Spent the weekend over in Coeur d' Alene Idaho watching my friends Joe, Lori and Kris compete in the Ironman competition. This was Lori and Kris' first iron distance race and Joe's second. Everyone did great. Kris finished 14th in her age group with a devistating 11:40. She did everything right: trained hard and smart and raced hard and smart. She came out of the water in 45th place, she got off the bike in 10th. Lori knocked off the miles with a smile on her face from start to finish. After a great swim and bike Joe got knocked back due to a bad stomach, but he perservered: you just never know how you're body is going to react to that kind of punishment.
I was bummed about not being able to race this year, but I signed up for the 2010 race. This will be my last iron distance race, unless Sam or Sophia pull me out of retirement sometime down the road.
A good friend just sent me an email detailing the deaths of two climbers up on Denali. They were on the Messner Couloir. I don’t yet know the details of the accident, but I know that it wouldn’t take much to send a man rolling down that slope. I remember standing in the twilight at the 14,000 foot camp watching Adrian the Romanian ski that line - I thought for sure I’d see a man die that day.
Another friend, who left God’s country here in the Northwest for Park City snow, sent a second email telling about three super hot climbers who were recently swept into the next life by a Chinese avalanche. He sent along some cool video footage of the trio http://www.vimeo.com/5065740, man those guys were so full of life, what a loss.
Both accounts remind me of how happy I am to have made it out of the climbing world not simply alive, but also with enough intact fingers to type this here blog. I was never what you would consider a hot dog climber, but I did have a few “whoa boy you’d better keep it together lest ye meet yer maker” moments. Man I loved climbing, moving fast and light through the mountains with the best people humanity has to offer, there’s visceral joy in that, but it’s time to move on.
Life, I’ve discovered, comes at us in phases, and the secret, it seems, is the ability to not overstay your welcome in one phase and thereby miss the open door into the next. I’ve gone from climbing to endurance sports such as ultra running and Ironman triathlons, and I don’t regret the change. It was time for me to move on, to seek new opportunities and new challenges. Yeah I miss climbing, but I still have the friends, the memories, the self knowledge, and as Kenny Rogers said, “you got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” I counted my money while sitting at the table and lived to tell the story, which in the end is all that matters
I just saw the funniest movie I've seen in years: Tropic Thunder. We watched it up at the cabin on the tiny set that Melony has had since high school (it has the same screen size as the original Macintosh computer) so I only caught every third word of dialogue, but still it was hillarious; I laughed so hard I bout busted a nut.
I've taught the kids four rules of behavior, but after watching Tropic Thunder I have to add a fifth. The original rules are:
Following our tradition of slightly too big architecture Melony and I ripped out our old poorly constructed backyard gate, sunk a couple of eight by eight cedar posts and hung a gate that we made out of clear cedar. Premium cedar is easy for us to find as our good friend Hootie Clark owns and operates Issaquah Cedar, but finding the metal hardware did require some searching. I finally found some nice hardware at Stoneway Hardware located, surprisingly, on Stoneway in Seattle. It was a long drive, but any excuse to go into town is fine by me.
Few things in life are as enjoyable as a cold beer after a hard day of building something that actually turns out the way you had envisioned it, so I had two.