Tis the season for my CSA box to be filled with lots of little green squash. I have to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of zucchini. I’m not a big fan of any squash for that matter. But, I can’t control what we get in our box, and know that I have to take the good with the bad (I’ll eat as much kale as they throw at me). When it started a month or so ago, I seemed to have enough recipes to satisfy the stock of zucchini in my fridge. I would drown the zucchini in soups, stir frys, or sauces. Anything to mask it’s actual flavor. However, we’re now on month number two, and it’s been harder to summon the motivation or taste buds for those little green buggers.
Guiding in the Alps surrounding Chamonix is the norm for American IFMGA guides. Over half of America’s 80-something fully certified guides are here this summer. Why? Not because the pay is great. The plane ticket here is expensive and the dollar is lame against the euro. It’s also not because the US doesn’t have great rock for guiding. The western US has some of the best rock in the world. It’s not because Chamonix is the birthplace of mountain guiding, either. We’re here because the guiding is AWESOME! With our customers we can zip to the alpine on a tram and climb impeccable rock all day, then whisk back to a comfortable town where guides are socializing and living their normal life. Small, non-knee crushing backpacks are another bonus.
As an “Official Partner of” and the “Official Backpack of” the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, a team of us from Osprey Packs got the amazing opportunity to follow the race from its start just over the hill in Durango, CO all the way to the finish in Denver.
There were some very long days, and a lot of hard work went into full scale participation in the race festivities and expos at each stage. But we quickly became part of the traveling circus following the race across the state, visiting eight different cities in just seven days. The experiences we had and people we met along the way were absolutely amazing! Each day we encountered celebrity personalities from the cycling world and beyond, but the true heart of the event was the hundreds of thousands of spectators that came out to take part and cheer on the riders. Some were avid followers of cycling who planned their annual vacations around the race, while others just happened upon the crowd and joined in without really knowing exactly what was going on. To see the roads lined with people and to hear the deafening roar of yelling, cowbells and stomping when the racers passed was enough to make anyone want to hop on a bike and ride. It has been a long time since we have had this kind of cycling fever in the USA. Yet based on the tremendous growth and success of the Pro Challenge in only its second year, I think it is here to stay. Here is a photo gallery with some images of highlights of our journey. Enjoy!
Last week I posted about my biggest goal in the mountains in the last four years coming to completion. It was a running traverse of the eight summits in the photo above and I claimed something in that post that came from my heart. I felt I had lifted myself from a plateau of failure and reached a new level of skill, one that balanced life with ambition, patience and a healthier attitude toward risk. On Thursday, I opened the door to that possibility again with a secret goal I have had coming up on September 15—my first 50-mile ultra marathon trail race.