Recently

The beauty in spinning one’s wheels

I’ve been struggling to find meaning and positivity these past few months. Everything has been tinted with heartbreak, anger, resentment. I try to remember compassion, and it is only with daily meditation that I can break from the negative feelings. It has, however, manifested in efforts to support my own community, to hold compassion in a general sense for the environment and my neighbors. On Sunday, we saw the fruit of our organizing efforts as our Writers Resist event here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was beyond capacity. There was standing room only, then no room at all, and crowds buzzed outside or went in the side door to give donations. We raised so much money for New Energy Economy and Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families that to state the numbers would be bragging. I talked briefly with an old mentor, Greg Glazner, a wonderful writer and kind heart who was always my cheerleader in college, who supported me as a writer and a person, and just a few sentences with him brought me to my sanity.

 » Read more

What I Learned On My Summer Vacation

I’ve been home for a few weeks now. I’ve been trying to write about our trip, but haven’t been able to focus on what happened. We rode into Antelope Wells, New Mexico (which was really just a border crossing), and were picked up by Taylor’s boyfriend, who was coming down to pick her up anyway so they could start on their motorcycle trip back to Philadelphia. Meghan and I were dropped off in Las Cruces, where we hung out in a hotel, walked to Walmart and met up with Evan, and went to Applebee’s to cash in a gift certificate she’d been holding onto. In the hotel room, Meghan and I lay in our respective beds and talked about how it all felt like a dream from which we were now waking up. Not one of those real dreams that shudder us, take us out of our comfort of knowing real from imaginary and take a moment to realize that no, we did not murder a vampire and win a million dollars, but rather one of those distinctly fabricated dreams that display all of our hopes and fears and we wake up feeling more whole and yet torn apart, and completely separated from what took place in our sleepspace.

 » Read more

Gearing Up for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route

I have a lot of stories on my mind lately, and a lot in draft as well. From going on an epic hike with a bum knee in a hail storm at Great Sand Dunes to getting lost on my bike on a mountain in Los Alamos and getting saved by a man wearing all purple, plus everything from moving into a new house to painting an 8-room law office in Albuquerque to the avoidable death of (yet another) friend, it’s been a busy, confusing, heartbreaking, heartswelling, monumental month. I have these stories lined up, like I said, but today I left for my morning walk with the dog ready to put them on the back burner and write a post about the importance of finding what in life will keep us going (for me it’s riding my bike, writing, and celebrating the physical challenges of the body [a reason I love boxing]); by the end of the walk, I was feeling a bit less depressed—isn’t that the goal, to always strive to feel just a bit less depressed than the moment before?—I was sick of thinking about that sort of thing. I still think it will be an important story to tell, but the story I want to tell right now is a story with forward motion, the story of preparing for my bike trip. Here’s a picture of all my gear:

 » Read more

Kind of a dumb update, also I got a cycling coach

This week we’ve been camping at the Black Canyon Campground in Santa Fe National Forest. There is a bathroom right next to our campsite and just past that, a hiking trail. I wake up in the morning at 7:15, feed the dog and use the facilities. Go back to bed for another 20 minutes. Evan makes coffee, I let the dog out, and then head out on a hike with the family. It’s a lollipop trail that takes about 45 minutes and is pretty hilly, and by the time we are done, I have enough of an appetite for breakfast: almond buttered toast, protein shake, or maybe some fried polenta and vegan sausage if I have a big training ride ahead of me.

 » Read more

Yoga to support a healthy lower back and ease pain

Long time readers may remember the unfortunate condition of my back. While I’ve always had back pains since my teen years, due to sports related injuries and childhood stupidity, it got worse during the start of this blog due to a few bad bike accidents. The worst crash was in 2011, when I smashed my tailbone and ultimately created a problem with my spinal column that makes it narrower than it should be. Having a lifelong practice of stretching and strengthening has helped me maintain my back health for the most part, and yoga is an integral part of that in my adult life. Acclimate weather, stress and sitting for too long (like in the car or at the computer) are all triggers for pain, and not just for those of us who’ve experienced back trauma.

 » Read more

How to Clean Your Hydration Bladder

When I posted my recent review of my new Osprey hydration pack, my hiker friend Wendy was excited. After our 10-day trek down the coast of Newfoundland on the East Coast Trail, her pack has stayed, well, packed. Her hydration bladder is now funky, stinky, and discolored, and she obviously doesn’t want to drink out of it. But that doesn’t mean you need a new bladder, woman! As long as there is no serious rip in the bladder or crack in the seal, the bladder is worth trying to save before spending mad money on a whole new hydration system. Before throwing away that bladder, try these steps:

 » Read more

Product Review: Osprey hydration pack

The only hydration pack I remember really owning was a Camelbak Rocket that my dad bought me when I was 19 or so, at my first bike shop job. My parents were upset that I was staying in Santa Fe to work rather than returning to Massachusetts, and I interpreted this pack as a peace offering, a gesture of love and support even though I was driving them crazy and breaking their hearts. I used that hydration pack for almost 15 years, and finally retired it when we moved out of our house in Pittsburgh to begin our great road trip adventure.

 » Read more