Archive for Uncategorized

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.

Teva Mountain Games Turn It Upside Down

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

Up the Creek

This weekend the Teva Mountain Games are in town.  Elite athletes from around the world have ascended upon Vail for events in Kayaking, climbing, biking, paddle-boarding, running, fly-fishing and even Fido-fetching.  I have been out getting pictures of the events and when I do it turns my stomach upside-down.  Part of me wants to compete and part of me becomes dumbfounded by what people are capable of doing.  The sports and athletes have progressed, forcing me to ask myself the question – have I?  I have ridden a bike all of my life passionately but I will never be able to do a backflip tailwhip like the 15 year old kid in the video.  I guess what these games really do is inspire me to go out and push myself beyond the limits I have set for myself and discover new possibilities where before I saw none.  Maybe the old dog can learn a new trick if he keeps trying.

If you want to see some of this come up to Vail for the weekend, it runs thru Sunday.  You will have a good time.

Hanging Out

On a Wire

Having A Ball

http://vimeo.com/24656867

 

Flipping Out at Teva

Survival

// April 19th, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Standing on our shelter

Yesterday I led a trip into the woods to teach some winter survival skills to a group of local boys, also friends of ours.  We talked about proper clothing and equipment, and some of the skills needed to spend an unplanned night out in the worst conditions winter could possibly throw at us.

As we went over our plan for the day I realized how much the same principles of survival apply to our lives as a family, business, organization or team.  So here were the key elements:

Plan: Devise a plan and a strategy before stepping outside.  Spontaneity  in winter backcountry travel is not usually a good option.  In order to devise a plan there needs to be some research in terms of weather, routing, terrain, avalanche forecast etc.

Communicate the Plan: Once an appropriate plan has been established it need be clear with all members of the party as well as with someone at home.  This would include route, ETD and ETA.  Details from where the car will be, which trail or peak will be the goal, and the final destination especially if it varies from the point of departure.  If the plan changes communicate it back to the contact and then call that contact when the trip is over.  These details are often overlooked even for a simple day skiing at a resort and often lead to major worries and sometimes a night out under a tree.

Execute: Carry out the plan at the appropriate skill level.  Be realistic.  Biting off more than we can chew, getting in over our head – definitely cause a need to use those survival skills.  Keep it simple and build upon the skills you have slowly.  Stick to the plan as much as possible assuming it was a good plan to start with.
Otherwise scrap it, build a shelter, call 911, set off the rescue beacon, make a fire, huddle in close to each other, stay dry, eat drink and be merry.

Plan for the unplanned: In other words know what to do, have the skills, knowledge and mental fortitude to get out of a predicament should things not go according to plan.  

Attitude is Altitude

// March 25th, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

As someone who travels and speaks and gets to share stories of inspiration, I too am always looking to be inspired and looking for stories of people who are living extraordinary lives.  So many times we let circumstances dictate our attitude and we see the mountains in our lives as too big to overcome.  Nick Vujicic is one of those people who sees the possibilities and potential, not the excuses.  I have watched a few of his videos and listened to him speak and now my nagging toe injury doesn’t seem so bad.  Nick gave me a boost to face today’s challenges. check him out at www.attitudeisaltitude.com

Courage or Comfort?

// March 24th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

Out of the Comfort Zone

Just recently I have been challenged by the thought of the goal of our lives being the pursuit of comfort.  We work hard for that “cushy” top spot or for retirement so that we can finally relax in the style that we “deserve.”  But if that is the goal of our lives, what becomes of our lives?  The T.V. and recliner paint the best picture as we morph into a pasty, consuming, unchallenged and unfulfilled blob.  People are designed for challenge, creativity, risk, adventure all things which to some degree require courage, and if this is the way we will choose to live comfort must be reserved for the bed-top pillow and eight hours of attention each night.

Comfort and courage can not coexist.

If we do what is comfortable we avoid the challenge, the risk, the adventure and miss out on not only great rewards, but we miss out on what those things can make us and the character that is forged from facing obstacles.

When we step out in courage we are forced to use our brains, skills, and if we are smart those around us that we trust.  On the contrary if we sit down in comfort we don’t need trust, we don’t need faith, we certainly don’t need God, because we have learned to rely on ourselves and the comforts we have surrounded ourselves with.

So with this thought I have challenged myself to start some new conversations and quit striving to make my life more comfortable.  I will instead strive to live with a little more risk and a lot more courage because the rewards are greater and the impact greater reaching.

The Hill of Difficulty

// February 24th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

My life seems to be all about hills.  I live on the side of a hill.  I grew up on the side of a different hill. I love to ski down hills and climb back up them.  On my bike I am constantly faced with the challenge of a climb due to the nature of the place I live, I can’t leave home without eventually facing a hill.  The beginning of each season presents the challenge of fitness to the muscles that have not been used for a while or that have been being used for other things (cycling muscles don’t translate into skiing muscles into ice climbing muscles into running etc.) it seems there is always training to be taken up and the moment that the difficult hill of the spring becomes mastered, it is time to change the season and begin a new climb on a new hill of difficulty.

These are the physical hills of my life yet they are no different from those of raising kids, and managing the rest of my life.  What I can learn from them however is that there is a season to every part of life and when things seem like they couldn’t get any tougher – it is nice to know they most likely will.  But the hills we climb today train us up for those we see distant on the horizon.  What is seemingly impossible with today’s strength, need not be climbed until tomorrow.  I will be stronger tomorrow.

He has founded his city on the holy mountain. Psalm 87:1

Classics

// January 31st, 2011 // No Comments » // Reflections, Uncategorized

Don't touch that dial

Sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office watching the old clock tick, as the old radio played old tunes to an aging guy (me) while my wife got checked out, I slipped into the “e-gaze”.   With my eyes staring deep into the screen before me, I was clicking away on my iphone as the guy next to me was doing the same.  It was the voice of the receptionist making fun of us that brought me back to earth and shifted my stare to the old analog radio across the room.  The radio was born in the 60′s, 70′s, or maybe as late as 1982, it was hard to tell due to the styling, but one thing was for certain – it still worked as well as it did the day it was first plugged in.  The radio plays eight hours a day, the red line of the tuner sits on a “classics” station and never wanders, the volume I imagine only changes when there is a news broadcast of a national emergency, and every night when the lights go out and the door gets locked, the power goes off and the transmission is interrupted until the next morning when the switch goes back on and the classics again begin to play.  This classic piece of workmanship has one job, one function, one station, one volume , one place, one day at a time.  It lives in another world and another time compared to my iphone which is designed to run thousands of functions, many at the same time.  My iphone is smaller, faster, stronger, lighter, sleeker, portable, more expensive and sadly designed for obsolescence within a couple of years time – if it doesn’t get dropped and die before that.  So I guess in a way I began to compare the stuff in my life to my life itself and asked the question: am I too aiming for obsolescence by trying to be a sleeker, faster, lighter, stronger, busier multi-tasker, or should I take a tip from a time tested rock-steady old classic and focus on doing one task, one job at a time and doing it well, one day at a time until it is completed?  In today’s fast paced world I know I will have to go with some give and take, but I will always certainly admire the classics and hope to last long enough to be one myself.

Conquering Your Everest

// January 24th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

Today my publisher – New Leaf Publishing Group – began a series of blogs from their authors.  I had the honor of having mine featured on the site linked below.  Here is an excerpt of what I wrote for them:

Not every mountain that a climber sets out to climb gets climbed.  There are those that force us back with weather, fatigue, route finding issues, personal issues, as well as those related to a larger team.  Climbing a mountain, no matter how high, difficult, or even seemingly easy will often take repeated efforts before the door to the summit can be unlocked and steps onto hallowed ground be made.

I know from experience that when I take my first step on a trail towards a summit, that attaining it is never a given.  If it were a given where would be the adventure, the allure, the mystery and drama? 

Climbing around the world has taught me a lot: primarily that the same truth applies in life as it does to climbing.  There is no formula for success, but there are methods and principals to follow to ensure a greater chance of succeeding when facing our “Everest’s.”                                                                                     As a husband, and father of twin girls 2&1/2 years old, I find that my current climb is much harder than any mountain, and the uphill battle for me is to face off with the selfish guy inside who still wants to pursue everything that he did before marriage and kids.  The battle is finding the new self by dying to self.  I am stepping on to the trail but have no idea if I will succeed.  What helps me is a wife who serves and shows selflessness by example – (read more) 

http://nlpgblogs.com/2011/01/24/climbing-your-everest-by-author-adventurer-eric-alexander/

Anonymity

// January 20th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // Uncategorized

Solitude

This is the age of look at me.  Facebook, twitter, MySpace,YouTube all encourage us to be sharing the things we are doing every minute of every day with everyone anywhere.  It can be good, it can be fun, it can even be necessary for some, but it also can become an obsession for attention and for some even a quest for celebrity.  As a new author and longtime speaker, I am obligated to some degree to share the goings on of my life with people who wish to follow my adventures and thoughts as well, but I struggle with the tweets and updates to Facebook.  What I often long for are the days before all the technology when our greatest accomplishments and funniest moments were shared only with those who were also in the moment, or perhaps with no one at all.  The difficult climb that was achieved, or the beautiful tracks that were laid down, or the donation that was just made, the prayer for someone, the quarter put into a stranger’s parking meter, picking up trash on the street, or even folding a shirt on a store rack with no one else seeing it, tweeting it, or caring but you.  The tracks in this photo are from another skier, I have no idea who, but they make a beautiful impression in the snow.  The person who made them didn’t stop to show the world, they kept on going wanting only to make more.  The question is this: do we really need recognition for everything we do, or can we see the beauty and the art in the satisfaction of just knowing that we can and that we did?

I know of a guy who rode his bike from Boulder to Rocky Mt. Natl Park, ran to Long’s peak, climbed it’s 1,500 vertical face and then made it back to Boulder in time for happy hour.  The coolest thing about this feat is that it wasn’t tweeted, posted, or even bragged about in the bar.  This story is one more of legend, done just because he could.    So while it is true that for our livelihoods we need to let people in on some things, I need to remember that there is still beauty in the anonymous feat, gift, act done sometimes for the benefit of others but certainly without their knowledge.  (Strangely, yes – I will tweet this and post it on facebook)

The Jet Engine

// January 6th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // Uncategorized

I’m sitting on a plane thinking about perseverance and finishing the task, the race that is marked out for us. How it takes focus, courage and resolve.
As the jet winds up the engine blasts, pushes us forward, the thrust forces this heavy object into the sky as air moves over and under the wings. Almost immediately we are thousands of feet over the earth.
Suddenly, as I look down, the thought enters my mind – what if the engine quit? Imagine the nose of the plane pointing skyward as it climbs when all of a sudden the engine decides “my job is done; I got us off the ground; time to relax. ”

I’d say “good job getting us off the ground, but there’s more work to be done.”
It’s easy to stop when we think we have met our goals, but we need to keep our focus on the destination not merely meeting the first objective. This takes endurance, perseverance, and a committing focus. This is something I am trying to develop in myself more and more.

If you feel like joining me with a renewed focus in 2011 feel free to leave encouraging comments here on this blog.  I will do my best to also post material that will hopefully inspire and encourage you as well.  The image of a saddle on a naked  jet engine just crossed my mind as I thought of it flying by itself.  It needs wings and structure to make the journey.  I know that as I take off, I won’t try to go it alone.