Pittsburgh, PA

“Pittsburgh,” I was telling some friends, “is one of the most underrated cities.”

Indeed, Pittsburgh was one of my favorite large cities in the U.S., a place I had been to almost a half-dozen times but have not returned to in 12 or 13 years. That was almost a different era: not having a digital camera (and maybe not a cell phone) back then, I don’t have too many photos from that time, and what I do have are all in low resolution. My friends who had lived there back then have long dispersed to other parts of the world, and there hadn’t been good reason to go back. Until now. Continue reading

FireKracker 5k

This whole year all my race performances but one (the Bolder Boulder) either barely met, or fell well short of, my pre-race expectations. I had some excuses—non-ideal courses, gastrointestinal issues, odd injuries—but the fact of the matter was I just wasn’t getting it done. Yet, I felt like I was in better shape than the 2014 results suggested. A couple weeks ago I even told my friend Adam that I felt like I was in my best shape since 2011.

The FireKracker 5k, then, would be something of a race of truth. Being involved with the organizing of it as a board member of the Fort Collins Running Club—the owner of the event—I knew the course was both fast and certified (accurate distance). There would be plenty of other fast people to pace off of. The weather was forecast to be great for running, especially for July. In other words, there would be no excuses: just an honest race where my mimimum goal was to run a sub-20 minute 5k for the first time in two years. The last place I had done so (19:57) was even at this same venue. Continue reading

Soapstone Prairie, CO

It’s pretty hard to believe—and kind of a shame, actually—that the only mountain bike ride I’ve done since the 2,700-mile Tour Divide was a short jaunt in Pineridge almost exactly a year ago with my friends Diana and Lauren. I must be a roadie at heart because there certainly is no dearth of mountain bike trails around Fort Collins. Some that come to mind include the Foothill Trail, Reservoir Ridge, Coyote Ridge, Lory State Park, Horsetooth Mountain Park, Bobcat Ridge, and… Soapstone Prairie. Continue reading

Texas 4000

Looking back at my summers during elementary, middle, high school and college, it seems like my pursuits were primarily of the intellectual or productive variety. They included classes ranging from advanced mathematics to electronics, and working as an office assistant and laboratory engineer. None of these required much physical activity except for a two-week stint as a camp counselor, but I was perfectly fine with that and don’t particularly regret being prepped for a good future ahead of me.

But I can’t help but feel a little bit of envy—and definitely a lot of admiration—for some of the opportunities youngsters are taking advantage of nowadays. Take, for example, my buddy Dan Y. When he was a student at the University of Texas at Austin seven years ago, he and a couple dozen other undergraduates spent one summer cycling from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska to raise cancer awareness as part of the Texas 4000. This year, Dan and his fiancĂ© Kiri opened up their home for UT undergraduates doing this 4000-mile bike ride. At their evening party for the riders, I got to meet and talk with a few of the participants. Continue reading