I have an old friend of mine, named Steve, who is one of my staunchest supporters in whatever endeavor I choose to go on each year. He is the first to like my statuses when I work out, and to give me a boost when I feel like I am sucking big time in my training. Everyone should have a Steve in their corner.
That being said, Steve is also the classic example of my post here today. There is no way in HELL I would ever get him to do the things I do. I see them as fun and adventure, he sees pain and discomfort!
Nothing demonstrates this more than my trip to Alaska! A few years ago, I had the opportunity to take a skiplane to Denali base camp for a week-long Glacier-Mountaineering trip. It was beyond cool and I learned a lot! When I got back to work, I was telling the group about it, and I mentioned the “poop pot”
Yep a small barrel with a styrofoam rim (surprisingly comfortable I might add) for pooping. A way to keep the glacier clean and pristine. “I’m out!” was the last I heard from Steve on that matter! To me, it was no big deal. Climbing mountains there are many things you have to do differently (google “blue bagging” if you are curious!) so this was actually a better alternative than I was used to.
This isn’t the only thing that makes people shake their heads in dismay. This same trip, I had a 40 lb pack and had to drag a sled with at least that same amount of weight.
I knew this was the plan, so I trained, just as I do now, for months in advance. To others this seemed like the Bataan Death March, pure hell on Earth. I loved every minute of it! And my reward? Made it to the top of Control Tower
And sipped wine while waiting for my plane!
Let’s take it closer to home. We have a close friend who thinks it is entirely too dangerous to ride on the road with traffic. “You ride there?? Doesn’t the traffic scare you??” Another warned me to not ride on Hwy 2 up to Stevens Pass. “I’ll follow you with my flashers on if you want! It’s too dangerous!” No worries at all. I rode it no worries at all. I just stay vigilant and watch behind me when the road narrows. the reward?
I made it to the top of Stevens Pass! Hell Yeah! This helped me finish the High Pass challenge!
Let’s go a step farther back. Wine. I will admit, back in the college days I drank Cello Lambrusco (picture alcohol infused Kool Aid). My gorgeous wife Michelle has worked hard over the years to get me to develop a pallet for red wine.
But we have friends who will only drink white wine! I now prefer reds (Can’t go Wrong with Dusted Valley or Ross Andrew wineries by the way!) , but there are many whites I like as well. Finding new wineries and new wines is an adventure on its own. In fact next month, Michelle and I are going to the Mecca of wineries in Washington State, Walla Walla for a weekend of tasting! Limiting yourself to only one or the other deprives you of so many good experiences.
I guess what I am trying to say here is this. There may be something that you’ve decided to do. A run, hike, climb or ride, and other people will tell you that you are nuts! Its dangerous. Why would you want to do that?? I am saying ignore them. Hell, you only live once! You can either give it your all and cross the finish line
Drink Excellent wine
Climb a mountain
Run a river
Or you can listen to others and not try anything! Like I said at the beginning, my buddy Steve, I firmly believe, thinks I am certifiably nuts sometimes. But there is no better supporter of any and all my adventures. Grab your dreams, work for your goals, who cares if friends and family tell you they’d be miserable if they even thought about trying it. If you believe you can do it, if you get off your ass and try, if you give it all you got, then chances are, you are going to make it!
I love this picture. It was taken as my group approached the Denali Base Camp area. In essence, ski planes took off and the had to take a hard left through “One Shot Pass”. Aptly names, cuz you only have one shot to make it. Otherwise you smack into Mt Foraker.
I was looking for another pic, and found this one so I wanted to share. Another day I will share the other “best pic”
Every now and then I look at this and decide to modify or add to it. It can be considered the legacy of Mountainstroh. And, if I do say so myself, it aint half bad, and trust me, it is FAR from over!
I am the man called Mountainstroh, one the Fire Brewed ones. Together, there is nothing that we cannot pull off.
I have two sons that are smarter, more athletic and better looking than I could EVER hope to be.
I am lucky enough to have a beautiful wife that truly loves me!
Any one can be a Husky fan, but I am a WSU COUG from way back, and that takes stamina and intestinal fortitude that not everyone has, which has taken me to both Rose Bowls in the last 15 years.
I have the guys. Three friends who have been there for me for over 20 years, and will be there for the next 20. Doesn’t matter what I do, they stick by me, and I them.
I am loved by people who are very careful who they allow into their lives
I am a mountain climber and a river rafter, a sky diver and a bungee jumper, a hiker and a biker. I have been in thunderstorms on a glacier, lead people down Mt. Rainier in a white out and finished a half marathon non-stop.
I have ridden 200 miles in one day and so far I have never met a hill I can’t bike up.
I have seen sunrise, twice, from 12500 feet and seen the shadow of a mountain on the land below. I’ve seen avalanches and rock slide, and raced an eagle on my bike.
I have jumped into and fallen in a crevasse in Alaska.
I make people laugh and can make people feel good about themselves.
I can McGyver with the best of them.
I have been to the top of Baker, St Helens and Lassen, and completed the High Pass Challenge and ridden to Sunrise in Mt Rainier
I can carry a 40lb pack to places some people couldn’t get to without a pack at all.
I am not afraid to express my views or opinion regardless of who is in the room or how many people.
I have biked the STP and the High Pass Challenge in 90 degree heat and the RSVP in the Rain.
I have biked the Oregon coast including the scenic route and pedaled up EVERY hill,which means I have biked every mile From Vancouver BC to Crescent City CA
I am in better shape than at least 85% of the people, male or female, my age, and even a good percentage of those younger than me.
I’ve had 2 articles and a pictures published.
I have given blood over 60 times.
I have flown with a bush pilot through “One Shot Pass” and drunk wine at Denali base camp.
I have canoed Bowron Lakes in Canada and biked over Jack Ass Pass in Washington state.
I have been to Camp Muir 15 times, and the top of Mt Si over 100.
I cook a mean grilled cheese and my Mac and Cheese is legendary
At a moments notice I will drop everything to help a friend.
I am sure as hell not perfect and never will be. Sometimes, though, it is a good idea to sit back and tally up the good things in your life! All in all, I am pretty damn good!
In my about section, I explain that prior to bike riding, I attempted to be a mountain climber. Hence the moniker “Mountainstroh”. (I will explain the Stroh part another day.)
I have climbed smaller mountains. Mt. Baker, Mt. St Helena, Mt. Lassen. However, in Washington State, the mother of them all, is Mt. Rainier. 14,410 feet of snow, glaciers and rocks. You can see that mountain from most of western Washington, when it’s not raining, and it beckons to you! I tried to climb that SOB 4 times, and in each of those 4 times my body just could NOT make it to the top.
Now the first 3 times, I felt like a complete failure. I wasted hours and days of training, 1000’s of dollars in gear and guide service, just to have to admit I failed. I made it to 12,500 feet, Disappointment Cleaver (Aptly named), but after that the body shutdown.
That was where I was turned around on the 4th attempt. This time though, I didn’t feel like a failure. Up and until 12000 feet, I was leading the way, doing better than the guys literally half my age. I helped teach them self arrest, and how to walk with a rope. I was also in the best shape I could be! At 12,500 feet, I was staggering and pulling people off the mountain. I was done.
I remember thinking “Stroh (I call myself that sometimes when I have serious talks with myself) you gave it everything you had pal, you left nothing in reserve. It’s not failing, this is just one big F’n mountain! Be proud of yourself for trying!”
This was distinctly a new paradigm for me. I started looking at what I do from the eyes of the people I know and work with. To me carrying. 40 lb back up and down 297 steps for 10 reps was just what I did. Hiking to the top of Mt Si with the same pack in 2 hours was fun for me.
To those I talked to though, what I did could seem as far out of their reach and my climbing Everest. I am not trying to brag, it’s just that when I have a goal, I train and train hard. Plus I loved hiking, and I like the feeling when I am “in shape”. I started allowing myself to be proud of what I accomplished. I didn’t go out of my way to tell people my stories, but if they asked or wanted to see pictures, I was happy to share. 12,500 feet IS an accomplishment!
I can hear y’all now though. “Is this a brag session? What the heck are you trying to tell us pal?”
Well, here it is. If you are a beginner, take pride in what you are doing! You’ve put in the time, effort, and money to buy a bike. Look around you at the people who you hear say, “I need to start exercising!” yet never do.
Instead of thinking “I only rode 10 miles today.” Think, “Hell yeah, I got outside and cranked out 10 miles instead of sitting and watching reality TV!” Look at all those people driving, or in McDonalds drive thru, or circling the parking lot for the closest spot! 10 miles is a good thing!” Plus if you do 10 enough times, it will soon be 15, 20, 100!
Instead of saying, “I don’t want to sign up for that organized ride, I would have to push it up some of the hills.” Say, “What the hell! I’m going to go for it! I won’t be the only one pushing!”
Every mile you pedal is another mile away from being a couch spud! How many people do you know who say “You pedaled 10 miles??? All at once??”
Getting in shape, and riding longer distances takes a while. It will be MUCH more enjoyable and you will reach your goals faster if you give yourself the pats on the back that you deserve! Don’t brag, but don’t feel bad about “short” or “slow” rides. Any saddle time gives you a helluva lot more benefits than couch time!
So, to quote Queens “Fat Bottom Girls”. GET ON YOUR BIKE AND RIDE!