Weekend Round-Up

I try really hard (regardless of what it may seem) to not post “this is what I did today” type posts. That’s very “bloggy” and online diary-esque. While this site is a blog, I’m in a little bit of denial. I like to think of it as a website that provides useful information or at least topics that make you want to think deeper on the subject. But like I said, I’m aware that I might be a little delusional.

So, today I’m going to fully “embrace the blog”. Firstly, because my weekend was pretty fun, and secondly, because I’m just trying to get back into the swing of writing those supposed informational/though-provoking posts (whether that’s accomplished or not) on a semi-regular basis.

Friday

I can’t get into too many details for what will be obvious reasons, but I went out on the town in Boulder for a co-worker’s birthday party. We came, we saw, we drank beer. Really, the only reason I mention this at all is because it sets up the exhaustion for…

Saturday

Flat Top MountainAfter the night of drinking and fun with the guys, it was time to get up at 4am to go for a hike on Flat Top Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was joined by peak-bagging extraordinaire, “Summit Air“. It was a perfect day for a hike: sunny, warm, and no wind below the tree line; noticeably colder and a lot winder above. A fantastic opportunity to try out the Millennium Flash shell I received from Columbia.

It wasn’t quite cold enough or windy enough to really say I’ve “tested” it yet, but it was much, much, much better than the base layer/t-shirt combo I was wearing below the tree line. Once colder, snowier weather hits (hopefully SOON), I’ll have a full review. I do have some things in mind already.

After we got done taking pictures and admiring the vast beauty of RMNP and Hallett Peak, we headed down, stopped for a coffee in Estes Park, and then I went straight to “Toasted Coconut Brown Ale Collaboration Release Party” from good friends at Großen Bart Brewery and J Wells in Boulder. I may be a little biased, but the bearded dudes make some bodacious beers. I’ve had their stout, coffee stout, and now the coconut brown ale. They’re community funded so don’t hesitate to help out, or go to Volta in Boulder and try their Chin Curtain IPA. (All their beers are named after different styles of facial hair. “Großen Bart” is German for “Big Beard”.)

The coconut brown ale was so good that I bought a growler and brought it to Heather and her boyfriend Will’s Halloween party to share. The people that tried it loved it.

And speaking of the Halloween Party, I finally got to put some more Twitter names to actual faces. I had recently met Heather (AColoradoGal), Kristie (wigirl4ever), Whitney (Whitneyio), Aleya (AleyaJean), Heidi (runaroundaroo), and Abram (AbramHerman) on a hike, but now I got to meet Lynne (lgsmash), Lauren (MountainLauren1), and significant others too. If you’re ever invited to a party hosted by Heather and Will, don’t eat ahead of time. In fact, starve yourself. Those two didn’t sit down until the end of the night because they were too busy shoving delicious food in our faces. It was glorious.

Sunday

I didn’t get to sleep until midnight on Friday night and not until 1am (I think) on Saturday night. After all the beer, all the schmoozing, and all the hiking, I was exhausted. It only made sense to get up at 8am to go snowboarding at Loveland, where I’m a proud season pass holder.

There’s only a handful of runs open, but for October, the mostly man-made snow was still very respectable. If you remember (which would totally shock me), I only started riding 8 months ago so I was incredibly happy to make it through the day without any falls, could still ollie without breaking my head, and even practiced riding switch. Also ecstatic that I can now get the world’s greatest Bloody Mary’s again too.

Oh, and I learned that it’s really hard for me to ride when a song I REALLY like comes over my headphones. It’s too hard to concentrate on boarding and jam to the song at the same time. Ha!

And to top it all off, I watched the Packers annihilate the Vikings once I got home.

 

Pretty stellar weekend.

Chasm Lake in snow

Training Hike and #TryingStuff Volume I: Chasm Lake

Of the few people that read my satirical post about hiking being horrible, I think most of them thought I was joking. But in reality, the joke’s on them! I really do not like hiking, and if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve probably told you as such many, many, numerous times. I just don’t get it.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have to do it. If I want to alpine climb, there’s usually a long approach: hiking. If I want to go winter camping, it’s not very fun to camp right at the car. So, hike (snowshoe). This winter, I hope to con someone/people into taking me backcountry snowboarding. More snowshoeing/hiking because I don’t have a split board. And if someone invites me on their weekend backpacking trip, guess what, I need to keep up. More hiking in my life.

Who disappeared the mountains?
Who disappeared the mountains?

As much as I may dislike hiking, it’s always going to be a part of what I do outdoors. And as I learned on a failed attempt at the Grand Teton, I need to be in hiking condition so that I’m still physically capable of doing the climb once I get there.

Now, with all that pish posh out of the way, I forced myself to go on a hike on Sun. Alone. Something else I never do because I can’t motivate myself to do so and because I’m an extrovert to the max. I did it anyway. In order to do this, I just needed to get into the frame of mind that this hike is a “training” hike. Because I will do a lot of things in the name of training, in order to be able to perform better at a more “important” activity. I guess every hike will be a “training hike” from here on out.

I really wanted climb Mt. Audubon, but the trail head was already closed for the season, adding an additional 3+ miles (one way) to the hike. No way. Instead of climbing a mountain, I decided to drive a bit further to the Longs Peak trail head and hike to Chasm Lake.

The weather said it would be mid-twenties, a sustained 15 mph wind with 35+ mph gusts, and 1-3 inches of snow. I was excited! With that combination, I thought for sure it would get down to the low tens of degrees (if not lower) with the windchill. Perfect conditions to try out my new OmniTen gear.

To start the hike, I was wearing my Columbia base layer, lined with their OmniHeat technology, my Arc’Teryx Beta AR pants as windproof, and a Nike DriFit t-shirt. That’s it. But I did have another layer of insulation (top and bottom) and the Columbia Millenium Flash shell for windproof in my pack just in case. I also had a hat lined with OmniHeat.

This is how I normally feel about hiking.
This is how I normally feel about hiking.

I started the hike hot ‘n heavy. Way too hot ‘n heavy. I needed to slow my pace about a half-mile into it. By the end of mile 2, I was bored out my gourd (as per usual). So then I tried something else new: I listened to music.

I don’t know if I’m more annoyed that I listened to music, or that I liked listening to music.

But either way, the hike went a lot better!

The weather conditions held true to the forecast. In fact, it got so windy and snowy that Longs Peak and Mt. Meeker literally disappeared. However, I never did put on anymore layers except the hat. The OmniHeat base layers (with a little windproof help on the lower half) were fine enough, especially with the hat. That’s one benefit of being really “hot blooded”, but now I’m going to have to wait until the temps drop even more to try out the OmniHeat Millenium shell. Other than in-bound snowboarding, I’m not sure when I’ll get to wear the insulated pants they sent too. I can already tell those suckers are going to be hot!

So, yes, I hiked. Yes, I went alone. Yes, I listened to music. Yes, I wore my first set of Columbia’s technical winter-wear. And yes, I think I might find myself doing this again. It wasn’t completely horrible. Just don’t think I’ll be cancelling “better” plans (like I mentioned in the beginning) in order to hike.

Oh, and I made it to Chasm Lake and back (8.5 miles) in 4 hours, including breaks. Eh. Not too bad for someone that despises this game, right? 😉

Chasm Lake in snow
Longs Peak is only a hundred yards away or so, but you still can’t see the peak. Nifty, eh?

I Want To Be A Brand Ambassador

The title alone should warn you, but I want to be very explicit. This post is about me. I don’t like to publicly share my thoughts of myself, but I’ve found that waiting around to “be discovered” is probably the slowest way possible to “become discovered”. Short of showing up on some doorsteps, I think this is the fastest, easiest thing I can do right now to try help myself out. So, if you’re not interested in reading, seeing, and learning about me, here’s your chance to go check out some of my other bodacious posts. ;-p

Also, a special thanks goes out to my girlfriend Anh for encouraging me to write this, coming with and planning a lot of these adventures, taking 95% of the pictures I post on this site, and of course, putting up with me and cooking me homemade pho. Thank you!

I Want to be a Brand Ambassador

There, I said it. It’s out in the open and now everyone knows. I don’t want to be a brand ambassador simply for free swag or getting paid or going to tradeshows or super-sweet locales. (Though, none of those things will ever be turned down.) I want to be a brand ambassador because there are a lot of companies out there that I think are doing things really right. I think they treat their employees with respect and flexibility. I think their products are top-notch. I think their services really fill a need. I think a lot of them are doing a wonderful job of promoting outdoor and action sports. And I think A LOT of them are doing the right things for our environment. Why wouldn’t I want to be a part of that? Why wouldn’t I want to help them grow their business?

Why I should be a Brand Ambassador

I think I should be a brand ambassador because I literally spend every spare moment thinking about my outdoor endeavors, hopes, dreams, and experiences. If I’m not thinking about it, it’s because I’m actually out there experiencing it with my girlfriend, friends, and family. The only time I’m not thinking or living it is when I’m actively working…at work. But c’mon, who likes working?

I’m constantly brainstorming about how I can be better at the things I do and then take action. How can I be a better climber? How can I make it easier to get to the top of a mountain? Where else can I go? Who can I tell? How can I spread the word to the most amount of people?

One way I tell people is by writing. I mean, anyone can write, sure, but a lot of people tell me I write well. They have told me I should write more in the public eye. It’s surprising to me because I just write what I think. It comes naturally to me. When people compliment me on my writing, it’s one of the greatest compliments I can receive. I love writing, and I love writing about things I love.

I’m not shy. I already make random comments to unsuspecting strangers. I’ll talk to just about anybody if I have a reason, and it doesn’t feel awkward at all. I even have a couple YouTube channels just in case people need some entertainment in their lives: Athlete Creator and Dudes With Tents. As you can see, I’m not afraid to be a little bit nerdy, a little bit cooky, or completely open with my personality.

I walk the talk. I’ve mentioned my passion for writing and how much I think about making myself better, but I’m more passionate about actually making myself better. I’ve only been climbing for about 13 or 14 months now, but in that short time, I’ve progressed from top-roping 5.7’s indoors to leading 5.10’s outdoors (and maybe even a few “soft” 5.11’s). I competed in my first indoor climbing competition after only 11 months of climbing, and I finished 18th out of 43 climbers in the “Advanced” division (5.10b-5.11b). I believe I could have finished higher if I were more familiar with the format. I understand these are not earth shattering numbers, nor are they anything that will be published in any major media outlet, but they are a glimpse at what I’m capable of and what I desire to be.

I hang out at all the cool spots. Ok, some of them are cool; some of them are visited out of necessity. During the week, you can find me climbing at either of the two most popular climbing gyms in Minnesota: Vertical Endeavors – St. Paul and Minneapolis. I climb there 3-4 times per week. On weekends, spring through fall, I typically visit the few crags found in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Due to the lack of mountains, these crags tend to be very busy with potential for a lot of visibility. I’m not much of a runner, but there are endless marathon opportunities nearly every weekend. The largest is probably Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth. I don’t mind wondering around in a sea of humanity regardless of the event. When winter comes blowing at my door, I don’t hide inside. Winter simply means “winter camping”. Granted, the parks aren’t quite as busy, but Minnesota shines in the winter. There are tons of cross-country ski trails right in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro. The American Berkebeiner is located just a few short hours east in Wisconsin. We are the state of 10,000 lakes, which yield way more than 10,000 ice fishermen. The Hockey Hall of Fame is located just a couple hours north of my apartment. Red Bull’s international Crashed Ice tour even made a stop in St. Paul this year. Needless to say, my activities in the outdoors are fueled for 12 months out of the year and Minneapolis/St. Paul is anything but a “dead zone”.

Some of the more notable places I’ve visited in the past 12 months outside of the previously mentioned locations include the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in the Superior National Forest, Red Rocks located just outside of Las Vegas, Cloud Peak in the Bighorn Mountain Range in Wyoming, The Black Hills of South Dakota, and the red rocks of Sedona, AZ. Trips planned for the coming summer and fall include returning to The Black Hills for 8 days of climbing and camping and a trip to Colorado to summit Long’s Peak. I can assure you, there will be more that I just haven’t been made aware of yet.

 

 

 

 

Getting back to the technical side of things, I’m quite profficient with all social media. You’ve seen my excellent work with YouTube. I’ve also been using Facebook since 2005 and Twitter since 2009. I use LinkedIn for my professional networking as an engineer (though, I’m hoping this allows me to not be an engineer for much longer). I’m familiar with Google+ but haven’t used it much myself. But, once you’re familiar with one platform, it doesn’t take much used to get used to any of them. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, forcing me to know much more about physics and electrons than anyone should care. But it also means that I am exposed to new technology and new software all the time. I’m exceptionally good with technology, right down to writing my own Microsoft Visual Basic scripts.

Basically, I’m an open book. My personality appeals to a variety of people. I grew up in a town of population unincorporated and now live in a city of over a million. I can go to the local VFW, or I can hang out in a swank luxury lounge and talk to people with more money than I’ve ever made. I love sharing my life with others, doesn’t matter who they are as long as they want to listen. Also, and I don’t mean to be completely conceited here, but let’s face it, people respond more favorably to attractive people. Social experiments and surveys prove this over and over again. I take care of myself, and I’m proud of the body I’ve built. I think I’ll leave it at that because talking about myself anymore in that way makes me feel dirty.

If I were a brand ambassador, all of that energy of sharing my life, all the writing and technology skills I posses, would then be put to good use, sharing the great qualities of the brand(s) I represent.

What being a Brand Ambassador would mean to Me

Being a brand ambassador would mean that I would have a reason to be my crazy, cooky, and sometimes odd self for a reason. It would mean I get to connect people that are already crazy about a sport with a company looking to enrich their experience with that sport.

What I’ve found through “the evolution of me” is that I really really enjoy making people’s lives better. Whether that means helping them reach an athletic/aesthetic goal, sharing my personal experiences that they may also be going through, or connecting them with the right person or company that can truly help them out, I love helping people that want to be helped.

Being a brand ambassador would also give me a reason to be even more loud and outspoken when I go on adventures (but in a good way, I assure you). For that matter, it would give me a reason to go on more adventures to tell people how I got there and who is enabling me to be at such a great location, doing what I love.

I may only be 28 and not accomplished anything newsworthy, but I have already learned that life is about experiencing it, not “just getting through it”. I got through playing 3 years of college football. I got through owning investment property at the age of 23. There are many things I’ve gotten through that could have been done better and more enjoyable. I don’t want to get through life anymore. I want to live it. Being a brand ambassador would truly enrich my life. Not just with material possessions, money, or travel, but with helping people enrich their lives….as well as my own.

If you’re interested in contacting me, please feel free to connect through email, Facebook, or Twitter. I’m almost guaranteed to respond faster than you’d think. If you need more links to click, here’s my personal landing page that will get you to anything I linked here and more!

David Sandel

I certainly I hope I hear from you!