When Trying Stuff Goes Wrong

I’ve written quite a bit about Trying Stuff. It’s an absolute great slogan for Columbia Sportswear, and it gives me endless opportunities to write about it since I’m always Trying Stuff. I’m going to assume you all follow each and every single post with the same vim and vigor with which I write them, but juuuuust in case you let one slip through the cracks, here’s some recap:

What's that on my head?!?!

The first time I went off-width crack climbing with Pamela Shanti-Pack

My first post about “hiking for training” after becoming #OmniTen

Refurbishing Cast Iron Cookware – I had to try it for the first time to get good at it every time thereafter

Then I went to the OmniGames in Park City, UT and explained what Trying Stuff means to me

Then I started my first garden ever

And lastly, the best way to Try Stuff is to never say no to stuff

Trying Stuff isn’t always glamorous

A lot of us in the OmniTen love to promote our success and fun adventure, but trust me, we all fail A LOT too. In fact, my failures are sometimes a lot more interesting for you to read…and painful for me to relive. Constantly pushing yourself and constantly needing to be the best at everything you do means there’s going to be some pain. I’ve had no shortness of that.

Off-width chicken wingPotential brain damage from a history of head injuries

The first time I dropped off a cornice

That one time I ran into a tree on my snowboard

And the time I tipped a row boat in Class 3 rapids without a life jacket

 

Today I bring you the next installment of failure.

Despite the fact it looks like I lose control as soon as I launch (which would be an accurate observation), I actually landed this sucker cleanly twice before. As soon as the camera came out, all hell broke loose.

I was hoping to get some rad product shots for my new Niche Story 2.0 snowboard, but instead they got this, and I got a headache (to put it lightly).

So, my fellow outdoor enthusiasts, I’m well aware of what you’re all about, but share some failures with me, will you? Don’t worry, I’ll only laugh a little.

Pret Snowboarding Helmets and Tree Runs

Between OR Show and SIA, I had the pleasure of interacting with Pret Helmets on Twitter. Those interactions led to a scheduled interview, and that scheduled interview led to helmet to test out.

Since I know each and every one of you read each and every one of my posts, I know that you’re familiar with my history of TBIs. I love snowboarding, but I’d never do it without a helmet.

Since most active sports have an associated helmet, and most of them are single-impact helmets, one of the first questions I asked was, “how do I know if I should replace a helmet?”

Unfortunately, there’s never anyway of knowing. You don’t have x-ray vision to lookin at the foam inside your helmet. The answer I received was, “if you think you’ve taken hard enough falls to damage the foam, it’s probably time for you to replace it.”

Ummmm…under those conditions, I should have replaced my old snowboarding helmet 12 falls ago. Thank goodness I met with Pret!

Pret Helmet SelectionThey have 4 different models for men:

  • Cynic
  • Shaman
  • Effect
  • Carbon Effect

And 3 different models for women:

  • Lyric
  • Luxe
  • Facet

Pret prides their construction on being lighter and having a lower profile than their competitors, but still meeting all industry impact ratings and certifications. They are obviously doing something right as they have seen 100% growth in sales from Year 1 to Year 2 and expect similar numbers in Year 3.

Pret Helmet TechnologyThe helmet I got was the Carbon Effect. You’ll notice that the “rubber lime” color I have on in the video below isn’t on the website for that model. That’s new for Winter 2014.

What you will notice is the reinforced carbon composite protected areas. These are areas where impacts to the head can do the greatest damage.

And finally, the “nice to haves”…

  • X-liner, removable, anti-microbial helmet liner….to reduce the stank.
  • VTT3 – Their most advanced ventilation system that allows you to control the heat escaping your dome.
  • Removable ear covers, for fashion and function (on warm, spring days)
  • Audio ready ear covers, for listening to your sweet sweet tunes as you slash the powder.
  • Magnetic buckling system – No snaps, no clicks, no need to take your gloves off.

All in all, very glad to have Pret protecting my head. You’ll see why below. Enjoy!

Updated 2014 Voile Splitboard – the Revelator

I’ve only very casually been watching the splitboard scene until recently, but it seems like anyone that is serious about it at least mentions Voile, if not outright owning one. I had the opportunity to interview them the recent Winter OR Show as well take it out for a demo ride the Snowsports Industry Association’s (SIA) Snow Show. They’ve had their Artisan model out for several years now and seen great success so I was pretty much already sold. But after meeting with them and being able to try it out first-hand, I can definitely recommend this splitboard to anyone.

Made in the USA

Puck binding channel system
Puck binding channel system

For those that don’t know, Voile is based out of Salt Lake City, UT, and all of their manufacturing is as well. You can feel good about local when you buy their products. And now they’ve taken it one step further. The Revelator core is made out of Paulownia wood, which is mostly found in China, but it is being grown in the Southeast U.S. too. Which mean a majority of their raw materials, if not all of them, are also harvested from U.S. soil. I’m not always a big “made in the USA” kind of guy, but when I can support local jobs at a cheaper price, it’s an absolute no-brainer.

Tech Specs

Alright, so, now that we all feel good about buying an American produced, American made snowboard, let’s talk about why you should be buying this thing in the first place. With more and more companies jumping into the splitboard mix, it was time for Voile to bring some more innovation to the table. What they came up with was the Revelator and Revelator BC (backcountry). (Frickin cool name!)

Maybe hard to tell, but the pucks are tapered for a more natural and better riding position.
Maybe hard to tell, but the pucks are tapered for a more natural and better riding position.

Both models have a new channel puck system. Rather than mounting your bindings in predetermined hole patterns, there are two machined out channels in which you can slide your pucks back and forth to get a true specific, customized stance width. Not only that, but the pucks are slightly angled to put your knees and ankles in a better riding position. They also made it a lot easier to get out of your bindings with a new quick release system, allowing you to release both straps with one simple pull. At first it seems like a novelty, but then you try it, and you realize how awesome it really is.

Getting back to the construction, the Paulownia wood is lighter and just as strong as traditional core materials. They’ve encased that in carbon glass and elongated the cambered area underfoot. Add to that an early rise nose and a 7mm taper in the tail, and you have a lot better performance in the deep backcountry powder – skinning up and floating down. And speaking of skinning…

1 Pull, 2 Straps
1 Pull, 2 Straps

New fish scale bottoms for the Revelator BC!

These won’t replace skins altogether on steep terrain, but for lower angled approaches, there’s no need to mess around with skins. And if there’s flat traverses after a sweet pow run, don’t worry about having to get your skins out just for 100 yards. Cross Country Skis have had fish scales for years and years and years. It only makes sense that they’re finally showing up on backcountry touring gear.

Test Laps

As I said, I actually got to ride this magnificent creature. Specifically, “just” the Revelator (not Revelator BC) so I didn’t get to see if or how the fish scales would affect downhill performance. And I wasn’t too sad about not being able to try them skinning up the mountain at Copper either. I didn’t have time nor ambition for in-bounds skinning. Haha!

What I can say about the downhill however is that I was completely blown away. I don’t know if you’re at all like me, but I was fairly skeptical about a snowboard split in half and clipped together being able to perform as well as solid, single snowboard. Not only was I wrong, but I was way wrong. It was the best board I rode all day.

Voile Revelator BC with fish scale traction. Yum!
Voile Revelator BC with fish scale traction. Yum!

I was able to carve and feel the edge dig into the groomer and hold it. It also had enough “pop” to allow me power through some sharp transitions. I didn’t stay on the groomer long until I got into some sweet, sweet untouched powder in the trees of Copper Mountain. It had snowed 20-some-odd-inches the days prior, and this was a magnificent way to test out its powder capability and maneuverability.

To that date, in the 11 months since I had been riding, I had never had such a good tree run in my life. Turning became second nature and the board responded with every torsional flex and kick. I even got some sweet air on my exit from the trees. And when I say sweet, I’m talkin a good 8″. Yeah. THAT sweet.

The only deficiency that the Revelator revealed was in its bindings. Halfway through the tree run, the toe strap came off the end of my boot. I was cranking pretty good through the trees, but that’s something that could actually cause you to end up *in* a tree if you weren’t ready for it. I explained this to the reps as I returned, and they seemed aware, or not surprised, by what I told them. They explained that they are currently in the process of designing and testing new….designs….until they get it right. As it turns out, binding companies don’t share trade secrets exceptionally well. And probably rightfully so. I have no doubts that by the 2014 season, they’ll have this all figured out. And then you’ll have one badass piece of backcountry setup.

Product Testing Stage Ideas goggles and Cornice Dropping Video

If you follow me on social media, you’ve no doubt seen me ranting and raving over the snowboarding conditions this past weekend. Not only was there fresh powder everywhere, but Rob and I decided to try dropping off some cornice at Loveland Ski Area’s 13,000ft. ridge. Both first timers.

While we were at it, since it was a magical bluebird day, I also decided to try out my new Stage Ideas goggles with spherical lenses that I picked up at OR Show in January. My current setup still has the flat profile so I was eager to try them. Plus, all the cool kids where spherical lenses. I wanna be cool too, guys!!

They blocked the sun wonderfully and gave me better depth perception to see bumps and grooves along the way. Unfortunately, they did not turn me into a pro snowboarder…as you will see below. My only concern is that they did give off kind of a fish bowl effect depending on where you were looking out of the lens. It’s not a deal breaker, but it certainly warrants more testing. The other cool thing about Stage Ideas is their massive selection of customizable straps. No matter your interests, or your humor, they’ve got one for you. Not only that, but they have plenty of lenses to choose from as well. They’ll be coming out with a photochromic lens by next season at the latest.

And as usual, my GoScope Extreme GoPole held up to all the falls.

Climbing to the Top of the #OmniGames

Hello, again.

I’m going to keep this brief because the video pretty much says it all. (And because I’m sitting at work and have a TON of real world career type stuff to do.)

As I mentioned yesterday, Columbia Sportswear brought all four seasons of their #OmniTen groups to Park City to participate in the “#OmniGames”. They did a great job of mostly keeping us in the dark about what the games would entail until the day they started. As we pulled into Garff Ranch, nearly everyone in my shuttle van became as giddy as school children when we saw a plethora of snowmobiles and a gaggle of dogs.

We all gathered in the main meeting area, and fearless leader Daniel explained everything that was about to take place in detail. On the line was another sponsored trip to the country of Jordan. The #OmniGames were ON!

I was instantly excited when I drew Heidi’s name out of the hat. If you follow her blog and/or social media accounts, she’s just as goofy as I am. (I would later learn she might be goofier. Normally I’d up my antics once I saw hers – because I don’t really believe in boundaries, except to match those of the people around me, but since I didn’t have a voice, it kind of held me back. Poop.) She’s a runner and a desert person; I’m a climber/snowboarder and a cold-weather person. I wasn’t sure how well we were going to do in the games, and winning a trip to Jordan would be the 2nd most amazing thing to happen to me (this trip being the 1st), but I really just wanted have fun, get to know Heidi, and let our results speak for themselves.

For full explanation of all the events, check out Heidi’s post, The Art of #TryingStuff, and learn what challenges she faced and how she conquered them along the way.

Lastly, before you can click play, I have to tell you about some of the pictures. If you notice any of the still photos are NOT taken with iPhone or GoPro and look like they’re from a professional, that’s because Season 3 member @DavidECreech (Blog: Wilderness Dave) was unfortunately unable to play in the games. So instead, he took AMAZING photos. If that weren’t enough, he allowed any and all of us to use any and all of his pictures. Thanks, Dave, you’re really f*ckin cool!

Now, onto the video!

 

Lumpy Ridge Climbing

Brain Matter Matters: How a History of Brain Injuries is Affecting Me Now

This weekend was pretty amazing. There were a lot of specific little things I disliked but much more universal things that I loved. I spent one day flailing on splitter cracks in Indian Creek, one day watching others crush, a night in the back of my Subaru, and a couple of hours snowboarding on Monday. The overall experience of this weekend is something I’m incredibly proud of.

But then Monday Afternoon Happened

First time snowboardingWhile snowboarding, I was working on riding switch, transitioning from regular to goofy stance, and even 180 ollies. Obviously, I’m not proficient at these things, or I would not claim that I’m “working on them”. And when you’re not proficient (and even when you are), falls happen.

My tailbone was the victim of the most violent of falls, but there were a couple that happened so fast that I think I hit my head. I know I had to adjust my ear buds after a couple. Regardless, by the time I got home, I had a splitting headache. I took three Advil and laid down on the couch. The dull pain never really went away so four hours later, I took three more.

By this time it was 8:00, and I started thinking about my history of concussions, all the NFL players coming forward with brain diseases, depression, and all the unneeded suicides.

Could this be me someday? Am I experiencing some of it now?

A History of Concussions

College FootballExtremely mild concussions can occur after any old bump to the noggin. Most people probably wouldn’t even detect them, including myself. And with how concussions are treated/diagnosed today, I’ve likely had countless concussions. Hell, every single day in football practice I’d see double, stars, and walk away with a headache. That was “normal”, and Advil was my best friend. If that’s what we’re calling concussions, I had 5 practices a week, for 3 months per year, for 10 years straight. You do the math.

While I’m certain I haven’t had 600 concussions based on that example, the probability that I’ve had a lot of undiagnosed concussions is extremely high. What I do count as concussions are the cases in which they have either been diagnosed by a professional, or I’ve simply gone home, sat on the couch, and (literally) drooled on myself. Only to put my helmet on and do it again the next day.

I’ve had 5 of those. 2 of which were on back-to-back days.

And then I met Snowboarding

The last of those 5 concussions was back in 2004. I never gave any thought to them. I graduated college with a degree in Electrical Engineering. I’ve always been employed. I’ve always been ambitious in other areas of my life. I’ve been really successful (in a lot of different ways).

But then I met snowboarding in the beginning of 2013, 9 years later.

All of my previous hobbies and activities leading up to this point were all mostly non-contact: personal training, writing, fishing, hunting, climbing (assuming you didn’t take a freak fall and land on your head, which I haven’t), powerlifting.

In snowboarding, falling is likely. When you’re ambitious and “need” to become the best possible at everything you ever do, falling is as predictable as breathing. And fall I did. In my short 2 month riding season, I sustained cracked ribs, a bruised tailbone, and numerous times seeing black or stars, the headaches of old, and even a bloody head one time. Of course, I was “used to it” and thought nothing of it.

Symptoms of Repeated Head Trauma

Top of Garfield Goes to WashingtonI don’t have all of them, and luckily, none of the severe ones. But I do have a few, and as big of a skeptic as I am, I can not guarantee they all are caused by head injuries.

My eyes are really sensitive to bright lights…but I’ve always had perfect vision. I also see really well in the dark. So maybe my eyes are just naturally sensitive.

I hate loud noises. If you ever want to interrogate me, just do something incredibly loud directly into my ear.

And for me, the scariest recurring symptom I have….Depression. Everyone gets depressed. Sometimes rightfully so. Sometimes it feels like it makes no sense. I have had conversations and emails with my closest of friends about my bouts of depression. They come at times when everything in my life is puppies and roses. But of course, I’d never let on. And now, after yesterday, it is at the front of my mind. So I thought I’d let the cat out of the bag.

I’m not always awesome. And I’m most certainly not always happy.

I don’t know how long I’ve been experiencing these things because I’ve never felt the need to be conscious of them. But 2004 is  a long time ago. As I look back, they’ve definitely been occurring since then at a minimum.

My Brain Matter Matters

I thought perhaps I was overreacting. About everything. Especially just about yesterday. But I still have a headache today, as I’m typing this.

Are my symptoms perceived or real? People have a tendency to manifest symptoms that don’t actually exist simply because they think they might have a condition. The problem with brain injuries is that there is little testing that can be done to specifically pinpoint the issue. That is, unless it’s severe. If you’ve sustained, true traumatic brain injury such as a car accident, falling out of a two-story window, or violently slipping on ice, an MRI will show dying brain tissue.

But if you’re like me, with likely undetectable physical issues, it’s a lot of speculation, and I’m not sure what I’m willing to accept in terms of treatment. Definitely not pharmaceuticals. Not right now.

In my current state, I’m fine. My brain is not dying. But what am I doing to myself now that will lead to complications decades down the road?

Will my depression get worse? Will I get dementia or Alzheimer’s far ahead of schedule? Will I end up like Junior Seau?

These are the things I’m contemplating right this moment. Football players at all levels have hung up their cleats after 5 severe concussions. Some of them were getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, and they gave it up, rightfully so. Again, I don’t want to overreact, but I think it’s within the realm of possibilities I may already be at risk later in life.

Because of this, inspired by yesterday, I’m going to schedule an appointment with a brain/concussion specialist.

I can already anticipate how some of the visit will go:

  • Do you wear a helmet when you climb, snowboard, and mountain bike? — Yes
  • Brain injuries are cumulative and since you’ve had 5 already, you are at risk. — I know
  • If you are truly concerned about your health, you should just avoid activities that put you at risk for additional brain injuries. — To what extent?

And that last bullet point is the one that gets me.

To what extent?

Is there a magical number of minor bumps to my head per month/year that I can tolerate? Am I one more massive concussion away from severe trauma? This matters because it will inform me of how I can proceed with snowboarding. Yes, snowboarding matters. It is now part of me. Part of my lifestyle. Part of who I am, and what I stand for.

Can I tolerate the bumps like yesterday and continue pursuing mediocre riding skills, or do I need to play it safe? Never ride switch or goofy, never do any drops greater than 6″, never do a tree run again? Always ride in-bounds and regular footed (of which I am proficient)? Or, do I need to stop altogether?

I’ve Quit Before

I quit college football 3 years into my possible 5 year career. My grades were terrible (for a competitive engineering program), I already had one reconstructive ankle surgery and was looking at another, I definitely wasn’t going to be playing in the NFL, and I really wasn’t playing much anyways. The cost outweighed the benefit. The decision to quit still weighs on me every single day, but I don’t regret it.

I have serious issues with people that reduce the quality of their lives simply because they believe in something that isn’t actually real. I don’t want to be one of those people. Snowboarding adds so much to my life, that I could not imagine giving it up unless I really needed to.

But I’m prepared to do it again. And thinking about that possibility, is really depressing.

 

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.

Is it Wintertime yet??

Welllll hellllloooooooo there, errybody! I’m finally back from Florida, feeling centered, and ready to do some really sweet ish!

There’s no denying that Fall is the Best Season of the Year, but I’m on Stoke Level 10 for this winter already:

  • Several weeks ago, long-time Twitter friend Jillian let me know that she and her husband will be visiting CO for a bunch of snowboarding and invited me along at the very end of January.
  • Last night I formally accepted an invitation to become a member of Columbia’s Winter #OmniTen family! That includes a very mysterious, very likely very epic, week-long trip…also in January.
  • Prior to that, on a whim, I decided to bite the bullet and buy plane tickets for the Winter OR Show in Salt Lake City, UT. That’s another week in January.
  • And as I realized that my entire month of January is mostly more awesome than any one person can stand, it dawned on me that I’m spending a week back in WI over Christmas.

Just take a look at this calendar (that took me way to long to make)!!

Winter Adventure Calendar

I have a feeling I’ll be working some weekends.

So, I’m very sorry, fall. I really do love you. Truly, I do. There’s no doubt in my mind that I will be out romping around in your cool temperatures and admiring the yellow Aspens for the first time in my life, but I am looking past you, and I am stoked to be crashing down the mountain and putting my new Columbia gear to the test! I wonder if they make helmets…

OmniTen Welcome Package

I Miss You: Thoughts of Days Passed

I’ve missed you lately.

I miss the way you make me feel.  The way you make my heart flutter. You challenge me to be better, yet are forgiving when I need to slow down. You bring out my best, even when I’m at my worst.

The way you can take everything else away that’s on my mind and just need to be there with you. Wholly. Entirely.

I miss the journey of seeing you. The anticipation. The challenge. The stress. But it all melts away at first sight. And then it’s just us.

I miss exploring your curves, your features, your everything that makes you unique. No one else is like you. I’ve seen you many times but you still surprise me, everytime. There’s still so much about you I don’t know.

Others have rejected you. Tried to lure me away from you. Told me you’re not perfect. Said I could do better. I don’t believe them. You have everything I need. And more.

The weeks apart are excruciating. So incredibly painful that I’ve skipped work just to see you. But every weekend is a reassurance of our love. It starts with one weekend, then two, then three, then four, and before you know it, I’ve spent every weekend of every month I can with you.

And then I have to leave.

I’ve been gone for but a few short months. But soon, soon we will be reunited. My breath begins to hasten and my heart begins to race as I think about it. Just thinking about you takes me away from here, to a better place. We will see each other again.

But until that time.

I miss you.

Niche Snowboard

Loveland Ski Pass

Chasm Lake in snow

Random Thoughts: Snowboarding, Training, and Corned Beef

I’ve had a lot of thoughts lately, which is unusual for me. So today I’m going to get them out in a “random thoughts” post. I could (and have) tweeted the short version of these thoughts, but they really require more than 140 characters to completely understand where they’re coming from and why.

Snowboarding

Let’s start with the short and easy one: Snowboarding.

GoScope Snowboarding SelfieI’d really like to dedicate a whole post to this, but let’s be honest; I’ve only gone six times at resorts and don’t really do anything special. Yet.

I rented a board the first two times I went to see if I would actually like this game. Turns out, it’s the winter mistress of summer climbing.

I bought a Niche Story snowboard from TheClymb after Steve convinced me. I paired it up with Union Atlas bindings and Ride Triad boots. (That’s a lot of links, eh?)

As I said, I’ve gone six times and have already found some black diamonds and learned about the awesomeness of tree runs. That’s a whole ‘nother kind of distress. I hope there’s at least one more powder day before the season ends. Otherwise, I don’t plan on going again until next season. Super sad salamander.

Training

Ok, so, I had absolutely no idea this happened. The writer didn’t tell me; I didn’t see a bump in followers; and I didn’t see a bump in traffic. Nonetheless, I was named as the #2 personal trainer to follow on Twitter by Sneaker Report. RAD!

I didn’t/don’t really know anything about Sneaker Report, but they have 36,000+ ‘likes’ on their facebook page, so that’s at least something legitimate, right? Suuuuure…

STOP WITH THE PERFECT FORM DOGMA!!

USAPL Competition SquatsThere really is no such thing as perfect form. In the gross macro outlook of human physiology, we are the same. So when we perform a squat, a squat should look like a squat. But when we move from gross to fine, or macro to micro, my squat likely won’t look like your squat. My physiology is not the same as your physiology. My lifestyle is not the same as your lifestyle. Therefore, our “form” is not the same.

By forcing yourself into going slow and controlled, focusing on strict form that some imagined “form police” put in place, you are severely limiting your potential. I really have a hard time accepting that though. It’s in my nature to get people the best results as fast as possible. And if you’re unwilling to let go of your belief and listen to some science, it’s impossible for me to do that. And that also makes me sad.

I may dedicate a whole post to this someday, but it’s really really hard when my buddy Adam T. Glass has already published four INCREDIBLY written posts on the subject. I’m almost certain I can’t say it better, but maybe it’ll hit me someday and I can say it differently.

If you subscribe to the perfect form dogma, please, please-please, please take the time to read all of these and open your mind, if only for the moment. Please.

Scared Cows: Exercise Form Part I
Sacred Cows: Exercise Form Part 2
Sacred Cows: Exercise Form Part III
Another look at exercise form

And if intelligently written words aren’t your game, check out this satyrical, but completely accurate, video from the owner of the gym I used to train out of in Minneapolis:

And for you kettlebell fans familiar with Comrade Pavel, I find this one to be utterly hilarious:

“Essential Workouts”

At the risk of being considered passive, I will admit the ensuing tweet I sent out yesterday was inspired by a commenter on A Colorado Gal’s post, Workout Fail. You’ll have to read her post for the context, but someone said they sometimes walk away from a crappy day in the gym (rightfully so) unless it’s an “essential” workout.

Here’s the my tweet after thinking about that comment for a bit:
“Essentially, there’s no such thing as an essential workout unless your, or someone else’s, life is at stake.”

Remember, there’s always tomorrow. There’s no need to put undo psychological stress on yourself just for having a bad day. Say “screw it”, go home, play with your kids, and get ready to crush it the next day. More people need to walk away and STOP “gutting through it”.

Speaking of Psychology and Performance…

This was also inspired by her commenters. And no, I am not picking on Heather or her readers. I’ve been in the strength, fitness, and nutrition game for over 10 years. I’ve seen these same types of posts and same types of comments the entire time. These are just the most recent examples, but they are not unique. Anyways…

Psychological stress plays a huge part in your performance. You can see many examples in her comments of people saying, “I struggle through it, and then I go home in ‘a mood’.” Or maybe for some, it lasts a couple of days, just because you had a bad workout.

What if you had walked away? What if it was no big deal and you went home to your family happy instead of crotchety? What if you were dwelling so much on yesterday’s poor performance that it affected today’s? To me, struggling through a workout is not worth it. Look at those potentially huge costs: taking it out on your innocent friends or family, being grumpy at work, and worse, costing you TWO bad sessions instead of just missing one. That absolute worst outcome is that you lose mental focus on performing everything that goes into the movement and injuring yourself. (Injuries are just as likely to occur during a warm-up as a working set due to lack of mental focus.) It’s. Not. Worth it. You are not a paid athlete, and no one is threatening your life. Since when has anyone died for missing a single training session. Get some perspective!

And if you think there’s no link between mental stress and physcial performance, let me wait until you’re having a record-breaking day at the gym, and then tell you a family member was in a horrible car accident. How will your performance be after that? But don’t worry, it goes both ways. What if you’re having a crappy day at the gym, but then I tell you your boss just gave you a promotion and a raise? Then what happens?

I’ve written some pretty extensive posts on the importance of psychological state management and how it affects your workouts, nutrition, and every single other aspect of your life:
Psychological State Management: Scratching the Surface
Psychological State Management Part 2: New methods but at what cost?
Can You Handle The Pressure?”

And just like the “form dogma” section, here’s a less serious, but still completely relevant post: The Most Anabolic Things in Life.

More Training and Nutrition Posts on this Website

I’ve linked to my other site quite a bit, but the domain is set to expire this year, and I just don’t think it’s in the cards for me to become a world-class gym owner like I once imagined, largely due to my own interests in climbing everything climbable and the success of this site. So, I asked my web dude to port every single post from that website over here. There are over 100 new posts on this website dealing with training, nutrition, lifestyle, drunkeness, and other hilarity. Please, use the search function for your favorite topic and see if I posted my thoughts, or just browse around the new categories listed on the right sidebar. I’ll love you long time. Promise.

Making Up for Lost Time

It’s that crappy time of year again where it’s not warm enough for summer things and too warm for winter things. I’m not anticipating a lot of notable outdoor action in my life in the immediate future so I’m going to [hopefully] post about things that should have been done last year. Hope that’s ok with you.

Corned beef

I, for the life of me, cannot understand why I only eat this twice a year. I think I ate 3.5 lb. of a 4 lb. corned beef last night, and I’ll be checking to see if there’s more in stock so I can cook two more: one for simmering and one for reubens.
Gosh, I love corned beef.