New Boots

My incredibly awesome wife bought me a new pair of hiking books for our anniversary. We're not real big on gift exchanging, so this was a significant deal. She's pretty dern awesome.

The Asolo Synchro is the equivalent to my Asolos that they're replacing that are about 10 years old. My old ones began to lose their sole this year during winter riding and I needed to find a solution before the snow falls again. Outside of using these for hiking, they make great boots for snowy or wet winter commutes. They have great breathability and insulation.

If you're in the market for boots, I'd recommend Asolo. They make great stuff. And from what I can tell, these will hold up just as long as their predecessors.

Get out there.



At lunch yesterday, I rode the local trails with my buddy Justin. The last couple times I've been out on the MTB, it's been too wet and sloppy to have fun. Not the case yesterday. It was dry and fast. But I'm beginning to yearn for something far greater than these nice little trails. Perhaps I'll need to take some time and drive to a better destination soon.

Get out there.


Holy Crap

Surly announced many a new products coming this year. The Moonlander (above) has a new 4.7" tire. Yikes. What interests me, though, is the new Troll complete bike. Looks like a nice possibility.

Get out there.


They're Back

You know those perfect mornings that you can wear shorts and sandals and still be really comfortable? You know what I'm talking about. You're perfectly comfortable. Not too hot at all. When you coast down a tree covered decline you get the slightest chill, but climbing the other side brings the heat to back to your chest and fingertips. The heat doesn't feel like you're breathing in exhaust from a diesel engine. The cold isn't nearly threatening enough to raise an eyebrow. You don't need special clothes to make it tolerable. Shorts, t-shirt and a bike. That's all those mornings need.

 Those mornings are back. I love those mornings.

Get out there.


Xtracycle Wide Loadin'

Last night I was in search of a wooden pallet for an art project I have in mind. I figured the best way to slowly wander the streets looking for discarded building supplies would be by bike. And when there's an Xtracycle in the garage, the choice of bikes comes easy.

It took about 30 minutes of random pedaling before I found this little beauty in the middle of a field with grass grown up around it. As I approached, I realized that I had forgotten to put my WideLoaders on before I left. No worries. A couple straps and I was good to go. I was originally thinking I would use the WideLoaders to strap the pallet upright. This rig, though, made me wider than ever.

The Xtracycle handled it beautifully... two pedal strokes in and you forget it's there (other than the funny looks you get from your neighbors). I had two lengthy Yakima straps with me to secure it on two axis with no effort. The Xtra really is the do-anything bike.

Get out there.


Soggy Morning

This morning's ride was cool, wet and cloudy. But I'll take a wet ride on the bike over a car ride any day.

Get out there.



Get out there.


SUPing the Elkhorn

There's a local outdoor equipment store that has a demo stand up paddleboard that's available to borrow. My buddy, Jason, picked it up yesterday for the second time for us to head to Elkhorn.
This was my first experience on an SUP. For the first 10 minutes I thought I hated it. It seemed like it was a lot more physically demanding and unstable than a boat. After just a short while, though, I was loving it. I was really impressed with how well it performs many applications. You can sit, stand, kneel or lay down and it does it all well.
I'm still not sold on SUPs as a whole, though. Their price point is still too high to reach the masses, in my opinion. But I will look into demoing the board again. If you're local, you should check it out. It's a great experience.

We had a great night on the water. It ended up getting completely dark on us as we paddled back to the truck. There were three of us rotating through two kayaks and the SUP. Floating down the river is so peaceful. And with a great shop willing to let you borrow their board, there's no reason not to try it.

Get out there.


Early Morning Fishing

I was given another opportunity to beat the sunrise this morning and head to the creek with Mike. The days are getting a little shorter now but as soon as we had enough light, we were knee deep in the water with our reels spinning.

Creek fishing is a blast. The scenery is so beautiful and I love wading through the water. It's a great connection to nature. Plus, there's enough fish to keep you busy.
Mike got the biggest fish of the day but we each pulled in about five or six. I love the thought that has to go into which lure you use, where you fish and how you work your jig. Fishing is certainly becoming a favorite hobby.

Get out there.


I'm Bringing Sweaty Back

Today I rode my wife's Cross Check that has no rear rack. What's this mean? Backpack. What does backpack mean? Sweaty back.

I'm not sure how many of you are out there commuting with a backpack, but I strongly recommend buying yourself an inexpensive rack for your bike. I use a Planet Bike rack on all my bikes that cost about $25. I even have one for this Cross Check that I just haven't installed yet. Here's a tip, too. If you have multiple bikes you may want to use identical racks on all of them. I do that so that all my panniers are adjusted and work on every bike.

Even the cheapest rack will work to bungee on a plastic Walmart bag with your work clothes in it. And, in my opinion, that would be much better than a backpack.

Get out there.


A Bike Commute Post?

I know, I know. I haven't been posting much about commuting by bike. In fact, I haven't been commuting much. I've been on two wheels quite a bit... just on the trails with the mountain bike. I've been in a kayak a lot. I've even been wading through water with a fishing pole in my hand. But with all the outdoor activity I've been taking part in, very little has been commuting.

Why? I'm not sure really. I've commuted consistently for over two years (four years inconsistently). But this summer's heat has been calling me off the commute bike. Instead I've been on a shaded ride in the woods or a brisk paddle in the cool water. Perhaps it's the heat. Perhaps is just a wild hair to do something different.

But school starts tomorrow and with that comes a lot of routine. I'll be back on the bike commute regularly. In fact, I was today and I loved it, as always.

Get out there.



Last Friday night, a few other guys and I headed out for some excitement on the water. There had been a lot of rain for a couple days, which really brings action to our local paddling destination.

We took the boats to Elkhorn Creek and rode some whitewater in our not-made-for-whitewater boats. That always makes things a bit more interesting. In the video, you'll see serious whitewater paddlers out there while we're riding our recreational kayaks right through the middle of it all.

Is it ideal? No. But it works and we had a blast.

For us, we made it through everything the river could throw at us. And even the whitewater junkies told us that this is about as action packed as Elkhorn gets. The difference is, we take on a lot of water and the rapids shoot us out pretty quickly. Navigation isn't so easy in a rec boat.

If you live in Kentucky, you should check out Elkhorn. When the water is lower, it's a blast to cruise and fish. When it's high like this, it's just plain fun to hang on for your life!

Get out there.


PureFit Nutrition Bars

Recently, I received a package from PureFit requesting that I try their bars and do a review of them on this blog. I have to be honest, I wasn't too excited about sinking my teeth into a gluten free protein bar. I'm not a huge fan of protein bars to begin with. So when someone claims that they removed all the gluteny goodness out of an already gritty and sandy food source, it doesn't really rev my engine.

PureFit claims that they don't sacrifice any taste with their approach of using healthier ingredients (no wheat, gluten, dairy, trans fats, sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners). So was their claim legit?

I think so. Honestly, I was really surprised at how great the bars tasted. It helped me to realize that protein bars, in general, have a very artificial flavor to them. That's one of the things I dislike about them. But these bars bring a big payoff with taste, calories and protein (18g per bar) without pumping other junk into your body.

I even gave them to a gluten free friend of mine. She hasn't eaten gluten stuff for years so I wanted to get her opinion on the bars. She loved them, too. Very few products, she said, can pull of what PureFit has done.

So there you have it. If you're looking for a more natural approach to energy bars or need a gluten free solution (here's looking at you, Doug), this could be it. I'd totally give it a try. And just so you know, I didn't receive any payment for this review other than the bars to test. It's merely my humble opinion. These guys aren't sponsoring this blog in any way.

Get out there.


Evening Water Run

So yesterday morning I woke up with pink eye. I've never had it before, but apparently it's incredibly contagious (so you can't go to work) but nothing more than an itchy eye (so you pretty much feel normal). I figured since I couldn't work but felt okay, I should try to squeeze in some extra outside time.

My buddy, Curtis, was free so we headed to Elkhorn Creek last night for some paddling.
The water was a bit low but it was moving fast. We took our fishing stuff, but only cast in a couple times.
We had a blast. In this unique scenario, pink eye was a good thing. My next goal is to do a night time run. I think it'd be awesome.

Get out there.


Anniversary Celebration

Last Friday, Angie and I were able to leave the kids with her parents and head out for our own day of adventure. This month we'll be celebrating eight years of marriage so we took the opportunity to head back to where it all began. We were married at the Red River Gorge on the side of a cliff. Friday, we got to visit that same area and share some time on the trails.

It's a beautiful place that offers lots to do in the ways of hiking, camping and climbing.

Lots of beautiful rock walls.

Great views.
It looks like there was a fire there not too long ago. It was pretty wild to see. All the the ground had been burned out and green was growing in it's place. For the first two miles out onto the trail, this is what everything looked like.
Here's a random set of stairs in the woods. Trail maintenance and construction amazes me. I have no idea how it's done. How do they get all this lumber several miles into the wilderness to build this? I'm blown away.
The heat was intense but we managed to stay in the shade most of the day. I'm so impressed with my wife who's five months pregnant and hiked eight miles in 100 degree heat. She's amazing. Of course, that's why I married her eight years ago.

I'm truly proud to be married to Angie. Outside of the God who made me, she's the greatest blessing I've ever known of this world. She is strong, intelligent and lovely. I'm a better man for having her these eight years.

Get out there.