Rat Race 2018

by The Good Life on July 21, 2018

in America

In the 6 (yes time flies), yes 6 years since we have lived here, somehow we have always been away for the Drink Water Rat Race.  This year with scheduled Europe trip coming later in the year, I was keen on getting up to ride in what is quickly becoming one of the PNW most anticipated events.

Its funny how banked slaloms and the various iterations have become the thing to do, but at most of them someone in the more gentlemens category can ride the same course as someone who is way younger, faster and more capable like Austin Sweetin or someone. Because generally you don’t have to leave the ground.  Well.  It seems the rat race isn’t that way, and the infamous whoops on offer pretty quickly showed me that I would need to get off the ground.  Quickly and often.


So to start at the beginning though I headed up the night before to sleep in the parking lot, which has long time been something I’ve wanted to do and it was without doubt one of the most memorable things in Oregon.

Waking up looking out the back of the land rover with the sun coming up at 5am is something everyone should experience at least once.  Heck even the sun going down the night before was nice, but this was so nice.

The great and the good of snowboarding were gathered in the lot with seemingly every kind of car, van, truck, RV, mobile home, tent you could ever wish for.  I always felt a bit funny driving a land rover as it always to me felt like a big car, but it was easily the smallest amoungst this eclectic bunch of vehicle/beds on wheels.

and of course everyone had everything ready for any BBQ, snowboard, surf activities that could come their way.

So up the hill we headed to start help digging along with the Drink Water crew, led by Bryan and Stephen Fox, Austin Smith and Curtis Cizsek.  The course is slightly above the chaos of the ski racers, whom having done 5 summers I can see the appeal but also at the same time have zero wish to do summers anymore.

After being hand dug we got after it, thankfully Ami and I managed to get one snails pace run before the world and his wife wanted a run.  Sure enough 3rd run of the day I managed to mess up the second set of whoops and hence my hip in the process, but I did achieve my goal of the day of a) finishing b) registering a time c) walking away.

I also realized the strangest thing.  My head and my body aren’t in sync anymore for snowboarding.  Surfing and to a certain extent, Yoga, they are perfectly in tune as I am essentially a beginner to both in the last couple of years so head and mind are aware of my limit.  However in football and snowboarding it seems in the immortal words of Top Gun “your mouth is writing cheques your body cant cash”  I guess that’s hitting 39 for you.

There was some amazing and inspiring riding on the course especially from the likes of Austin Sweetin, Blair Habenicht, Cale Meyer, Danny Davis, Dustin Anderson, Kevin Nimick, all for their own reasons.

However two things really stood out for me today.

Firstly, that with this 7th rat race, Drink Water have raised 180k for water.org.  Now having worked with snowboarders for 15 years  professionally, seeing a group of people who see more than themselves and aren’t just asking whats in it for them, to see people doing something for others less fortunate than them really makes me appreciative and also very inspired.  Talking of people doing things for other people.  The real MVP of the Rat Race Bill Fox (of course assisted by the one and only Patty Fox) who was manning the BBQ in the parking lot/camp site.

Secondly and this year more poignantly the prize giving was without doubt the most brilliant heartfelty celebration of family and community you could ever wish to see.  Curtis and Austin both lost their fathers this year within months of each other.  As someone who lost his mother 2 years ago, seeing people deal with this in such a public setting was beautiful.  Between Bryan and Austin they spoke about those recently departed and thanks to Nitro had a grip of boards painted by Curtis sister dedicated to big Curt and Brad.  When the two of them were speaking I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, but to me tears of celebration and reminding me why I am so thankful still now to be part of the snowboarding family and also very thankful to call them all friends and all are pretty big inspirations to me.  These are the moments I think back to when I started snowboarding (and yes skiing before that, which my parents got me to try) and thank my lucky stars that I got into it.

Next year I think I’ll need to ride a little more in the run up than I have done this year (hadn’t ridden in 4 months!) and will bring the family up too!

Keep up the good work you legends.


by The Good Life on July 8, 2018

in Uncategorized

Another year around the sun and another opportunity to get a great crew together for a beach trip.  The crew consisted of a Fin, a Fin/American, 3 Americans, 1 German, 1 Canadian, 1 Aussie, 2 Brits and 2 german/British children.

Mareike organized the whole thing as she is the best ever.  I thought it was going to be terrible and rainy but she insisted and when we got there the whole crew was there.

and it wasn’t half bad.

Of course Chloe and Lenny besides swapping clothes are both the people in charge of s’mores duty.

Only 1 didn’t make it…

we also found the first homeless looking Tesla driver.

And a man about to get married in a month.

I mean this is pretty special.

In related news I also organized my cave.  Notice the addition of the We surf artwork….


by The Good Life on May 29, 2018

in Uncategorized

In my quest to learn my camera ever more, we ended up at seaside this weekend for a day.

There is something magically peaceful and calm about the coast.  Yes, we know, we’ll need to live near the beach one day.

Because as Lilly knows, thats where the home is…

Even with a grumpy face on.

Send Help!

Lenny and his beach buddy Connie

Yes. we know he needs a haircut.

This tree is quite something else.

This way to the weekend.

We also had the Memorial Day fireworks kick off so I was trying my night photography again.  It needs work yet…

and one we got at Hood river a month or so ago..

Coffee Withdrawal?

by The Good Life on March 28, 2018

in Friends, gentlemen of the goodlife, Uncategorized

About a month ago after coming home with yet another headache and seriously questioning my own mental state I finally succumbed to the ask from the good lady to go to the doctor.  These headaches have been going on a while now, mostly on a Monday and Tuesday sometimes later in the week, but usually in the afternoon.

I’m talking come home from work lie In bed, curtains closed, pounding headache.

It felt like a headache behind the eyes and for the longest time I had put it down to the fact that at work we end up having to switch gears so often, so for example you may have 8 hours in the day, 8 different meetings all needing a different mindset.  So I just assumed it was me and that I need to do a better job of keeping things balanced at work.

Caveat, I’m a father of now two kids, one of whom is 2.5.  Luckily though we all sleep decently, mostly due to my wife being a rockstar,.

So I have tried multiple things to solve the issue of the headaches.  Deleting social media Monday-Friday on my phone, as I mean the constant checking in can’t be good if you are trying to keep focused.  Certainly helped my focus but again the headaches came.

Next thing, as you might have read I stopped eating breakfast last year which has been amazing to lose weight but I wondered if that was the issue too.  So here and there I started with breakfast again which certainly helped. Heres that post if you missed it..


So then with those two variables changed and life, I started looking to what else it could be.  So I spoke to then doctor whom I explained my habits and straight away he said I might need reading glasses.  Fair enough, I’m 38, why not.  I could rock me some glasses like the best of them.  Then as I’m leaving he asks how much coffee I drink.  He said that he is seeing more and more people with coffee withdrawal symptoms, even just in the afternoon.

Now in no way am I a coffee snob.  No way a coffee hipster.  But I do love a good cup or three of coffee.  Yes I have the grinder, the beans, the aeropress, the drip, most of the 9 yards I guess.  But usually I might have 2 or 3 through the morning, sometimes in the afternoon and of course at offsite’s but no more than anyone else.

So Wednesday 28th Feb I woke up and said “lets try without it”.  Of course I missed it.  I love everything about coffee.  Making time for yourself, the process, the smell, the new bags of beans.  The first week was a bit of a challenge, but it was fine.  Week after, Monday, Tuesday, usual headache days, no headache.

After 10 days of no coffee it was a weekend and it was amazing to see the difference it made in terms of energy levels.  Usually my weekend involves watching my terrible football team over multiple cups of coffee and so by the afternoon after some kind of activity I need a nap.  This week, no nap, intact I dug up a bunch of the garden, went for a run and felt amazing.  I have to admit though I thought I was really on hardly any caffeine then realized the amount in tea….  I can’t give you up too oh precious one.

So yes, after now 28 days without a coffee I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.

  1.  I miss coffee.  I miss the ritual of grinding the beans, waiting for the water, then choosing the drip or aeropress.  Its a nice way to spend a weekend morning.
  2. I love coffee.
  3. I dont miss headaches.  I don’t 100% know if they are from the coffee but everything is pointing that way, and essentially thats what the doctor said, its an afternoon coffee withdrawal symptom.  Seems insane to me that you are able to get your body addicted to something so easily.
  4. I think the way that people drink coffee is unsustainable in terms of health.  In general a coffee has 95 mg of caffeine and 64mg in an espresso.   I was probably on 2 or 3 cups a day so call is 300 mg a day.  Research says that up to 400mg is safe, but I don’t know if those headaches would say that I felt healthy.  I found this which speaks to how much caffeine is in a bunch of drinks.  Seems that a Venti Starbucks is actually way more than I’d imagined.
  5. I thought I was crushing it by drinking tea, but realized there is still 26mg in English tea which is what I drink a lot of.  However herbal tea has 0 and so the might be my next  thing.
  6. Coffee has become a crux for a lot of people.

At this point I’m already a believer and so will continue as No coffee, no headaches and we’re a month in here.

I’m going to try Decaf for a month.  0 caffeine apparently….

No coffee was hurt in writing this article and if you are in portland drinking coffee go check out the one and only



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