of town were completely untouched, others devastated. Downstream to the North and East it was far worse as the water flooded out across farmland and destroyed roads and towns. Truly an incredible event. From a selfish cyclist's point of view, Boulder will not be the same for some time to come as every road West into the canyons and hills has been destroyed.

And just as we're in the process of recovering, a good friend and cycling community figure dies, after being struck by a truck while training in Belgium. Shock, helplessness and outright sadness for someone who had so much life to live, an aspiring career racing at the highest level and simply for the loss of a great person. Amy D. will not be forgotten and you'll always make me go that little bit harder.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Downieville Classic - All Mountain World Championships

After 9 days on the road, riding some of the best trails in Utah and Northern California, I raced the Downieville Classic, a two day stage race combining XC and DH courses, that has established itself as the center of the "all mountain" universe. A mix of both climbing talent and descending skill is required, and bike selection is paramount, as racers must use the same bike, weighed in to the pound both days. Fortunately,Specialized came through in a big way I was able to ride the perfect weapon for the challenge, the new Stumpjumper EVO 29er, a true all mountain bike made to accommodate the ups and maximize fun on the down.

The XC race starts with a brutal, exposed, eight-mile, 3,000 foot climb out of Sierra City, Calif. to Packers Saddle, before a 17-mile undulating descent on the famous Downieville trails. This year's pro field featured former champions Jason Moeschler and the Giant duo of Adam Craig and Carl Decker, but without perennial favorite and Downieville madman Mark Weir. Surprising many, Levi Leipheimer showed up at the start line looking to dominate the XC and—suprisingly—the full weekend. The race started at a ferocious pace. After "letting" the leaders go 10 minutes into the 50 minute climb, the feedzone support crews at the top were enthusiastically yelling to me that I was the first rider in baggies on the climb, somewhere around 20th.

The hour-long descent featured four key sections with their unique trail aspects: baby heads, loose fire roads with enormous water bars, mach speed jedi forest fall line single track and exposed rocky flumes, each connected by rail bridges over the Downieville river. After the fun was over, I finished 29th out of more than 50 pros.

Pulling up to the top of Packers Saddle for day two saw riders in knee and elbow pads as heavy metal blasted from the Yuba Expeditions shuttle vans. Clearly a different scene. The DH course followed a similar route down, but includes the most technical trail section in the area, Butcher Ranch, to create a 15 mile, 5,333 foot decent that is truly fast and furious—all over in an hour if you're flying. With some injuries on the mend and a big season of 'cross on the horizon, I played it fairly safe and finished respectably for my first ever DH race. After two days, times were tallied, I finished 28th overall, while the ever ageless Carl Decker took home the top prize, with teammate Adam Craig in 2nd and Moeschler in 3rd.
Reflecting on the weekend, I think what makes Downieville so special is the entire town completely supports the race and bike culture in general. For three days they've created this amazing biking paradise with the streets filled with expos, the river full of people watching riders do tricks into crystal clear water. Chris King makes you breakfast, the local fireman who double as trailbuilders feed you lunch and everyone has a smile glued to their mug after long days of riding, and surviving the trails. Beyond that, mountain biking has created a sustainable economy for the 280 residents and will ensure the area is protected from development as the trail system continue to expand for future generations." 

A great recap vid by Coldstream Collective is here from day 2, with a quick cameo at the beginning riding through town. Go here for the XC recap.