Location Location Locations

There is something to be said for wanting to spread your wings to travel to learn and I think there is a time where we all should be out learning, but I also think there is equal value of setting roots and digging deep into an area and becoming part of it.

My friend Dan in a recent conversation told me he has played 1450 different disc golf courses, it’s kind of his thing.  Similarly my friend Tess loves to travel and climb in new places in the last two years she has been in WV, Patagonia, The Pacific Northwest, Chamonix, Italy, China, Bishop, and is currently on her way to Alaska  .  Some people want to experience a wide breadth of experience see the full world for all it has worth.

Other people I know want to fully experience one small area of the world.  Last summer I went out to the New River Gorge with my friend Landon and his friend Lou, they have been climbing in the New for years and have hit most of the main areas and classic lines, the mission they were on was looking for the buried gems, that may need some (a lot) of cleaning up.  Similarly in getting deeper into the love and appreciation of our local courses my friend Tyler has lately been investing a ton of time and effort into improving one of our local courses potential, adding alternate pin location  cleaning up the trash, edging the tee pads, and clearing some of the low hanging limbs around some of the baskets.

Some people are looking for a wide expansive experience in their hobbies and others are looking for a deeper experience in an area.  I do not think either is particularly the right way and I think there are seasons of life for each aspect.

The wide path exposes you to a much larger variety for experiences.  Climbing steep limestone in Wyoming, is drastically different than climbing the granite domes of North Carolina.  The skills required are different for both, and some people prefer one over the other.  Have the wide breadth of travel set you up to have open perspectives about how things can be done and gives you a larger set of tools to choose from in climbing and in disc golf, playing elevation changes in colorado requires different discs and shot selections than cutting through the wind in Kansas.  You will learn and see so much on this path.

The deep path lets you get an intimate knowledge of an area, which allows you to learn its subtleties, and develop an appreciation for a place on a different level.  The New River Gorge may seem like one continuous rock band that stretches for miles, however the rock varies wildly in its consistency, friction, color, and style, throughout its expanse.  Sections of rock 8 feet away.  In diving deep into an area you get to learn the subtle differences and can appreciate the character they add, and even use them to your advantage at times.  An example of this is on our local course the basket sits just over a ridge and you cannot see the landing area slopes right to left, and this causes a lot of back hand shots to skip long and away from the basket, but a forehand will check up on slope and stop rather than skip away.

Not only is your interaction with the area different but so is your interactions with people.  People who choose a wide breadth of experience will also find they also chose a wide breadth of friends.  Going to new places will by the very nature of it cause you to meet new people, develop new connections, find new compadres to climb, and disc with. I’ve personally made a number for friends passing through traveling in areas, and it is great to have a network of connections all over the help organize trips to areas get beta for routes, give rides to courses.

Equally however I’ve been on the other side being deeply invested in an area.  You do not meet as many people this way, but the connection with these people is much deeper over a mutual love, and appreciation for the area you are in.  A local community develops in these places and being part of the scene and in the know is always a fun part. Belonging to both an a place and a tribe, adds stability and comfort to some people, that the vagabond travel life does not provide.

There is something to be said for wanting to spread your wings to travel to learn and I think there is a time where we all should be out learning, but I also think there is equal value of setting roots and digging deep into an area and becoming part of it.

When to go for it.

The gear was small, the holds were small, and the rock was pretty slick.  I did not feel particularly secure.  I thought back into my head and thought process.  I knew my gear was good, I knew I was strong enough to hold on, I’d trained all winter in the gym,  I had it within me.  So with confidence in my ability I was able to move and continue up the route and got the moves and completed the route.

Similarly this weekend I was looking down a 30 foot downhill death putt, missing it had consequences.  I thought about laying it up, or giving it a half a run, but I looked back, I had warmed up practicing that shot, and had made very similar shots in the past few weeks.  I leaned back on my past, my training, and my experience and was able to execute.

While neither one of these are really all that impressive feats, to me they express an important lesson I’ve been thinking about.  There are times when we just need to go for it even when their are consequences if it does not work, and there are times to make the conservative call, to lay up, or to back off.  For me I am more likely to take the conservative play either from lack of confidence, fear or a combination of the two.

It is in those times of fear, and self doubt you need to have a bit of introspection.  Look into yourself and the situation, and ask have I trained for this, what is the risk I’m taking is it real or is it perceived, have I done something similar.  If you know you have trained for this moment, that you have done the work ahead of time, tell yourself you can do it you’ve done the work, you have the capability to go for it.

Understanding the risk is important but knowing you have the capability and have put in the work to execute is important.  If you know you did the work to prepare, (you know how to place good protection, you know you are strong from training) you have earned the chance to go for it.

 

Bowling Green: Beta and Recap

I got the opportunity this last week to go down to Bowling Green, KY to play in the 40th Annual Amatuer Championships at Bowling Green.  I went down with my friend Tyler Schrock, who placed will in the advanced division taking 19th overall in a field of 173.  It was a great experience for both of us, however we went into the event blind, not knowing what to expect, not know the courses or much about the town.  So I figured I would use this week’s post to talk about the courses the experience and give some advice if you plan to go down for the event in the future or just on a recreational trip.

The Event:

The tournament itself was a great event.  It was well run for the most part, there was a minor issue with no scorecards when we arrived at the third round, but with 838 players spread over 10 courses, small lapses are bound to happen.  the Rounds are spread out well over the 3 days of the tournament, round one was friday at noon giving you plenty of time to get to courses get ready, and still have time for the rest of the evening.  Saturday started early with round two at 8:30am tee off, tyler and I were split between courses so it was a bit of a rush to drop one off and get to the other course.  Round two was followed by a decent break to grab lunch, tyler and I used that time to go back to our hotel shower, warm back up, eat, and get ready to go back out for round three 2:00pm.  Sunday was another early morning with round four starting at 8:30 in the morning. there was a final 9 for the top 8 in our divisions but since neither Tyler or I made final nine and we had a 7 hour drive ahead of us we took off back to ohio.  Overall it is a great event to go down to, I will break down the courses in full detail further on.

Surrounding the tournament itself was a plethora of side events, clinics, challenges and tournaments.  The Disc Golf Pro Tour was there bringing with them the festival of the flying disc, and it’s games, and putting challenges including the putting tower, and putting tic-tac-toe.  Innova disc brought out there Wombat3 challenge, players take 3 Wombat3s and try to score points on a 200 ft shot at a basket, I put 3 shots within 10 feet and won myself a Wombat3.

Festival

There were several doubles tournaments that were set up in the days prior to the tournament.  Tyler and I played in a doubles event at the Technical college course hosted by the Nati Disc Golf Store, and there was also an Eric Oakley clinic there.  We talked to Eric for a while, he seemed like a really cool and nice guy, then played doubles with a few other people we shot pretty well and ended up on third place.

Friday night of the tournament was the Flymart.  If there was any one who sold discs, made discs, or did anything disc golf related they were there with a pop up shop (except mvp).  It was just a zoo of people and discs being traded in a large bazaar format.  We ran into some people who had spent a ton on new discs. Tyler spend $3 on a turbo putt, and I picked up a mini zone just to get some cool signatures for $10,  if you are looking for plastic it’s a great place to go but if you do not like crowds I’d avoid this part.

Saturday night was a player party at Hot Rod Stadium.  By this point in the weekend the weather had kind of turned on us and there was not a huge turn out.  There were some good ctp and putting competitions as side games going on, but overall it seemed spaced out and fairly unorganized, this may have been do to it being late at night and pretty cold.  The tournament is fun and the surrounding events add a lot of fun opportunities to play and to mingle with our tribe.

The Courses :

Phil Moore:

phil

Phil Moore park is for the most part a long bombers course with a few holes in fairly tight woods.  A lot of the course is open field with par threes of 350-400ft and go all the way in length to a 911 ft par 5.  There are a good number of ob lines in the fields that are the post to mark the cross country running courses across the park, for the most part these Ob lines should not come into play, but exposed to the wind discs can find there way to the lines.  I unfortunately played this course in my fourth round while I was tired and it was in constant rain, and wind.  I played my first 9 holes really well until both my towels were completely soaked and I did not have a dry disc the rest of the round.  Be ready to throw drivers on Second and even third throws here.

South Central Kentucky Technical College:

tech

Tech was the most technically demanding course we had to play in the Intermediate division.  The course is largely holes with tight fairways that are about 25-40 ft wide, on either side are 8 ft high dense bushes that you are very likely just going to be pitching out.  It requires tight course management and placement while still trying to get significant distance if you want to score well.  If you can stay out of trouble the par 4’s are pretty soft, a three feels good and a four feels like you did not quite capitalize on the opportunity.  The flow is  little off with a few holes randomly on the other side of the campus that are just big and open but for the most part it is tight in the woods.

Preston Miller:

Miller

Miller was a very short course that was primarily in very tight woods,  The rough was not really as rough as techs rough was and there were plenty of opportunities to scramble if you kicked off a tree (which was very likely to happen).  Most of the holes on the course are under 250 ft long.

Hobson’s Grove:

Hobson

This course was a little more traditional park style course.  A few holes of open park style golf with a few gardian trees and elevation changes.  A few holes that go through the woods with good sized fairways and rough that you could easily scramble out of.  Hole 2 has some length and teeth, and I would recommend walking the hole prior to playing it.

Those were the intermediate courses, I did not play any of the others to give a full right up.

Town:

Just wanted to give a shout out to a few of the local places of the town that Tyler and I ended up.  First the A-Frame was a great local dive bar,  no food there but this was recommended to us by a few local players we ran into after playing doubles on Thursday.  The place has a great atmosphere the bartender was a great guy gave us good food recommendations, and they had a great selection of beers.

At the A-Frame we got advice from the bartender for food to go to Gino’s Italian Deli.  They had some amazing food, and they had good vegetarian options for Tyler.  We got stuff to go which was really nice, and its location was great being right across the main road from the Holiday Inn, and Convention Center that served as tournament central.

Media:

Check out Tyler’s videos for his perspective on our trip:

Recap:

It’s a great tournament with a great players pack, its well run I met a ton of great people.  I highly recommend finding some of the local places for food it seems like a lot of people funnel into the chains.  We look forward to going back in 2018

An Adventurous Life

The other week I was traveling with some friends and they were using the word adventure a lot: “We need to go adventuring again sometime”, “My adventuring partner” it goes on so I will spare you the details.  So it got me thinking were the activities they were doing actually an adventure, and what constitutes something to be an adventure.  I don’t know about you but for me when I hear the word adventure things that come to mind are movies like, Indiana Jones, and the Eiger Sanction, and I know my real experience  do not come close to those movies.  Real life experience and the movies are completely different so while I will never throw nazi’s off of a zeppelin I would still like to live a more adventurous life.

So to start looking into how to live an adventurous life I asked around to some friends on what they thought adventure was.  There were a number of reoccurring themes that came out in the answers people gave: perceived risk, uncertain outcome, something that take you out of your comfort zone, and something out of the ordinary.  However I was unsatisfied with these answers and this view of adventure, giving a speech to a large crowd for some has an uncertain outcome, perceived risks by people and takes them out of their comfort zone, but I would not call that an adventure.  I take nothing away from what people think but for what I want out of an adventure and a life of adventure I want something a bit more.

Taking parts of what people gave me as their thoughts, and mixing in my own desire for adventure I’ve developed five elements I think make something an Adventure, an Inspired Objective, Risk, Requires you to be better than you are at the start, and Unpredictability.

Adventures start with a grand objective, or purpose, Indiana Jones has to find the Arc, Frodo has to destroy the ring, the adventure has a purpose, or goal.  A movie about someone traveling about aimlessly may be an interesting character piece but I do not think most of us would clarify it as an adventure.  An objective drives us forward to push through the hard times that will come, to test are limits, and overcome and persevere.  It cannot be any objective though.  My friend as part of his idea of adventure is he has to be inspired to action for him to start moving towards his goal.

The objective must be inspired by a deep internal desire.  We all have those large dreams we want to pursue, that we know will take a massive commitment.   Those thoughts that get you excited just thinking about them, those are the beginning of a true adventure. They draw you in and act as an inciting incident to action, to start a true adventure.

Not all inspired Objective will make for a great adventure, there must be some risk involved.  A lot of responses to what makes an adventure included perceived risk, but I think there has to be some element of real risk.  Real risk is required for an adventure.  When there is risk we are far more committed, focused, and thus fully invested in the experience.  Risk can be physical but it could also be financial, personal, social,  something needs to be on the line, in a true adventure.  You will have to leave the safe and comfortable life behind if you want to live an adventurous life.

An adventure is also going to require you to be better than you are at the outset.  An adventure will push you past your limits.  What got you here will not get you there.  An adventure will require you to learn new skills push yourself, work harder, ultimately get better, and grow as an individual.

Even with all of that you may still not have a great adventure.  There must be uncertainty, and unpredictability in an adventure.  If all of your plans go perfectly it is not an adventure.  Its those times where things go wrong, you have to adapt, make the tough decisions, and push through that you enter into the realm of adventure.  Its those moments that will require more of you to push through the risk, towards that objective.

Now will all of this being said I’ve done a lot of trips, but I think most of them are not adventures.  What I do know is that if you want to have more adventures, you need to look for those inspired objects that may be a bit too big for you to accomplish, that might be a risk, and find ways to step into that unpredictable world and make things happen.

Thanks

I once heard a quote: “There are no self made millionaires, but some of them forget that along the way”.  I think this quote rings true about all aspects not just personal wealth.  No one becomes a success in a vacuum, we all have coaches, mentors, and partners who help us, challenges us, and encourage us to do better.  Every piece of advice, word or encouragement,  it adds up and makes us who we are.  So while I am not at where I want to be as an ending I do want to thank those who have got me to where I am today.

First I want to thank my Dad.  There has not a been a more influential and encouraging person in my life.  He has provided me countless resources, endless advice, and is always there to support whatever I am doing.  He is always there when I need him.  Also to date he did belay me for my hardest trad onsight (pictured above), on the day I taught him to lead belay, so he has that going for him too.

I’ve had a lot of climbing mentors over the years.  First Jack Harris, my college professor he taught me how to make top ropes how to trad, and was my intro into technical Skills,  Joe Orn got me further into climbing an trying hard was a great partner to climb with who helped get me to the next level.  Bill Boyd was a huge mentor for me, helping me with a few tips and tricks as well as, helping my footwork and technique to develop.  Most recently my friend Landon is the primary driver of my improvement getting me to focus on a training plan and helping to craft that plan and follow through.

I have not have as many disc golf mentors but just being around good players has helped me focus in and dial up my game to perform.  But I do want to give a shout out to my friend Tyler for getting me deeper into the sport and focusing on development for competitive pursuits.

Just putting this out here as a thank you for everyone who has helped me along the way.  I hope you take some time to thank those who have helped you grow and develop into who you are today.

On Failing

In the past week I’ve failed a lot.  First off I failed to get a blog out last week as I was out in Bishop did not have access to a computer, and I know I could have scheduled one to post the week before but I failed to do that.  I was out bouldering in Bishop and I fell a lot more than I sent.  I played in a tournament this weekend took the first round lead and let it slip away,  Threw my best round in League to date this week and still wasn’t good enough to win.  So I’ve fallen short a lot lately.

That is not a bad thing though it just is.  Failure is going to happen.  While out bouldering last week I was happy that I got to send some routes and a few on-sights, but looking back on the week what I am most proud of are the hard routes I tried and threw myself at falling time and time again.  Some of those routes I overcame and got the problem, but others I fell and fell but never got it, and I’m proud of that.  Getting the problem and getting through is fun, but finding my limits pushing myself.  More I am proud that I fell going for it.

Often I find myself backing off and falling out of being tired, being scared of committing to the move, or feeling uncomfortable and backing off.  This trip though I found myself more often than not failing while trying to move forward and stay on.  So long as I fail giving my best effort I am OK with it for now.  I know I’m not the best, so giving my full effort might not always be enough, but when I finish I want to know I left it all out there.

In the tournament I let get away from me sunday I know there were a few shots I did not put my full effort into shots.  A few shots near the end I had a lapse in focus did not set up right and fulling commit to the shot.  That is what bothers me the most, it is not that I did not win but that I did not commit fully, and left effort out there.  If I put my full effort into the event and came out satisfied with the effort I would feel better about the outcome.

Now, I don’t mean to see you should run every death putt, and throw dynos at the top of highball boulder problems.   If you know you are in a good spot climbing, or you know you want you have a safe throw commit to it.  If you decision is to back off of a climb, or lay up a shot commit fully.  It is when you give partial effort that even that lay-up hits an early tree, or leaves you short,  the big move you half commit to you never stick it.  Make your decision commit fully to it, and so long as you have your full effort, and focus, failure is ok, it is a chance to learn.  So even though I fail, and I fail a lot, so long as the effort was there I’m ok with that, at least for now

 

The Best of Brews

Whether disc golfing or climbing beer seems to be a common staple of both communities. The Disc Golf Podcast does a weekly disc and beer (or Deer) review, The Enormocast has regularly chimed in on the the subject as well, and even world champion disc golfers are opening their own brewery. It’s a subject that draws a lot of water, and hops from the climbing and disc golf media scene so I figured it was time to throw my thoughts into this discussion.

Before we begin I begin a bit of a disclaimer, everyone has different tastes and opinions on beer, so take my opinions with a grain of salt or a full salt rim if that’s your thing.

5. Post Climbing Training Beers:

Most of us climb in a gym for our training, and that means pulling on a lot of plastic, and my gym is fairly new and uses almost all predominantly rock candy holds, which have incredible friction. However with that benefit comes the downside of rubbing your hands raw. A nice cold one placed firmly between two sore hands helps to ease the pain. It may undo some of the progress gained in the gym but the relief is well worth it.

4. Parking lot Beers after a day in the backcountry climbing:

Cans and bottles unfortunately add some extra weight, and if you have a bit of hike out to your location that can be a burden to carry that’s not worth it, especially if you route does not allow you for a place to stash your gear, so you have to climb and rappel with the extra weight. However the long day, and the wait is always worth it. Getting back to the car tired and thirsty makes everything taste that much sweeter.

3. Beers Shared Among Friends:

Beer as always best when shared, whether someone is sharing theirs with you or you sharing yours with others. The simple exchange helps to build the bonds between each other grows friendships, adds to the experience and make the beer that much better. Whether it is splitting a six pack around a campfire, or on the disc golf course. Sharing is caring and it adds.

2. Post Tournament Beers:

Whether it is to help celebrate a good finish to your final round, or to help distract you from the mistakes you let pile up on the course the post tournament beer is a great way to close out a tournament. Swapping stories with other players catching up on the action of the day, the hero shots that went in the bad breaks. Swapping stories and capping off the tournament right puts this one in second place.

1. Post Send Beer:

After all of your hard work on you project you finally got the route you’ve been working for a while now. If you planned ahead you knew this day was coming and you might have stashed a few in a nearby stream. These are the best you’re out at the crag in the wilderness, you’re with good friends, hopefully, and you finally got your goal, all of these combine to make the best beer you could have, even a pabst taste great here.

Honorable Mentions

-Shower beer

-Free beer

-Anything around a campfire