Creative Non-Fiction


Adventure Sports

First Snowfall: Feeling the Itch

Snow on my car, it’s the first of the season in central Minnesota. It triggers an emotional response in the amygdala located deep within the temporal lobes of my brain. In the Teton Range, where I will be skiing in two months, they have received over four feet of snow.

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Remembering Bob McCord

It has been two years since my best friend and adventure buddy of 43 years died in a sky diving accident on Oahu, Hawaii. Not a week goes by that I don’t think of him.

Bob pointed his skis, a long skinny pair of Truckers with three pin bindings, downhill. He pushed off. As the slope rolled over to a steeper pitch, he made his first telemark turn. I watched him come up out of his turn just as the snow above him fractured. “Avalanche!” I screamed loudly. The snow broke into big blocks three feet deep around Bob. Gaining momentum as gravity pulled him downhill, I watched as his bamboo poles, caught in the pressure of the slide, first split, then exploded. Bob struggled to stay upright, but was caught and pulled down by the sliding snow. He was headed for a big rock standing directly in the path of the slide.

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Commitment: The Importance of Being Honest With Yoursel

Facing my paraglider on the ground, I step back and pull up my wing which catches the wind flowing over my back. The cells fill with air and it shoots above my head. Ten feet from the edge of the bluff and 400 feet above the Mississippi River, I turn, take a step toward the edge, and we are airborne. I am committed to launch. It is 1:05 pm on Thursday, October 3rd, 2018.

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There and Back Again: A Father and Son Adventure

My 21 year old son Charlie looked at the rock face above him and turned to me saying, “I can do this.” It was 3 pm and we were alone at the base of the Friction Pitch, the crux section of the upper Exum Ridge.

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Destination Unknown: Cross Country Paragliding

Cross country flying is always an adventure. It’s the uncertainty, and questions in your mind. Is it safe to fly? How far, long, and high will you fly? Where will you land? How will you get back to your car? All questions are answered in their time; a metaphor for life. Find your adventure. “If you don’t do it this year, you will be one older when you do” Warren Miller.

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Health & Fitness

Deliberate Training: Principles of Periodization

“Success has to do with deliberate practice. Practice must be focused, determined, and in an environment where there is feedback.” – Malcolm Gladwell

The air is Minnesota cold as Hunter Farrell and I make our way down the canyon covered in four inches of fresh snow. Rounding a river’s bend, we catch a dramatic view of Cascade ice fall, 100 feet of vertical ice plastered to a rock wall. We carefully cross the river on a snow bridge to the base of the ice. On go our climbing harnesses and crampons. Methodically, I clip slings and ice screws to my harness, and uncoil our ropes. Hunter puts me on belay. Taking a deep breath to calm my mind, I set my picks in the ice and begin climbing. It is March 2018, a few days before my 64th birthday and 12 years since I last lead an ice climb: the spectacular 600 foot Ames Ice Hose in Telluride, Colorado.

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Deliberate Training: Building a Base, Week One Workouts

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu.

Each athlete and every sport is unique, subject to different physical, psychological, and environmental demands. I train to be a competitive cyclist and for outdoor sports: rock & ice climbing, backcountry skiing, and paragliding. My workouts are designed for a 60 plus year old athlete living in Minnesota, USA. At 64, I have to be careful lifting heavy weight, it takes me longer to recover, my progressions are slow, and I have to be disciplined with my diet.

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