mountain surf style...

I always go on and on about balance, and the wake surf session I had about a week ago now was just such a remedy.  I hooked up with some ski homies from the Norhern Wasatch on a Thursday evening.  Willard Bay is just north of Ogden, and just far enough away for a lonely evening surf.  Passing fruit trees and farm markets all the way to the boat launch is evidence of the local flavor.  I am a country boy, and that is a little closer to it for me.  I settled right in.  Ben Geiger is the captain of the vessel, and a long time ski buddy of mine.  Wes Knopfel, another ski bud, and Rob Harris, likewise, all rallied to the cause.  Wes is a brand new daddy, and we needed to relieve him of some of the sleepless stresses with a little recreation with the boys.  A surf session behind the legendary vessel, "Brown Sugar" was the prescription.     

^Rob gets right into it, accelerating down the wave and reaching for the float as Daddy Wes admires the form.  Wake surfing is the perfect speed and form for this bunch on an evening like this.  After my last post I will also add that it is terrific dynamic balance and strength training as well.  

^Captain Ben rips on that board.  He also refuses to wear a life vest.  As I am always the cautious sceptic, I gave him a rash of shit for it.  He still relented.  I get it.  I am just a bitch that way at times.  However, in avalanche terrain he usually listens to me.  Wild man.

^Wes is a regular footed rider on the other side of the wave.  That takes some adjustments, and then he is off and ripping.  Kind of like his current life changes.  It is exciting to watch Wes and his lovely lady, Tomo, make the adjustments, and learn to raise brand new little Seby.  I have already given him a nickname, sorry.  I am not a parent, and I can't imagine the pressure of coming home with a brand new life.  There is no owner's manual to accompany Seby.  Wes and Tomo are good people, and I am betting they will do it very well.  

 ^Captain Ben is bringing the wheel back around to scoop up Big Daddy.  Ben and Rob are both father's, and it was entertaining to watch the good natured ribbing that they laid on the new daddy, Wes.  Good times, and a lot of laughs.
^This is a picture of pressures melting, and life balance being reached.  Settle.

^This is a picture of me...taking a picture of...

^...Rob doing this.  Nice picture.  Better ride.

^Daunting new fatherhood, work, deadlines, ski training, or whatever other stressors were milling around this bunch before the first wave quickly melted away with the float.  Catching a wave at sunset with great friends is the kind of experience that cools the nerve endings and centers the soul.  I can't speak for the group or the brand new dad, but for me, the camaraderie, the surf, and the sunset provided relief to any stressor.  As I am swimming back to the boat in this picture I was laughing out loud at the surf sensation and the unreal nature of the sunset and the moment.  I was feeling good.  As per usual, I was rolling with the flow, and had to play the role of the wild friend who keeps the new daddy out too late.  I am sure Tomo will have to give me a hard time for it next time I see her.  However, she can take some comfort in knowing it wasn't the first time I had been that guy, and probably won't be the last.  My old friend Bobby Schaetz and his new fiance have a story kind of like that.  They don't have kids, but I did keep Bobby out way too late on a week night.  That is how I roll.  What can I say.  Imagine if you were married to me.  That is why my wife, Christine, is a saint.  They all know that I am harmless, and mostly innocent.  Even when I over serve myself.  Cheers!      

drink it up, stretch it out...

Fall is just around the corner.  Soon enough the cool crisp morning air will give way to colder storms, and colorful cascading leaves.  I am already beginning to feel the transitioning of the seasons.  That sense creates an itch inside me that signals the start of the training regimen to prepare myself for another arduous winter.  I am always somewhat active, but I have to turn it on in a bigger and focused way leading into fall.   As would be expected, I have a very unique training system that I have honed throughout my tenured skiing career.  It starts from a long rest and healing process that begins that day I step off the slopes for the season.  Usually, I hit the wall at the end of the season sometime around middle to end of April.  I rest and heal for a good three months.  Again, I stay somewhat active throughout, but I keep it super light.  I take the opportunity to put more focus the other endeavors of my life, and the office work of a skier during those months.  Then, when the itch comes on, I start to loosen it up a bit more again.

^First things first, hydrate. At least half a gallon a day, but slowly and throughout the day.  Not all at once.  This photo of some high fructose corn syrup settling at the bottom of some water helps turn me off of the sodas that are loaded with the stuff.  It's a dehydrator, and I try to cut them out or at least way back during hydration.  Helps to eliminate it all together, but real life happens sometimes.  "Another rum and coke please?"

^Secondly, is a rigorous and persistent stretching routine.  This is key.  I will stretch my whole body everyday for a good three to four weeks before I ever mix in any super heavy dynamic training.  I also mix it in wherever and whenever I can.  Pictured above, I am grabbing the toe in a hamstring stretch in the grass while Murphy fetches her ball.  She needs to run, and I need to stretch.  Perfect combination.  A chiropractor that worked with my high school sports teams once told me that, "doubling flexibility will quadruple strength."  Since those words, I have made it a staple of my training.  Makes sense right?  Lean muscle is much stronger then bulk muscle, and less prone to injury as well.  That's a big deal to me.  

^Thirdly, after a good two weeks of stretching, I start to incorporate more light cardio type workouts.  A brisk hike with Murphy and Christine is a good way to loosen up the rusty joints.  I will take a short hike to this mountain creek.  Taking it real slow and easy on the way up.  Murphy also gets to cool off from the heat in the still icy cold creek.

^Then I mix in a little agility on the way down with some rock hopping.  Just like the game you played when you were a kid, and the rocks kept you out of the imaginary lava's imminent death.  I hop from rock to rock on the trail were possible.  Also, it is a good tool to focus on read and react skills.  All the while looking ahead to make a point of linking up long lines.  I try to quickly leap from...

^ rock...

^ another rock.  All the way down at a good pace.  I try to keep it moving even when I can't find a line up of rocks to scramble through.  Always looking two steps ahead.  Staying nimble and balanced through the movements and line choices.  Fun game, and great training tool in a variety of ways. 

^Good training partners can be a big help with inspiration and motivation.  I have some good ones.  I am thankful for them.

^Inspiration comes in many forms.  Pictured above is my wife, Christine, with her mountain bike team and their gold medals from the Corporate Games.  Good work Deloitte & Touche.  Counting beans, and kicking ass.  They ride hard, and work harder.  I am inspired by their shear will power to work the way they do, and still find the gumption to put in the time and effort it takes to be able to rule it on their bikes as well.  Dedicated bunch. 

This is the time of year when dedication like that, applied right now, will pay off big when the flurries start flying again in late October.  I will be stretching hard, hydrating, and getting the light cardio rolling for the next couple weeks before I move into the next phase of my training in the crisp morning air of early September.  The next phase builds on this work by taking the light cardio to the next level.  I incorporate a gradual calendar system of faster paces and anaerobics that I developed throughout the years.  I will share the detailed program when I get there next month.  It is a good one.  Stay tuned to see it, and maybe you'll want to try to take it on.  If you dare.  I don't play around.  It is tough stuff, but I believe in you.  So get ready now, because all those white room experiences you long for are right around the corner.  Better be getting prepared.

getting deep in the northwoods...

If you've ever read any of my posts before you know full well that I wear my emotions on my sleeve.  I get super deep here all the time.  Mostly because that is how I want to live.  Obviously these posts would reflect that journey to live inspired.  I recently returned from an annual family trip to Northern Wisconsin.  The Schaetz clan and my own have made this northern migration for over 25 years.  The memories are priceless, and the moments are as rich as ever.  Sally, mother of the Schaetz tribe, has been in the flight of her life with cancer.  She is an inspiration and a guide.  Watching her see life through the eyes of someone who is relishing in each and every moment with the appreciation that only a cancer fighter can understand.  I can't understand, but I can gain inspiration and wisdom from her life's example.  Her husband, Dave, is one tough "hombre" too.  Not only has he been right by Sally's side throughout, but the morning after Christine and I got there he had to rush off to surgery for a detached retina.  I would have been a wreck with the threat of blindness lingering, but he was as jubilant as ever as he explained to our disappointed faces that he had to rush home to go under the knife.  Glad I got a little time to hang out with him, but I sure was missing his story telling around the campfires the rest of the week.  Good news though is that they were able to put him all back together again.  We could enjoy ourselves a little more once we knew he was seeing straight again.    

^Calm waters and blue skies lifted our spirits from the docks of North Twin Lodge near Eagle River, Wisconsin.  This place and these lakes have a special place in my soul.

^My brother's wife, Nicole, myself, and my dad watch with nervous energy as Sally awaits her eldest son, Mike, to give the boat the throttle to pull her out of the water.  Sally set a goal to take a ski run on this trip.  Last year she resisted, but this year she was going for it.  Her cancer has severely weakened one of her arms, and she basically had to pull herself out with one arm tied behind her back.  Try that one on for size.

^Sally has the will of a tiger, and there was no doubt amongst us that she would pull it off.  Watching her was an inspiration and a blessing that I will carry with me for a long, long time.  

 ^My mother has not skied in a dog's age, but Sally's stellar show convinced her that it was time to give it another go around.  

 ^There she goes! Overcoming her apprehensions, once again.

 ^All the excitement and my big brother, Tyler, needed to take a break.  Some of the best napping I ever do is on the old sofas in the crisp northern air of these cabins.

 ^My pops, Nicole, and Lynn Schaetz appear to be trying to talk Lynn's young daughter, Evelyn, into something.  Evelyn was so fun to watch as she made leaps and bounds in her quest to swim.  She made it all the way to the raft, and even did some assisted cannon balls.  Three cheers for her!

^Nicole, and my wife, Christine, dropped the pontoon bikes into the lake for a stroll.  Not a care in the world out there.  Except maybe whether or not they'll have the legs to get back to shore.  In an environment like that, who cares?

 ^My old man taking advantage of the crystal clear calm waters to glide around the shoreline for a bit.  

^Our faithful watcher.  Eagles and Osprey streak the sky in these parts keeping a watchful eye to all the action.  Very cool.
 ^Evelyn got out of the water every now and then to rip some laps on the three wheeler.  I can respect the need for some ripping.  Hammer down, Evy.

 ^My mom and dad chilling on the deck after a beautiful day.  Two families of friends around an outdoor dinner table on the deck is the real deal kind of stuff.  So thankful for times like these.
 ^Of course, bocci ball calls for less dinner conversation and more smack talking.  I think that is everyone's favorite part.  Ribbing your neighbor, and gunning for their ball.  Good times.

 ^Evelyn, telling Grandma Sally how it is.  She has blossomed into quite an entertaining young personality, and Grandma is eating it up every last drop of it.  Doesn't get much cuter then that.

^My old man drawn to one of his old past times.  Fire poking.

^Soon to be newlyweds, Bobby Schaetz, and his fiance, Jenna.  I don't know about you all, but to me she appears to be happy with her decision to keep him around in this photo.  Christine and I are already super pumped to see all these folks again at their wedding in Minnesota just over a month from now.  Congrats, Bob and Jenna.

^Evy and her Momma enjoying the campfire classics.

^This annual trip always leaves me in a good place when it's over.  This year, as I reflect, I am grounded yet again.  I take deep inspiration, wisdom, and appreciation from Sally.  I take a lot of things away from all of it, and everyone there.  Each and every one of the Schaetz clan inspires me in many different ways.  My family and I are blessed to have life-long friends like them.  My brother said it to me very well when he uttered the observation of, "families full of friends, and friends that are like family."   

photos and a song...

So here is a new idea for me.  I have always said that my site is all about the photos and videos.  I am trying to become a better writer here as well.  I value storytelling in my life, and am striving to continue improving.  As a result, I am always shooting pictures to help tell the stories of my crazy life.  It seems I have racked a few up that I don't have killer stories for, but just beautiful visual memories.  Also, I have embedded a John Butler Trio song here, "Ocean" to enrich the experience.  So here is the deal.  Play the song video and then scroll through the photos and captions.  (you may have to watch the song video once just because it is amazing)

^This guy is unreal.  His band is as well.  Just got a new "Live at the Red Rocks" album that is killer.

 ^Sunsets are easy inspiration.  No matter where you are.

^New natural gas pipeline going in over Bountiful.  Double prop helicopters where delivering material.

 ^The pipeline track through the hills.

 ^Restricted from proceeding during construction, we watched the show of human aspiration.

 ^Green and blue.  We get a lot of blue in Utah, but the green is a real treat.

 ^Murphy in the tall grass.  She loves it.

^More human geo-engineering.


 ^Expansive sunsets from gate B6.

^That is one big machine.

 ^"I got a golden ticket."

 ^More sunset inspiration.

^Another metaphor?  If so, then I am busting out.

 ^Cloud show.

 ^ Free admission.

 ^Appreciative patron.

 ^Duality.  Why not?

^Barbed beauty.

 ^Mo' greens.

^This break was unsanctioned, but well received.

 ^On a wing and a prayer.

^ Routine can be mundane.  Unless you look closely to find the splendor within it.