Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vermont Sports at the Vermont Sun Triathlon

Tristan and I spent the morning cheering on participants in the Vermont Sun Triathlon! We set up the Vermont Sports table right at the transition area/finish line, in the heart of all the action. We witnessed the winners of the race, 60+-year-old first-timers, a woman who recently beat cancer, and I had tears in my eyes as the whole crowd stopped what they were doing to cheer in the last finisher. To be surrounded by the support, athleticism, and many wonderful volunteers it takes to put on an event like this was inspiring. And the surroundings at Branbury State Park were exceptional – it’s the perfect spot for a triathlon. It was a great day. 

Importantly, we got to represent the great Vermont Sports magazine and the many awesome gear companies who support the magazine. This meant spending the morning talking with folks about Osprey’s innovative line of hydration packs, MSR’s consistently well-designed tents, and Therm-a-rest’s new down Alpine Blanket (I have been waiting for something like this!). We got people signed up for a raffle to win an Osprey pack, Platypus foldable water bottles, and a Platypus Gravityworks hydration system (this thing is seriously cool for folks like me who can be lazy about getting water for camp); it was a highlight of my life to stand in front of the crowd as Tristan thanked everyone for entering and drew names from the bucket.

But the best part of the day was to hear the feedback: “Vermont Sports is great!” “I love that magazine!” “I read it cover-to-cover.” “Dr. Rinaldi’s column is a must-read; he’s so informative.” One woman was new to Vermont, and her Mom sent her the magazine to give her ideas for things to do; she buys all the gear that is advertised in it (her personal favorite is Platypus’s foldable wine carriers – awesome invention!). And the organizers of the event commended us on engaging with the crowd. The support was encouraging and inspiring, to match the setting.

We wrapped up the day by talking with a couple of racers from Newport, Vt. It was one woman’s first triathlon; she ran races in college. And she talked about the challenge of getting passed on her bike and her expectations for her running pace; you have to let those things go, she said. It’s about being out here now and being involved in something healthy and rewarding. We all joked about how much we spend on bikes, running shoes, camping gear, the right clothes, the whole nine yards. But none of us had cable, fancy cars, or gadgets. We choose to invest in ourselves: our health, our happiness, our strength.

Happy Trails! And, hey, when you’re inside, take a look through the latest issue of Vermont Sports – you’ll be glad you did, and you’ll be inspired to get out there.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Definitely Don't Miss the Vermont Mountain Bike Festival

Want to know where all the sweet single track is in Vermont? Try the newest bikes? Eat great food and meet other mountain bikers? So do we! So we're going to be at the Vermont Mountain Bike Festival on July 16th & 17th - there's still time to sign up! Gear demos, guided rides, skills clinics, a BBQ, local food, great people, and a wickedly good time! And all in support of the great work of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) - like gaining access for mountain biking in Vermont's national forests.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hello Summer

The ORS crew celebrated the onset of summer with a spectacular tour of the great riding that Stowe has to offer. From Town Loops to Strawberry Fields to Pipeline, including some quality time spent at the top of Pipeline enjoying the fine brews at Trapp Family Lodge's new brewery. This spot is a must for post- (or during-) ride refreshment! We find it's best if you enjoy your beverage(s) long enough to allow for the woods to get nice and dark, making for a very interesting ride back down! It was a great time and we're looking forward to a summer full of it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Two things to remember for the many wonderful people in our lives.

Life is full of surprises.  Often I think all we can do is surround ourselves with as many wonderful people as we can and live life and enjoy it the best we possibly can; day to day.  This of course is easy to say.  Life can be stressful, sad and  full of terrible things.  This is what makes life so wonderful.  Without sadness, anger, stress and all of it's many other emotions life would be a less than worthy of an experience. As I have said before, as one journey ends, often another will inevitably start and this is what I felt yesterday.  Our amazing  friend Ellen was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of months ago at the age of 27 and her life very quickly and abruptly changed direction.  Yesterday we had Ellen, Eric her boyfriend, Margot, and Geoff over to celebrate as she has just finished her chemo. A good day.

        Yesterday my mother started her chemo and her fight against breast cancer as we sat eating dinner celebrating Ellen's end to her chemo.  I couldn't  imagine two more wonderful people in my life that I have chosen to surround myself with who have both started  paths down a different road in life. This is when those people around us find themselves in vibrant color.   I remember reading Into the Wild and feeling so much for Chris McCandless, as he sought to run a way from society.  It was only in the end, as he tried to leave the isolated school bus he called home in the wilderness of Alaska, that he realized it's the people around him that made life truly special: happiness is shared.  He found humanity and love.

Even before my mother was diagnosed with  cancer she would tell me how she prays.  I remember telling mom about Ellen and she would say "I'll pray for her"  and I would say how nice that was. Now for those who don't know me I'm not a religious man per say but I do believe in something of a higher spirit that I experience by spending my time outside in the mountains.   So  I started thinking about how and why people pray.  Do you have to believe in God to pray?  Yesterday I decided; absolutely not.  We can always think about our loved ones and wish them well and feel our connection with them in this world; its the simple act of turning inward and focusing positive energy towards a person or situation that can be so healing, and can connect us to each other.  So I decided that I would focus inward, on certain words and people in my life, and send some good energy their way. I think many of us inherently do this, with or without out even knowing it, it's just the act of focusing in on it more.

 So as I  focus my  love and energy on mom and Ellen; I remember these two things: surround yourself with wonderful people and live life to it's fullest every day and second,  take the time to let them know how much you love them - even if its just by sending some good energy their way. 

Oh, right - the marshmallows.  Ellen brought them and as we sat around the fire she made everyone one heck of a S'more!  Just one of the many reasons we love her dearly.

Mom I miss you much I'll see you soon, you've always been there for me as I will be for you.



Sunday, June 19, 2011

In and Around Our Backyard

 Forecasters predict that today and tomorrow will be the *most* beautiful day(s) of the year! We started our day with a bike ride up to the farm for some farm-fresh produce. And I got to try a sweet new Cannondale CAADX! We followed it up with some serious dog frisbee, some sight-seeing in Stowe, and a hike out to a neighborhood swim spot.