I am writing this holed up in a dive hotel in southern Wyoming in the midst of a three week road trip with my doggie. It is basically an agenda of simply being on the road to wherever, whenever. The only thing on the agenda was to go to Colorado to see an old friend I haven't seen since July 9, 1995. The date is easy to remember as it is the day of the final Grateful Dead show in Chicago.
Since I was going to be in the area, I got tickets to the final two shows of the Dead & Company tour that was finishing in Boulder, Colorado. In quite often typical road trip fashion though, I have had some crazy break down stories on the mountain passes east of Vail. They definitely put a huge fork in the road for the journey I have been on. There is no doubt about that.
I missed the first of the two shows because of it all, but was able to get in for the final one last night. It was an incredible concert, but that is a story all of its own. What I will say about it is that while I was swimming through the height of bliss for that string of hours in that stadium, thoughts of seeing The Wild Turkeys at Starbelly Jam!
Dead & Company - Boulder, Colorado - July 6, 2019
Starbelly is a festival back home in Crawford Bay on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake, BC on July 19. This is their 20th year!
Last night, the festival, and The Wild Turkeys, had both found their way into the stream of all my thoughts of what The Grateful Dead has meant to my life: Everything it has given me, and especially all the people it has brought my way!
(The vast, vast majority of people in my life are due to the trickling effect of that band. It is doubtful I would even be living out in BC without it.)
It made me smile when the Turkeys came into mind while I was gruuuvin' in that stadium. I love the Wild Turkeys! I haven't seen them too many times, but that's mostly because I don't get out much. It is a band of local guys who all share a passion for the band I love so much, The Grateful Dead. They just have fun covering their tunes, and only play shows around our area.
As far as I am concerned, The Wild Turkeys are quite synonymous with the Starbelly Jam festival as they have played there many times over the years, dating back to the first year the festival was held. That was in July of 1999...the same year I had moved to the area.
I moved to the West Kootenay on May 1, 1999. It is no secret that I live and breathe all things Grateful Dead related, so my impending collision with the Turkeys was inevitable, and the first time I saw them was only weeks after my arrival to the area. They were playing at The Royal on Baker Street in Nelson. It was the simple 'Steal Your Face' image on their poster that grabbed my attention, and drove me to going to their show, of which my mind had been to before it had even happened.
Timmy was the first one of the boys I met in the band. That was when a bunch of us were all crammed into the little band room downstairs after the Fat Cats show at The Civic on Vernon Street in town. (Renamed, "Finley's Bar & Grill" by great new owners since around 2003.) He and I were sitting at the same tiny table, and were immersed in all the fun with everyone else.
**It turns out that some of the guys are tied heavily with the Fat Cats, which naturally extended a further branch towards them as The Fatties are really good friends of mine.
The Wild Turkeys - Some fantastic West Kootenay boys!
As for Starbelly Jam itself...
Phot0 by Louis Bockner - www.facebook.com/lbockner
I have very vivid memories of Starbelly, but they are not from me being there as I have never been!
I lived with Christa in Queens Bay for the first three years I lived here: July 99 to April 2002. (Q.B. is five minutes from the ferry to the festival, but on the opposite side of Kootenay Lake.)
My tiny little 14 foot cabin on Christa's property in Queens Bay, BC
Back then, Christa had an ice cream truck, and she hit the festival circuit hard! Her traveling partner was her daughter, Hazel, was only 7 months old then. I'd always see them preparing for, or returning from, whatever festival.
It could get quite comical looking out the window of my little cabin to see Christa up and down the ramp carrying all her stuff in and out of the truck because Hazel would be at her feet the whole time. Mostly she just wanted to help her mama, but she was a baby, so it was like walking through a moving mine field for Christa.
Her arriving home from festivals was one of my favourite ways to hang out with Christa. I would come and play with Hazel, and kinda run some interference so Christa could get stuff done. I'd just be hangin' out talking to both of them...mama and baby. It was fantastic. I love those two so, so much!
Top: Christa and Hazel during 1999/2000.
Bottom: Christa, Hazel and I skating on the pond at the Balfour Golf Course - December 31, 1999
(These are the only photos I have of the two of them.)
I had heard great things about Starbelly right from the beginning. Each year I lived in Queens Bay, I house sat for Christa while the festival was on, so I did not attend. Her stories of it, upon coming home from the first one, added to the whole picture of the West Kootenay region for me.
In the years since the beginning days of the festival, other things have also kept me away as well. After I left Queens Bay, I moved deep in the bush, up the mountain, west of Nelson. All told, it was about an hour and fifteen minutes away (When factoring my gnarly driveway.), so it was no longer just a short pop down to the ferry kinda thing to get to.
Even back then, I had many friends who had Starbelly marked on their calendar as an annual event they were not missing. There was always great music, and lots of other things to do for everyone. It was equally great for the individual, as well as families and their kids. The tales coming out of that festival every year grew and grew.
Above three photos by Louis Bockner - www.facebook.com/lbockner
Aside from the housesitting for those who would be attending, my body's epic journey of pain was a big contributing factor on my missing out on Starbelly!
My body first fell apart in 1993, but in June of 2002 stuff happened that I could never express into words...the worst it has ever been. (I'm not getting into the depth of that here.) I have never been the same since.
Despite all the craziness in my body, I dug into dragging my banged up self through triathlons. I was hooked right away from the first race I did! I didn't care how much it hurt to do them, I just found them liberating and invigorating. (Just as with my body, my triathlon life is a massive story of its own for another time as well.
Fundraiser at Save-On-Foods with Tiyenna (She totally bailed me out to help me pull this off.)
I got so much from the triathlon world, that I wanted to start giving back to it somehow, so in 2007 I did my first ever fundraiser at Save-On-Foods. I wanted to raise some bucks to buy a trophy to donate to our local triathlon. (It was for the athlete who overcomes adversity to race.) The date given to me by the grocery store was the Saturday of the weekend of Starbelly Jam. I missed another one!
Even though they beat the living hell out of me, triathlon had taken over my life during my summers for some years, so festivals were not a thing on my radar. There was also another massive life turn that came when I got beat down by an animal on June 30, 2009. That set off a chain of events where I ended up losing about five and a half of the next six years of my life. It also left me with more permanent changes within my body as with my 2002 breakdown.
It just seemed to be that something was always keeping me away from the festival, but the stories from those who went never ceased to keep rolling in!
I have always been intrigued by Starbelly, and even with never having been, I have grown an attachment to it in my own way. This will be their 20th anniversary of the event, so it seems like the perfect year for me to attend for my first time.
(It was on hiatus for one summer a few years ago, and even never having been, it left me a bit sad to know it would not be happening. I was delighted to hear it would be returning when it did.)
Timmy showing me his new amplifier last month.
I went to Timmy's house a couple weeks before I left on this road trip down to Colorado (and the ensuing wandering). He's such a great guy. He was showing me his new amplifier he had just gotten, and was super psyched on. He invited me to come to their jam sessions leading up to the festival, but unfortunately I'm unable to attend because of my road trip in the States. (There could be a likelihood that I roll into the festival straight from the USA.)
This road trip I am on has seemed to add to the nature of attending Starbelly Jam to see the Wild Turkeys. I have been some gorgeous places on my trip, but back home in the West Kootenay is really a special place! It is so damned beautiful and full of so many incredible people...and it's home!
When I was riding that train of bliss in the Dead & Company show last night, and having the image float into my mind of being at Starbelly watching the Turkeys play gave me a nice feeling of my home...one of rippling warmth. It made me smile more, and painted more happiness into being there gruuuvin' hard in Boulder last night!
The Wild Turkeys at Starbelly Jam is in eleven days, and I can't wait!
Starbelly Jam Society
Box 15 Crawford Bay, BC
I clicked on Brittany's Facebook page to message her about playing some tennis. When I saw her profile photo it punched me right in the face with some imagery that I couldn't really make sense of. I can't really grasp the words because it speaks of so many things that are beautiful about life, but I still put down some words in a vain effort to try to capture what this image spoke of...
**Photo by Natasha Thaesler
"The Radiance She Shines"
She smiles with a radiance
It is penetrating
A beautiful being
On a forested road
Language of her body
Speaks of a loving soul
Free with passion
Embracing life in essence
Emittance in substance
Of a light touch
In a light sense
Caught in stillness
In a moment of happiness
Suffused in wonderment
Infused in astonishment
Symbolizing everything right
In a simple expression
She gives purpose to gratitude
The gratitude of hope
Hopeful in its depths
Dispelling chaotic notion
With beauty in simplicity
The simple notion of optimism
That is elated in contentment
Thoughts stripped down
To their purest formative meaning
Like eternity bottled in rhyme
Her image in this time
Symmetry of perception
In the gratitude of hope
Luminously found within
The radiance she shines
I saw this photo of Kimberley about 20 minutes after she posted it with these words:
*insert inspirational song lyrics here*
I wrote this in about 5 minutes. The words fell out quite easily...
"A Girl Named Kimberley"
She is a girl
As kind as they come
With her smile
She lifts you up
Softening hard rock stone
Comforting hurting souls
With an essence of beauty
Inviting in her kindness
Embracing in her warmth
She makes you remember
Everything that is good
Forgetting everything that ails
Living in such a way
To see freedom in oneself
Illuminating a path within
Through the way that she walks
In strides made up of balance
Written in the pages of harmony
Penned in the ink of her heart
The beautiful words of life
That make everyone remember
And everyone to see
The natural wonders
Such rippling kindness can hold
Effortless in giving
In doing nothing
Just from being
Her beautiful self
A self of warmth
A self of radiance
A self of worth
Given unto us
The lucky ones
Fortunate to have known
A girl of this magnitude
A girl of this kind
A girl named Kimberley
A girl so kind
**No photos in this one, just writing. (Except one photo of Travis!)
I don't think I have really written anything about all those duathlons I was diving into, so I thought I'd just touch on how that's been going.
Everything started out really well. I had good underlying inspiration leading me to thinking up this new little challenge for myself. That made things pretty easy as far as they could be.
Sure, it was a long grind each day, but I don't mind that. I actually really like it. Each time I get out givin' 'er when my body is in somewhat stable condition I get thrust back into that lifelong love affair...the love affair that is wholesome and enriching that never lets me down: Pounding on my body!
I love everything there is about beating my cardio to a pulp...making my lungs wanna jump out of my chest and punch me in the face for the pain I put them through. When the shin splints set in and my muscles burn in ripped and torn torture I get taken to a place in heaven. Feeling my eyes constantly sting from sweat dripping into them in a steady stream is my comfort zone. The place where I get settled into bliss is when I feel crusty salt on my forehead when I go to uselessly wipe the sweat from my brow. That little bit of crustiness is right damned fuckin' fantastic!
In the early days of my duathlons I was brought to this place, and it was really great...really, really great! The pounding and exhaustion doesn't matter at that point, because it's the place I love so much to live.
The strange thing is that even though I am in that bliss state, with every painful stride on the road, or every turn of the pedal, I can't help but to think about what I would have really been able to do...what could have been!
I miss 'really running' so bad. So. Fuckin'. Bad! It puzzles me why the majority of people hate it so much. It is the easiest thing in the world to do and it does amazing things for your body. I desperately wish I could trade places with any regular person who hates running so I could use the legs they don't appreciate. I think about that every day...especially when I am out doing my gibbled form of running that I have been forced into.
A few years ago, Travis had said to me,
"There's no coasting when you're running!"
**Travis being awesome!
Travis is a local mountain biking legend, and I always found it a bit odd when he would get out running, because you never really think of him without a bike glued to his ass! Those were such simple and profound words though...words that inevitably roll through my mind when the real grind sinks in during my runs. "Yup...yer fuckin' right Trav!" Then it's one foot in front of the other from there.
Taking pause in thought as I write that, I'm starting to feel a bit sad as reality to where I am at now is sinking in like an anchor to my fleeting thought of my functional body.
For the past couple months now, my body has been breaking down a bit again. I'm back into that pain that is impossible to explain. Sitting has been hurting me so much. My tailbone is in agony, but that is the easy thing to explain about sitting. Words are elusive for everything surrounding connective tissues. (All through my legs!) The tops of my hamstrings make me constantly want to scream from how bad they hurt. Sitting on them makes it even worse.
Trying to get in and out of a chair is a very challenging thing. My hamstrings don't want to support me to lift me up or set me down. I have to struggle to get up using my arms to push me, and I lower myself to a point where I finally just drop into a chair. I grimace in pain that's written all over my face. It isn't something that can be hidden...not that I really need to or try to.
The thing is that all the pain of sitting gets washed away though because it isn't where the real pain resides. As much as I hate it, sitting is the easy part, it's standing that is the hard part! All the chaotic pain in my hamstrings and connective tissues doesn't want to allow me to hold myself upright. I'm so weak and unstable when I stand because of the mutiny my hamstrings have thrown against me. It drives me nuts, but even still, they are not my real weak point!
The connective tissues in my lower quads feel like they are on fire. The nerve endings feel like zillions of tiny little poison dipped daggers are constantly stabbing me. It is excruciating! It all starts at my knees and travels most of the way up my quads. I can barely keep it together because it hurts so bad. As I eluded to above, the good thing about it is that it takes my mind off of my hamstrings, tailbone, and other issues.
(The big tendons in my groin are totally fucked too, and my chest has been having one of my months long fake heart-attacks again! My shoulders are killing me as well.)
When I have been on a big collapse for a long time (years) and then my body kinda loosens its grip, it's kind of amazing how fast complacency will set in with feeling kinda OK. As fast as I can get used to it, I still am not unaware of it and not appreciative of being able to function somewhat the way I like to.
I never know when my body is gonna start being an over the top piece of shit, so I try to go for it as much as I can whenever I get the chance, hence my little challenges I put together for myself, which brings me back to where I started yet.
Now that I have filled in a bit as to what my body is doing I think it can lend some context to what it is I have been dragging myself through to knock off these duathlons.
The combination of my hamstrings and quads, and the connective tissue problems all over the place has made it near impossible at times to even move my legs. Those fuckers do not want to work. I don't have any real lift or push from them. If stairs are my enemy, try to think what it is to push down on pedals constantly.
I am too unstable to stand up and ride, so I have to sit; but sitting hurts so bad in a comfort-y chair that you need to unlock the depths of your imagination to draw a picture of how grueling it is to sit on a hard-ass little bike seat. Add to that all the bumps in the road while combining the motion of having to push down on pedals with legs that don't want to work.
I feel every little bump rivet through my entire body making my spine catch on fire while it travels up to find its rest in my skull. Then the head aches sink in. That old shitty nemesis of the metallic taste that can appear in my mouth from the pain in my spine loves to drop in from outta nowhere to really piss me off.
All of that, I can't do anything about...it's my gnarly-ass hernia that I have to pay attention to and hold in with one of my hands. I'm too unstable on my bike to ride with one hand though, so I just gotta suck it up and toughen up...grind it out!
There is nothing fun about my bike right now. I actually hate. It's tearing me to shreds and driving me insane! I desperately just want to dig in, but my body won't let me. I hate it!
It is the run where I have had to try to find some kind of solace, but I can barely move my legs, especially when they have had an eternal flame of gas and matches put to them so they are shrouded in firey flames non-stop. I can't even stretch my legs out straight in bed again, because of the way my hamstrings are contracting again. It can take all my concentration to walk, so running, or my version of pretending to run is near impossible.
As I deal with my legs, spine, and head aches, etc, I still have to hold one hand on my stomach to try to combat my bulging hernia. It hurts my arm to hold it like that, and for my free arm that has the natural swinging motion, well, my chewed up shoulders took care of anything good within that.
Layered on top of all the pain in every part in every way in my body is the exhaustion. There truly are no words for that. It's just something else all together!
I'm such a fuckin' mess, that there is no way I should be doing any of this, but I'm still trying. Needless to say, there have been a lotta missed days of these duathlons, but I am trying. I am still looking ahead, but with the snow coming soon, and the way my bike is treating me, I will have some decisions to make.
I don't have the stability to ride in the snow this year, so if I have to bail on my bike, it will mean one of two things...
1: I set my bike up on my winter trainer and push it as far as I can
2: I bail on bike all together and do half marathons on the road instead
It doesn't matter what choice I make. Either way I am fucked, but I still gotta try. Not trying isn't good enough. Not trying is when I feel like a failure. I'd rather try with everything in me and have a complete collapse than sit on my ass like a piece of shit and not do anything. I just can't live with that failure inside me because it is worse than anything my body can throw at me. Fuck that shit!
So...despite several lost days, and the thought of layered depths of torture that I go through, I'm still gonna drag myself out there to keep pluggin' away as much as I can.
I define failure not as a lack of success, but rather a lack of trying, so I am gonna do everything I can to come out on top of the blood war fight I have to contend with to transcend what that all means!
**I was looking through Aszjeca's Halloween series of photos, and just started writing this in mid-thought...all in one shot, unedited and raw, as is the way I will often write.
It's not even just about what she does with her skills, there is just something about the way Aszjeca captures her creations in how she poses in her photos. They're not just straight photos of the make up and then done, she knows how to bring them to life even more by adding other layers of depth.
(This is the photo that put my mind into writing mode)
I haven't read the original thing I wrote about Aszjeca last year since I did it.
I kinda just write and move on. I do believe I said something along the lines of me not being a make-up kinda guy. I love natural beauty and don't think it should be covered up. Aszjeca is the exception that makes me a total hypocrite though, because what she does is unreal!!
After seeing her Halloween series this year I kinda got sad that it was over. It was then that I realized that Aszjeca is my favourite artist in this area. There is a very deep and rich community of artists around here, and I don't want to disrespect any of them because this place has some damned talent...my goodness does it ever have talent, but she is on a different level.
(This photo deserves to be full size...that shit's crazy!)
Aszjeca's skills are off the charts fantastic, and so is her imagination for what she comes up with to create. She never ceases to blow my mind that way. The thing that takes it further though is that extra layered depth she gets through knowing how to capture each moment in a photo.
It may not seem like it to many, but I am a very artsy person, and in anything I do I pour everything I have into it, and look for as many ways to add layers of depth as I can. I stretch my imagination beyond what I know to do. I venture into the unknown through my art, quite often by mistake, but I love the pursuit of uniqueness as it is often the thing that drives me.
It's in that realm of thought where my mind goes when I see the way Aszjeca captures her creations...whether that be through wearing a wig, or onsie lookin' thing, the way she has her hair, or just through the way she poses. She brings in several aspects of art all at once, and it is just so damned mind blowing.
The thing that is even more excellent is the way that once she is done, she cleans it off and that's that! I liken it similarly to Buddhist Monks doing those absolutely stunning sand mandalas. Their creations are so gorgeous, and leave one completely in awe. Then once they are done, the monks just sweep up the mandala...and that's that! Countless hours just gone. I know those mandalas are all about the journey, and not the destination; but the odd time I will think about that likeness between Aszjeca's art and that of a Buddhist Monk's sand mandala...a stunning piece of work that gets washed away. It all seems crazy, but it is really just wrapped in brilliance.
Within the notion of her art, the simplest thing I can say is that I am a guy who straight-up doesn't like make up, but I am always looking forward to what she is gonna do next. Aszjeca is just that fuckin' good!
Yesterday (November 2nd) I sent her this message:
"I'm assuming your Halloween series is over now? You gonna do a Christmas one?"
She told me she is for sure, so stay tuned 'cause Christmas is coming fast!
Here is Aszjeca's info again!
Her page on Younique Beauty Products. (She has been killing it with this stuff!):
Aura Spa & Salon at The Hume Hotel in Nelson, BC, Canada:
Bonus photo she posted beginning of November...
"Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground ✨" - Aszjeca
LaRae has popped back up on the radar a few times over the past few days. I was fortunate enough to have seen her a couple times, and sitting her reflecting on that a bit right now I kinda feel like this really overdue.
I usually write things in their own time without much thought. Get hit by something, sit down and write it! Just like that. I don't even read or go through half the shit I write. I just fire it off in one shot and move on. This one feels different though, and I feel kinda shitty for taking so long.
LaRae is fuckin' something maaaan!
It's really hard to encapsulate how she came into my life...and maybe that's why it has taken me so long to do this.
A couple years ago, I stood on a stage with tears rolling down my face in front of about 200 people when I was at a cancer fundraiser. Listening to the speech being given, I kinda just broke down.
While I was standing there with those tears, some girl came up to me and took my hand in one of hers, and then wrapped her other arm around me...and squeezed. I didn't even flinch to look and see who it was because all my attention was for the person speaking on stage.
This mystery person completely latched onto me in a very loving way. She gave me a kiss on the cheek a few different times while holding tight the entire time.
Even though I didn't even look at her, and had no idea who she was, I got filled with this deeply profound feeling of love for another human being coming from her. At times, in that moment on that stage, all I could see was that love she was expressing. It was unreal! Whoever it was, you could tell she just cared, and she really, really fuckin' meant it! A complete stranger to a complete stranger in a crazy moment. It was actually quite overwhelming.
When the speech was over, she gave me the biggest hug ever...I mean, loooong hug! Squeezing real fuckin' tight! This person crammed an eternity of love in a moment, and then with one last little kiss on the cheek, vanished back into the crowd...
Just like that!
She came outta nowhere, created this unreal amount of love, and then vanished.
I don't know why I didn't look at her in that moment, but I fully engrossed in the emotion she was sharing. I've never experienced anything like it, and given the levity of all that night entailed, I know I'll never experience anything like that again. I knew it at the time too, and I savoured in it. The weight of it all did not escape me. I was in the midst of something special and I reveled in it...even in tears in front of a couple hundred people.
I found out who LaRae was a couple days later. I had just met her cousin about month earlier, and I asked her who that person was, because she was really nice to me, and I just wanted to say thanks.
That's how I met LaRae!
She will forever be one of the most special people to me in my entire life because of how we met. Even if we had never seen each other again that would still hold true.
I've been very blessed with a lot of really good people in my life. No matter where I go, they just keep appearing. LaRae is something else though. Getting to know her since, everything about the way we met just made sense.
Crystal. Fuckin'. Clear!
The vibrancy of this woman is insane! She is like walking sunshine! It doesn't matter what you're going through, her presence just fills everything with life, love, radiance her profound, profound vibrancy!
LaRae has this thirst for life, and goes right the fuck after it! She is a mountain top standing, laketime kayaking, waterfall finding, snowboard riding, festival going, pure love creating absolutely gorgeous soul! She is one of the good ones.
If you're lucky enough to have LaRae come anywhere near your life, count your blessings because she is an angel sent from the divine of whatever your trip is. A true gift of everything that is good in life!
I hardly ever see her, but she makes every single moment seem like a life time. She appears...and disappears! Appears...and disappears...but leaves you totally blown away every time! If only everyone let their vibrancy shine like she does, I can guarantee a lotta hurt in this world would be mended.
I love the special soul that LaRae is. I love knowing that someone like her exists. She put the truth of the humanity in her heart on full display standing next to that stranger on that stage, and it's the only thing I'll ever see in her.
The word 'astonishing' should be reserved solely for LaRae because she is everything that word dreams to become!
LaRae = Best! Hugs! Everrrr!
From September 18, 2018
When I was on my way to the Okanagan for the last of my three triathlon trips this summer I hit a deer just before I got into Grand Forks. I was absolutely horrified by the accident as it was a little spotted fawn. I'll save that story for another time.
I stopped in town to assess the damage before I kept rolling down the road, especially since it was somewhere between 3:00 -4:00am.
There was only some minor damage to my front driver side light and signal light that I was gonna need to get sorted, but nothing serious, so I kept on my way. When I got home from the weekend I got in touch with Joe & Al to set up an appointment to get some lovin’ for my van.
When I pulled up to their shop at Steel Toe Joe’s in Krestova I was greeted by Rosie in the driveway as soon as I got outta my van. She saw my dogs, and had to immediately 'cess the situation with who these fuckers were at her place. (I had Paul's doggie, Cecelia, while he was away at Red Rocks in Colorado for a Greensky Bluegrass show).
Rosie the shop dawg!
Rosie is pretty excellent. As Fennario is my work's hotel doggie, Rosie is the shop doggie at Steel Toe Joe's! She even has her own seat that she seems to have taken complete ownership of.
My appointment was at 2:00pm, and I guess I rolled in at 1:58pm. I knew this because they were half shocked about it.
Porter: "Who in the Kootenays is ever on time?!"
(Jon) Porter works for Joe in the shop. He is a super good guy. He just grinds away at what he's doin', and then every-so-often you'll hear him start gigglin' at our meandering conversations.
As casual as I am, and as much as I don’t like to hurry for pretty much anything, I do try to be on time for appointments as I find it prudent to be considerate of those who may be in front or behind me.
Joe was out test driving some guy's pick-up truck when it was my turn, so Porter hopped right in my van, drove it into the shop, and got right at it. Pronto service!
It wasn't too hard for him to figure out what headlight was messed up from the little deer because as soon as he popped the hood and lifted it up, the light fell right out.
He started laughing, “Found it!”
I got Porter to put on my snow tires while I was there too.
Joe came and went, working on this and that, and searching through the computer for parts while Al did her desk-y work. Al is the duty manager...also Joe's wife.
Joe and Al are amazing. Just really, really great people! I've known them for 15 years now, and they have become some of my closest friends.
First photo is Al trying to act angry that I took her photo. Second one is when I called bullshit on her being angry.
Over the years I have watched Joe's whole progression towards someday having his own shop at his home. While doing his apprenticeship, he had to go away to Cranbrook for school, and then to Kelowna over a period of four years. It was a bummer having to be away from his wife and kids, but it was all a part of the grander vision and he was doing what he had to do.
Joe worked, and worked, and just ground it out...even towing truck for three or four years. He would be in the shop from 8am - 5pm, and then be on call for the rest of the 24 hours...often being called out in the middle of the night. He did all this while having a family with Al and their three young children!
A family affair! Ollie (their youngest) helping mom and dad.
Joe is the epitome of a hard worker. On top of that, he is as solid as they come. When I think of what a good human is, he is one of the first people who comes to mind. In an industry that is widely known to have scammers and just a lotta shittiness, Joe is the one who stands out above the rest. There is no one more honest than him, and there is nothing he can't fix.
When I say there is nothing he can’t fix, I’m talking far beyond just vehicles. I once had a problem with my bike that no local bike shops could fix, nor could bike shops in Calgary and the Okanagan. It was a loose rivet that was the issue. I was sent to the riveting specialist in Nelson and even he couldn't do it, so I took it to Joe. He was working at Western Auto Wreckers at the time. I dropped off my bike, came back in a couple days, and it was good to go! Back racing triathlons again! (When I dropped it off, Corey and Perry came out and slobbered over the awesomeness of it.)
(Clint, Corey and the rest of the boys at Western Auto had always been real good to me. It always felt like they would give me a tad bit of special treatment there. With the exhaustion so deep in my body, there had even been times when I would pass out on their desk in the office, and they didn't mind. They were always into and entertained by what I was doing. They even used to sponsor me when I raced hard years ago.)
In a way I was a bit sad to see Joe leave Western because I liked the guys there, but when he told me he was finally goin' for it with his shop I was super psyched for him. Nothing in the past mattered at that point, because I was aware of the whole journey and what it truly meant to him to finally arrive at the foot of his dream.
Although the road to that whole dream of the home-based shop was not always an easy one, it came together real fast when Joe and Al found the amazing new home they bought in June of 2015. It is in Krestova on several acres of land, and had a shop on it.
For the first couple years the shop was designated as their social hangout. It was great for that! They had Thanksgiving in it in 2015 and called it, "Shopsgiving." They also had Christmas there one year and called it, "Shopsmas." I mean, how good is that?!
Joe's dream of his home shop persisted though, but it always seemed like a bit of a distant thing even though they had most of the pieces in place. Then, just like that, one day he said, "Fuck it!" and went for it.
Talking with him about it, it was all just the whole concept of having the courage to just dive into the unknown and go.
He had to do some reno's to his shop to get it full business ready, but nothing too crazy. He ripped out a small couple walls, raised a section in the roof so he could put in a lift, and put in a bigger sliding door on the front. Just like that, he was ready to go!
After the school year was done at the end of this past June, Al finished up with her old job that she had been doing for many years, and joined Joe in the shop as the Duty Manager.
In all the 15 years I have known them, and all the fun and shenanigans we have had together, Joe said my favourite thing I have ever heard him say at an annual party they had on the second weekend of August.
Deep into the night he and I were talking a bit about the shop, and I asked him how it was with Al there...how she liked it, how they flowed together in a working environment, etc.
Joe said, "It's great! I love my wife, and she loves me! We get along so well, and all day long we get to see each other. I love it!"
I don't really need to say how amazing that is, do I?! It was definitely one of those moments where you just get happy for other people's happiness.
I've seen Joe and Al in the serious grind of some of the earlier years just trying to make it all work, and now, without exception, every time I am here I just get happy for them because they are both truly living their dream. There is not a time that I go to their place that that thought does not enter my mind…regardless of why I am there.
The environment they have created in their Steel Toe Joe's Automotive shop is warm, inviting, friendly, yet very professional. They are both the kindest people ever, and absolutely freakin' hilarious too!
I know that sometimes women can feel intimidated at automotive shops. I’ve seen that kind of thing through advertisements and such of the rare auto shop that is owned and operated by women…where part of their advertising pitch is about their shop being a place where women can feel safe and comfortable.
I’m not gonna get into what I think of all that here, but what I will say is that no woman will ever feel that at Steel Toe Joe’s. Ever! It doesn’t matter who you are, when you are at their shop they will make you feel at ease. As I eluded to above, Joe is one of the first people who comes to mind when I think of what a good human is, and Al…shiiit…I don’t think there is a more caring person on this planet, not that I have ever come across anyway!
It just feels like home, like you’re hanging out with good friends while Joe and Porter take care of your vehicles and Al takes care of you personally. I’m not just saying that because I am their friend, but because I am very observant towards who they are. (I’m only their friend because of the good people they are.)
There is no way I could possibly recommend anyone higher if you are in the area from Nelson to Castlegar and the lower Slocan Valley. If you don't live in this area and you have car problems, it totally sucks to be you! I kinda feel sorry for you!
Steel Toe Joe's staff...some of the best people you will ever meet!
Left to right: Joe & Al Shaw, Jon Porter
Steel Toe Joe's Automotive is the shit! The best of the best! Honest, reliable, and the ass-whuppin'est car fixin'est mutha-fuckas there are!
You leave there happy, entertained, and with your car all patched up.
You can find them at:
3804 Pine Road
On Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Steel-Toe-Joes-Automotive-Repair-587555518068314/
Google Maps Link:
**I'm not really sure what to title this one...
I had just woken up from a siesta after work and was doing some scrolling through Facecrack while I came human before I went out to do a duathlon for myself. (Run-bike-run)
I had just woken up from a siesta after work and was doing some scrolling through Facecrack while I came human before I went out to do a duathlon for myself. (Run-bike-run)
I saw a post of some article from my friend Tara. It had the headline that was something like,
“A female blackout, are you kidding me? Women need more presence, not less!”
First thought in my head was, “Are you fucking kidding me?!”
(Prepare yourself for a lotta cursing as I am a foul mouthed little bastid, and this subject is gonna draw a lotta it outta me.)
**For those who know me well, she is the person who is closest to me in my life. Nobody knows me better. There is no boy-girl stuff between us…never has been, and definitely never will be. Pushed by questions from others, we actually had that conversation that was instigated by me to make sure everything was on the level. I am a blunt person with no filter, and I simply said, (amongst a buncha other things)...
“You’re like a sister to me, and I’m never gonna stop expressing what you mean to me. You’re my closest friend who I love to death!”
Back to the story…
I began to write a comment, but after two lines knew right away that a simple Facecrack comment was not enough for this one, so I dragged myself outta bed, fired up my writing computer, and started cracking at it.
There seems to be this crazy war of the sexes right now that, from my unplugged mind can tell, started when that sick fuck, Bill Cosby first came into light. Then things turned into a tornado of emotion from all over the place with the “Me Too!” movement.
I know, “movement” is not likely the right word, but it’s all my simple mind has got right now, so please to pin me to the wall just yet.
Now shit is right fuckin’ psycho…something to do with a Supreme Court guy and a woman in some hearings. (That’s me not being plugged in again…you can see why though…stay away from the noise!)
All this shit is so fucked! I mean, I just fuckin’ hate it! Reading that, don’t try and peg me as some feminist either, because I am not that. I only care about equality across the board!
I don’t care about what someone’s gender is. It is irrelevant, meaningless, and doesn’t mean shit! It’s the same with skin colour, sexuality, or faith and beliefs. The only thing that matters is if you’re kind, or an asshole. That’s it. It is that simple!
If you’re kind, fuckin’ right, let’s hang out! If you’re an asshole, you can go fuck yourself right before you throw yourself off a cliff! I wouldn’t have any problem with that. Our world is far too over populated, so if the assholes wanna thin themselves out, I’m all for it!
Back to feminism for a moment… That shit used to be about equality, but it seems to have taken quite a militant turn to very anti-male. When you look at so much of the shit girls have had to deal with though, can you fuckin’ blame ‘em?!
I’ve never understood it though. I grew up only knowing everyone as the same. The only thing that determined who I gravitated toward or was repelled against was who the person was…what their personality was like.
In school, as a whole, girls were always smarter than the boys. To be fair, most of the guys, didn’t give a fuck about school and learning. I was the epitome of what a teacher hated in school. I always found it really easy to be smart and get good grades, but I hated school work, and I didn’t give one sweet fuck about it. Screwing around having fun was way more appealing, so that’s what I did. I was labeled, “Class Clown” by grade three, and actually had the T-Shirt in grade four. I haven’t changed much. I’ve put my co-workers into tears, and even asthma attacks from laughing so hard just from fuckin’ around in the office.
I’m wandering astray there, but I was getting at the whole thought of the girls I grew up with being smarter than boys. It wasn’t something the boys cared about. We just knew who the smartest ones were (Tiffany Smith, Lee-ann Ciok) and went to them for help.
As I write that, I am thinking of all those douche-bag guys in today’s world who would never admit to being able to go to a girl for help. That shit doesn’t make sense to me either. It’s stupid, stupid, stupid!
I’ve always connected well with girls. There’s never really been a reason for it. Tiffany Smith and I were seated together in grade one, and even though I haven’t seen her since 2007 when she came out for a triathlon of mine when I went to do a race in my hometown in Ontario, she will never not be my soul mate! She will tell you the same thing. (There was never anything between us either.)
Back to the not understanding theme…
I’ve never understood the inequality thing with girls. (Women, ladies, female, girls, etc… I keep it simple and stick with, “Girls.”) It wasn’t a thing the way I was raised, and where I came from. Not in the home, not at school, not in the playground.
Photos by Phil Best
When I say I’m unplugged, I mean, I literally lived in a snowshoe access place deep in the bush up the side of a mountain for 10 years. I never had internet, I only had one shitty snowy TV channel, and barely had a phone while I was there. (I got in a lotta shit over living like that because if something happened to me, I’d be fucked and nobody would ever know.)
I like living unplugged. It clears the clutter. I still don’t have a phone or TV. I have internet now, but my homepage is Google on purpose so I don’t get bombarded with shit as soon as I turn it on. All I see is what I bring myself to.
Only a few years ago did I find out that pay inequality is actually a thing. I know there is a lotta debunking out there for that subject that has merit, but I know it goes on. I also know it works both ways though. I worked in a spa for eight years. In that time, over 60 girls worked there, and except for a guy named Andrew, who worked there for only two weeks, I was the only boy. Spas don’t hire boys! There might be the odd one here and there, but nothing to fulfill an argument suggesting otherwise.
Of course the spa world is only a small pocket in the grand scheme of things. I say, let the girls have it, because unfortunately there is so much they still don’t have…which is totally fucked!
So here I am, back in my perplexed state of mind! Girls are fuckin’ awesome! I love them so much. I’ve always connected very well with them. The girls in the spa were never shy to tell me that I was different, and it was why I was able to stay there.
I never saw myself as different though. I do realize I am as unique as a person can get. That is a long story in itself, but it is easy to say there is nobody like me.
I think the thing with the girls in the spa was that I only saw them as who they were. They’re spa girls. They’re all beautiful, healthy (Even though they partied hard at times…they still brought carrots to work.), yoga-y, toned in shape girls. I’m not blind, and the insane, vicious athlete in me has always admired a human body that is taken care of. (Girl or guy!) As with Tara, I only saw them like sisters. Sure, every few months one of them would walk into the spa, and I would double take, and tell her she looked amazing today, and then I’d smile and walk away. No big deal. No ogling, or whatever.
I never made them uncomfortable though. It was usually quite the opposite. Not just in my spa, but even out on the sidewalk, or wherever else, I’ve had many girls walk into me in tears to give me a hug. I’ve comforted many girls when they have been in a broken state. I just happen upon them, and as soon as they see me they break down, regardless of where they are.
I’ve talked with some of the ones this has happened to down the road afterward, and it’s the same thing as what my spa girls would say…that I am like a safe place for them where they feel comfortable.
Hearing that has been flattering, but has always kinda tripped me out. It breaks my heart because I’m just being the way I figured was normal, but then I see these girls completely broken, and I can see that it isn’t. I don’t get it.
I’ve seen so many amazing girls just totally fucked around by guys that it can tear me up. I can’t help but feel something for them, and there’s no way it wouldn’t affect me…unless I’m right outta my damned mind!
(I’m not just sticking up for the girls here though, ‘cause I know a lotta guys who are just the kindest, best people ever who have had their lives torn to shreds by total psycho girls. I will never deny that. There is a lotta that where I live. I started making people laugh with my observation within it all around here. “This place maaaaan…it seems to be full of real sweetheart girls who are with total asshole guys, and super kind guys who are with real psycho girls…and everyone thinks there is no one good out there. I wish the psychos would get together with the assholes, and the super kind could get together with the sweethearts, but alas, it’s rarely like that…it’s all fucked!”)
While acknowledging that there are total psycho girls out there, it’s not even close to a balanced thing…or so it seems.
It so saddening and heartbreaking the constant stream of shit that girls gotta put up with. Even in the horrifying circumstance that something bad might happen, they’re rarely believed. It’s totally fucked that’s even possible. In the instance that it’s undeniable…tons of witnesses, caught on video, whatever, somehow it can get turned into, “what did she do to instigate it?” or, “she’s blowing it out of proportion,” or “it’s not really that bad,” or whatever. There’s way more vile shit going on that my brain doesn’t know how to think up (the kinds you see coming outta those hearings and shit that have so many up in arms, losing their shit over), so I keep it simple.
It’s no wonder girls can feel both defeated and fighting back at the same time. It’s gotta be some exhausting shit for sure in a constant battle that shouldn’t even have to exist in the first place.
It makes absolutely no sense to me that people don’t understand the most basic concept of treat others the way you want to be treated. Also, Yes and No are very clear cut words. There is no misinterpreting what they mean. Unless you have a legit mental condition going on where you don’t think proper (I’m not too sure the right way to put that), everyone knows the difference between right and wrong whether they want to admit it outwardly or not.
We all know when we’re fuckin’ up…especially when it comes to hurting someone who says no, please stop. How the fuck is something like that misinterpreted?! Then you have the sick fuck, vile pieces of shit like Bill Cosby who drugged girls for decades. I don’t even know how to put my head around that one. I really don’t. It’s so far beyond something my mind knows how to comprehend that it just baffles me.
I heard he has been tossed in jail now, which is sure a damned victory, but the damage that that fuckin’ guy had done for so long can’t be undone. The violation is incomprehensible! (I sure hope the girls take every cent that guy has!)
The thing is, he’s just one guy, and to think that he’s the only one is insane! Absolutely insane! It sickens me to even think about though. I don’t like having thoughts like that in my head. I hate being angry, etc. It’s like Bob Dylan said,
“Don’t hate anything except hatred!”
Another thing that sickens me is a world without women. What a piece of shit world that would be! Girls are fuckin’ awesome. If you stop looking at their bodies as something bang through to who they really are, this whole wonderful world opens up. The flavour and variety that girls bring to the world, and their softness to our rigidness is very comparable to a world of black and white vs one with colour!
Good gawd…if women did a global walk-out kinda thing, I’d wanna punch out ever fuckin’ guy on the planet ‘cause that would be the shittiest thing ever! EVER!
What the fuck have we come to as humans that we find ourselves in a place like this?! We have this infinite potential but here we are getting dumber and fuckin’ dumber like pieces of shit that don’t deserve to exist.
For all the shit girls have to endure that a guy never has to think about (Ex: walking at night by themselves!), I wish I could apologize on behalf of all the guys, but I can’t, and what would it even do anyway?! Thinking about that just makes me sad.
Girls, as a whole, are fuckin’ amazing! I love them so much. It hurts to see them hurting. I hate seeing that, and as I had eluded to earlier, I have seen many tears. I can say that even being a mean, nasty, tough, tough gnarly athlete who curses and swears more than anyone. I just have a balance…an extreme balance. I love being tough and nasty, but I also love being a guy who girls can feel completely safe around in their most vulnerable states.
Held together by tape and wraps to race through the pain.
Photos by Phil Best
I wish people would just throw the whole gender thing…and race, sexuality, and whatever. Just see people and be kind to each other. It’s easy to be considerate. It’s easy to help one another out. It’s easy to care for another. The best part, is that it feels good to give a shit about others.
It baffles me that we can be so fuckin’ stupid when we have this ultimate capacity and potential for brilliance. It makes no gawd damned sense whatsoever!
Obviously I can’t apologize for anyone else for something they might have done, but for some reason I feel compelled to share this thing I just wrote a week or two ago for a friend who has been having a tough time. I never read it. I was thinking about her, sat down and wrote it in one shot, and then sent it to her. I remembered the essence of it, so I shared it with a couple other friends afterward, and it moved them quite a bit. One of my friends, she answered me like this:
Good god I needed that…
For any guys that might read this. It is possible to be the guy-est guy ever and still be aware and sensitive to the girls. Thankfully, I know a lotta really good guys like that, but there sure are a lotta them that need to pull their heads outta their asses for sure!
I don’t know if there is anything else I can say, so I’m just gonna end with that thing I wrote.
"It Waits For her"
I see this beautiful woman
I look into her heart
Holding so much life
The love inside her
But I know something more
Underneath the cover
A fracture lies there
Her heart, it hurts
Feeling quite confused
Looking for signs
Of some guiding light
To end her pain
Holding her down
I wish I could
Make it all disappear
But it's not for me
That path lies for her
Still I see the foundation
She is built on
Despite feeling somewhat lost
It's still there
The purity of her soul
Waiting for her to find
The meaning of herself
That has never left
She's just having troubles
Seeing her own shine
But I know it is there
Underneath all of the hurt
It is still there
Her passionate divide
Connecting heart and mind
Even when feeling so lost
It is still there
Hurt may feel overcome
But it will pass
Her love inside
Her passion for life
Is far too strong
To be held down
And kept aside
For what dwells down in
Where her love resides
Waiting to be set free
It will know its time
Release the pain
Leave her clear to see
The endless beauty
Living inside of her
The endless beauty
That is her
But for now she hurts
It makes me sad
When I look to her
And see what I see
All I can do
Is hope for her
To find her peace
Recapture her love
Her own beautiful self
Her true nature
Her story she strives to live
The story that inspires her
The best I can do
Is feel all the love
I've learned in life
Feel it deep
Send it across the world
Send it to her
Soaring through the skies
Transcending the seas
Find its way to her
Massage her heart
Take its hand
The hand of her heart
Take it in mine
Tell her it will be OK
Tell her she will be fine
It might take some time
But she will find
All that passions her
All the love she has
So desperate inside
Trying to escape
Release onto the world
The nature of her soul
Her beautiful mind
Her loving heart
Free of pain
Holding her down
I want to say
It will be OK
But it's not for me to do
Even though it's all I want to do
I just want to say
She will find her way
So all I can do
Is hold her deep
Within my love
I've learned over time
Embrace it full
Send it across to her
In hopes she might see
The real beauty
She has within
Even when it's hard for her
To see for herself
In this time
It breaks my heart
But I know
She will be set free
Spread her wings
Fly into herself
The love she desires so
The hurt she knows
It cannot fly
Keep up with her soul
Her kind soul
Of pure truth
The nature of her soul
Always lying in wait
Just for her
Embrace her whole
It gives me comfort to know
I can see the truth
True nature of her soul
She'll be fine
It might take some time
But she'll be fine
That love she has
Swirling deep inside
Cleansing all the hurt
And her pain
The love she has
Will carry her
Where she needs to be
Where she needs to go
Set her free
Breathe light air
Fresh and clear
Breathe in the life
That makes up her soul
Her beautiful soul
Permeating all her cells
Making up her being
Her beautiful being
Composed of love
From a different time
The kind found in dreams
By any constraint
Lucid and clear
What she wants
It awaits her
It waits for her
Her love inside
It waits for her
As long as it takes
It waits for her
It has the time
As long as it takes
Her beautiful love
It waits for her
Love of herself
How she deserves
Set her free
I see this in her
It brings me peace
Knowing her love
It waits for her
It's always there
Her beautiful love
It's always there
To soothe her pain
Comfort any of her fears
Even when she can't see
It's always there
Her love waits for her
It has time
As long as it takes
It waits for her
She'll be fine
Her beautiful love
It waits for her
Even when she can't see
It's taking care of her
As long as it takes
Her beautiful love
It waits for her
**After thought... Tara just told me what that blackout thing is. I had seen it, but thought my computer was fucked. What the fuck maaaan?! Please don't black yourselves out girls! Please!
After the lawnmower shot whatever that was into my foot, and the effects of what it meant for my foot started sinking in, I got pretty upset right away. The way it hurt, and the way the rippling pain affected the movements of my foot, I saw all the racing I wanted to do disappear. Just like that it was gone!
To be able to walk I have to compensate my stride, and in so leaving a deep limp. That shoots my mind straight to that old familiar place of how detrimental compensating for injury can throw my whole body out of balance structurally. It is a chain reaction doesn’t seem so obvious.
Where the object shot through my flip flop and pierced my foot.
I can hardly stand on the inside of my foot, so I am focusing more of my weight onto the outside of my foot, which aren’t isn’t where the main structural bones are.
(I learned that when I cracked the 5th metatarsal in my right foot during the Vancouver marathon in 2008…I was landing my stride on the outside of my foot and rolling in, when the line of structural integrity is along the inside from your heel to big toe.)
Aside from that, walking on the outside with such a pronounced limp, it throws the proper alignment in stride out in my knee, and also my hip. To compensate for the improper weight distribution I’m then leaning a bit to the side as well as shifting my weight more rigorously as I move.
These movements, and change in patterns, can then put torque on the spine and shift the organs...even just slightly. This in turn fills the body with inefficiencies that have a building up effect as time goes on.
I know there is nothing efficient about my shitty body, but adding more mess to the pile is obviously not what I want to do. The problem is, I like to walk, and the only way I can right now is with this shift in structure, movement and weight, which introduces this whole chain reaction.
I won’t walk this way for too long, just the initial days while I let my body really digest the injury, then I will suck up the pain some more and walk properly, even if it hurts more because it is worth it in the long run.
That’s the initial physical aspect of things I am staring down right now, but my bigger problem is the mental one. The pain isn’t the problem. I can always handle that. The problem is what the injury limits. In this case it is riding my bike.
The worst movement for my foot is to go up on my tip toes, and putting pressure when in that position. This, of course, has detrimental effects on riding a bike as it’s the balls of the feet that are on the pedals driving all the force into the bike. That’s something I simply cannot do right now. I might be able to do it very gingerly on my winter trainer in the easiest gear, but out on the road there isn’t a chance.
Of course my work got in the way and took my last few days of my challenge away from me, but I was already looking to adjust what the fitness end of my challenge meant. This was because I had decided to get racing in again, and dive right in, in a very intense way for myself.
I was going to start shifting away from as much strength work, and move towards roadwork on my bike. I was also gonna cut back on the treading water (from 30+ minutes down to 15 minutes) and just use the treading water as a warm up to put more emphasis into swimming.
This weekend I was going to start doing sets of wind-sprints on my bike up the long hill in front of the Castlegar Airport…park at the bottom, charge up to the top, turn around and coast back down. Repeat!
I am not sure how that would affect my hernia, but I really want to start building some better strength in my biking legs out on the road now that I have the 30-40 minutes per day on my winter trainer under me.
Right now, I don’t even know what is what though. I am not sure if I can race at all. That depends on how my foot heals, and how fast. Obviously, in a triathlon, having a functioning foot is quite important for cycling and running. Being on the bike with my foot living in the worst position is not the ideal way to set up my run.
My feet already go numb and hurt real badly when I ride my bike. It is why I can’t clip into pedals as I have to move my feet around and shake them off while I ride. I am not a stranger to having my feet be so sore and numb when I get off my bike that I can barely stand on them when I start my run. I have collapsed getting off my bike many times in the past. It’s never that big of a deal too me, but it isn’t the aewsomest thing either. This is all when my feet are in top condition though, so what does that mean with my foot all chewed up?!
All of this is what has been playing in my mind, and it hasn’t been going over well. As soon as I committed to my mind that I was gonna race, I drew up the toughest schedule I could for the late season. It involves eight days of racing in just over three weeks. This is the schedule here:
August 17 - 19: Penticton
August 26: Kamloops
September 2: Summerland
September 3: Vancouver
September 8: Lake Stevens, WA (Outside of Seattle)
September 9: Grand Prairie, AB
As it is will cost a bunch of money, I was gonna do some fundraising and seek out some sponsorship. I have started drawing up a budget of costs to see everything I needed to pull off the season. I also wanted to incorporate some fundraising for Paige Purcell to give to the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
I ran into Gil at the grocery store, and through us talking I told him I was gonna get back into some heavy racing again. He didn't even hesitate to say he wants to be involved, so just like that, I picked up some sponsorship from Red Light Ramen and El Taco! (Gil and Justine are freakin' amazing! I love them!)
I messaged Andrea (Paige’s mama) about it. I told her I wanted to start a GoFundMe for to raise the money for my racing and then donate everything above my costs to Paige. Andrea thought it was a great idea.
My entry back into racing had now just taken on a whole new dimension…one with real purpose:
It felt good to want to do that. I love that family so much. They’re just so damned inspiring, and watching Paige grow, getting further away from her tumor with each passing day has been nothing short of incredible!
This is where the real battle in my mind has come into play with this stupid foot injury. Sadly, I have become used to having everything I love taken away from me, which is exactly what I am feeling now.
Rolling off the momentum from my 31 day challenge I just got it in my head to race again. Once it was in there I could see nothing else. All my thoughts were wrapped around it. Then, in one quick moment, it could be gone, and it feels like it stripped away the meaning from my mind. I have been through that far, far too many times in life to not know that I can pull myself through it. The real problem now is Paige. If I lose the racing I lose the chance to do a bit of fundraising for her, even if it’s only just a little bit.
I don’t even really know how I feel about it, but it sickens me in a sense. All I can see is that I am letting this little girl down, and I hate that feeling. I hate it! I hate it! I HATE IT!
Now I’m left here with this messed up foot trying to steal my racing away from me and all I can see is myself disappointing this little girl.
I think of what she has been through and I feel like a disgrace, and I disgust myself. I can’t give up on her though, so I am trying to figure my way through this.
Epsom Salt is the first thing with plastic I have bought in a month. The only other plastic were my two prescriptions for my foot...my feet seemed to have betrayed me for this no-plastic challenge!
Here I am sitting inside with my foot soaking in icy Epsom salt water when it is smokin’ hot outside. I’m purposely limping to take pressure off the wound, which isn’t great for my structure, but I don’t know what else to do. I can’t get Paige outta my head, and if I have to drag my body through a deeper sense of hell to get this racing done somehow, I guess that’s what I’m gonna have to do.
I can live with pain, but I just can’t live with the kind of pain failing this little girl will put on me. That shit doesn’t go away!
I’m gonna have to do some figuring to pull it off, and only time will tell what that means, but maybe this is just the way I am meant to roll. I was supposed to die the day I was born, so I came into this world as a fighter. Maybe I just do better against impossible odds. The worse things are, the harder I dig in to find what I am really made of!
Paige, I’m gonna step up and drag myself through pain and hell for you! I refuse to let you down!
I have been altering my fitness program as I have gotten deeper into this challenge. Yes, I had a few stumbles because of what my body has thrown at me, but I'm still cruising along really well.
I'm still keeping the weight program at 5 sets consistent across the board. My hill charges have mostly stuck at 4 reps, but sometimes I do one or two more. I started out really struggling with push-ups, but now those are feeling pretty good. Instead of doing a target goal of 42 a day I have pushed that up to 50+, so it's nice to have some more thrown in there.
My bike has climbed up quite a bit. My original schedule started me off at 7 minutes on my trainer for a few days, and then working my way up to 30 minutes. I have blown past that by 25% by riding 40 minutes in a gear higher, so it burns some more for longer.
I don't really like riding on my winter trainer. It doesn't take long for it to start hurting me a lot. My feet and butt all get so sore and go completely numb. When I am out on the road I can at least coast and shake off my feet every now and again; and for my ass, I can stand up and pedal. You can't do that on a winter trainer, so it's pure suffering.
Of course, my quads get chewed up too. When everything is going numb and unbearably sore, the thing I think about most is Travis. A lotta local people know who I am talking about, but for those who do not, the easy thing to say is that he is a real good friend of mine. The place I draw inspiration from him though is the way that fucker charges on a mountain bike. Two easy examples:
In 2011 he got sponsored to go down to Costa Rica to do the La Ruta. It is a 4 day stage race that I believe is the hardest in the world. Travis made the podium in his age group.
Travis charging in Leaders Jersey - La Ruta (2011)
Yesterday (July 21, 2018), he just won his category at the Canadian XCO Championships in Canmore, Alberta. Here is the link to his results:
Travis at the Canadian XCO Championships
(Photos by John Gibson: gibsonpictures.com/ )
I know how much time he puts in on his bike...in groups, or on his own. He does insane shit like it ain't no thing! In order to do what he does, and as well as he does, you just know he charges straight into the burn head on...looks at adversity straight in the eyes and punches it right in the mouth, and then rides over it.
(He really should be nicknamed, "Podium!")
So, when I am on my winter trainer and everything is feeling shitty and falling apart it is inevitable that I will get flashes of Travis pass through my mind.
I need to get my bike out on the road soon to see how my hernia reacts to riding proper. I'm hoping that there will be a big difference now that I have put in the time I have into my body through this fitness end of my challenge.
I wanna feel the roll on the road!
I wanna stand up and charge!
I wanna dig into some hills!
I've decided to extend my 31 day challenge longer, at least until August 16th; but when the initial 31 days are up I will be pulling my bike off my trainer and getting it out on the road, because I need to put that time in.
I haven't just increased some numbers within the exercises I have been doing, I added a new element too: Treading water!
The river has finally warmed up enough to properly get into it, so I have gotten straight at treading water. I'm only in the beginning days of that, but I started with about 12 minutes, then 16, and increasing from there. The water is still cold enough to leave me feeling it by the time I get out, but it is nice for the hot sun as it really drops my core temperature.
I will start swimming any day now as well. I am feeling a lotta pressure to get on top of that because I am running out of time to do so. It is definitely on my mind though, because I have tried a bit, and my right shoulder is really messed up. I have to figure out how to modify my already limited stroke so I can swim most efficiently for how screwed up I am. I just need to put the time in and then I will find my way through the pain. I always do.
The reason for the pressure I have been feeling from swimming, and that firm date of August 16th that I mentioned above is because I have just signed up for a weekend of racing in Penticton from August 17-19. I will be doing all three days.
The Super League Triathlon in Penticton is a new one since my last days of racing in 2012. It is on the same weekend of the legendary Kelowna Apple Triathlon...most often our National Championships!
(The Super League event in Pentiction: superleaguecanada.com/ )
I was looking to do the Apple when I started thinking about racing again not too long ago. When I went on the Tri-BC website for the first time since 2012 to check it out, I saw this Penticton 3 day event! Shiiiiiiit!
Even though the Apple is hosting the National Championships again on the same weekend, I wanna charge three days in Penticton. Why do one day when I can do three?! I can do the first two in Penticton and then go up to Kelowna for the Apple, but I wanna complete the whole Penticton race. Besides, even though they are the same distance over all:
I like the format in Penticton of doing back to back Sprint Triathlons:
I'm also interested to see what the course is like in Penticton. When I raced the Peach there, the run had a crazy long uphill after a flat to warm up the legs. The ride was nice and rolling too. The Peach was a full Olympic distance though, so not sure if the course will follow the same basic routes for a double Sprint. I am curious for sure!
There is also a beautiful thing about Penticton with triathlon. Yes, the National Triathlon Centre is in Victoria as is the home of 3 time Kona (Ironman Hawaii) winner Peter Reid, and Simon Whitfield lives on Saltspring Island and trained out of the pool in Sidney BC (The Commonwealth Pool from the 1994 Victoria games.), but anyone who knows anything knows that the Okanagan is the beating heart of triathlon in Canada. That was always anchored by the Ironman Canada which was held in Penticton for 27 years until it moved to Whistler in 2013.
Regardless of the move, when you go to Penticton, the thumbprint of Ironman is all over the place, especially at the park where the transition zone is and racing is competed from. I absolutely loved racing there.
There's something about those ghosts of years past. It's a real special feeling racing in Penticton. I don't even give a shit that I finish last place, all that means is I get to be out on course soaking it up for longer than anyone. In a strange way I always looked at the winners as the poor bastards who got to have fun for much less time than I did. I never liked finishing races because it just forced me to stop having fun.
I left my racing life behind on a sour note, and I am starting to feel that there is no more fitting place to get back out there than this three day event in Penticton. I have no idea how my body will respond to it, and I know my body will be nowhere near where I would like it to be, but I don't care 'cause I'm goin' for it!
Rest assured, when the pain sets in, that speedy lil' fucker, Travis will float through my mind. It will make me smile and dig in even more!
Racing in the Okanagan again will feel like coming home, and just through the process of writing this just now, I have realized how much I can't wait to get back out on the track again!
Just got back from treading water. I don't really time myself traditionally. I count in blocks of 100. I timed how long it takes me to count to 100 at the general pace I do, and it is just over 2 minutes.
Today I did an 1199 count. Screw 1200! I wanted #99 (Wayne Gretzky) and #11 (Mark Messier). Divide Gretzky by Messier and you get Gordie Howe and The Rocket! (#9). So...I'll take Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Elbows and The Rocket over 1200 any day!
Around minutes 15-16 (between the 750-800 count) I really felt my ankles getting very sore, so I had to kick much less. Shortly after that I felt a slight pull in my right lat muscle...the same one I have been having problems with from push-ups. I don't really mind those kinds of injuries though. They feel like home to me, so I just suck it up and go longer.
When I was done I did a bit of floating and splashing around on my back gigglin' in the sunny water. Then I went for a quick toot around on my paddle board.
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.