Ting and I traveled to Spartanburg, South Carolina, home of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Carolinas (VCOM) to watch and celebrate as Ting's brother, Matthew, and his girlfriend, Emily, graduated as Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine. Spartanburg was a charming little town!
Hong Kong describes itself as Asia's "World City." That may be true. Its unique blend of colonial Britain and China is unlike any other city I've visited, even vaunted, nearby Macao (which I found much less impressive). With off-the-charts density, amazing food, lively markets, and impressive hills, Hong Kong offers quite a lot to explore in such a small area. I'll be back.
Beijing was mostly what I had anticipated: Crowded, smoggy, and surprisingly capitalistic. My wife, having lived there for a year ten years ago, was disappointed with the changes rendering it near-unrecognizable to her. Gone were the dirt roads and half-completed subway lines, replaced with fancy cars, shops, and even more pollution, rendering the skies a permanent washed-out blue at best; a dim, orangey-brown at worst.
Even seeing wonders such as the Great Wall and Forbidden City were somewhat tainted. The portion of the Wall we visited was freely admitted to have been rebuilt in the '80s, with a (rather fun) toboggan ride from the top to the bottom of its hill; the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square completely overrun with tour groups and Starbucks.
It has been nearly four months since my last post - from my time at the Oregon Coast 30k, then the longest race I'd attempted - to now. Over 160 hours of training in the last year, roughly 1,200 miles run, and nearly 100,000 feet climbed in preparation for one thing; something I'd seen as impossible, despite so many idols and regular folks doing it time and time again: Run a 50km trail race. But not just any trail race - the vaunted Orcas Island 50k.
The race has between 8,000 and 9,000 feet of climbing and somewhere between 30 and 32 miles of travel throughout the eastern lobe of Orcas Island in the San Juans of Washington's Puget Sound. In the month of February, Orcas Island's Mounts Constitution and Pickett receive rainforest-levels of rain, sometimes even snow. It features three climbs up Mt. Constitution's slopes (including the infamous Powerline: 2 miles of pure hell straight up the mountain, covering nearly 2,500ft of elevation), a couple doozies up Mt. Pickett, and many more smaller inclines to burst runners' calves. This year, due to increased rainfall, it included a slightly longer starting section and dozens of deep puddles, including an example up to our knees and roughly 25' long.
My amazing wife arranged a group of friends to come stay in a cabin for the weekend. I ran with two of the primary men that introduced me to the sport of trail ultramarathoning. It was the most mentally and physically challenging event of my life; it was pure joy with deep chasms of misery and doubt; it was 6:45:50 of fortitude-testing highs and lows. Perhaps some new test will beat what I experienced this weekend, but it's hard to imagine such a thing.
I fell in love with trail running last year, but a late-season injury sidelined me until early 2017. After dozens of 30+ mile weeks and 5 races, I traveled to Yachats, Oregon, with my wife, my friend Mac (who convinced me to sign up for this race), and his wife, so I could race in the longest, most brutal race yet of my short career: The Oregon Coast 30k (which ended up being nearly 20 miles and over 4,000 feet of climbing). It was a beautiful, inspiring event. From simply walking around Yachats, to dinner with the race director, to meeting ultrarunning legends, to watching Mac complete his second 50k in as many weeks, to running with amazing people in primeval woods along roaring coastline, this weekend was the best.
My friend Eric and his new wife Felicity decided to host a "friendeymoon" - instead of a honeymoon - at a villa in Tuscany. Just our best friends, dozens of liters of wine, insanely good food, and Tuscan mountain towns for a week.
My friend Justin and I arrived early on Saturday in the rain - the rain stopped right after we got our tents up, allowing us one glorious day to explore unmarked trails up Rampart Ridge. Then, that night, a gnarly storm rolled through. Of that, I have no pictures, so shots of Rampart Lakes, Rampart Ridge, and Lila Lake must suffice.
My wife and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary by getting out of the city for a weekend and going to Langley on Whidbey Island. It was lovely; we ate delicious food and stayed in a quaint cabin. Our excitement came from a ferry that sprung a leak, caught fire, and required our evacuation.
I traveled with my wife and two best friends to meet two more best friends - Aussies - with whom we trekked up and down the east coast of Australia. Hundreds of frames later, here are some of my favorites:
My wife and I were married 10/10/2015, but with the stress of buying a house, then getting married shortly thereafter, we held off on the honeymoon. Why Sweden in the winter? Why not? We don't mind the cold. Here are some frames from the trip.
Combine camping, motorcycling, and photography - stir well and enjoy.