ForeShore Adventure Run – Running to Overcome Life’s Obstacles

ForeShore Adventure Race

This Saturday, May 16th is the first annual ForeShore Adventure Run on Pere Marquette Beach Park in Muskegon, MI. I will be running with coworkers from the Mlive Media Group in the morning as my official #AdventureSaturday activity for the weekend. There are 2.5K and 5K options with 11 obstacles on the 2.5K and an additional 8 on the 5K. There is something fun about obstacle course races, an element of adventure and physical challenge that running doesn’t give you.
I spoke to Dan Skogland and Jim Boes from the Muskegon Rescue Mission to get some details about what the race stands for and what it is supporting. “ForeShore Adventure Run is about running to overcome life’s obstacles. Participants will literally overcome obstacles on a sandy and wet 5k course. The money raised will be used by Muskegon Rescue Mission to help homeless men, women and children overcome obstacles in their lives.
Muskegon Rescue Mission has been caring for homeless and hungry men, women and children since 1907. We provide emergency shelter, food, long-term residential recovery program, job training, clothing, personal care items, baby pantry and more. By relieving the immediate needs we able to address the root cause of their distress and offer the spiritual nourishment necessary to effect true and lasting change. Our Objective is to bring people to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
It will be fun to run in this inaugural event and look forward to this event becoming a permanent fixture on the annual calendar.

Register to Run Today!
http://foreshore.org

Check out this Mlive Article with more details
http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2015/05/5_obstacles_participants_will_1.html

Kayaking the Rogue River, Rockford, MI

Rogue River Kayaking

Saturday has become my go-to day for adventures. The timing is always right after a busy week at the office, and I am always looking for a way to clear my head, exercise, and get my adrenaline flowing. Coworker and fellow adventurist, Jeff Englishmen and I knew we wanted to kayak something challenging this week as the previous week we did a pretty easy paddle in the White River, North of Whitehall. Jeff had done sections of the Rogue in the past and knew it would be fast this early in the season. There were also sections that he hadn’t paddled yet so we decided to start at the dam in downtown Rockford, MI and paddle back to downtown Grand Rapids. It was about a 17 to 18 mile paddle and we estimated it would take 5 to 6 hours.
Saturday morning was only about 41 degrees when we set out for the river. We took back roads to follow the river up to Rockford, so we could check out a few fast spots that have proved to be a bit challenging in Jeff’s past experience. We weren’t disappointed! The water was high and the river was fast. We drove to downtown Rockford and prepped the boats to set out right below the dam. We both stared at the river for a second and laughed, because it was moving. Jeff asked if I was having second thoughts, which I quickly replied “Not at all!” We both laughed knowing that we were just telling ourselves that and had know idea what to expect. That is what adventure is all about. If there’s no risk, then what’s the reward?
We geared up and shoved off right into the action. There wasn’t much time to get used to the rocky bottom and twisting river, because we were right in the midst of it. The next 7 miles proved to be quite challenging as we traversed the river around rocks, down rapids, and around eager fishermen. Jeff and I both had our moments where we almost went in, but were able to recover and keep paddling. The most challenging section of the river split into two and we had really no idea which way was better. We knew from the drive up that if we went right, then we were in for a ride that would probably dump us out of our boats. We chose left and shot out of a side current right into a log jam. We were both able to beach the boats and get out to see what our options were. We used logs to cross a small flow of water next to us so we could see what we were dealing with on the other side. We portaged over and chose our path wisely. What a blast!
The last mile of the Rogue before we hit the Grand River was a little more tame, but still really fun. Once we hit the Grand River, it was more like a lake paddle with a fast current and we were able to get a really good paddling workout. As we paddled through you start to get a really great view of the city and the many parks and recreation trails that Grand Rapids offers. We did the entire paddle in 4.5 hours with a couple stops along the way. This paddle isn’t for the faint of heart as the upper sections of the Rogue, below the dam, demands some skill for sure. The lower section, south of Packer Drive, was a great section that would be good for any level of kayaker with a few challenging spots left. I will be back Rogue River! Thanks for the adventure!

Mountain Biking is Good for the Soul!

Mountain Biking Ore To Shore Finish Line

Fellow adventurist Eric Erickson has been an avid mountain biker for the past decade and has some fun trails planned for yours truly this season. I asked Eric to put into words what mountain biking means to him and to let us in on some the adrenaline he has experienced on the trails. Here is a couple of Eric’s adventures! Enjoy!

It’s all about getting lost in the woods with a group of good guys around you. Not literally but figuratively that is what mountain biking has been in my life is just that the adventure of being out in God’s creation, pushing your physical side and having solid meaningful fellowship with a band of brothers while cranking on the pedals together. Getting those wheels turning, dust and dirt flying with the wind whipping in your face is nothing short of medicine for the soul and clarity for the mind, its something I need, crave and appreciate each time I hit the trail.

I have been mountain biking in the West Michigan area since about 2005 when I connected with some guys from the church I started to attend with my family. Weekly single track rides over the years turned into weekend rides and then in the past two years taking on some Michigan mountain bike races together.

Last summer after riding since early spring eight of us from our riding group decided to do our first larger race the Ore To Shore up in my homeland of Marquette Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. Six from the crew, including myself, settled on the 28 miler with two madmen from our group signed onto the 48 mile race. As with any adventure its not just about the event or race itself but the journey that it comes with, the not knowing whats next or how the day will play out, that is the best part when you get a bunch of guys together on a trail and away from everyday life.

The Ore To Shore is a epic race with over 2000 riders following old logging roads and iron ore trails from Ishpeming and Negaunee to Marquette MI. Our crew went up a day early to ride some of the local trails before the big race and stayed at my brothers house only a mile from the shores of Lake Superior. After starting out the day on the wrong trail that took us up a very jagged rocky trail the guys definitely got a taste of the gnarly UP terrain. As we made our way through the scenic trail called “The Gorgeous Trail” alongside the Carp River, we peered down onto the flowing river about 200 yards down the steep grade as we carefully pedaled our way along the narrow trail high above. Winding our way down we caught glimpses of the sun shimmering on the rapids below and peaks of the bright crisp blue sky above the thick canopy of tamarack and evergreen trees.

After an incredible morning ride of about 9 miles we decided to save our legs and lungs for the race the next day so we headed into downtown Marquette for some local fare. I had to take them to a local favorite with much history abounding at the Vierling Restaurant known for their famous lunch and their in house brewed blueberry beer. Next we crossed the street to take in the Ore Dock Brewery and got a very competitive Foosball tourney going among us before heading out to Black Rocks on Presque Isle to cliff jump into the 50 degree Lake Superior “refreshing water”.

Race day was upon us and being the first big race for all of us we didn’t know exactly what to expect. Taking off with over 1000 other riders is an adrenaline rush, scary and intense all at once. As I pedaled hard into the first big turn onto a two rut road the bottle neck killer emerged, riders were going down left and right and I picked my way up the middle to make my own way to finally break free. My riding partner Jon pushed me the entire race as we jostled positions back and forth. For 28 miles I cranked up the hills, tore up the sandy single track, flew incredibly fast down long winding logging roads towards the welcome sight of the finish line filled with crowds clanking cowbells encouraging a strong finish.

It’s an awesome feat to complete a race like the Ore to Shore but it’s the camaraderie of guys that got us into the race in the first place and its what got all 8 of us across the finish line. As we cheered each other on, high fived and hugged afterward while sharing stories of the race while enjoying my brother’s home brewed craft beers around a campfire later that night a peaceful tired feeling beset us all. Through it all we had a common bond, a bond not just in cranking out miles on bikes, sucking in dust and climbing rocky crags but also in the Christian belief we shared. We prayed before and after each ride that year and the Ore to Shore was the pinnacle of the season for us all. God brought us there together and gave us the strength to finish the race well.

Now that we had the racing bug 2015 posed a challenge for us all, how many races would we push or pressure each other to do? The earliest race that kicks off the season is the Barry Roubaix sponsored by Founders Beer in Hastings MI hailed as the largest gravel road ride race in the world.

A simple text thread from the six of us over the winter started with just two signing up for the Barry Roubaix but the great peer pressure got six of us on board. This past weekend we got our gear faces on and all finished the race after grinding out many long hills over the scenic farmland countryside of southern Michigan.

When you want to just get away and focus on a single task at hand in this age of over stimulation and multi-tasking, try getting lost in the woods on a mountain bike with a group of guys, its good for the soul!

Here are some links to the races Eric mentioned above:

http://www.oretoshore.com

http://barry-roubaix.com

Handcycling – Krankin Thru China – 500k of Inspiration

Handcycling in China

Domonic Corradin and his team of handcyclists just finished a 500k trek through the Yunnan Province in southwest China. They started at the foothills of the Himalayas, in the city of Shanrgi-La. The landscape they pass through is absolutely stunning and the cause, well that will just inspire you.

As adventurists they seek to explore China to the extreme, but are there to raise awareness about handcycling and disabled sports. To inspire people to push their limits and explore the world around them. What they are doing is changing lives. According to an Article on Health24.com titled “Benefits of sport for people with disabilities”, “Sport offers physical advantages – good blood circulation, stronger muscles, better balance and co-ordination. But, sport can offer so much more.” Hilary Beeton, an occupational therapist and athletics classifier for the South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled and the International Paralympic Committee adds that “Sport provides a platform for acquiring life skills.” “People who participate in sports enjoy psychological benefits like goodself-esteem and confidence and a belief in their skills and abilities.”

We should all seek to live life to the fullest, no matter what we may think is holding us back. Domonic and his team from Krankin’ Thru China crush the idea that because you are disabled, that you can’t live a life of adventure and extreme sports. Love these guys! Keep Krankin’ guys, I am going to get off my butt and go do something adventurous!

Please check out the photos and journal entries on their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/ChinaKrankin

Also, Krankin’ Thru China’s Web site to donate and show support:
http://www.krankinthruchina.com/mar-2015—going-beyond.html

Mountain Biking Michigan and the Owasippe Trail

I love the excitement and adventure of an unexplored mountain bike trail, specifically single trail. Cranking through the woods, over bridges, around lakes are just an amazing way to spend a day, or two, or three. Whether you are a beginner or and advanced cyclist, Michigan has a lot to offer! From beginner trails to advanced, you will find the adventure you seek in the Mitten State.

One of my favorite trails is the Owasippe Scout Reservation. Owasippe is the oldest Scout Reservation in the country and very special to the community where it is located. We almost lost this precious national resource only five years ago. The Chicago Council of Boy Scouts announced its intentions to sell the 4800 acre reservation to a developer that would turn it into residential neighborhoods. The community rallied and started a “Save Owasippe” campaign. They raised money to repair and rejuvenate the old Scout Reservation and today it remains. They celebrated their 100 year anniversary this year and it was a very special event. If you ride this trail, you will see why this place is so special. Untouched lakes, streams, and woods are a part of what makes this trail an awesome adventure. Hope you find time this year to check it out.

The following link is all you need to plan an awesome Mountain Biking Adventure in Michigan! Enjoy!

http://mmba.org/trail-guide/

Here is the trail map for Owasippe

http://www.chicagobsa.org/document/owasippe-trail-map

Hiking and the North Country Trail!

I have the pleasure of living within only miles of some great hiking locations in West Michigan. North Muskegon State Park, Owasippe Scout Reservation, and the North Country Trail are among the choices I have within a 30 minute drive. Each offer scenic views, elevation, and plenty of woods. The North Country trail however offers hikers something that no other trail can, 4600 miles of hiking pleasure. It is the longest hiking trail in the United States and stretches from New York to North Dakota. It winds through 7 states, 10 national forests, and 150 public lands. If that doesn’t scream adventure, I don’t know what does. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also mountain bike this trail!

I have personally hiked a few different sections of this trail in Northern Michigan and usually bounce from lake to lake enjoying the wooded terrain and wildlife. A trail of this magnitude can seem daunting, but it has some really great resources to help any level of hiker. The North Country Trail Association has a tremendous following and will give you all the info you need to find trail heads, hiker communities, and trail towns. I was able to download the trail info off their site directly into Google Earth to map out the sections I’ve explored and it has maps for both desktop and mobile.

This trail is on the list of adventures for this spring and summer and i plan to broadcast a few section on Meerkat for my peeps to follow along. Check out the links below and plan your next hiking adventure!

https://northcountrytrail.org/

https://vimeo.com/northcountrytrail/videos

Fly Fishing for Big Musky!

Fishing for big aggressive fish has to be among my favorite adventures and it’s hard to not get excited about the prospects of catching a large Musky. I have had 100’s, if not 1000’s, of Pike on the line but have yet to hook its bigger and more aggressive big brother. When I found out that friend and coworker Matt Grajewski was a successful Musky fisherman, I had to find out what he was doing. My mind was blown when he told me that he uses flies and a fly rod to land these bohemith’s! Here’s Matt to tell us about Musky fishing:

The easiest rule to learn about muskies is: they don’t care about the rules. There are definitely “rules” you can follow to increase the odds of getting a muskie to eat. And there are a lot of them. Muskie fisherman are perhaps the most guilty of over analyzing when a fish will eat. Moonrise, moonset, barometric pressure, cold front, warm front, low light, midday, fish deep, fish weeds, fish big, fish small, fish slow, fish fast, etc. If muskies knew these rules, it would make things a heck of a lot easier. Unfortunately, muskies do what they want, when they want. For me, that is one of the biggest draws. I’m sure I’ll never figure them out…and I love that.

On a recent November day, Mark and I headed out on a muskie hunt. The weather looked awful for fishing. Clear blue skies, high barometer, east wind, and bright sun. Its the type of day that screams for you to stay home and get things done around the house. Mark and I hadn’t been out in a few weeks, so we planned to go regardless. The day didn’t start out so great when I realized I forgot my rods. Pretty sure I’ve never done that before. I think I stared at the back of my truck for a few minutes thinking they would materialize. No luck. I informed Mark that I was an idiot, and that I would be back. I remember driving home and thinking this was a sure sign that fishing was going to suck.

I returned an hour later and was pleasantly surprised Mark had moved a decent fish. I thought for sure it would be one of those fall days in which a muskie never showed itself. A short time later, Mark gets a boatside eat. Like most boatside eats, there is instant chatter about what the hell just happened. Our excitement quickly turns to silence when the fish runs the line through the motor, causing it to go slack. Game over. It doesn’t take long before we joke about screwing up our only chance of the day. To our surprise, we continued to move fish. Then I see a large, mustard brown figure tracking my fly from below. She is at least in the mid 40s range and thick. A few minutes later I had her up again, but she doesn’t eat. Still a good sign to see a big female moving. A short time later as I watch my fly approach the boat, I see a white mouth. It happens in a split second, but it always seems like slow motion. A large white mouth appears, and before I can get a word out, the fish is headshaking just below the surface.  “Fish.” I would say there were a few tense moments, but to be honest, I think that is a given with every decent muskie.  We get the fish in the net and snap a few pics.

Rules, broken.  We went from thinking it was going to be a day of casting practice, to one fluke eat, that turned into two eats and one big girl raised. Thats muskie. They don’t eat on days you swear are perfect, and then get active on days it should be terrible. They are stubborn, unpredictable, and moody. Quite a bit like women, actually, and I love them dearly.

Check out this video of Matt and crew getting big Musky to hit flies.

Also, here is a link to Matt’s blog that is full of great info on tying flies and his favorite fishing spots.

http://flyobsession.com

A Group Adventure while on Spring Break in Florida – Zip Orlando

ziporlando

in Spring of 2012 my family and 22 friends and acquaintances made the trek down to Florida from the mitten to enjoy a week in the sun and warm temps. In planning the trip we wanted fun group adventures that we could do together and found a few cool options. One of those activities was Zip Orlando and their 1 mile zipping and rope bridge course. We called in advance and they agreed to take our 17 person group all at once. It was well worth the cost of admission as it was an exhilarating 3 hours of adventure! We all had a great time and I would recommend that everyone try this at least once.

My son was wearing a GoPro on his helmet sent to take random photos while he was on the course. The result was a cool perspective of the course from an 11 year-old boys head. Visit my Shutterfly album (link below) to see some of the photos from the line.

Enjoy!

https://exploitsandadventures.shutterfly.com/pictures/8

http://www.ziporlando.com

The Power of Overcoming and Extreme Abilities

Today I want to introduce you to an adventurist that truly inspires others to live adventurously! Domonic Corradin is the epitome of adventure and I want to share his unique story from his perspective:

From Domonic Corradin:

I grew up in a small town in western Michigan, on a 10-acre “hobby farm”. As a young kid, I spent my days feeding the horses and goats, collecting the eggs from the chicken coop, and stacking firewood for the wood stove. When I was done with my chores and school, I played any and every sport I could get my grubby, little fingers on: from baseball, track, wrestling, basketball and then soccer became my passion. I grew up around sports and later in life became identified as an extreme athlete.

My sophomore year in high school during my off-season of soccer, I was involved in a traumatic car crash coming home from a training session. I lost control of my car on an icy curve, hurling my car into a tree and crushing my spine upon impact. I spent five days in intensive care including reconstructive surgery to my back. Then, I spent another six weeks in a rehabilitation hospital; to learn how to now live life from a wheelchair. My soccer career looked to be done and life was going to be a whole different game from now on.

Fortunately, I was visited in the hospital by 2 disabled mentors, both of whom were near the same age as me. Both were going to school and living life independently even though they were disabled like me. This, coupled with my recreational therapist being adamant about bringing me to practices and tournaments of all different wheelchair sports, gave me hope and desire to realize, I could still have the rush of competing, and I could return to the environment I loved so much.

Once I was discharged from the hospital, I began a rigorous physical therapy regiment and pushed my body harder than ever before. I had wheelchair racing in my sights and I was going to be a competitor once again. I entered my first race less than six months after my injury date, and continued racing for two years before switching to basketball during my senior year. I played one season of junior ball before going to college in Arizona and being recruited by the Phoenix Suns Wheelchair Basketball Team. I had found my home once again, just on a different type of “playing field”.

With my focus concentrating on my next game or race, I trained to be faster, stronger, and all the while making, unbeknownst to me, daily life even easier. When I was training for a 25K race transfers out of my bed and rolling up a hill in my everyday chair were that much less of as challenge. My health was better and I spent a lot less time in the hospital or even being sick, for that matter. People I’d met during my competitions became the best of friends and mentors. I was back!

Very early on in my new life, I was asked to visit other kids in the hospitals whom now faced the same daunting realization I did not all that long ago. I didn’t think I had it all figured out yet myself but, I was determined to help — however I could. I knew the difference it made to me when someone showed me that life was not over just yet, and I wanted to give that same spark to anyone and everyone. It was time for me to spread my knowledge and passion. I was going to be the one to pay-it-forward.

After years of playing every wheelchair sport at my grasp, I moved to the less orthodox and more extreme sports. I left the courts and started really pushing the limits of my mind and body, pushing past my fears in the air and sea. I began scuba diving and ski diving with groups across the country, and even climbed a rock wall here and there. I was always trying to better myself in any and all ways. Additionally, I wanted to find new ways to impart this new found joy onto others I’d meet along the way.

Fast forward a few years and a lifetime of experiences to when I meet the powers that be at the Triumph-Foundation. Right away I knew, this was going to be the organization I wanted to help out and excel by bringing extreme abilities to individuals (including myself) with disabilities –extreme sports, especially hand cycling.

For the last year now, I have organized the handcycling program and events for the Triumph-Foundation, based in Canyon Country, CA. I coordinate and run multiple monthly ride clinics; introducing the sport of handcycling for individuals with spinal cord injuries. I also work with various other organizations such as: MotivateME, Think First Injury Prevention, Alpha Resource Center, Project Walk and Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital lecturing at numerous schools, events, and attend support groups to provide peer support, and mentoring to individuals with SCI (spinal cord injuries).

 

Domonic has two exciting trips coming up, He is racing in the Zion Half Marathon with 4 other handcyclists on March 14th and then heading to China on the 17th for 19 days to do a 500K handcycle trek in the Yunnan province with a few other guys. We will have these adventures and more as Domonic reports back to us from the road.

In the mean time, check out his YouTube channel, blog and Facebook page:

 

http://www.extremeabilities.com

https://www.facebook.com/extremeabilities