Life

Want to Change Your Commuting Habits? What about a Cargo Bike?

Trying to figure out how to leave your car in the garage more often and spend less time behind the wheel? The answer might just be a cargo bike.

 Cargo bikes have been around since the early 20th century and were originally used by tradesmen to deliver goods before the invention of the automobile. Nowadays, they are extremely popular in Europe and Asia and are used for both recreational and business purposes:  taking kids to school, transporting groceries, family bike rides, and for delivering mail and packages.

 Using cargo bikes can cut down on noise and air pollution. They can be quicker than using cars or delivery vans. Finding parking is also not as difficult in the city. Of course, there is also the health benefit to riding a bike. It is a great way to get in shape!

Despite their practicality, cargo bikes are less frequently used in North America, although they are slowly starting to catch on in the United States.

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 UPS, which started in Seattle in 1907 as a bicycle messenger company, announced last year that it would start using electric cargo bicycles to deliver packages in Pike Place Market and downtown Seattle in order to reduce congestion.

Denverite Melissa Colonno is a huge fan of cargo bikes and bought hers in October 2017. While living in Seattle from 2008-2012, Melissa and her husband biked a lot and remember seeing several longtail cargo bikes. Around the time their first child arrived in 2012, Melissa started seeing Madsen (a US brand) “bucket bikes” on social media and immediately wanted one.

As her family grew, Melissa tried out various ways to transport her children.

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“When our first child was around one year old, we bought a Yepp bike seat to bike with her around Denver. This worked well. Then, when we were about to have our second child, we bought a Chariot stroller that could also be a bike trailer. We used this frequently to bike with our two kids.”  Melissa has always been intrigued by cargo bikes and once she was pregnant with her third child, she became even more resolved to get one!

When it came time to buy a cargo bike, Melissa and her husband did more research and decided they wanted a tricycle with the cargo box in the front.


She wanted to feel very stable while riding and stopping and wanted to be able to see her kids without having to turn around.
Melissa ordered a Nihola 4.0 with a BionX e-assist from a bike shop in Sacramento, California called from Practical Cycles. They import Niholas from Copenhagen, Denmark.

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The Nihola is unique among trikes in that the steering is independent of the cargo, meaning that you do not have to move the weight of the cargo to steer; Melissa adds that is not difficult to ride or steer. It maneuvers very much like a “regular” bike. However, it might not have quite the same speed and maneuverability as an inline (two wheeled) cargo bike. People who are used to high-speed road bikes may prefer an inline cargo bike to a trike. Since her cargo bike has an electric assist, she can go plenty fast if necessary, but usually she goes slower to stay safe and enjoy the ride.

The Nihola 4.0 has two bench seats which easily fit four children. The maximum load of the cargo box is 265 pounds. There are two Y-harnesses and a lap belt. Both benches are removable, so they currently have one bench removed so that their youngest can sit in a car seat for extra support.

Why choose a cargo bike over a trailer? Melissa says that a trailer worked well enough for transporting her kids. However, a cargo bike is far superior in her opinion. The bike is always ready to go since you do not have to deal with hooking the trailer to the bike. In a cargo bike, the kids are closer to the rider, and usually have a better view of the things around them, which makes the riding experience more enjoyable. Also, trailers get very heavy to pull as the weight of your children increases.

Owning a cargo bike has dramatically affected her car use. She is driving significantly less since purchasing her cargo bike. Her goal is to bike anywhere within a three-mile radius unless the roads are too icy, or there is another safety concern. Since Melissa and her family live near downtown Denver, they can get to many things by bike!

Melissa uses her cargo bike regularly to transport her two oldest kids to and from school, but they use it for many other purposes, too! She frequently uses the cargo bike to run errands; it fits all her family’s groceries! She uses the bike anytime they go somewhere that is just a bit too far to walk. If Melissa and her husband are going to the park for a picnic, they will take the cargo bike, so they can transport their food and lawn chairs. Basically, they use it for carrying all kinds of cargo!

She’s often amazed that biking to places does not take that much longer than driving, and you rarely have to worry about parking! Most importantly, biking makes for a much more enjoyable journey.

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Generally, people are really excited when they see the cargo bike according to Melissa. They get a lot of stares and some comments; almost always positive. People often say things like “nice set-up!” or “can I get a ride?” Occasionally, people will ask more specifics about where they got it or what the brand is. Melissa tries to “sell” one to everyone who is interested!

In her opinion, so many people would benefit from replacing some of their driving with biking. “Getting outside and being physical has such a positive impact on your quality of life. We live in such a car-centric society, but it hasn’t always been that way and it isn’t in many parts of the world. People sometimes question the safety of my bike set up, but I’m quick to point out that driving is not without risks.”


If you are interested in buying a cargo bike, you should definitely do your research. There are many websites, Facebook groups, and bike shops that can provide advice. Depending on how you plan to use your bike and what type of cargo you want to carry, there are many options from utility bikes to cargo tricycles to electric cargo bikes. New bikes are coming out all the time, so there is definitely a good option for everyone. A cargo bike is a financial investment; but much cheaper than a car!

Melissa Colonno is the author of DELIBERATE.LESS. She provides day-to-day tips on reducing household waste and creating a life that strives to be less hectic. Melissa is passionate about decreasing her family’s waste and environmental footprint by making informed and intentional choices. Melissa holds educational sessions about reducing household waste to individuals, school groups, and professionals.

Bike Crashes and Brain Injuries

A Collaborative Blog Post by Hottman Law Office and Colorado Concussion Clinic

My Own Experience

In May 2017, I was on a group charity ride. We had been riding together for three days at that point, and the group was dialed and very skilled.  As we rounded a bend at mile 90 of a 120-mile day, we were on a slight downhill going at a pretty good clip. Someone in front of me rolled over a stick that was just the right shape and size...it shot out from under their wheel and under my front wheel.  As I rode over it, my bike went out from under me as though I had ridden my road bike over a wet root. I went down before I knew what was happening and crashed hard. Two riders behind me crashed into me/landed on me.

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My bike broke in eight different places.  As I lay in the road, I had immediate pain to my lower back and, of course, plentiful road rash.  While my helmet showed damage from hitting the ground, I did not have head "pain,” but my neck did become very sore over the next few days.  I did not see a doctor right away or seek medical care, which was a huge mistake. My roommate on the trip pointed out that I was repeating certain things over and over to her.  I was incredibly emotional—crying easily and without provocation.

Instead of being smart by packing it up and going home to rest and recover, I used a neutral support bike to do the last day—a 90-mile ride into the heart of downtown Manhattan, NYC.  The only thing on me that was mine was my sunglasses and shoes—everything else was new/borrowed. I willed myself through the ride feeling not at all like myself, pretty out of my head, and in a great deal of pain.  

Once home, I noticed I could not muscle my way through work, emails, or my daily agenda.  My head felt tired. I wanted to sleep and avoid bright lights. My mental endurance would wear out midmorning. I also noticed on short, easy bike rides that I would "bonk" mentally—similar to the sensation we have all experienced when we do not eat enough calories on a hard bike ride.  Except I was feeling this often and after very easy effort. My first real road ride post-crash stands out. I was still healing up the road rash, my low back still really hurt, but I felt I was ready to ride with friends. On a very fast downhill, my rear wheel rolled over something that caused an immediate and fast flat tire.  I braked carefully but in a very panicked way as the thought of going down again was more than I could bear. I became a sobbing mess and told the group I was riding back home. I cried most of the way and could not get control of myself. When I turned around to see that they had been following me at a distance (worried about me as good friends do), I really fell apart.  

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I never saw a neurologist or doctor for my head issues and really wish I would have.  Since I pushed so hard to get back to work and riding so soon, I felt the delay of my symptoms for many months.  I did not feel totally like myself again until that November or December. Had I rested, I am sure it would not have taken so long.  

In addition, five weeks after the crash when my low back was still hurting so badly, I was having trouble walking, so I saw a doctor and got an MRI.  This is when we learned that I had fractured my sacrum, the bone on the back of my pelvis. I had also torn the labrum in my right hip. Given the nature and extent of these injuries, there is no doubt in my mind that I had suffered head trauma which impacted me for many months.

As a result of my personal experience, all of the emerging literature out there on concussions, as well as the experiences we have had with clients, (who both have and have not received care for their head injuries), we recommend all of our clients seek help for head trauma as soon as possible after they have been hit by a car.  Too often adrenaline protects us for awhile, and then the ER focuses on orthopedic injuries, and the trauma to our brains goes unnoticed/unaddressed.  That is why we will suggest everyone take the Symptom and Symptom Scale Questionnaires provided by Colorado Concussion Clinic (buttons below) and encourage you to read Sarah Brittain’s article for valuable information on concussions.

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Why Concussion Care Matters

Sarah Brittain runs Colorado Concussion Clinic, a venture created to fulfill a need for evidence-based comprehensive concussion care.  Sarah has a Master's Degree in Communication Science Disorders from the MGH Institute of Health Professions. Her clinical work has focused on treating clients’ cognitive deficits secondary to acquired brain injuries. For more information, visit www.healmyconcussion.com.

Any orthopedist will tell you that a broken arm requires four to six weeks in a cast to heal. Heart surgeons give their cardiac patients six weeks to begin to feel better and up to six months to feel the full benefits of the surgery. According to many professionals, an injury to the brain, our most complex organ, should take ten days.

I hope you can appreciate the absurdity of the ten-day timeline given above. I will absolutely concede that a number of people with concussive injuries heal within that ten-day time frame, and that is certainly the hope, but many do not. Symptoms that persist beyond ten days should be addressed by trained professionals to maximize recovery. Early treatment is key for better outcomes.

A common misconception of concussion (a term now synonymous with mild traumatic brain injury - “MTBI”) is that complete rest leads to recovery—a recommendation not based on current scientific data. In fact, research actually shows that complete rest beyond the first 24-48 hours is detrimental to healing. Research shows that moderate activity is imperative to healing from concussion. There is, however, a caveat: too much activity can set you back in your recovery.

Let me take a step back here. What is a concussion? What are the signs and symptoms? The following definition is taken from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine:

A patient with mild traumatic brain injury (aka concussion) is a person who has had a traumatically induced physiological disruption of brain function, as manifested by at least one of the following: 1. any period of loss of consciousness; 2. any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the accident; 3. any alteration in mental state at the time of the accident (e.g. feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused); and 4. focal neurological deficit(s) that may or may not be transient; but where the severity of the injury does not exceed the following:

• loss of consciousness of approximately 30 minutes or less;

• after 30 minutes, an initial Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 13–15; and

• posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) not greater than 24 hours.

In layman's terms, if you don't “feel right” or you feel “out of it”, you likely sustained a concussion. It is important to note that nowhere in the definition does it say you had to have a direct blow to the head. In fact, quite the opposite is true. You can sustain a concussion without hitting your head.

Below are some of the most common real world signs and symptoms of concussion, grouped into the following categories: physical, cognitive, emotional, and sleep.

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Alright, so you think you have a concussion. Now that you know you probably should not rest and avoid everything, what should you do? Like I said, a percentage of the concussion population will recover within ten days. If you are one of those people, that is great. You can likely resume your activities, although you should take care to avoid hitting your head again. But if that is not the case, please read on.

I equate concussion treatment to early intervention for school children. Any child that is struggling with learning to read will get some intervention (in most schools), because it is unclear if the child will eventually catch up with his or her peers, or fall further and further behind. Investing time and therapy in early intervention has been shown to lead to better outcomes compared to those who took the “wait and see” approach.

The same is true of concussion. Early intervention goes a long way and the evidence is beginning to show it reduces the chances of having persistent post-concussive syndrome.

What might this intervention look like? Well, it depends on who you are and what your symptoms are. Are you an athlete now having trouble with dizziness and balance? Let's sign you up for some vestibular physical therapy. Are you having trouble at work and keeping up with tasks? A good cognitive therapist can help you with that. The list goes on and on. There are skilled treatments for each of these issues.

Words of caution: With concussion being a hot topic today, many health practitioners are quick to say, “Oh yeah, I can fix that!” Buyer beware—Just as you wouldn’t trust your mechanic to fix both your car and your dishwasher simply because they are both machines, you probably do not want your physical therapist who is treating your shoulder injury to treat your vestibular issues. Physicians and therapists in concussion rehabilitation are specialists, and you may need a team of these experts to get fully better. Do your due diligence and research your providers, and do not be afraid to ask questions! Is there research and are providers using evidence-based practice? If not, then it is likely too good to be true.

Concussions are a serious injury and not something to be ignored. Early treatment is key for improved outcomes and reducing the risk of developing persistent post concussive symptoms. Don’t sit at home in a dark room for days...be proactive in your recovery!

#10000milesin2018 + Hope Sports Home Build #2

What a 2018 that was!!! Whew.

Well … for those waiting for the final mileage update: I made it. I clicked off my final 45 miles on 12/31 and with that, reached my goal of riding 10,000 miles in 2018. It was such an adventure, and it became a very difficult and challenging goal in the latter part of the year, especially between mid-November and the end of the year. I don’t think I’ve logged that many 300+ mile weeks in a row, ever. I am deeply satisfied, and happy, about meeting my goal and even more so, overjoyed with all the people around the world who joined in on our Strava Club to take part in the challenge! I am excited to set some new 2019 bike-goals!

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Hope Sports Home Build #2

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A far more important event took place in late December - and that was our second Hope Sports home build trip. This time, the home (materials, etc) were sponsored by our law firm and this brought even more meaning and intention to the trip. I was SO happy to see that most of the people on last year’s build trip came back, so we got to work alongside friends new and old.

Plus, some of our 2018 law firm clients, like the Selkes, and Travis Lechner, and cycling enthusiast Greg Besaw, also joined in.

I’ll let the photos tell the story once again, because they do it far more beautifully than my words ever could. If this moves you and stirs your heart, PLEASE reach out to Hope Sports and sign up for a build trip in 2019! I am pretty sure we’ll be taking a team down once again - stay tuned for details ;) .

#10000milesin2018: Month 11 update

PC: Jonathan Rojas

PC: Jonathan Rojas

We are getting down into the final stretch and I feel like I’m cramming for finals!


Total Miles to Date:

Target: 9163 miles…My mileage: 8751


Total Number of Strava Group Members: 391


Greg Boyd from Lake Mary, FL - Just got my 10k today...going for 11k for the year.

Ken Harding of Stratford, England, United Kingdom - Just cracked 10K, feeling good, now to try and achieve 12K for the Year.

Dan Dwyer in Syracuse, NY - 12K Today!

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: With one month to go, what does December look like for you in terms of getting the remaining miles in to accomplish your goal?

I put in a monster week the week of thanksgiving (approx 430 miles) to try and catch back up and made a big dent in the miles … And, now… I’ve got 1249 miles to go… and 29 days to get it done. This means I need to average 43 miles per day... I will miss December 27-30 for our Hope Sports home build trip, and I’ve got a few Monday rest days budgeted in … so it’s time to buckle down for sure. I am getting really strategic with Zwift workouts and I also leave my bike setup on my Feedback Sports omnium trainer in my Kitchen (seriously!) so that I can hop on it anytime I’m on a phone call or watching a movie. Every mile counts at this point!

#10000milesin2018: Month 8 update

#10000milesin2018: Month Eight Update!

Total Miles to Date: Target: 6664 miles…My mileage: 6498

Total Number of Strava Group Members: 382

Here’s an update from team member MeisterBruno in St. Augustine, FL who looks to be right on track to ride 10,000 miles in 2018:

Halfway done. Less than 4K to go.

I finished 6K+ miles early on August 3rd and now going towards what could be a 10K year. We’ll see about that. As of today August 27th, 2018 I am at 6,892. The last four months I managed to get an average of 1K miles per month. My strategy is to ride 12 hours a week. It can be an hour or so a day with some long rides on the weekends or about 30 miles a day. I also do a twofer every Tuesday that helps boost miles towards the goal. 

Races I participated in:

Gravel Worlds (150 miles of Gravel on the SingleSpeed in Lincoln, NE), FoCo Fondo, And Golden Gran Fondo. 

Challenges:  The same 200 miles I've been behind on my goal almost all summer still need to be made up and getting those in is proving hard to    do! 

Highlights: I had a great time at Gravel Worlds and also enjoyed a "Tour de     Lincoln" bike ride on the bike paths there the day before my race. 

I also figured out how to sync the Cycleops Phantom 3 spin bike that sits next to my desk at the office, to Zwift, so that I can be pedaling and accumulating miles while I am on the phone and on video calls, etc...  BONUS!

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: With summer coming to an end and the weather changing, how are you planning on hitting your goal of 10,000 miles if you aren’t able to ride outdoors?

The Fall is my FAVORITE time to ride in Colorado - I love weekend rides this time of year ... changing leaves, most tourist traffic has left the state, and there is a great correlation between weekend football games on TV and an absence of traffic during those times!     No question though, as temps drop, I will be returning to the indoors and ZWIFT very soon.... but for now, I remain focused on using my bike for every possible commute and errand, while working hard to minimize car time- not just for this goal, but also because my back and body overall feel wrecked when I spend too much time in the car.

Riding is hands-down best for me - both mentally AND physically! 

#10000milesin2018: Month 7 Update

Total Number of Strava Group Members: Our group has grown from 251 members in January to now 388 members in July.

Here’s how some of our group members are doing as of the end of June:

John O’Neill in Allentown, Pennsylvania - 7,743 miles

Bart De Lepeleer in Guía de Isora, Canarias, Spain - 5,884 miles / 675,335 ft

Daniel Sattel in Golden, Colorado – 5,050 miles / 605,702 ft

Meister Bruno in St. Augustine, Florida – 5,300 miles

Challenges: None, really. This is the best time of the year for riding! 

Highlights:  I only drove my car 5 days this month.  This was a new record for me and it was amazing to live life by bike during July! This month also included a really big week over the 4th of July holiday, with monster rides from my front door to places all over the front range (Like Lyons, Ward, Georgetown, to name a few!).  

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: What advice do you have for someone considering riding 10,000 miles next year? What kind of preparation is needed? What kind of training can be done in advance?

I don't know that training is necessary so much as scheduling preparation (and prioritization).  Trips, errands, meetings, board meetings, extra-curricular events, shopping, socializing, and so on- all must be planned with riding there and back in mind.  The more a person can work the bike into their day-to-day schedule and life, the less pressure there is to fit in really big weekend rides.  I personally prefer to sprinkle the miles out during the week than to have to cram them in on the weekends.  This challenge has expanded my already-commute-focused lifestyle even more! 

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Total Miles to Date: Target:

5831 miles…

My mileage: 5630

#10000milesin2018: Month One update!

By Maureen & Megan 

JANUARY RECAP:

Total Miles to Date: 884

Total Number of Strava Group Members: 251 members -from all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, England, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, USA. 

I am SO excited to see this many people jump in on the challenge! 

Challenges?: I've had a raging head cold since Christmas eve.  It's made it nearly impossible to ride hard on the trainer, or to ride outside in the cold, because that just makes it worse.  I confirmed I don't have the flu, and have just been dealing with the stuffy nose and cough with hot tea and cough drops.  We also got some snow in Colorado which made riding outside nearly impossible (nearly - fat bikes make it possible!) .  

Highlights?: I have been fortunate this month to spend some time in warm, sunny AZ and also CA, where it was easier to log bigger miles.  I've also been really thankful for Zwift for indoor trainer rides, it keeps it fun and engaging! 

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: How has your daily schedule/routine changed to meet this goal? 

Every day I wake up knowing that somehow, I need to average 27 miles/day.  If I miss a day, I know I'll need to make those miles up.  I went to see family for a weekend in Omaha, where the weather outside was atrocious (and I also didn't have a bike) and so I committed myself to riding miles on the hotel exercise bike each morning.  Sometimes I wait until the evening and do a two hour trainer ride. A few times this month, those rides weren't starting until 9 or 930pm at night because the day was just too jam-packed.  And it was totally ok.  Making it happen is what it takes.  Sometimes I use the commute to work for some miles and then add on.  I was also looking forward to the Trek Travel bike camp I'm on this week (in Solvang) to add some miles -which will hopefully bring up my averages and give me a headstart for February.  

There is no question that every day, I know 1.5-2 hours need to be spent riding.  This has given me a reason to schedule my evenings much lighter, and to minimize my after-hour commitments and social engagements, so that I have time to get those miles in. It's been really nice, actually, to have that daily focus.  I am encouraged to get better/more sleep, to stretch and to take better care of myself knowing I'll be on the bike almost every day.  Overall I am feeling really invigorated and motivated by this goal! 

Here are some photos from my rides in January: 

Hope Sport home build experience - in photos

It is difficult to describe in words, the impact this trip had on us, and on the family we served.  Suffice it to say, this changed us all and for the better.  It was truly a remarkable experience. 

Please join me next December 27-30, 2018.  Visit Hope Sports for more info. 

(Photo credit: Hope Sports photographer Tiffany Lambert).

10,000 miles in 2018

The goal of riding 10,000 miles in one calendar year is one that I've had on my mind for many years, but frankly -lacked the courage to tackle.  It represents a couple thousand more miles than my biggest year, to-date.  With multisport/Ironman training as the focus the past 3 years, I couldn't fit in this kind of riding, along with the running and swimming time demands.

But now as I look ahead to 2018 ... the time feels right and I've publicly stated my goal:

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The plan will be to ride 6 days / week with one day completely off for rest and sanity.  All told, I'll need to average 27 miles/day, or 833 miles/month, to reach the goal. Commuting will play an even bigger role here, as will indoor/trainer rides during the cold months!

If you're interested, I would love for you to join me.  Please find the Strava group HERE.  (34 people have already jumped in) .... the fun kicks off on January 1, 2018.  Let's do this. 

Your Struggles Develop Your Strengths: a Personal Story

On May 23, 2017, I went down in a bad bike crash.  While I've raced my bike for many years, (and therefore suffered my fair share of bike-race-related crashes), this was by far, the worst. I was on a group ride, and it was a complete fluke -someone rode over a stick and it shot under my front wheel, taking me out in a split second.  I suffered a concussion, a fractured sacrum (pelvis) a torn labrum in my right hip, and ample road rash.  My bike broke in 9 places-including the saddle.  Initially, I didn't fully appreciate (or understand) the extent of my injuries. 

I did what we cyclists do -I brushed myself off, and tried to push through.

Looking back now, with the benefit of hindsight, I can see that was not a smart move.  I kept trying to ride, and train.  I kept pushing hard at work and at home.  I didn't ask for the help I needed.  I kept coming unraveled emotionally and then beating myself up for being weak and soft.

The crash happened at the end of a strong, disciplined spring of training and my season was looking promising.  I was registered to race the first-ever women's singlespeed category at DK200, I was registered to race numerous triathlons including Boulder 70.3, in an attempt to try and qualify as an elite triathlete.  I was registered for my third Ironman AZ in November with a lofty goal of trying to earn a spot to Kona.  2017 was to be my year of big audacious goals.

In May, I felt those goals all slipping away.  I had to let everything go and just focus on being whole again- on being healthy, mentally and physically.  And 6 months later, well... I'll let the video show you: 

I love Arnold's quote at the beginning of this video we made, because he's right - Your Struggles Develop Your Strengths.  We don't ask for adversity or setbacks, but we will ALL experience them.  And sometimes the struggle makes the ultimate journey -and accomplishment- that much sweeter.  And sometimes, we learn we were stronger than we knew. 

Huge thanks to our friends over at HayMaker Media for their work on this project, and in capturing the essence of the struggle, the emotions, the gratitude, and the finish at Ironman Arizona.  What a journey, indeed.  

(Let me just acknowledge that many of our clients suffer injuries far more serious, and endure recoveries that take much longer.  Some clients can never resume their favorite activities and some never fully recover.  That reality is not lost on me, and I fully realize and appreciate that my injuries did and/or will eventually heal- and that my recovery will be pretty short in the scheme of things.  But let me also say this- I read somewhere recently that when we compare our pain, or our joy, to others' ... we diminish our pain or our joy; death by comparison.  We feel what we feel and that's what.  Personally, I wanted to share a video about my experience, not to compare it to anything else but simply to document it and share it).