Wednesday, December 17, 2014


La Sportiva Mountain Running Athlete Andrew Fast goes through some of his favorite core exercise to help build the base strength you’ll need to go fast and hard in the mountains, cycling or racing a triathlon. Even though Andrew is a mountain runner for La Sportiva, these are great workouts for any endurance athlete.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chapter 9: Enjoy the Ride

Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain... To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices - today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.
     -Kevyn Aucoin

After three days of bad weather at the base of Pico Duarte (the ultimate objective), it was time to retreat to sea level.  Piglet, the farm dog, was in rare form as river rat/raft guide; all good things come to an end. 

Chapter 8: Live life love, love life.

       -Jamais Cascio

Zach and Extreme Hotel Cabarete have a farm on the north coastal side of the interior mountain range.  Aquaponics, bees, goats, chickens, star fruit, cacao from the tree, peppers, mint, and eggplant; these guys are driving around old Mercedes Turbo Diesels on veggie oil and living proof that, with creativity, anything is possible.

Chapter 7: Terrain

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.      -Albert Einstein 
There is a saying: “God is everywhere, but he lives in Costanza.”  With jungle peaks as far as the eye can see, and sitting smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic and Caribbean, it’s not a bad place to hang out

Chapter 6: Bliss Found

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
     -Joseph Campbell

One of many waterfalls making their way to the ocean from the high peaks.  Something weird happens to my body when a full moon is up, I can’t sleep and have a lot of energy.  I left towards the mountains out of basecamp at 4am, in the dark, and explored all day.

Chapter Five: Musk of the Open Road

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!
      -Bob Marley

Musk of the open road, you are Master Splinter. Simplicity, independence, and empowerment--as long as tired legs will carry I will thrutch. It’s all butterflies and butterscotch until shit goes wrong; that’s when you know you’re in it.

Red jungle dirt has a healing quality.  My home base on the north coast was at my friend Zach’s Hotel Extreme, this is a road near their farm.

Chapter 4: People

One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.
      -William Feather

No Pirates.  But I did find a Dutchman living off the grid.  He offered me imported Belgian beer, I stayed for a couple days.

Exploring jungle trails in the Dominican Republic is unpredictable.  Some trails end up at a scenic beach--it feels like you just discovered it--some trails go to the door of a simple tin roof home; donkey out front, chickens, and skinny dogs. I suppose that’s what makes us feel alive and human; the unexpected.

Chapter 3: Being,sitting, enjoying

“It isn't what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” ― Dale Carnegie

I don’t normally sit on the beach to work a tan but if I did, Las Galeras is where I’d go.  Literally the end of the road, everything stops here, including time. Word has it, remote coves notched at the end of the north coasts Samana Peninsula provide refuge for drug smugglers on the Cocaine Highway; naturally I looked for a trail.  Jungle running to spy on pirates--I’d be foolish to resist such an urge.

Chapter 2: Lost my Marbles

Like a kid loves candy and fresh snow, new trails and culture, I love you oh so well.  I built TukTuk (my bicycle) up at an open air terminal, plenty of spectators and biting bugs.  Agriculture land.  I was the only gringo on the flight; a good sign for sure.  Turns out TSA lost the nut to my front wheel skewer.  Translation: the piece that prevents the front wheel from rolling off the bike was missing.  Dripping in sweat, determined, and applying my community college B- physics, I made a skewer with four zip ties and a bike lock key.

“Don’t ride at night,” that’s the only consistent pre-trip advice I got from folks who’ve ridden in Dominican Republic.  I left the airport and headed to Moca.  A dusty town surrounded by agriculture on three sides and a mountain range on the North.   Mopeds are like mosquitoes, cars are in varying states of decay but rest assured horns are intact.  I ascended a, not the, ridge out of Moca just as the sun set.  Alpenglow on broad leaf palms and eucalyptus are like finding a long lost brother.  Ascending the first ridge, based on my maps, I’d anticipated seeing a beautiful descent down to quaint little coastal village.  Instead I saw countless jungle ridges and a closing curtain of darkness; I suppose that’s when the trip really began.

Joie de vivre is a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit.

Chapter 1: The Beginning

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

― Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©r

This is the start of something good. Traveling through a new mountain range via human power is a process of refinement.  The less gear I need, the faster I can go; the faster I go the more I see and experience.