In addition to eliminating gear, it also helps to pick what you must carry carefully. There always seems to be something lighter for either the same price or even less. Usually these gear changes come with no sacrifice of quality and often serve their purpose better. However, sometimes there seems to be no perfect setup and the options are endless. I want to illustrate some of my choices and the frustrations I have had that led me to these gear choices. There are some specific priorities with regards to dropping weight. First and foremost, I try to ditch weight from the pack to relieve my spine of unnecessary burden. Secondly, I try to ditch or minimize gear on my body, such as a watch or shirt. Also of importance but often overlooked is body weight. Many backpackers carry an additional 50 pounds of fat on their abdomen, making their journey difficult and far more dangerous. However, I will only talk about the modifications to gear.
- Pack: Osprey Hornet 32Coming in at 1lb. 4oz. this is one of the lightest packs on the market. This is a huge downsize from my Osprey Exos 58 liter pack and also a huge weight drop of 19 ounces. Additionally, I dropped the “brain” off the top of my pack for another 3 ounces weight savings. The brain is to make little things more accessible but I found that I can put these things into a ziploc bag in the top of my pack for just as much convenience. Additionally, some of the other bells and whistles on this pack can be removed or cut off. I’ll never be carrying an ice axe so I have no need for that loop on the bottom. This pack is frameless, so I am counting on being able to drop enough Continue reading Gear list and review
I played it safe. I didn’t want to end up in the hospital. And in my defense, it was pretty damn hot. But this was a race and the only one for over a month on either side. It was what I train for and commit myself to for hours each day. It was money spent on travel. It was the emotional investment. It was my parents, friends, and coach’s support. And I had wasted it all by playing it safe.
Continue reading Never, never, never give up
It has taken me over a month to write this race report. But with it I hope to put this race in the past. Very rarely am I disappointed with my performance. I can have off days, just like anyone else. It is, in reality, rare that, as a triathlete, I attain some god-liked fueled rhythm where everything feels effortless. I am not saying my performance is god-like. Simply, sometimes racing feels effortless. As hypocritical as this sounds, sometimes it feels effortless to exert myself beyond belief, to push my body to the limit. But at Collegiate Nationals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I did not get that feeling and unfortunately had the opposite of that effortless exertion.
Continue reading Collegiate Triathlon Nationals 2012
I don’t want any more candlelight vigils or any more ceremonies in Cassell. I want Westboro Baptist Church and CNN and Fox news to leave us alone. I want Virginia Tech to fall under the radar, to be unknown.
I love this school, I love this town and corruption has muddied the reputation of the greatest school in the nation. It seems like graffiti, one plot spoiled with the disgust of aerosol paint and before long the entire surface is covered with the grime. Is murder the same? Have the most pitiful of humans come to some conclusion that this is alright because it happened once?
Continue reading December 8, 2011
“Anything’s possible. It is night on planet earth and I’m alive. And someday, I’ll be dead. Someday I’ll just be bones in a box. But right now, I’m not. And anything is possible…Each moment can just be what it is. There’s no failure. There’s no mistake. I just go there, and live there and whatever happens, happens. And so right now, I’m getting naked and I’m not afraid…” -Suburbia
Continue reading Alive
“I do believe that deprived of the softness of dirt beneath our feet, the freedom of fields, and the warmth of the color green, we all get a little thirsty no matter how urban and new age we think we are.” I wrote that a month and a half before I left for my Appalachian Trail thru-hike attempt but had not read this until several hours ago. At the time I was thirsty for adventure and for a natural setting. When people asked me why I came out onto the trail, my response became, “I had itchy feet.” It was a simple response for the complexity of emotions that brought me to this place. I wanted to move, to live, and to experience and I felt that what I was currently doing was robotic and boring and in some sense it was. I had lost the “thirst” that I have always used to define myself.
Continue reading Thirst
On Wednesday I left my house for the first tough bike ride in preparation for the 2012 season. I rode into the valley for some intervals but halfway through my first interval the sky let out a fury of powerful drenching cold rain. My first thought was discomfort at the cold and wet. However, within a few minutes I was absolutely drenched and enjoying every minute of it.
Continue reading I’ll live
It’s that time between when the drunks have returned home and before the diligent rise. The full moon creeps out as the clouds swiftly blow by, parting cracks in the dark ceiling overhead. My footsteps are quiet and muffled underneath by the cooling winds. I crest the hill to see a silent Blacksburg in the valley.
Continue reading Escape
When I was a toddler, I remember taking my sister’s purple and white big wheel as my own when she grew too old for it. I remember not caring about the colors and simply getting a kick out of the speedy machine that was essentially my first mode of transportation beyond my own two feet. But soon, with the excitement of my new toy, I rode the big wheel into dust. Holes came peeping through in the front wheel until eventually, one day, the wheel collapsed on itself.
Continue reading The Big Wheel Kid
This is an article that was written a month after my high school graduation and published in The Richmond Times Dispatch. Andy Thompson, the writer of the article, met me out riding the James River trail system a couple weeks before the event. I knew he was a sports columnist because I had read several of his articles and we ended up riding for several miles together, conversing the whole way. He came to the event to spectate the pro race. But, when I crossed the finish line first in the sprint race, I managed to attract his attention to write a column on another story. I hope I can satisfy these expectations established when I was such a young athlete. Continue reading Xterra Sport Richmond ’08