Friday, September 9, 2011

More Adventure, Less Ennui

I spend a lot of time reading people’s stories. Trip reports, race summaries, adventure journals. The internet is an incredible thing. I wanted to talk a little bit about why I fill my hours examining other people’s stuff.

Every once in a while, I come across a great blog post. The kind of post that makes me want to be a better person. When I read this post the other day, I definitely felt inspired. I mean, how could you not be affected by sections like this:
I joked yesterday about what I’ve learned on the bike. Well, the single greatest thing I have truly learned on the bike is what Ken Chlouber from Leadville preaches every year.

You are better than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can.

I have not ridden Leadville. I could not. Yet. I have done nothing like it. A lot of you have not, and could not. But…

We can all DIG DEEP. We are all better than we think we are, we can all do more than we think we can.

This is an absolute truth. I have not ridden Leadville, but I have experienced exactly what Ken preaches – I have learned from the past year and a half on the bike that I can do WAY more than I thought I could. I am WAY better than I thought I was.

And so are you.
I want to be better. I want to do more. Sometimes, especially when it rains for 3 straight days, I feel like I’m not living my life to its fullest potential. I’m making more excuses than memories. It’s raining. My rear rotor on my car needs to be replaced. My bank account is down to the single digits again.

I need to develop a more positive attitude. This is a better example of how I should be thinking, from the South County Cyclista blog:

A few weeks ago on a Friday night I was trying to figure out where I was going to ride the next morning. My friends all had to ride later in the day or were out of town. Then it hit me. Why not finally make it up to the radio tower? I pulled up the map I had studied many times looking at the dirt road switch backs climbing up the steep contours of the land. This would indeed be a solo adventure.

Usually adventures like this need to be done solo or you risk ending friendships if the adventure turns sour.

I remember one time this past summer when Ace was away, it was a beautiful sunny day, and I wasted it inside watching golf on TV. Ugh. To be fair, we did a 20 mile road ride in the morning so it wasn’t a complete waste. But I still felt like I could have done more. Wasn’t there a little part of my area that I hadn’t explored yet? Wasn’t there someplace to go?

That’s why this idea from the Adventure Journal really intrigued me:

I once spent four years cycling more than 40,000 miles round the world. It was a heck of an adventure. But one of the things I learned during that trip was that you don’t need to spend four years cycling more than 40,000 miles round the world to have an adventure.

Adventure is only a state of mind. 
Adventure is stretching yourself; mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing what you don’t normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability. And if that’s true then adventure is all around us, at all times. Even during hard financial times such as these. Times, I believe, when getting away from it all and out into the wild are more invigorating and important than ever.

That is why I began a series of ‘expeditions’ that are close to home, affordable, easy to organize, and designed to encourage other people to get out there and do stuff! I call them microadventures.

Right. I didn’t need to sit at home watching golf. There were all sorts of other things I could have been doing – new places to explore, new things to try, and new experiences to be had.

I think my real problem is that I wasn’t thinking outside of the box. I really did want to go somewhere, but for some reason, I was only thinking of places that I had been before. I wasn’t really into repeating something I had done hundreds of times (see my post on Adventures vs. Sessions), so I had a hard time motivating to get off my couch and do anything at all.

Ridiculous. Some of the best adventures are the ones that are unplanned, spontaneous, and completely improvised. Thinking only of the places I had been before made my decision really uninteresting, unexciting, and uninspiring. It’s no wonder I chose to sit at home. Because really, to take one more snippet from the South County Cyclista blog:
"It is only an adventure the first time."
- Dan Z.

Exactly. Time to start racking up some first times.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Maine Mountain Biking

We did a little mountain biking in Maine while we were up there relaxing (full pics on my Facebook Page). On Saturday, we just rode the Carriage paths around Acadia National Park More specifically, we did the "Around the Mountain" Loop. Here's some pictures:

On Sunday, we did the Camden Snow Bowl/Ragged Mountain Recreational Area.  We didn't have any idea where we were going, but there was one of those big trail maps at the bottom that gave us a few options. Here's the map:

We started off going up the Yellow Trail, then we wanted to keep climbing, so we hit the Red Trail.  After a little descent on the blue trail, we hooked back up with the yellow trail and rode that to the bottom.  It wasn't the longest mountain bike session in the world, but we spent the entire morning drinking beer on a sailboat, so we weren't really in the greatest condition for doing a ton of laps.  Anyway, here's the pictures:

It wasn't an epic trip, but here at the end of summer, the mountain bike stoke is kind of waning.  Soon, we'll start night riding (which will be fun), but on this vacation we weren't really in the mood to go super hardcore.  I can see this place becoming really cool, though.  If I was from the area, I'd do everything I could to support the Midcoast Maine chapter of the NEMBA.

As far as the pictures go, I'm experimenting with shooting in RAW mode, then adjusting all of the levels afterwords.  I think these pictures are a little oversaturated with color, but I kind of liked the effect.  I'm still trying to figure out the best levels for everything, so images on the blog might look weird for a while.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Last Chair: 9/2/2011

I've been dealing with some things lately, so I haven't really got around to posting much. Or Twittering. I did want to take this time to post some of the stuff that's been happening on the web while I've been away from the blog.

Phil Brown at the Adirondack Explorer has been doing exceptional work documenting the aftermath of the Hurricane. He was the first to report that the bridge over Marcy Dam was washed away, the first with pictures of Duck Hole after that dam breached, and he took this excellent picture of the Keene Valley FD clothes outside of their makeshift headquarters (after their building was obliterated).

If you haven't seen it yet, Adirondack Backcountry Skiing chartered a plane to check out new slide paths resulting from the drenching rains. There's a discussion going on over at the Harvey Road Forums about new skiing opportunities. At least something good might come out of this hurricane.

And there was a mountain bike photo competition in VT. Sick.

I've never surfed, and I'd imagine that a lot of people who read this blog don't surf either. But the video this week was too sick not to post. Here you go: