Archive for Uncategorized

Born to Die

// January 17th, 2012 // No Comments » // Reflections, Uncategorized

Today I got the news that two of my friends lost their new baby, just eleven minutes after he was born.   Joshua Isaac Benson was born into this world at 5:35pm. At 5:46pm he went home to be with Jesus.  Was his life no less special than any of ours?  The only difference is the amount of time we have had on this earth.  The end result for us all will be the same.  Life is terminal.  We are all born to die, but as the Bible says there is hope for a life after “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life…a time is coming and now has come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live” John 5:24-25.

The pregnancy was not easy and like all parents it was a time filled with hope and expectation of what the future would hold for this little baby.  The trials began early, but no one gave up hoping that Joshua would pull through.  Joshua did pull through just long enough to come into the world, take a breath, be held, hear his parent’s voices clearly, receive a kiss, but also to get poked and prodded, pulled on and hurried about.  In these few moments Joshua got to experience a lot of life but was most likely unaware of it all.

As my heart breaks for this family I am reminded that every day is a gift.  Life is a gift and we are often, like a newborn, unaware of much that goes on around us – love that is waiting to be extended and hope in hard times.  We get hurried about and caught in rushing streams that take us away from the realization that the beating of a heart itself is a gift.

When my next birthday comes I won’t complain that I am older.  We celebrate this day in our lives because we are fortunate to have them.  Fortunate that our hearts go on beating, that we can still give and receive love.  Our days, hours, and minutes on this planet are numbered and so we should celebrate each one but also know that there is something better still that awaits us.  Joshua was on the fast track to seeing this and is indeed in a better place than we are now.  A baby that would remain in the womb would miss out on all the glory of this world – it is not a place to remain forever.  We too can hold on to hope that this world is not a place for us to remain forever, that there exists a greater more glorious place one where Cory and Eric will see Joshua again finally understanding why.

Cory and Eric are continuing to trust and hope in God to get them through this difficult time.

Joshua

Climbing Past Epilepsy

// December 24th, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

My buddy John Olson was recently featured in the Aurora Sentinel newspaper for winning a terrific prize. Please look at the link as well as the video link at the bottom of the article.
http://www.aurorasentinel.com/article_edf35162-2751-11e1-bb07-0019bb2963f4.html#.Tut29DH11YE.facebook

Sneak Peak at Vail Mountain before Opening 2011

// November 17th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

I hiked up Vail Mountain today for some exercise, to get a few turns, and to see what the mountain looked like before it truly comes to life for the season.  It looks like it is really ready to go and with a bit more snow more terrain is sure to open up.  For now there is definitely enough to get those early season legs in shape.  Go out and enjoy – happy 2011/2012 season!

Shot with Go-Pro Hd Hero

Music by my buddy Eric Peters  www.ericpeters.net

 

A Recent Interview in Okalahoma City

// November 5th, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Can you tell I was tired?  After a long night and a few early presentations I was a bit tired to deliver a good interview for the Oklahoman Newspaper.  I was happy to oblige and it was fun.  You can see it here:

http://www.newsok.com/multimedia/video/1258837424001

I’m Here, Just Can’t Hear.

// September 8th, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Riding without sound

The closest I have come to participating in sports without my hearing is to have biked or skied with my headphones in, and the volume too high.  I don’t use music all the time because most often I want to escape the noise of life and disappear into my thoughts or the sounds of nature.  I find that when I do have those headphones in, however, I am limited to a certain degree.  There are no “hi, how ya doin’ ” conversations, there is no hearing faster riders coming up on me, and if on the road it can become dangerous when I can’t hear traffic and especially large trucks coming full speed from behind.  Riding with headphones has shown me how much I rely on my ears socially as well as to add a margin of safety.

My friend, expert mountain biker Travis Colbert, told me a story of a race he competed in that took him up a steep dirt road into a headwind.  Looking back over his shoulder he saw another rider behind him benefiting in the form of a draft.  Further down the trail he noticed that this rider was still there in spite of his multiple comments and shouts to ask this rider to share the work load.  As Travis’s frustration grew he finally heard the words from behind – “I’m Deaf!” turning him from a feeling of frustration to one of forgiveness.  It was as though the other rider had said “I’m here to help, I just can’t hear what you’re asking me to do.”

This morning I had the opportunity to meet this rider (pictured at left) named John Klish, who has been deaf since birth.  John can read lips, sign, and with his rather large hearing aids even hear some, but maybe not all of a conversation.  John and I met to talk about some of the ins and outs of speaking professionally, authoring books, and participating in sports that take us to the top of our respective games.  I have no doubt that John, who will be turning pro soon in Mountain, Road and Cylclocross cycling, will also be successful as a professional triathlete.  While it is inspiring to see his passion, skill, and dedication to sports, I was more impressed with his desire to serve others who also wrestle with the challenges of hearing loss.  Keep an eye on John as he will certainly be a force on the circuit, but also look out for the good that he will be doing and passing on by way of his cycling and fitness camps for others who are deaf and hearing impaired.

To be honest I had not given much thought to how life might be, let alone on a bike, for someone who can’t hear.  My meeting today with John opened my ears and mind to others who live quite differently than I do.  I imagine that a life like that might mean that because one can’t hear, that person may be treated as if he or she is not here. I am looking forward to learning more, maybe even some signs.

Pressing On

// August 29th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // Uncategorized

Sometimes I find encouragement in the strangest places.  This week it has come from an issue of Costco magazine and an article called “Don’t Give Up.”  In light of the current state of the world from natural disasters, to economic meltdowns, and global governmental instabilities I have learned that it is not wise for me to put my faith in myself and my abilities to fix it, or even those of man and government, but rather to keep my faith focused on God while doing my best to not give up.  In Romans 5:3-4 we are told that suffering leads to perseverance, perseverance to character, and character to hope.  From drought, to flood, to unemployment and rejection, poverty and failure we need to press on knowing that our character is being molded and that in the end there is hope.  We should never lose hope.

In the mountains I have seen this with an” if at first you don’t succeed try and try again” attitude.  It took over 25 years of effort for Everest to first be climbed; Chris Sharma to achieve the first ascent of Realization – the world’s first 5.15, attempted his route likely close to a hundred times.  The Costco article gave me some real world examples of pressing on and maintaining hope, a daily dose that I needed and want to pass on.  Examples are: Walt Disney being fired from a newspaper because he lacked imagination; Thomas Edison was fired for being non-productive; Albert Einstein was expelled from school and called “adrift in foolish dreams”; The Beatles were told that guitar groups were on the way out and denied a recording contract; Fred Astaire was told he couldn’t act, sing, and could only dance a little; Charles Schultz had his comics rejected from his high school newspaper.  Wow, what the world would have missed out on if these guys had quit and denied the blessing that comes from perseverance.

Today I am telling myself “don’t quit, keep pressing on and moving forward with good ideas, don’t let naysayers have the final determining word.  Keep the faith and focus on the fact that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens me.  Persevere and rejoice in the suffering, for from that will blossom character and hope.

 

Lygon Stevens Memorial Climb

// August 4th, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

I am headed to Loveland and Estes Park for  the 4th Annual Lygon Stevens Memorial Climb.  http://www.heightsoffaith.org/memorial%20climb.htm It is incredible, the ever-expanding waves of Lygon’s story as they continue to circle around the world. As we have seen Lygon’s small steps and precious words multiplied in the hands of the One who transforms lives, from small beginnings to farther shores than we ever dreamed, we invite you to take up the challenge to step out. Reach for what’s ahead. Press on. Climb high. Stay near to the One who takes your steps, your courage, and your strength and multiplies them in ways you may never imagine. Live near. The return is worth it.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Friday, August 5

Resurrection Fellowship – 6502 Crossroads Boulevard, Loveland, CO (map)
4:00-6:00 – TAG Expo A variety of outdoor organizations will be set up with demos and info in the Atrium. A great time to meet some really cool, amazing people and become familiar with the folks that offer recreation, vacations, backpacking trips, gear needs, and yes, perhaps even your rescue.

4:00-6:00 – Registration and Sign-In Pick up your t-shirts, Chili Feed tickets, summit banners, maps, and stuff. A limited number of t-shirts and Chili Feed tickets will be available for purchase. Bring your backpack for a pack check if you are unsure of your preparation needs.

6:00 – 7:30 – Climb High: Live Near  2011 LSMC Kick-Off Rally Be inspired!!! Hear Lygon’s story. Gear up for your challenge: Adventurer, author, and climber Eric Alexander will stir you with his stories of climbing Mt. Everest with his blind friend, Erik Weihenmayer. Open to the public so come early.

Saturday, August 6
Climb, hike, run, walk, or roll! Rocky Mountain National Park. Start times vary. See Climbs below.
2:00-6:00 – Chili Feed Large Pavilion near Lake Estes. (map). Hearty nourishment for all. Whether you stood on the summit or strolled the streets of Estes, $5/person. Tickets required.

SATURDAY CLIMBS

 

The feat! This year we have some favorite climbs from the past (is this your year to try Longs Peak?) as well as some new ones. Start times are given as suggestions to provide climbing companions and fellow summiteers. The idea is to pick your hike or climb then meet at the trailhead at the given time. Set your pace and go for it! When you reach your destination, celebrate! Lift your voice and arms and thanks to the heavens! Sign your summit banner and take a picture to document your climb. Rest up – you’re only halfway done! Head back down to the Chili Feed.

 

Each climb will have a climb captain to answer your questions and offer help. Maps and trail guides will be available at the Kick-Off.*

 

There is something suitable everyone. Challenging , Cruising, or Chiilin’

CHALLENGE CLIMBS

Longs Peak #1 – – Loft Route (14,255’) 13 miles roundtrip, 5,300’ elevation gain. More difficult.

 

From Longs Peak Trailhead, this trail passes through Goblin’s Forest, then splits off from the Keyhole Route at Chasm Junction. The trail continues on past Chasm Lake and the Ship’s Prow, up The Loft to the saddle between Mt. Meeker and Longs. The trail then passes around The Palisades where it rejoins the Keyhole Route for the Homestretch. This is an advanced route requiring route-finding skills, and there are no alternate destinations. Start time 3:00 am.

Sign me up now!

Directions to Longs Peak Trailhead – see below

Longs Peak #2 – Keyhole Route  (14,255’) 15 miles roundtrip, 4,855’ elevation gain. Difficult.

 

The Keyhole Route to the summit of Longs Peak is the traditional route. Beginning at the Longs Peak Trailhead, it passes through Goblin’s Forest, splitting off from the Chasm Lake trail at Chasm Junction. Passing around Mt. Lady Washington, the trail then ascends to Granite Pass and into the Boulder Field. At this point, participants may choose to stop, watching the climbers on The Diamond, or to continue on to Mt. Lady Washington, the Keyhole, or the summit. Continuing on through the Boulder Field, the trail follows a tough quarter-mile climb to the Keyhole. Entering Class 3 climbing, the trail crosses the breath-taking northern slope Ledges into the Trough, then into the legendary sidewalk-sized (read: exposed) Narrows, then scrambles up the Homestretch to the summit. Start time 3:00 am.

Sign me up now!

 

About Longs Peak

Longs Peak is known as the monarch of Rocky Mountain National Park, majestic at 14,255’. From its football field-sized summit, a 200-mile, 360-degree panoramic view is possible. You may see Pikes Peak 100 miles to the south, Medicine Bow Range north in Wyoming, the Continental Divide to the west, plains to the east, and Chasm Lake 2500 feet below. At many points along the way, the Longs Peak Trail offers stunning vistas making for several worthy destinations. Rest stations will be set up at the Chasm Junction and the Boulderfield.

 

Directions to Longs Peak Trailhead

Take Highway 7 south from Estes Park for 7.5 miles. Turn right (east) to the trailhead .95 miles. Limited parking is available at the trailhead though it fills up by 5am. Additional parking along the road. There is no park fee for entry to this trailhead. There is no park entry fee for this trailhead.

 

5 Lake Loop: Bear-Helene-Odessa-Fern-Cub (10,662’ max) 12.5 miles, 3,336’ total elevation gain. Strenuous.

 

For the been-there-done-Longs bunch, or you just want something besides rocks, here’s a new challenge of endurance with great beauty. Bear Lake, Lake Helene, Odessa Lake, Fern Lake, and Cub Lake are conveniently linked by a well-maintained trail system to form an unforgettable loop – 12.5 miles – through RMNP’s upper-montane and subalpine zones. Begin the journey at from the Bear Lake Tailhead and venture to extreme highs and lows across a range of terrain and ecosystems. Start time: 4:00am.

Sign me up now!

Directions to 5 Lake Loop/Bear Lake Trailhead

From the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station on U.S. Highway 36, continue west about 0.2 miles and turn south on Bear Lake Road. Follow this a little over 9 miles to the large parking lot where Bear Lake Road ends. Park entrance fees required.

CRUISING CLIMBS

Longs Along the Way – Strenuous.

 

You may select any stop along the Longs Peak Trail on the Keyhole Route. Chasm Lake (11,800’, 8.4 miles rt), the Boulderfield (12,760’, 12 miles rt), the Keyhole ((13,160’ 12.5 miles rt), Mount Lady Washington (13,280’, 8 miles rt) – all are excellent and worthy destinations with views that more than satisfy the eye. Rest stations will be set up at Chasm Junction and the Boulderfield.  Start time 7:00am.

Sign me up now!

Directions to Longs Peak Trailhead

Take Highway 7 south from Estes Park for 7.5 miles. Turn right (east) to the trailhead  .95 miles. Limited parking is available at the trailhead though it fills up by 5am. Additional parking along the road. There is no park fee for entry to this trailhead.

Twin Sisters (11,428’) 7.2 miles roundtrip, 2477’ elevation gain. Strenuous.

 

On the eastern boundary of RMNP, this climb gives you the opportunity to grab two peaks in one shot in a truly Rocky Mountain experience. If marching through lodgepole pines and scrambling from cairn to cairn on scree in the hot sun and wind provoke you to a challenge, this is the climb for you. See Longs Peak, Meeker, Estes Cone, and Estes Park in unparalleled views. Start time 7:00 am.

Sign me up now!

 

Directions to Twin Sisters Trailhead

The Twin Sisters Trailhead is located 5 miles south of Estes Park on Highway 7. There is a large trailhead sign for the turn-off on the east side of Highway 7. Parking is available at the trailhead and along the road. N o park entry fee is required.

 

Estes Cone – (11,006’) 6.6mi roundtrip, 1606’ elevation gain. Moderate

 

The trail to Estes Cone begins at the Longs Peak Trailhead then splits off after .5 mile. Hike past aspen groves and a wooden bridge over Inn Brook to the remnants of a log cabin and mine – the old Eugenia Mine site. Pass through Moore Park meadow (think wildflowers) then up to Storm Pass. Switchbacks take you above tree-line to a series of cairns leading to the summit of Estes Cone. A stunning 360* view awaits! See Longs Peak, Meeker, Twin Sisters, Estes Park, Lumpy Ridge, and the Continental Divide. This is the least strenuous of our climbs which includes a summit. Start time 8am.

Sign me up now!

Directions to Estes Cone/Longs PeakTrailhead

Take Highway 7 south from Estes Park for 7.5 miles. Turn right (east) to the trailhead  .95 miles. Limited parking is available at the trailhead though it fills up by 5am. Additional parking along the road. There is no park fee for entry to this trailhead.

Calypso Cascade and Ouzel Falls –  (9,366’) 5.4 miles roundtrip (1.8mi one-way to Calypso Cascades, 2.7mi one-way to Ouzel Falls) 866’ elevation gain. Easy/Moderate

 

On the southern end of the park, the Wild Basin Trailhead is the start of this lovely hike through waterfalls and along rivers (read; tumbling waters everywhere). Grasses, wildflowers, bridges, and a sweeping view of Longs Peak are some of the highlights. Facilities and tables at the trailhead. Some back-country campsites are along the trail. Start time:9:00 am

Sign me up now!

 

Directions to Wild Basin Trailhead

Take Highway 7 south from Estes Park for 12 miles. Pass Meeker Park and look for signs to Wild Basin on the right (east). Park entry fees apply.

______________________

 

CHILLIN’ ROUTE

Sprague Lake – (88720’) .8 mile, 10’ elevation gain. Easy. Handicap accessible.

 

A nature delight! All abilities will enjoy a this scenic upper-mountain lake. There are numerous benches and turnoffs along the well-groomed path which provide inspiring, panoramic views of the Continental Divide. See Hallett, Otis, and Taylor peaks rise to the west, brilliant in the morning sunrise.  Anyone wanting to fish will enjoy well-stocked waters and an accessible (albeit often crowded) 13 acre shoreline. The nearby picnic area has restrooms, fire pits, and tables that can accommodate larger groups. A campground is nearby for those wanting to camp overnight. Start time: 9:00am.

Sign me up now!

Directions to Trailhead

From the Beaver Meadows Park Entrance, go .25 mile then turn left (south) on Bear Lake Road. Follow this 7 miles to the Sprague Lake turnoff.

*The Lygon Stevens Memorial Climb is a non-guided event. While we try to make your experience a more enjoyable one, you, the participant, are responsible for your own safety, scheduling, and equipment.

 

Confidence in Things We Do Not See

// July 12th, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Otherwise known as hope.  Just a quick word of encouragement today – Do you live expectantly?  That is to say say do you really have hope?  It is easy to get sidetracked, distracted, lost, and confused when things are going poorly, but the worst thing we can do is to lose hope.  We gotta hang on to it even when all seems lost.  It allows us to get up from the bed, take that next step, face a new day.

I like to think that even when I am feeling blue, at a loss, and am looking up at a huge obstacle, that buried deep somewhere inside of me is a sense of hope.  Expectation that things will improve, that like a lightning bolt things can change.  Well just the other day I got a phone call from a friend that gave me just that kind of a jolt.  The ideas he spoke of may or may not come to fruition, but perhaps what I needed most from that call anyway was to know that a friend thought that through me there existed some possibilities.  And today I have hope.

My plan – to pass it on.

Independence Day

// July 4th, 2011 // No Comments » // Getting biblical, Uncategorized

Here it is July 4th, and we are celebrating Independence Day.  First of all let me thank those who fight, those who have fought and those who have given life and limb to serve us regardless of whether we are grateful or not.  They fight for the ideal that this country was founded on: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.  Allowing us to pursue life liberty and happiness as an individual right.

That said, I must admit I don’t feel the joy I did when I was younger, I don’t feel the same sense of pride, and I have more questions than ever as to where the leadership of this nation is taking us and has been for some time.  Independence?  I don’t see it.  Our debt is owned by the Chinese so in essence, they own us; Our phone calls are taken by Indians which take our jobs away – rather we give away; our products are designed in Japan, made in taiwan, assembled in Mexico, shipped to China and sold back to us; our labor force is largely illegal; most of our oil comes from a region outside of our borders and is sold at a high price with a general disdain for us; and the list goes on and on.  It makes me ask the question: are we really independent?  Are we not more dependent than ever on others?  Where does that leave us and what does this kind of future look like?  Where has that fighting independent American spirit gone?  We would rather  solve our fights by litigation than we would by standing strong in a real fight.  I feel as time goes on we get weaker, slowly caving in to the control of the UN, relinquishing our national sovereignty and reducing the power of our constitution and our people.

There may be a time coming to stand up and fight once again for our independence, but I don’t know that there are enough in this country who truly care and understand the sacrifices made by those who have served and died for this ideal.  What would you die for?  Who would you die for?  I think it is time America to once again stand strong and independent, to get back on our knees and humble ourselves before God and ask for his mercy and forgiveness.  So this Independence day let’s start with a prayer and celebrate unity, one nation under God, instead of diversity without him.  God bless the USA.

Breaking Away

// June 29th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

One of my favorite movies is Breaking Away.  The one where a college cutting cyclist decides to pretend he is Italian in order to get the pretty girl.  One of my favorite scenes is when he gets behind a semi-truck and works his way up to fifty miles per hour.  Well today as I rode to the mailbox I had a Breaking Away moment.  It was the coolest cycling moment I have had in a while.  (I share this not to brag, because I am a very average rider, but rather to encourage you to get out and look for opportunities to have fun even if you are just getting the mail)  As I merged off the bike path and onto the road I timed it just right to sync with a dump truck that was getting up to speed.  I hopped on his back bumper and proceeded to draft for 2 miles through the flat part of town doing 40 mph.  It was twice as fast as I would normally be able to ride.  So when the truck turned off and sped away I kept my speed going as best I could and flew past another cyclist like he was standing still.  Just I as had met the truck at the perfect time, he left at the perfect time enabling me to pass at super-sonic speed.  It was the best feeling to blow by someone working so hard, someone who also had no idea how I had gotten up to speed.  The person must of thought I was the fastest biker on the planet.  It made me smile all the way home – and in fact I am still smiling about that one.  If you had a Breaking Away moment today I’d love to hear about it.