For those of you who are curious about the writer of this blog, I thought I’d give you some basics about me. I’m going to go with bullet-form and a non-prioritized order…
- I am the Senior Manager for Product, Design & Innovation for Ultimate Direction. I have worked there since early 2014 and love my job – the products I get to make (and test) are very personal to me, they are an extension of my passion for the mountains, and my approach in them.
- I moved to Colorado in 1998 after spending a couple weeks at the end of the summer most years out here as a kid. I thought of Breckenridge as my ‘second home’ in high school and college even though I spent maybe 10 weeks out there over the span of those 8 years. I have always felt home in the mountains and moved out here at the first chance I had. I’ve also lived at the base of Mt. Tam in Marin, along the coastal mountains of Central California, and in the world’s oldest mountains in Asheville, NC.
- I used to work in the cycling and sporting goods industries. I used to be a cyclist and a triathlete. I like working in the mountain sports world and being a mountain athlete a lot more than where I was in the past. It may be worth noting that I was a cyclist and triathlete back in the 80s and early 90s, back when we knew we were weirdos who spent too much time in spandex, before all the money and ego came into those sports. The oddball, dedicated, community-based environment that cycling and triathlon used to have are probably part of what draws me to mountain sports – that and the opportunity to spend time playing in the mountains.
- I have more than 60 patents and patents pending to my credit. I love solving problems. And, it has been successfully argued on more than one occasion and by more than one person that I’m a huge geek. Before I bought my first pair of skis I spent 6 weeks learning everything I could about how different companies made their skis (watching youtube videos, reading patent filings, reading forums, etc.) and actually ended up filing my first patent on ski fabrication before I purchased any skis. (I had a loaner set from a friend at Dynafit, so there wasn’t a big rush).
- I grew up around Chicago. Actually in a small town about an hour and a half west of there. It turns out that my wife’s sister married another Scandinavian guy who also was from there. And her sister and sister’s husband bought the bike shop that I raced for as a junior, so I’d known her sister since I was in middle school. That wasn’t a plus in her column – her sister hated me because I knew more about bikes than she did, so she was really mean to me and often chased me out of the shop or hid in the back. My wife hid with her when she was in town visiting.
- I find it profoundly unsettling to be away from the mountains. When I go to Austin for The Running Event every year I feel like I have no sense of place, like the flat land is impermanent and I can’t trust it. Fortunately, other than my parents and brother in the mid-west, everyone that I visit lives near mountains.
- Skills are what makes having balls worthwhile. I learned this over the winter while my son was first learning to ski. Watching the poor guy storm down steep grades and have to slow down at every wedge turn because he just couldn’t get his head around parallel turns and trusting how to edge and release his skis together (as well as not having the patience to slow down and practice specific skills rather than making run after run) brought this paradigm into specific relief.
- I ran for a few years as an Adidas Test Team athlete. Product testing shoes was great. Except when the shoes didn’t work for me. Then putting in 100 or 150 miles on them was pure torture. I would vacillate between wanting to do all the miles in a couple long runs, or just doing a lot of short runs in them. Neither was very pleasant. I’ve also done tech editor work in the cycling industry. Personally, I’m really looking forward to the gear reviews with PM, because I rather enjoy taking a dispassionate, analytical look at products.
- I haven’t done any climbing since college. That’s something that I’d really like to get back to doing. We’ll see if I can fit it in this summer.
So that’s my quick bullet-point presentation on me. I hope this gives a bit more context to who the person ruminating on the other side of these 1s and 0s is.