Thursday, December 12, 2013

An inspiring bike and mountaineering tour through Kyrgyzstan -- The Road From Karakol

I just watched the short film of Kyle Dempster's solo bike and mountaineering tour of Kyrgystan in 2011.  The adversity he faces and the adventure he experiences are absolutely incredible.  There is something about the rawness of the footage that really grips the viewer.  I was on the edge of my seat.  What is more, the shots of beautiful mountains and skylines containing even more remote ranges speaks to the desire to simply get out there.  Above is the trailer for the 25 minute film.  I hope you enjoy.

Horse Flats - Angeles National Forest

Trail work and mountain bikes

'Tis the season for trail work.

A touch of rain has been helpful with some recent trail rehabilitation efforts around here.  Not only has the precip loosened up the clay soil to a degree, but it has also helped when working to compact and reshape trails the trail tread.  Below are a couple photos from a recent effort to rework an area that has been chronically eroded.  My hope is the drains will reduce gully erosion through this area and make it safer and more fun for the horses, runners and mountain bikers that frequent this trail (the Huntington Trail in the east end of Ojai).  The trail isn't a flow trail, per say, but it has some nice flowy sections interspersed with small drops through rocks.  More work needs to be done to manage erosion and re-cut a few sections, but it is all ridable and a fun trail for doing laps.

What is more, three mountain bikers from the Thacher School have been hard at work developing a downhill mountain bike trail not to far from the Huntington Trail.  You can view Jon, Grant and Quincy's mountain biking blog here and also see a short video of a test run down the same trail here on  These guys have put in countless hours on this trail and are making a huge contribution to good mountain biking trails in Ojai.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Breakfast Club Trail Run - Twin Peaks, Ojai

The above photo is from one of the best dawn patrols I have done in a long time.  Twin Peaks is approximately 1,900 feet of climbing from the trailhead and requires around 35-40 minutes of sustained uphill running.  On top one is treated to views of the Pacific Ocean, the Channel Islands, the Oxnard Plain, Santa Monica Mountains and one of the best perspectives on the beautiful Ojai Valley. We left around 6 AM, Grant (in yellow) made us tea and scrambled eggs (he brought a camping stove along with Sierra cups, utensils, water and eggs) before we surfed the trail back down and headed to our classes.  These young men, Cooper, Grant and Jackson, have such a zest for life and are among my heroes.  Also along were Jim and Donald from Thacher.  Thanks guys for an awesome morning adventure!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia

I rode in the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Beverly Hills over the past weekend.  It was a great event with an incredible tour of the Santa Monica Mountains after starting on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  I haven't been able to get in more than one road ride a week due to a busy coaching schedule in rock climbing and traveling for rock climbing, but the ride still went well.  All told it involved 90 miles and over 10,000 ft of climbing (I am a little surprised by the total vertical gain, but I'll trust Strava on this one).  There was a hill climbing time trial competition about halfway through the ride on Piuma Road.  I managed 17th overall and was 2nd in my age group.  Not to bad for a rock climber I suppose!  

Thanks to the event organizer for putting together a great event.  Most importantly, however, I have to thank Hammer Nutrition for the superb endurance fuel and the invaluable advice and strategies that they provide on their website.  They knowledge I have gained from Hammer Nutrition about how best to prepare for an extended effort, whether it involves rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, mountain biking or road cycling is tremendous.  It has helped me a great deal over the years.  Lately I have been really impressed by the Endurance Amino, which I first began to use on backcountry mountain biking forays.  The fuel I don't go without, however, hasn't changed: Perpetuem, Endurolytes and Hammer Gel.

Looking forward to a climbing trip to the San Gabriel Mountains this weekend.  The cooler temperatures are bringing about perfect temperatures for rock climbing.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

From Hammer Nutritions Endurance News

Above is a clip from the most recent Hammer Nutrition Endurance News, which features a short blurb on some feedback that I gave on Hammer fuel.  Hammer fuel such as the Gel, Perpetuem and Endurolytes are a critical part of my strategy for efforts in the mountains, whether on a bike, running, backpacking or climbing.  This stuff works really well for me and I appreciate the quality and purity of the ingredients.  It makes the endurance epics and daily training that I love all the more enjoyable.

BioBlitz 2014: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California

I am extremely excited about BioBlitz 2014, which is to be held in Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the wonderful state of California.

I'll be there with students from The Thacher School to participate in the important work of identifying and cataloging biodiversity.  The most valuable aspect of this sort of effort, I believe, is getting people, particularly young people, involved in and exposed to science in the great outdoors.

Friday, June 7, 2013

More on mountain biking: the escape

My recent post of video from Santa Cruz Bikes resulted in responses that included links to films that explore a similar idea.  I can best sum it up as an idea that has to do with getting out there, riding and enjoying a bit of adventure.

I love the following video, the escape, which my twin brother shared with me.  Fantastic.

the escape from Union Production Co. on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Spirit of Backcountry Mountain Biking

I'll admit that I am partial to Santa Cruz bikes, but the reason I am posting this video is because of the spirit that it captures.  Riding in remote and beautiful mountain areas, sometimes alone, but preferably with my twin brother, is what inspires me about riding mountain bikes.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

Breakfast Club Mountain Bike Rides at Thacher

I have organized a weekly mountain bike ride for members of the Thacher community as a way of helping students and my colleagues to get out on the trails in the morning before classes and work.  The "breakfast club" moniker is a nod to a seminal movie from the '80s.

  Each week is a little different as far as who joins me, but regardless we always have a good time riding our bikes, getting out on our local trails and seeing the valley in early morning light.  The pace is social and I emphasize just getting out there.  Our route varies a bit, but is mostly involves some uphill on wide paths and some downhill on good single track.  Not a bad way to start the day!

Below is an iPhone image from a recent morning with Jon, Teddy and Karleanne.  If you are in the area, I hope you'll consider joining us.  We leave at 7 AM, Wednesdays, from the Thacher Pergola.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

On the other side of the lens

Brian bouldering at Horse Flats in the Angeles National Forest

Back at home . . . Jameson Boulders, Ojai, California

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hammer Nutrition Endurance News

You'll see a mention of me in the most recent (April/May) issue of Hammer Nutrition's Endurance News - an atypical Hammer athlete!

The short piece references some particular benefits I have gained from including Tissue Rejuvenator following climbing injuries.  It makes me think the TR may be useful during periods of particular heavy training and not just as a treatment for an injury (in fact, that is what Hammer recommends).

Nonetheless, thank you Hammer!  I love that that I am right next to competitive ballroom dancers - climbing shares a lot with dancing after all.  In fact, John Bachar, an inspiration to me, drew a comparison as well: "Everyday I go out and climb, like a dancer who works on his dance."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sespe Wall, Los Padres National Forest, California

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bouldering at Horse Flats, Angeles National Forest, California

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Climbing at Lizards Mouth, Santa Barbara, California

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

First leads at Portero John Wall, Los Padres National Forest, California

Monday, February 4, 2013

Winter in Joshua Tree National Park, California