Saturday, September 22, 2012

Grand Teton: Owen Spalding

 The speed record for Grand Teton was set only a few weeks ago. It went car to car in under 3 hours. As I stared into the darkness ahead with my fading headlamp lighting the way, I couldn't believe we were 18 hours into our day. Needless to say, my plan to be off of the mountain by 2:00p.m. and going for an afternoon swim hadn't worked out.

As we left home the evening before, we had no idea what a memorable day we were in for. We all packed into my truck and started our way toward Jackson. The whole trip came together when my friend Josh Snow had said that he really wanted to climb the Grand. As the sun set and we continued north we talked and laughed. A trip like this is only as good as the quality of people that you get to experience it with. We had a good group.

"DEER!" Parker yelled as I slammed on my brakes. I had been looking at a sign and hadn't noticed the small antelope darting across the road. We barely missed him thanks to Parker. We pulled into the parking lot at the trail head and bedded down for a few hours. We all slept lightly thanks to some not so distant elk that sang to us throughout the night. We awoke at 4:30 a.m. and started on our way around 5.

The accent went well. It was what you would expect, a whole lot of walking. We were met with a brilliant sunrise in the meadows. We continued onward and upward but it wasn't long before Parker started to lag behind. He wasn't feeling well and it was easy to see. He looked exhausted. We looked around and could tell the weather was with us and decided to keep together and still push for the summit.

Our slow pace allowed us a unique opportunity to enjoy the mountain. We sat and talked. We told jokes and laughed. Eventually we made the summit and it was something that was worth the wait. Everybody in the group had their strengths and that was what made the long day worth it. Parker is like "rainman" with route info, no matter how miserable things get Eric can make anyone laugh, and Josh was a constant driving force.

The summit was an interesting place to share with another group. Two girls showed up just behind us and one of them wanted a nude photo on top of the Grand. Parker, being the professional photographer in the group, obliged. We ended up working with the girls on the decent because the non-nude partner was not in very good shape.

After we got back down off of the main peak we felt we were practically there... but it wasn't long before my knee seized up. Before I knew it, I was hobbling like I was 100 years old. Our slow pace slowed even more. It wasn't until I got some ibuprofen in my system that they loosened up enough for me to make steady pace for the rest of the way out. It was the day that didn't seem like it would end, but it ended just as any journey does. My mind has already begun to dull the misery and I can't wait to go back. 



We had one of the best mornings I have had in a long time. We went into Jackson and had a great breakfast.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lotoja number 7

5:00 am: I had already been pulled from my sleep by the nervous jitters and the worry that I would miss my start time. Finally it was was time to get up and get going. We made it to the starting line with some extra time which seems to always work well because I always need a pre-race pit-stop. 

As we pulled into the starting area I recognized a few friendly faces and figured that I would have some good people to work with throughout the day. What I didn't figure is how bad my knee would hurt. At around 50 miles we started our way up Strawberry Pass. My knee started to ache as our pace increased. Eventually I started to drift off the back of the group. As we neared the summit, there was a few hundred yards between us that I knew I couldn't close on the fast descent. My knee seemed to only grow stiffer as I stopped pedaling on the way down.

As I pulled into Montpelier I seriously was planning on quitting. Seeing my family all there to support me made me rethink quitting. I decided to carry on and just try to get through it. The next 20 miles is where I lost the most time. 

As I neared Jackson I rode past the tragic accident where a fellow cyclist crashed and after falling 50 feet over the side of a guardrail he lost his life. I passed the scene within minutes of it happening. I couldn't stop thinking about it as I continued to ride. At the time I didn't know anything about him, but that didn't stop me from thinking about his family waiting for him at the finish line not knowing that he wouldn't be coming. I knew the fall was unsurvivable. It was an experience that will stick with me. 

 I love my wife.
 I had the best support crew in the world. I actually had a guy comment on how lucky I was to have 2 cars full of people supporting me. Needless to say I am so glad to be surrounded by such great people.
The next day we went for a small hike to a lake. It was a rough hike because my legs were so stiff, but swimming made up for it.
I also received my 1,000 mile award. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On The Fly

 Success! I am finally starting to catch fish. So far I have spent most of my time standing in a river learning patience. Learning to enjoy the moment and the surroundings while things aren't going as planned seems to be the modus operandi of fishing.

There is so much more to fishing than I ever could have realized, but with a little bit of time and a little bit of practice things are starting to click. I have been out a few times recently, a few weeks back I went out with Nate Leavitt. He runs an awesome fishing blog called He is a wealth of knowledge on all things fishing. Most recently I went with my father-in-law, Steve, up on the Provo River below the dam. Both times I went out I was able to reel in something. It was a blast.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Routine Break

 My life recently has been full of routine. The 9-5 lifestyle with the added pressure of trying to pass a math class (which didn't go so well) has taken over the past month of my life. Climbing has been done in the gym twice a week in the early hours of the morning. Biking has fallen into the routine recently in preparation for the Lotoja and everything else has fallen by the way side. It has been fun getting back on my bike, even though the rhythm of my days has been the same, there is always something new to see on my bike.

I was lucky to go to Lake Powell with my family in early August. It was good to get away from everything and to just spend time with the fam. Even though the boat broke down half way through the trip, it was fun to just play cards, swim, and hang out. Here are a few photos from the trip and from other mini-adventures.
Neena and I went to Iron Maiden. It was a blast to see them play.
 I got to go out fishing with my buddy Nate. He taught me a few techniques and I reeled in this small fish.

 I woke up one morning and could tell that it was going to be an awesome sunrise.
Mom and Dad. 
This was one of the best water ski runs of my life