That’s cool but if my friends ask where you are I’m gonna say

This kind of goodness has gotten so easy the family is bored and wants to go to Italy. #FWP.

Cinder blocks are not something ever known to be in short supply in Rocky Point?

Little tailgate before watching the Eagles. I appreciate the sports bar and the Sam’s Club more than any other americanization

I named the DH runs. This one is Speckles

And this is Spots; it has four booters

Low tide brought a 6-ft shelf in the estuary

Hard to see, but this bird’s beak was as big as its body

i dont know what this was, but I’m glad it didn’t eat me

butterflies everywhere

Soy es Alejandro

We have this new family psyche song

and we went up to Flagstaff to prove it

Bear Jaw – Abineau Loop

do you see the Grand Canyon?

Drove down Oak Creek Canyon the next day, to show everyone Hangover. Beckie and the kids have never seen anything like this masterpiece. The awe motivated all of our tired legs, mostly enough balance. Alana and I both were getting woozy on the backside. Can’t believe I cleaned as much of this as I did last time in about 2010, I’ve ridden so little gnar since my knee surgery.


To keep the hiking small after yesterday, we crawled the truck 3 miles up Schnebly Hill to the Cow Pies lot in the background, and after I hiked back up the road for the vehicle. That sucked.

Dip in Oak Creek under Midgley Bridge

Gorgeous Boys

Living with Cheeto is dysfunctional, like working in a cube farm with a stripper. You’re just trying to go to work, respect everyone, and leave. But she’s in stilettos and stripper clothes next to you, pole dancing up to standup meetings, pole dancing down to get coffee, flipping hair and arching her back every time she runs the debugger. It would be maddening. You’re not allowed to touch, cause that’s wrong, as it should be. But its awkward, staring so much. Cheeto is 20lbs of squishy cheddar cat magnificence.  He will mess you up with his sharp parts if you even look at him too close. Then he eats his neurosis away. Here’s a dollar bill kitty.

Kirby loves life and inappropriatenesses. He joins my B double E double R U N. He wants ham. He tolerates anything, for ham.

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Flagstaff weekend 7-15/6 w my other 2 best girls – Beckie and Dia.Kelly Pocket on Sat,then the Adventure course. Sunday we were up and loaded from the hotel and at the TH for 6:30. Made it to the top and back with just a little rain near the bottom.

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Flagstaff Weekend

Dia and I loaded lightweight survivalist options into the Prius and charged to the high country. The family was out of town, I had an EZUP and a cooler and 5gal of water. It would work itself out.

Saturday James and I rode 418 to Aspen Corner while Dia camped under a tree. Thunder dropped on top of us the last mile. These pics were snapped under scorn and disapproval from my risk-averse friend. They turned out loving, desperate. Dia and I forgot what cool air was in day-after-day of 115+. She stuffered her snout out the car the last 20 miles in from Munds Park, nails dug into the armrest, a cattledog admonition of Global Warming. Flagstaff bakes at 85 degrees and storms are crashing by noon.

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We dropped anchor at the Foulkes residence, and rode the FUTS to Mother Road Brewery. Dia blew up on the multi-use path, we stalked a shady table on the patio and pounced the moment the previous owners moved – more hot-Flagstaff firsts. Lighting hit Observatory Mesa, and the boom made all 15 dogs on the patio instantly pee. James shot up to grab the nearest table indoors. He is so Flagstaff now. Seriously pro move that was a pleasure to be a part of.  The storm unloaded and washed the piddle away while we were seated comfortably drinking in the turmoil, the future of climate change and development.

The orthopedist who did my knee in 03 and my thumb in 04 sat down at the table next to us. I saw him 2 years ago when I had a consult on my tkr. I introduced myself and asked if I could buy him a drink. I didn’t want to crash his weekend, but I just wanted to say…

When I came out of anesthesia in 03, he said my knee was the worst he’d ever seen and I was done running. A grenade had blown up in there. This was all very dreamy god-like. A few days later at the follow up, he asked if I remembered that.

Me: The part where you said worst knee you’d ever seen?
Him: yeah, that part. Got it?

So he tells me to have kids, take up a new sport, and sends me on my way. Unable to run 6-weeks post surgery, I pick up a Load Testing contract and make $2k in 1 night. We bought snowboard gear, snowboarded, and on Day 4 displaced my thumb on double-black ice sheets around the lifts that have melted and froze in the sun all day.

The staff at Sunrise gave me a ziplock bag full of ice. This doctor got me on his surgery schedule the next day. I think he felt bad for me 4 months later. There was a brown out while I was getting wheeled in to his efficient privately-owned OR center. He sighed, moved me to another hospital, started his vacation late, and rammed a pin in me. My thumb healed perfectly and stronger, the pin that came out looked like a finishing nail. He saw me 2 years ago and gave me honest advice I needed to hear.

I didn’t chit chat, I really just wanted to say thank you so very much.  Suddenly i worried i was creepily intruding.  At Princeton Reunions last month at 2:30am in the basement of Colonial Club I got in a conversation with a 5th yr alum blowing up at Facebook and wondering if it was worth it. What her parents thought. What she wanted. I told her that her parents were proud of her and wanted her to be happy. 20 years from now I will time travel back to this conversation and know that I did it right.

The Doctor introduced me to his family, asked my name etc etc.  It was so nice, and I hope his family was as happy to hear their man complimented as I am to hear it when mine are. The night with James and Staci mostly stayed up there til the end. So much fun! So many other things happen when you don’t have children bloating the space.

Morning came early, but I heeded James’ weather warning and was rolling by 9. Dogfood to Little Gnarly to mid-mountain.

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We are LUUUUURRVING Jedi all over again.

All the log rolls in the first half are now flowy ~3ft jumps. The switchbacks and traverse have had rock work done and all but one spot ride well. My best run. Bentley with plus-wheels is dominant in mixed terrain requiring equal climbing and descending ability.

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new rock work on Jedi. Took me 4 tries to get this one. Plus wheels plus snappy frame is potent.

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“you suck, I’m bored, can we go? “
— heckling by someone who cant talk or ride.

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after 11 miles Dia was not moving for my flower pic.

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Princeton 25th Reunion

I don’t want to gush, but it was one of the best weekends of my life. I was inspired, relieved, challenged, welcomed, and always felt good. It wasn’t that I wasn’t; I was ready for something. So many of us looked and were lost, and found in our confusion a community of weirdos and titans and kindness.

I got to campus at 2:15am Friday morning, found Jud, and we stayed up til 5:30 talking. Latest we’d ever done that sober.

The next morning I rolled early to checkin, and the first person I encountered was Ted Fischer, from my high school. Ted and I barely knew each other in high school, and not much better all through college — and we just started a conversation on the landing. At the coffee machine I  saw Brett Borowski who I hadn’t seen in 27 years. He and I were friendly, but also didnt much know each other, and before I knew it we were talking about our political engagements in our home towns like people with a rolling discourse.

I found others, couldnt stop shaking hands leaving the courtyard, the scene we all are so afraid to hope might happen. And it was. People I knew well, people I didn’t know at all, people I kinda knew and wasn’t sure we liked each other years ago…everyone was just so happy to re-connect and be kind to each other. The emotions were almost too much for so little sleep. I grabbed a drink and walked around campus, uphill slowly and before I new it the slope pushed me back down to Wilson College.

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and one for Lawren and Jud.

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Walker Hall

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window from my freshman year room

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i wandered, smiled, and saw jumps and booters in everything.

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Poe Field has been built up. Can you dream a better field to play Ultimate?

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Whitman College was our reunion home. Its new, and when I thought how awkward the new old look looked, I remembered how new the old look on campus looked compared to old Europe.

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Art Museum

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Seminar with some alums and classmates on fake news: Fox,Yahoo and Politifact. These were classmates, and every single one was interesting. Even me.

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Jud and I reconnected at the tent, and went on a walkabout.

Chapel

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Chapel

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Woody Woo Fountain

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Class dinner Friday night

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i had been to the grad college, once maybe ever. Jud and I shared a shitty dorm, which gave us the chance to walk 15 min to the campus twice a day. I walked 4,5 hours a day every day. Princeton’s campus is world-renowned for its beauty, and I never appreciated it enough. So much natural beauty is part of my heart now, it made the manicured campus even more magnificent.

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Saturday morning I walked out to West Windsor for the Ultimate reunion game. The campus drops a few hundred feet steadily down from Nassau Street to Lake Carnegie and back out. Only my last year did I learn about the canal, and the toe path, and the bridges into and out of town over this bottom.

Didn’t run this enough times.

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I played four points and hid, caught and threw a pass successfully. I was so happy to play again with Alex and Skurn, and teammates 25+ years gone.

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Back onto campus for the class pic and P-rade

The ladies of the Fishbowl: Antonia, Sarah, Pam and Andrea

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this pic makes me so happy.
Top: Niraj, Antonia, Marc, Dunrie, Jud, Pam, Andrea, Heather

Bottom: Alex, Sarah,Jason, Lawren

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P-rade

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I met Ted Cruz in 1988 as seniors in high school, we both were winners of the Washington Crossing Scholarship. I didnt much care for him then, and while we were friendly my impression didn’t change during college.

There was a lot of hostility towards him at college reunions this weekend. Surprising how visceral and powerful, coming from a seasoned and mature group of peers. It was fueled by a combination of his positions, his personality while in school, and a sense from many people that he’s better than his platform.

I was certainly immature and made mistakes in college, and I refused to deny Ted the charity and forgiveness I extended to all my other classmates and hoped they reciprocated towards me. I also didnt think it was appropriate to be rude over disagreement about positions. My recent experiences engaging in our No DDC campaign have made it abundantly clear that you get further being polite, even with your opponents. And that being rude to your opponents says a lot more about you than them. The ability to be polite, for me, is control and reason overcoming emotion. I can run aggressive, critical pieces knowing that my tone is correct and about actions and issues instead of personality.

I first congratulated Ted on his success. I then thanked him for how his actions have led more and more people to get engaged in politics lately. He understood I dont agree with him about some things, but was gracious in accepting my compliments in the spirit I offered them. I then asked how he balances being an extremely intelligent person — likely among the smartest of his peers in the Senate — with the reality of political compromises and some of his positions putting him at odds intellectually with the many smart classmates surrounding him (ex: climate denial). He was very nice but went into spin mode. He’s a pro, does this for a living and does it well. It was a good conversation, but spin is not something that will work with his classmates and imo only alienate many of them further

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We made our way to Terrace Club, which still has the best food in the college. Then Jud and I to Colonial til sundown, to catch up with so many other great friends.

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Back across the tiny universe in 30 min

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I connected with so many friends while others rocked to Duran Duran and Naughty By Nature

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and after we got kicked out of Colonial at 3am and Terrace at 4.

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more time to explore Sunday morning. I wandered in circles, made my way back to Colonial for champagne breakfast and so many more good conversations. I have so much to say, but for the first time ever I just cant even capture them on this blog. They were like fire, every one, every classmate so brilliant and restless.

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So many of my pictures were of the campus and its manicured splendor. Back then I did not appreciate it – i remembered it was pretty, but my aesthetic was pathetic. Do undergrads have Instagram challenges: “30 Days of Great Campus Photos”? Now I look every day, everywhere, for the beauty in the mountains and sunsets, the plants and architecture, a cactus wren in a saguaro, the bloom of the weeds when they burst briefly with color each spring, sidewalk art. You notice so much through miles at bike-speed, you move so differently. Unbound from two legs, the terrain becomes part of your vision. If I could do it all again with a bike I’d wander the campus for years, crawl it all, discover every ledge and ramp and staircase, and still find more spots to explore each next day in this polished playground. I’d probably break a clavicle free-styling home from the Street drunk, helmetless, with a heavy backpack. I’d probably be suspended by the Proctors or locked up by the PD for suburban hooliganism. So many fun possibilities.

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72 hrs with 8 hrs of sleep and so many punches to the brain led to a meltdown in the airport, crying and sniping until I stumbled home.

I posted this from the airport. It was my conversation-starter.

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The next day back to posting about kids and bikes. No one knows what just happened.

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Day Trip to the Rim

Day trip to the Rim to take G to soccer camp.

walk around the shore of Willow Creek Lake, to break up the drive

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Rush camp

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Laila’s 06s, ready to build on last season

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One of the coach’s 8th grader adopted the 6th graders, and the 6th graders adopted the 4th grader. I *heart* Rush.

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git sum, girls!

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Session 1, 20 degrees cooler than Phx

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I stopped on the drive home to climb up the Derrick trail by Tonto Creek. 3 miles and 950 vf, much of it cobbled. On the whole I wasn’t a fan, even if the view of the Rim and the manzanitas was beautiful.

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Reaching the Highline trail was glorious, but another 300 feet up in the next mile did me in. I started the climb at 95 degrees, and it just ground me down. I didn’t feel the burden consciously, but had absolutely nothing left for any pitch once I reached the edge of the Rim an hour later.

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Right here I declared nada mas after cold sweating the second time. Some days the mountain beats you.

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sat down to enjoy my trail taco bowl. I have leveled up the trail burrito

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digging deep for the return trip

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dip in Tonto Creek after the ride

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big mountain, small engine

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10 more miles down into Hell, 6 more degrees

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A Semester’s Tuition for a Carbon 29er + Plus Wheelset

Bentley is worth more than each one of our cars.

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Don’t hate, if I don’t ride it Beckie does. and I pass that love around. Alana begged to try her next bike and brand-new tubeless wheelset. 10 lbs lighter than her “kids” 24inch Hotrock, 2.5 lbs lighter wheels than when G rode it. 1×10 is 11x awesomer than 3×7 and chainsuck every 2 miles. So close we are to forever being done with shitty kids bikes. G got on it October of her 8th year, hopefully Alana’s standover will stay on schedule. She sorted out the shifting and braking power instantly, then the speed, then wrecked herself underestimating the responsiveness turning while trapped in the cockpit. Small girl, big ferrari.

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One Bird must fly, and I haven’t gotten a nibble trying to sell it for $999. Srsly? This is a great deal for $1k.

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So many baby birds.

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I followed Byron up to Christopher Creek on the Rim. Military Sinkhole -> 260 -> See Canyon->260->See Canyon, fun both directions and got the lower DH 2x. ~2200 climbing, ~3800 down. 22miles.

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only picture from Military Sinkhole, 1000vf down the Rim in 2 miles woot woot!

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Bentley was magnificent on the ups and downs. Good dog.

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It’s not his feats of strength, his cartographic madness, or his blogging about his radness that make John Schilling so special… It’s how he turned the trail burrito into an essential part of everyone’s kit.

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facebook cover pic fail, sorry Byron

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My 25th reunion was coming up. It slithered into my head, and wouldn’t get out. I was furious it forced its way back in after so many years walling it off. I met my first random Princeton alum in 20 years of living in AZ. The unprecedented ‘cold’ 70 degree May morning at soccer practice found me pull on an old cutoff sweatshirt full of holes that had been wrapped around the 10lb dumbbells I keep in the trunk. The shirt for years sat in my closet – too small and ratty and 80s. When i couldn’t face throwing it out it went in the trunk, jic, like jumper cables. I had it on 5 min when a strange woman asked what year I graduated. She materialized out of thin air, like mosquitos after a monsoon, or panhandlers at your gas pump in Tuba City. I couldn’t believe I’d encountered another of my kind in AZ, though our odds were certainly improved at the Scottsdale JCC. We circled around each other warily, and finally embraced like former victors in the Hunger Games. She doesn’t use her degree either, and feels completely disconnected living out here. On behalf of alums everywhere she accepted my mea culpa for skipping my reunion. Thank you ghostly friend from class of ’97.

Mostly I’m happy. I’ve struggled with whether I’ve squandered my degree, whether Princeton was the right choice, whether I’d do it again. Definitely not, maybe. The financial pressure was too much, the gap-awareness too much. The academics were just fine. I was too immature, unempathetic, parochial and angry staring up from the bottom. I would have liked more sunshine and a better ratio, more time, or an Honors college at a different school. My year in Raleigh working at a TGI Fridays should have come in ’89, not ’95. *insert flair joke here*. I learned humility and people skills slaving for tips at the behest of the NASCAR masses packing a chain restaurant. Should have just gone to law school.

My path from there was defined by circumstances, fear of debt, fear of failure. These are all good traits, that I traded in for fun and bikes, and a highly-employable reasonably-lucrative skillset. I can find work anytime, from anywhere, and press ‘fuck it’ at will. My ceiling and motivation are lower, so I drive carpools, and punch the clock around my daughters’ schedules. Beckie could not do the kids and her PhD career without me, we could not be our family without her job. Mostly I’m so happy.

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Spring, 1990. On our way to College Nationals after beating the Irates from East Carolina U. I lost to them each year the next 2 years. West Windsor Fields becomes The Overlook Hotel, all pictures of Princeton must be black&white.

In ’94 I picked up w a team of DC and Philly all-stars at a November tourney in ECU (Greenville, NC – Ultimax). We won with 12 guys. Blew up their alum team ‘X-rates’ in Semis. I stuffed their captain on a great layout to keep our throttle down when they started to rally. I remembered him being really really good in college, and that block still feels awesome. Then we beat the Irates in Finals. That Spring they won College Nationals.

I was drowning in memories, and injected some reality with two of my dearest friends. Byron, Brian and I rode the brand-new HooDoo trail at Gold Canyon. Its amazing and terrifying, Phoenix’s Hangover. Like Sedona, the vision is as good as the trailwork. It routes along an exposed off-camber ledge, high up the wall of Gold Canyon. Every stroke I worried about a left pedal strike or a bar end. I had to tune everything else out and focus.

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so, yeah, there is some staring down through all of this. We’re only halfway up the climb.

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This I think is the start of the double black descent, and it deserves the classification. After climbing and traversing the rockface for a half mile, its one pucker move after another. This one slips into a steep tight passage, and immediately you must make an aggressive S into another slab and stacked rocks, about six more times, til you see the video below. I walked a few things I will get the second time, can’t wait for Fall to go back and try again! HooDoo is far-and-away harder than anything else at Gold Canyon. The trials on Phantom, Where You Fromme and Tech Trail hold nowhere near the consequences.

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This is the last hard move at the bottom of the descent. Its super fun but you have to commit to the initial liftup or you are heading to the hospital. (borrowed from the internet).

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Personal achievement: I got a move on the Tech Loop I’ve never had the balls to try before. You can see the lead rider take it around 15 sec in this video. Bentley’s plus wheels and lower COG gave me more contact and confidence on the rock lines, the carbon XC geo leapt up things. I need to use the dropper more and get used to a little less squish, but we are getting better on the downhills each ride. Last week was a big day in the mountains, today we crawled on the rocks. (borrowed from random dude on youtube).

What counts as success? I’ll start with no blood, getting home safe, and the glow of completing a physical and mental challenge. Happiness for me spirals out from there into rings of abstraction. I’m now on the Board of a non-profit, and we are suing the City.

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Alana and I rode with one of my NoDDC teammates. Pat is an amazing new friend who I would never have met otherwise. She’s mom’s age, with many things on which we disagree, but a whole lot more we agree on. I have met so many people like her that I’d never reach in my bubble. I’ve had kind conversations with the City Council members I wish to unseat, and every single one reinforces how much more reasonable our politics would be if we did more face-to-face. Ironic idea for a group that grabbed its influence through Facebook. Three generations of preservationists on one ride.

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I couldn’t pull myself away from the Princeton ’92 Facebook page. So many pictures of our common formative epoch. Stories of people struggling with doubt and middle-age just like me. Each classmate’s tale was fascinating, false starts and home runs. Some were changing the world, some just getting by with beautiful families and local acts of wonder, teaching classes or writing books, some hocking wares they did their best to make more nutritional and environmentally-conscious. There was so much humility and kindness and potent observations. One extremely successful woman joked of her relief seeing we were not all robber barons and NHL owners. I hope it true, that we’re not just the Facebook losers validating each other, and the rest of the manor-born are out there looking down on us still.

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I’m much nicer than I was, and I like me. The warmth and sincerity of so many people I want to know better lifted almost three decades of skepticism and regret. I bought a plane ticket and registered for Reunions. Housing, rental cars all seemed like logistical rollerball; I opted for simplicity and crammed everything for 3 days into 22 cubic liters, ready to sleep on a floor. I hope to never stop embracing my inner dirtbag for an adventure. I’ll be the homeless dude carrying around all his orange stuff.

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These clothes didn’t make the cut. Yes I’ve had that beer jacket for 25 yrs and cant fit it in, and yes I own a tiger onesie. Gonna go put it on and mess with the cat. Guys can have fun with their bling too, right?

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Mor’easter

A weekend without soccer or swim, I will fill that void or die trying.

Trail 4 in Cave Creek. I think they wore the same clothes.

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We were just past the wildflower peak; this place must have been mind-numbing last month.

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Easter Eggs, we did that like pros, neat and efficient. Drank some coffee and made some pancakes, rolled around in our jammies til mid-afternoon, let the muse settle in. The snowboarder was some of my finest work.

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the wildflower field was way better up close.

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I put together a biking course in 45 min  – left chalk arrows out the door and back 3 miles later with our eggs in place. The got every turn, with a little effort, ending at ‘our trailhead behind the school‘. They dont have time to use their thinkers it goes so fast trying to keep 3 riders and 1 cattledog together. The last cue was some stacked rocks and a beer can.

They know this in the trail means stop.

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ready, set!

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the accounting

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Alana ended up with 58 total balls and G 59. I split the course along the path 75 yards out with a $5 ball at the end of each line, then shoved Alana off to the north before she could fixate on fighting with her sister going south. Dungeon-masterly, couldn’t have moved it better with a couple killer hummingbirds and a coyote.