Saturday, December 26, 2009

Winter Wonderland and Other Adventures

Hi all,

Merry Christmas, Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards man, and Happy Holidays!!!

In this post:

  • Fun 'training'?!? with (maybe) future teammates
  • Christmas season as a salesperson 
  • Christmas day danger (turns out okay)
Fun 'training'?!? with (maybe) future teammates:
   Well a while back somebody suggested that the different bloggers of the ECCC put up photoblogs of where they ride and blah blah blah.  I thought that was a pretty good idea, but am really bad with up loading photos and taking them.  So I am a little late with that. Well here goes:

That one is the back yard of the Sullivan house.  This is proof of how long it has been since I have taken a few of these.

Maggie, my little sister, and Katie (NU and GLV Member) decided to take a little bit of a Nordic cruise to kick off their break.  It was a blast.  We went up to the Trapp Family Lodge (Yes the Von Trapp Family).  The very same family made famous by the The Sound of Music resides in Vermont now. They run the oldest Nordic Ski Center in the US.  It is a bit hillier than some places so it was was an adventure.  Maggie and I have skied since we could walk, but Katie was giving it a short for the second time.

This shot is also from the begining of the ski.  Katie is still getting her feet under her.  This is harder than it looks.  Nordy skis are really narrow, have a non attached heel and the boots are like running shoes.  Needless to say the balance is tough.  

I like this shot because she is snowplowing in the tracks.  This is normally a mortal sin among the nordical world, the huge smile forgives all.

Fortunately Katie was a super quick study.  After a few tumbles.  We were able to really cruise.  Here are Maggie and Katie striding it out on a slight incline. 

The reason that I said that I was training with teammates is that I am looking into different Law Schools.  Yikes, right.  I know it is terrifying.  I bet I will survive, maybe.  Anyhow NU is one that I am looking at, so who knows.  You might just see me in a race again.  (Equally terrifying at this point)

More Nordic

Katie and Maggie Again

This is way more like what you would expect from my little sister, I mean, she is a Sullivan.

I finally make an appearance in one of the shots.  I think that I might have mentioned how terrible I am at cameras.  More proof of that, it took me zillions upon millions of shots just to figure out how to miss the timer shot.

I did get it right at last, and even made it in the shot.  The day was a huge success.

Nor-dorks are not usually known for their apres ski parties.  We figured we would try to liven it up by going to a local watering hole.  If you ever make it into the green mountain state and get a chance to stop in Waterbury, do it.  Don't do the Ben and Jerry's thing.  That is sooo played out.  You should go to the Alchemist.  This place is off the hook.  You know it is good because it opens at 3:30 during the week and it is full by 3:45.  People leave the mountains early so they can get a spot at the bar.  It is that good.  For the 21+ crowd they brew their own beer (10+ varieties, all good).  For those who aren't at that age their are still lots of things that you can enjoy.  

Yes you are right Katie, the sweet potato fries are excellent.

Christmas season as a salesperson:

Almost my whole college carreer I have worked at a local bike/Nordicski/snowboard/alpineski/bootfit/run/lifestyle Store  This has been awesome.  I recommend that everyone stop by some time, and try to find a shop like this to work at in college.  It is a giant toy  store.  I love going to work just to look at all of the toys. 

Even though it is a super sweet place the zaniness of the holidays do kick in.  The place has been so busy the last three weeks that my head has been spinning and I think I have said 'well you can really tell the quality difference between the RCS and the RCR just from the incredible detail in each hand just speed tip'  I kid you not fischer skis have speed tips, I wonder which marketing genius thought of that name?

What names did they reject?

Speed ends,
Danger Daggers,
Not your Mamma's tip
You get the idea

Just when you thought they were getting crazy with speed tips, they come out with:

That is right.  The only thing lighter than a speed tip is a tip with a hole in it.

Don't worry they use carbon fibres, so you know it is strong,  safe and there is no way that it will break.  There is only one problem with this ski, I mean other than it's staggering $650 price tag.

When used in conjunction with Swix's top of the line, aerofoil ski pole disaster can strike.  Yup you guessed it.  The hole in the ski and the profile of the basket are perfectly shaped to destroy eachother.  

I have heard of planned obsolescence, but intentional cross product sabotage.  Wow.  I mean think of the potential.  Just think, in the future you coffee pot and mug might attack each other.  Or, your Ilife, Idork, Iphone, Idanced, Iflush and Ilight might all short circuit once you start the Ifriend app on the newest version of Icollege.  Amazing.  

Christmas Day Danger (turns out okay):

Well the Sullivan family started off Christmas just like many Christmases before.  The dog barked, we got out of bed.  Coffee was made, breakfast went in the oven.  Presents were opened, laughes were had.

Yup, that is our mom.  Wearing her new:  Goggle, swim cap, and neck warmer.  Heh heh.  You might have a better idea of how Maggie and I ended up the way we did.

A little later:

Mom, Dad and I were getting ready to go for a ski.  Maggie was going to opt out.  She had been in a hot tub that was a little questionable and presented with a rash swollen lymph node and very sore feet.  So she had been resting, but hadn't seen a doctor.

Right before we left, my aunt called to talk to my mom.  I was standing in the kitchen talking to Magz, when she nodded her hed.  As though she were going to take a nap on the counter (that sounds strange, but she does it frequently), instead she was sprawled out on the floor.  Crazy lucky she didn't split her head open on any number of the sharp and dangerous corners right near her.

Maggie always has said that one of her greatest skills is tumbling (falling, crashing,skrewing up) gracefully.

Anyhow, when I rolled her over she was totally out, non-responsive and her eyes were focused out into the distance.  Before any of you freak out, she is okay.  Anyhow, we called 911 and she regained conciousness.  She got some antibiotics and stuff like that.  Totally fine now, and she is on her way to being her ornery old self again in no time.

Moral of the story, let people know how much you love them.

Peace on Earth,


Friday, December 4, 2009

Dreaming in Technicolor

I don't think that I have ever explained the title of my blog.  In some ways it is very self explanatory,  I and everything around be are super great, everyday is just another day in paradise.  Beside my own super arrogance, there are other reasons for the title.

For almost a decade I have worked for the same people. They are really awesome, my 'job' there has revolved around mountain biking, running and Nordic skiing.  Basically this his been a dream job for me from the age of 12 to the present.  Besides working with some really rad stuff, I have gotten to work with a group of awesome people.  To say that they all have been huge parts to my own development as a person and an athlete.  I could probably write volumes about the things that each of the other people have taught me, but that would be ridiculousness and sappy, nobody would want to read that so I won't bore you.

All of the kids that showed up for Mountain Bike Easterns this past year got to see the place that I work.  It is a recreational center that was a farm, a long time ago (1950's).  Anyhow, my boss is a mix between a throw back to the 19th century and a progressive thinker.  Basically an awesome guy, and an inspiration for the way I act in the world now.

One of the many nuggets off wisdom that Jim imparted me with is that, 'Dreamers are something the world doesn't have time for.  Sure it is nice to dream about all the great things that could be, but people who are pure dreamers never get to what they are dreaming about.  It is the people who strive for their dreams that make something lasting, something to be inspired by.  Once you get a visions worth holding onto, don't let go of it, start dreaming in the details, the road map.  Find the path between what you want and where you are.'  Anybody who has talked to me for more than five minutes knows that I am a crazy dreamer.  I like to think that it is more of a visionary type of dreaming.

The piece of property that Catamount is located on has been in Jim's family since the civil war.  As the generations have progressed, farming went from real hard honest work to real hard work that starves you, leave you broke and forecloses your land.  At least that is the story in Vermont.  Jim finished high school and was committed to the idea of holding onto the farm (it was still a farm then).  He did a whole lot of different jobs that revolved around the farm, and started a family in the intervening years.  He even started a construction company that operated out of the farm to try to subsidize the ever growing property tax in the area.

Farmers in the town of Williston were folding left and right.  There were almost 30 farms when Jim was born. Now, in 2009 there is only one functioning farm, a horse farm and Catamount.  The rest of this once productive farming community has been paved over and turned into sub developments that service the local IBM.

In the 1970s nordic skiing started to catch on in the united states.  A local group of skiers in Willisson started to cut a trail and they wanted to use some of Jim's land.  Being agreeable to people getting out in the great outdoors, he was all for it.  As the 70's progressed the popularity of skiing started to sky rocket.  Outside of Boston a 3km loop was groomed and had lights installed.  Their busiest night saw 3,000 people use it.  The trail that was originally cut started a a neighbors house.  Quickly the popularity of the sport meant that people wanted more parking, indoor facilities, maps.  All sorts of amenities.

In 1968 the Von Trapp family opened the countries very first nordic center in Stowe.  Yes the Von Trapps are the same ones from the movie.  They settled in Vermont and run a Nordic center.  Ten years later Jim and his wife Lucy decided to start a Nordic skiing center out of the farm that was now down to just sheep.  The first few years saw rapid growth and enormous popularity.  It seemed as though Jim might have finally found a way to protect his family's historic home from becoming another development project.  This way of using the land also had the bonus of getting Vermonters (and our friends from afar) into outdoor sports that would keep them active and give them a stake in preserving the natural landscapes.

As with skiing, biking at Catamount grew out of a grass roots movement.  First people were interested in just riding the xc trails in the summer, then they were interested in having single tracks built.  Before you knew it we were running a summer long (14 week) mtb race series.  Which is currently the best attended and longest running training series in the US.

In 1994 at the request of a neighbor Catamount started holding mtb camps for kids.  This became immensely popular drawing hundreds of kids every summer.  This was how Maggie and I both got into real mountain biking and learned a lot of the skills that we have today.

While the future is never truly secure, nothing ever is.  You can always put your money on somebody who is striving to make their visions come true.  I have watched Jim and his family do this year after year, turn speculation, dreams and hopes into realities on the ground.  Being a part of this has been immensely valuable for me.  It has given me the ability to see a goal, imagine the way there and then try to make it happen.  I don't always get there, and not all of the original dreams that I cook up make it to the road map stage.

However, the world I live in is always on the pathway to reaching dreams.  That is why my life is another beautiful day in paradise.