Jon of SwiCy­cloRun relays his hilar­i­ous sto­ry about a day at Lake George.

I was able to start day #2 up in Lake George off with not one, but two kayak­ers to escort me on a short .6 mile OWS in the cove where I was stay­ing. Thanks to my sis­ter and cousin!

My thing about open water swim­ming is that I like to swim in water where I CANNOT see the bot­tom. Or rather, ANYTHING oth­er than the per­son in front of me whom I am draft­ing. Got it?

Lake George is a clear lake, espe­cial­ly in the morn­ing, and even with two kayak­ers near me, I still get freaked out when I see a fish, or a GIGANTIC boul­der under­neath you.

But do you real­ly want to know what freaks me out the most? When I hit a gigan­tic DEAD fish out in the mid­dle of the lake. GAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!! haha­ha­ha­ha­haa! I came up and was all pan­icked with, “What was that! What was that!” My lit­tle almost 12 year old cousin was laugh­ing with, “Haha! Haha! You hit a dead fish!”

Ok, I got a chuck­le out of it after I real­ized what it was. But man! Talk about freak­out! What are the chances that out of the ENTIRE lake that I hit the one dead fish in the cove!?!?!? I could actu­al­ly smell it before I came near it. So gross! I even cut my fin­ger on its fin. Blah!

So after the swim, I laced up the shoes and went for a run with my super run­ner aunt. I said I need­ed to do 9 miles and she respond­ed with, “Oh! We can go up Mt. Defiance.”

Spe­cial thanks to Jeff @ Dan­gle The Car­rot for shoot­ing me a great of def­i­n­i­tion of what “defi­ance” means:
inten­tion­al­ly con­temp­tu­ous behav­ior or atti­tude. OR a hos­tile challenge.

Does this look like a “hos­tile chal­lenge” to you?

Says the aver­age pitch is 9.36% .…I’d say the max is ~16%. Get your climb­ing gear out!
So my aunt gets us to mile 4 and we start going up a pitch and she says, “By the way, this isn’t the hill yet.” WHAAAAT!!!! We get to the top of the pitch and she then says, “Here is the turn to head up.” We make the turn and I see this wall in front of me. GULP!

I col­lect­ed myself and we start­ed the ascent. It went wall to short plateau to wall to short plateau and my breath­ing got heav­ier and heav­ier and my pace was crawl­ing to that of a slug. Final­ly we come to a flat sec­tion and I can see a clear­ing. I am con­vinced that the end is right there. WRONG! I turn anoth­er cor­ner and again look up to even STEEPER sec­tions that are even LONGER. OH MAN GET THIS OVER WITH!!!

Now my brain has switched into full on Mt. Ven­toux climb­ing mode. The SUCKAGE is at its great­est and the top will come and this hill climb will pay off div­i­dends in two weeks @ Timberman.

Well, at least the reward­ing view at the top was lit­er­al­ly breath­tak­ing! Haha­ha! Get it? I was out of breath when I got to the top? Oh man.…I will be here all week folks, try the duck!
View to the north into Ver­mont. This is the bot­tom of Lake Champlain.
That fort is Fort Ticon­dero­ga. The Brits hauled two canon up to this view and shot artillery shells down upon the fort dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary war. Can you imag­ine haul­ing canon up this road?!?!?
View to the south into Ver­mont. The very bot­tom of Lake Cham­plain is down there even further.
We took it easy on the way down so as to not get blis­ters on the feet. It took us 12:30 to run the 1 mile up, and 11 mins to run the 1 mile down. I can’t risk blis­ters at this point. Gonna save em for two more weeks. We round­ed out the run @ 10.2 miles for the morn­ing, round­ing out a sol­id week­end of training.

I then fell asleep in a ham­mock on the shore with the wind rock­ing me side to side. That was a great and well deserved nap!

To read more of Jon’s adven­tures, check out his blog SwiCy­cloRun… Tales of an Age Group Triathlete.
And if you’d like to share your sto­ries, send an email to
If you’re in need of an invi­ta­tion for a mem­ber­ship to The Clymb, here you go.

Ter­ra Cas­tro shares valu­able lessons learned from her grand­fa­ther in a blog that will hope­ful­ly inspire us all.

What moun­tains are you will­ing to climb and con­quer to achieve the suc­cess you are capa­ble of? Will you stand up and BELIEVE when it seems like there may not be hope to go on? Have you looked your­self in the mir­ror and com­mit­ted to the goals you have set upon your heart?  In these instances you must BE BOLD. All it takes is that first step. Take that step, start the climb, and be fueled by those who inspire you.

I am a pro­fes­sion­al Iron­man triath­lete. I have been in the sport of “swim-bike-run” since 1997 when at the age of 17, my grand­fa­ther nudged me to toe the line with him. Since then I have raced around the world as an elite junior triathlete/duathlete for Team USA, turned pro­fes­sion­al in 2003, pro­gressed to half-iron­mans in 2004 (1.2 mile swim-56 mile bike-13.1 mile run) and in 2005 I com­plet­ed my first Iron­man (2.4 mile swim-112 mile bike-26.2 mile run). 2005 was a key year for me as I signed a con­tract with the LUNA Pro Team and have been rac­ing as a mem­ber of this team ever since.  August 29, 2010 will be my next Iron­man in Louisville, Kentucky.

Triathlon is my job- when the alarm screams wake up at 4:45am for my track ses­sion with coach- I am fueled by the goals I have set…and a bit of cof­fee. As I crawl into bed at 9:30pm, every mus­cle strand tight and tired from the hours of train­ing, I have peace that I am one step clos­er to the peak of the moun­tain before me. Every day I have the choice to BE BOLD thanks to the inspi­ra­tion of a spe­cial per­son in my life.

My grand­fa­ther (“Papa”) opened my eyes to the beau­ty of sport and com­pe­ti­tion. He’d scream at me dur­ing High school track meets and taught me how to drink from a water bot­tle with­out falling over while rid­ing the bike.  My Papa is now 79. He has sur­vived Prostate can­cer, a bro­ken neck that put him in a halo for 6 months (thanks to a bike crash), and is now a 2 time Kid­ney Can­cer sur­vivor. With a bro­ken neck he’d hike with poles or walk with a walk­er on the track tim­ing his mile splits.

Papa and I

In July 2010 he raced a duathlon, only 6 months after his last diag­no­sis (and with one kid­ney) and ran 16 miles last week with a friend for his long run. As you can see, I grew up with the idea of BEING BOLD, right in front of me. My Papa’s grit, his pas­sion, and abil­i­ty to over­come chal­lenge after chal­lenge with grace, gives me courage. How could I not climb on?

With a lit­tle bit of courage, grace and pas­sion we can all climb up and over. We can all BE BOLD.

For more on my dai­ly adven­tures you can vis­it my blog here.


If you want to share your sto­ry with us you can send an email to

Also, if you’re in need of a mem­ber­ship to The Clymb, click here.

Jon from the blog “The Adven­tures of Jon, Lau­rence and Mo” takes an embar­rass­ing sit­u­a­tion and uses it as fuel to over­come his great­est clymb… and get the girl.

Through­out my life I’ve been active in some way or anoth­er.  In high school it was foot­ball and track.  In col­lege it was rac­quet­ball and lift­ing.  My clymb begins a few after col­lege.  I was work­ing at a large cor­po­ra­tion in cor­po­rate mar­ket­ing.  I remem­ber this day vivid­ly, I was work­ing on a project with a VP who want­ed to “walk and talk” as his sched­ule was full but we need­ed to dis­cuss next steps.  Dur­ing this 10 min meet­ing, between his oth­er oblig­a­tions, I found myself exit­ing a stair­well after two flights of stairs breath­ing  deeply and start­ing to per­spire.  It was embar­rass­ing!  My entire life I’ve been in decent shape and now I was two years out of col­lege weigh­ing 295 pounds.  Where did all this weight come from!?!?  No won­der I was strug­gling to keep up with this 50+ VP in the stairwell.

That day was the day I decid­ed I would start run­ning and los­ing weight.  When I got home from work I laced up my old ten­nis shoes and head­ed out for a “run.”  I didn’t make it to the end of the block with­out hav­ing to take a walk break.  I pushed myself to go far­ther and far­ther with few­er walk breaks.  I stopped eat­ing a burg­er and fries every day for lunch and I saw pounds fall off.  I was doing it…I was climb­ing out of the hole.

Fast for­ward a year and a half.  I was reg­u­lar­ly run­ning 3–4 miles at least three times a week.  I’ve done a few 5Ks.  I have also met the love of my life.  She was train­ing for her first marathon so to impress her I signed up for a half marathon.  We fin­ished the half marathon a few min apart, I fin­ished fast and strong speed­ing my 10 min/mile pace up to 9 min/mile for the last 3 miles.  I crossed the fin­ish line feel­ing great!  I did it!  I pulled myself out of my hole!  That moment defines my on-going climb.  I was rid­ing high.  My soon to be wife was proud and excit­ed to see me cross that line.

I did a num­ber of races that fall and the more I raced the more I felt like I was climb­ing high­er.  I start­ed think­ing; can I sum­mit the world of run­ning?  Can I run a marathon?  I quick­ly signed up for Twin Cities marathon and kept training.

Fast for­ward anoth­er year. I was toe­ing the start­ing line of Twin Cities Marathon.  My sis­ter-in-law was by my side (she is an 11 time marathon­er), we ran side by side until mile 25.  At which point I need­ed to walk the water stop and she knew I would fin­ish at that point so I told her to go and fin­ish strong.  Just a few min lat­er I crossed that fin­ish line with a smile on my face.  Again, I did it!  I was out of my hole and at the sum­mit of life.  I was rid­ing high!

After that I took some time off from run­ning and slow­ly slide back down the side of the moun­tain to my hole.  I didn’t reach the same bot­tom but through­out the next year I did the same cycle.  And this year, I again I slide down the side clos­er to that orig­i­nal hole.

Each time I climb out and cross that fin­ish line the look on my wife’s face means the world to me.  She is always proud of my accom­plish­ments.  Recent­ly I’ve made a ded­i­ca­tion to flat­ten this cycle and reach for new sum­mits.  I’m once again work­ing on my run­ning base.  In the days when I don’t run I bike.  Bik­ing is my escape.  Bik­ing makes the world blur.  It is my time to focus on me and eval­u­ate my progress towards the next sum­mit, towards the next fin­ish line hug from my wife.

If you would like to fol­low the rest of my jour­ney, please stop by my blog.

Thanks for reading!


If you’d like to share your clymb sto­ry, just send an email to

Also, if you’re in need of a mem­ber­ship to The Clymb, well, this is for you.

“Don’t — even — touch me,” I said to my friend. I was stand­ing on a mar­ble ledge in one of the alcoves a few flights down from the top of the Lean­ing Tow­er of Pisa. I felt like the famous tow­er was try­ing to tilt my way on pur­pose and that my feet were going to slip on the slick stone at any moment. I could hard­ly look at the view. This was years ago.

You might say I had a slight fear of heights back then. It was nev­er enough to stop me from going to the top of a tow­er, or climb a tree, or go — very care­ful­ly — to the edge of a look­out point, but it did seem to be a lit­tle stronger than what my friends had. Where they might be stand­ing at ease, I was some­times sit­ting. Where they might bound from one rock to anoth­er, I might be found crawl­ing along or going around anoth­er way.

Even then, I loved the out­doors and see­ing things from up high.

Pho­to: Peter Bozek

In col­lege I dis­cov­ered there was a free begin­ning rock­climb­ing class that was held at a local rock for­ma­tion. I had often seen it from a dis­tance and won­dered what it would be like to see the view from its top. I had to find out so I signed up.

Dur­ing the class we didn’t do any­thing too tall, it was a begin­ning class after all. I did meet one per­son who seemed even more afraid of heights than I was. One of the things we did was to chim­ney climb up a cracked boul­der. You had to top off on one side of the boul­der and then, while still on belay, step over the crack to get to the oth­er side and the walk off. He took a long time to make that step. I was wor­ried it might take me even longer.

When my turn came I got up the climb eas­i­ly enough, in fact I enjoyed how sol­id I felt doing the clas­sic chim­ney tech­nique. When I got on top, I looked over to the oth­er side, and the out­stretched arms of the instruc­tor and real­ized that the gap was much nar­row­er than it looked from the ground. Class­mates were say­ing encour­ag­ing things. I stepped over eas­i­ly and crossed into a new world.

Pho­to: Jere­my Shapiro

I think that out­ing exem­pli­fied some of the rea­sons I climb. When folks have asked me why I start­ed climb­ing I some­times said it was to get over a slight fear of heights. I might also add that I love explor­ing new places in the out­doors and meet­ing new peo­ple. What I usu­al­ly didn’t say was that I found the peo­ple I met while climb­ing to be gen­er­al­ly sup­port­ive and that each climb was more about chal­leng­ing myself than my fear. Fear is set aside in the focus of fig­ur­ing out a climb, in fact much is set aside when climb­ing, leav­ing you with your mind, your body and the rock.

It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about that first class. It led to anoth­er and then a group week­end trip to Joshua Tree Nation­al Park, where I was well and tru­ly hooked. Years have passed since then and I’ve climbed some very tall rocks and even end­ed up doing trad leads (some­thing I thought I would not do). So why do I climb now? I still climb because of a love of the out­doors and explo­ration, but the fit­ness ben­e­fit is of greater impor­tance now. I have some­thing I love to do that moti­vates me to stay in shape and helps me get in shape while doing it. I still love meet­ing new climbers and have found more ways to meet them, includ­ing online. I’ve also dis­cov­ered that there are spe­cial friend­ships to be found with long term climb­ing partners.

And what about a fear of heights? Some­times after look­ing at my lat­est climb­ing trip pic­tures, friends ask me if I still have it. I just smile and say, “I have a healthy respect for them”.

Pho­to: Kel­ly Ringwald

If you’d like to read more about my past and present adven­tures please vis­it my web­site, , it orig­i­nal­ly start­ed in 2002 as a women cen­tric (but not exclu­sive) com­mu­ni­ty site then became more of an open blog, dis­cus­sion and pho­tog­ra­phy web­site. I’m also on Twit­ter as @rockgrrl

Pho­to: Kel­ly Ringwald

If you need a mem­ber­ship to The Clymb, click here.

Also, if you’d like to share your expe­ri­ences in a guest blog you can send an email to

Why do peo­ple do the things they do? No, this isn’t us being philo­soph­i­cal. More like, nosy.

What pos­sess­es some­one to climb a moun­tain? Or push them­selves to their phys­i­cal lim­its and then dig a lit­tle more? We found our­selves ask­ing those ques­tions and decid­ed to go direct­ly to the source for answers. It took many hours of read­ing hun­dreds of blogs, but we final­ly got those answers. And the truth is, there are too many to count. The one thing they have in com­mon, how­ev­er; is that under­neath it all there’s a unde­ni­able pas­sion that fuels every per­son to climb, ski, run, etc. Well, that and that they’re damn good at it.

We invit­ed some of these blog­gers to share their sto­ries, moti­va­tions, and expe­ri­ences with all of you. We fig­ured it would make for some pret­ty fun read­ing and then there’s that whole nosy thing. Each week we’ll bring you anoth­er sto­ry in our “Why I.…” series.   Hope­ful­ly you’ll find the sto­ries inspi­ra­tional and informative.

If you have a blog/site you’d like us to check out and think you might be inter­est­ed in shar­ing your sto­ry, con­tact We’d love to hear from you.