"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Monday, November 28, 2011

The CastleWood Experience

I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking "I can't believe Patrick is writing a post that does not involve the 100+Project!"  That's right Ladies and Gentlemen this post will not be about fundraising, travelling 100+miles on some weird contraption, or my rising status as a local celebrity.

It will be about the Castlewood Experience.

I have explained before how my friends Robin and Chuck of ROCK Racing got me into adventure racing so I won't go over all that again.  This year for the Castlewood 8hour Adventure Race Chuck and Robin are introducing even more people to this great sport, and when they asked me to be involved I couldn't say no.
ROCK Racing has put together 3teams:

  1. ROCK Racing Rebels, a four person all female team  
  2. ROCK Racing Trail Rats, a four person coed team
  3. ROCK Racing Renegades, a two person male team
Most of the members of these teams have little to no experience in adventure racing.  The idea for the Castlewood Experience as I understand it came when Robin and Chuck got tired of hearing people say "I would love to try adventure racing but...".
They figured with a couple of seasoned vets, like themselves to guide the teams along there wouldn't be room for any more excuses.  Basically we are going to move as one 10person team giving everyone a chance to navigate without the fear of being hopelessly lost in the woods (I think it is this possible outcome that keeps most people away).  We will mountain bike, paddle, orienteer, and whatever else the course has to offer together having a great time along the way.  What an awesome way for Chuck and Robin to give back to the sport they love.

Thanks for letting me be a part of the Castlewood Experience!

Chuck, Robin, and me Goomna 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's Ahead For The 100+Project

After a successful Skate 100+ back in Sept I had taken a little time off from training but now I am ready to get back into things full swing again.  Well maybe half swing for now, I don't want to get ahead of myself.  During my hiatus I wasn't just resting on my laurels, I was mostly doing that but I did manage to acquire some new toys.  But first, the next thing on the agenda for the 100+Project is being a celebrity host/announcer at the St Louis AAFA Trivia night this Saturday.  I will be joined by a few other local celebrities to read the trivia questions.  Sounds like it will be a fun night.  Originally I wasn't going to do it because I feel awkward in situations like that but on second thought there was no way I was going to miss a golden opportunity to publicize the 100+Project.  I need to grasp every chance to get the name out there so people will understand what I am doing and why especially if I plan to go after some big money corporate donations and sponsorships.  Lets face it my family and friends were pretty well tapped for donations with the Skate 100+.

So 2011 is drawing to a close and 2012 looks to be a busy year.  I don't have any dates for anything yet and the only certainty adventure-wise is that I will be competing in the Missouri River 340 a 340mile kayak race from Kansas City to St Charles Missouri.  I was scheduled for this last year but it was cancelled because of flooding and unsafe river conditions.  I hope there is better luck next year.

Right now everything is a seed of an idea and those seeds have been planted and are starting to grow and take shape.  There are almost too many.  Later I will consult with Beth and narrow my focus to what I believe can be accomplished in 2012, and begin to work toward making it happen.

In the meantime check out my transportation tab for information on what types of vehicles may be seen in the future of the 100+Project.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Earlier this week Superkate tweeted something about most memorable bike crashes.  It prompted me to access the memory banks to determine my own most memorable crash.  I have crashed on a bike so often that you would think it would be hard to pick just one, and you would be right if you did.  I thought of three right away and strangely enough the crash on my road bike at Tour de Donut that resulted in a broken wrist was not one of them.
I have said before that if you aren't falling you aren't really living.  A life without an occasional fall is a life played a little too safe.  If you don't risk falling you just might be missing out on some really great opportunities.  The falling I am referring to here is not metaphorical, I am actually saying that a complete and total gravity check can enrich your life.  Don't go out and fall on purpose that would be foolish and be missing the point entirely.  Go take a risk and see what happens the reward is taking the risk in the first place sometimes you will totally bust your ass but sometimes you won't and that will lead you to bigger and better things.  Most of the time you won't die either or even get seriously injured.
So with out further adieu here are my top three most memorable bicycle crashes in no particular order:

This how I was rollin' back in the day except mine had a chain.
1.  When I was a kid I loved jumping ramps on my bike a Huffy Buckaroo, not the ideal bike for what I was using it for but it got the job done.  Some of the older boys in the neighborhood had built a ramp in the alley.  The ramp was nothing fancy just some plywood and 2x4's it was maybe a foot and a half tall.  We jumped our bikes off that thing thousands of times, competing to see who could jump the farthest or the highest.  It was really a fun time, but not without risk.  I was probably around ten years old at the time and was pretty good at jumping off the ramp, as simple as it was.  I remember a specific instance of riding up to the ramp wanting to jump higher and farther than I had ever done before.  Everything was perfect I hit the ramp and launched my bike like a rabbit.  This was going to be awesome, until I notice that my front wheel had come off in mid air.  This is the part where everything went into slow-motion.  I saw the wheel on the ground rolling away and had time to think about how bad it was going to be when I came down.  It was very surreal knowing that my fate was fixed.  There was no way to avoid it as a front wheel is a key component to a bicycle, I was going to crash.  The whole episode took place in a split second but it really felt like a long time.  I came down and my now wheel-less forks dug into the soft sun baked asphalt of the alley and I flipped over the handle bars with the bike landing on top of me.  I was shaken up and had a few scrapes but wasn't hurt too badly (In the early 80's no one wore any protective gear).  Thirty years later I still can remember the exact feeling I had when I was in the air without a front wheel.  Sometimes I think if I only could have shifted my weight back I could have rode it out on the back wheel, ridiculous right?  All the other kids thought it was really cool, but no one asked me to do it again.

2.  The second crash also happened when I was young a little older than crash number one (so the order is chronological after all).  My bicycle jumping skills were really getting better thanks to the new bmx style bike my parents bout me for Christmas.  Unfortunately that bike was stolen so I was forced to bring the Buckaroo out of retirement.  I didn't want to but everyone rode around on their bikes in my neighborhood so I was left with little choice in the matter because lord knows my sister was not going to let me use her ten-speed (another crash related story involving me racing a motorcycle, needing to stop quickly, and not knowing which brake was which).
There was this rock pile behind a gas station near my house that we had been jumping.  We had a lot of fun jumping it and were starting to get a little fancier with our jumps, adding x-ups, and tucks, as well as table tops (if you don't know what these are don't worry it's not important to the story).  Bringing the Buckaroo out of retirement didn't slow me down at all.  I didn't realize at the time that it could not take the punishment that my recently stolen bike could.  I was a kid not an engineer after all.  The last time I jumped the rock pile behind the gas station started off like every other time before.  Up the rock pile and into the air I went, Sweet!  Everything seemed okay.  I landed hard on the ground and immediately my handle bars broke.  The right side bent all the way down and I went down with it.  I couldn't believe what had just happened.  There was no slow-motion moment this time I was taken completely by surprise.  I don't remember the extent of my injuries but they were most likely minor.  I finished breaking the right side of the handlebars off and rode my bike that way, left side handlebar, right side jagged piece of metal for a couple weeks until I got new ones.

3.  The third most memorable crash happened about four years ago out on the mountain bike trails at SIUE. I had recently bought my mountain bike because I wanted to start riding again.  I had ridden the trails a few times but since I didn't know any other mountain bikers in the area it just wasn't as fun as it could have been. I decided that I would recruit my nephew to be riding partner.  He had a crappy mountain bike and I hoped that he would love the trails so much that he would decide to buy one of higher quality.  His bike had no brakes so he did not enjoy his time on the trails and we decided to cut things short.  I kept telling him how awesome it was to ride a decent bike, and how he should really think about getting a better bike.  I wanted to let him ride my bike but I had clipless pedals so it wasn't possible.  The area where we came out of the trails meets up with a bike path.  Right at the end of the trail there is kind of a dip that I decided to jump.  Ideally I would land on the path and ride away.  Instead, I had too much speed and realized that when I landed I would have to stop immediately or I would fly off the other side of the trail and down the steep hill into the woods.  In a panic I grabbed two handfuls of brake and flipped head over heels over bike.  Flipping a bike with clipless pedals is a little crazy.  So after trying so hard to convince him that mountain biking was the thing to do I ended the day with a spectacular wipe out.  Not very convincing.

So those are my top three most memorable bicycle crashes what are yours?  And if you don't have any maybe you should!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Feb 29th

I was doing a little planning for some upcoming events and just happened to notice that 2012 is a leap year, which means one thing to me...LEAP DAY!

For about 16years now February 29th has been a very special day for me.  Here is my philosophy: every 4 years an extra day is added to the calendar to keep everything in order.  I see this extra day as a gift.  The best gift of all, Time.  The past 4 Leap Years I have taken Feb 29th off from work, and done whatever I wanted.  Four years ago I spent the day laying on the couch watching TV, not very productive but it's what I felt like doing so I did it.  The point is do what makes you happy.  Don't worry about others, surely whoever is in your life can survive without you for one day every four years.  Which is not to say you have to spend the day alone do what YOU want and don't let anyone tell you what you have to do.  Don't we spend enough time already engaged in activities not of our choosing.

This Feb 29th I hope you join me in doing whatever you want, the day comes once every four years claim it for your own, there's plenty of time to worry about everyone else until it rolls around again.

Start planning now and come up with something fun!