MST Adventures

18 02 2017

MST Adventures is a new business venture that I have started this past fall. We will be serving the greater Albuquerque metro area with guided trips, private lessons, and equipment rentals.

Since opening our doors in January, we have had great success in the snowshoe rental market. With this,img_-foky64 we will be expanding our rental equipment to include SUP or stand up paddle boards, this coming May.

We look forward to our upcoming guided mountain bike rides, and our private / group lessons for mountain biking, photography, whitewater kayaking, and SUP.

Come check us out!

Follow this amazing Blog by MST Adventures


The Rio Chama, the river I don’t care to see again.

2 06 2016

The Desert Monastery

I spent a recent weekend on the Rio Chama, a New Mexican River, a multi-day trip and it killed my sole over a long weekend.  It was memorial weekend 2016 and I was convinced that kayaking a 33 mile stretch of the Rio Chama was going to be a good time. With water flows at or near the 2500 CFS we had high spirits in the days before the trip. But as the launch date began to close in, a communication breakdown began to happen and death spiral ensued.


It was close to noon on Saturday the 28th of May 2016, when our group of 7 put on at El Vado Ranch. Nobody wanted to be there, let alone launch our kayaks, laden with an extra 25 pounds of gear, into the cold swift current. The goal was to kayak between 5 and 12 miles before finding a campsite and relaxing for the evening. We had a backup plan which if it had been executed would have taken us into sunny Colorado for two days of paddling the San Juan…It was just never executed.

Surprises; nobody likes them when you spent a lot of time and energy on a plan and begin to execute that idea, only to have the plan change multiple times. It is those people who can be the willow and go with the flow that make great trip leaders. I am pretty rigid, not as much as the long standing oak, but not as flexible as the willow.

It was seven days before the trip that the original plan was modified and the dates push back by a day; this was an easy adjustment. It made my additional holiday plans get canceled and other members of the team waste a paid day of vacation leave. The frustration began to set in, but people are flexible and began to adjust.

Eight short hours before go time, plans changed again, and one team member backed out. This was the team member that the original launch plan had been adjusted for, in the days leading up to the trip. It was not their fault, and the notification was early in the day, maybe we could adjust and still get on the water that night as originally planned.

Then a second team member contacted the trip leader and advised that they were still in Colorado, and by the time they traveled back to Albuquerque, they would not be able to join the team until early Saturday morning.  Fury began to set in, and the death spiral began to commence, as we realized that we could not get on the water until Saturday.

All members of the trip were notified of the adjustments, and went about preparing their boats and gear. We kept our time line and later met at the rendezvous time in a nearby city. It was there as we met back up and prepared to leave for the nights camp site that I realized our team members minds had gone sour, and me, well, I was right there with them.  We grabbed a 4 pack of Tecate and headed out of town pretending that nothing was bothering us. We all wanted to bag this trip and head to the San Juan.

It was close to 1630 hours when we arrived at Big Eddy, the take out for the run. The parking lot was packed with other vehicles. Some had play boats on the roof while others were attached to trailers loaded down with rafts. We began our search for a camp site, which as expected on a holiday weekend was not fun. All of the good spots were taken, and after an hour and a half we located a marginal camp location, which was more of a parking spot than anything else, prepared to settle in for the night.


“The Beatings will continue until the Moral Improves”

It was at this location that the group moral was obviously low. Everyone began to talk about our back up plan and wanted to leave A.S.A.P. for Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  It was clear this trip was no longer about having fun. This trip was going to be about going through the motions.  I set a dead line of 1000 hours on Saturday, as our default time to kick the backup plan into action.

Once this was set we began to settle into the evening, trying to joke around and laugh about the day. It was clearly obvious that everyone had checked out.


Camp Night 1, “Where is the bottle of Jim Beam?”


As dawn broke the air temperature was close to 37 degrees, and all of the team members were cold and began to questions whether or not they had packed correctly for the trip. We left the camping area and headed to the rendezvous point of Big Eddy to await our last team member. To our surprise he was there, looking like Cosmo Kramer, from Seinfeld.  We began to mill around getting breakfast of cold pizza and cold coffee, it was clear to him that we all had checked out. He began to question why our spirits were low and a group meeting was called.

Team members began to state why they were frustrated, cold, and just genuinely wanting to kayak on another stretch of river, or at least just hit the day run. This all mattered not to him, and he chugged forward with the plan.

It takes a special type of person to ignore all complaints and be unwilling to change. This had become less about running the river for the sake of it, and more about running the river so the commercial permits could be used for the first time in several years. It was about proving to himself that his plan was the righteous plan of action, not the plan of the trip leader. This team member was the sequoia, unable to adjust, or adapt, beyond his own ideas and thoughts.

Some would say I hold on to things a little too long when I get upset. I would agree with that, it can take me several days of working through the situation to figure it all out and let go of the frustration. It has been 3 days since our return from the river, and I am still frustrated. It is not so much that I; the trip leader had a bad plan, as much as it is the lack of my leadership that gets me hot. Had I known more about how our permits work, I could have launched on Friday like the original plan. This was the only part of the process that I did not have any information leading up to the launch date.

In the future, I will take care of every detail, and if people are late, or cannot make the rendezvous time, they need not come. I of all people hate to waste time, and other peoples time. My time is valuable and so I believe theirs is too.


MJ Running Argon Rapids in the XP10




After all was said and done we spent, two nights and three days on the trip, a trip that should have only taken two days. When we arrived at Big Eddy on Monday, after spending only 45 minutes on the water that day because we “had to camp” for a second night, I left. I left without saying good bye, I left frustrated, angry, and asking myself would I do this trip again. Deep down inside I think I will, but it will be on my own terms, with raft support, good food and way more beer.

There is not really a need to place blame on anyone person, because I could have chosen to accept the new plan and adapt. Instead I opted for resentment. So to the mighty Rio Chama, you were a fun river, but I am done with you for this season.





Positive Phototropism, Growing towards the Light

26 05 2016

Positive Phototropism: In a nutshell means this, if you put a plant in the closet, but leave the door open, the plant will grow towards the light.

In life we must bend towards that same light, doing the things that we enjoy. If we allow ourselves to get stuck in the same rut doing the same things, we will get bored and become stale.

I recently listened to a podcast on Ted Radio Hour, (TED) in this podcast it spoke about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  The list is rather basic, Food, Water, Shelter, are pretty much the bottom of the pyramid. As you get closer to the top you will find “Self actualization”.

A short google of the term yields the following definition from Wiki Self-Actualization: “The term was later used by Abraham Maslow in his article, A Theory of Human Motivation, Maslow explicitly defines selfactualization to be “the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for him [the individual] to become actualized in what he is potentially.”

But what does this all mean?


If all your basic needs are met, you can grow, as a person. Find your Light, no matter what it is, mine just happens to be Kayaking currently.


Turning a page. Frenchy explores a new chapter.

23 01 2016

Much like reading a good book, turning the page brings excitement and a new experience. In the great game of life, when someone turns a page or as I am calling it, “begins a new chapter” it can often times be overwhelming and anxiety filled.

Since relocating to the American Southwest, I have left behind a career that was rewarding to say the least. In searching for something new I have found that what is presented as a great place to work, is really just another corporate run retail business in the outdoor industry. A place where the staff has more formal education than the management, and usually far more experience in the outdoors.  Yet people flock to the retail store to purchase all the latest and greatest in outdoor gear. But for the truly experienced outdoor folks it is really just a bummer to walk in and be met by a sales associate that yearns to be outside. But alas this is a story for another day.

So how do you turn your real outdoor experience into a full time job? Passion. Sharing your passion with other is a great way to start, because after all they might know someone, who knows someone. Working for free and providing services to someone, that when it is all done, they can relay your hard work and determination to others and recommend you for a job or position that has not yet been created or is currently open that needs to be filled.

It was mid fall, and a friend rolled into town. He and his staff were westward bound to lead a kayak/raft trip down the Grand Canyon. I was quick to invite not only my friend, but his whole crew to my house to stay for the night versus camping at a local KOA. It was only then while we talked over shared beers that I realized to be truly satisfied, you have to do what you are passionate about. Yes, we have all heard this line before. But for some it resonates later rather than sooner.

So I am gearing up for a new chapter, one that involves more hard work, but with luck, will be far more enjoyable than continuing to push the corporate machine.

Adventure awaits around the next corner, pack your bags. “Get Change”

Stay Tuned-Frenchy10296166_497434793691995_3624873178453105249_o



12 HRS of ABQ MTB Race

2 10 2015

The day was finally at hand, it was chilly, early, and I wanted more coffee. My pit area was set up and looked rather meager compared to the pit area of the “other” guys, the only thing in common was a cooler and bike work stand. The Pit Area, I have the hammock

As the pre-race meeting segwayed into hanging out a the start line, I thought to myself, one lap at a time.

3-2-1 Go! The race started just as an daily wod in CrossFit does and everyone took off.Zia Rides-12 Hours of ABQ-72 (1) We raced around the picnic area and weaved through the parking lot, I remember passing the coffee vendor smelling the freshly brewed coffee. As this odor registered I was already past the coffee stand and headed for the single track.

Once on the main trail the atmosphere was rather jovial, nervous chatting, and the light clicking noises of people shifting gears to make the first hill, filled the air. Chain slap was the next sound that echoed as I careened down the Deadman section, a nice flowing 1 mile downhill. Finding my mantra, “Go Slow and Don’t Blow”, I fell into my race pace I worked so hard to establish during my training over the last month.

The first lap soon blended into the second, into the fourth. It didn’t take long and I reached my first goal of 48 miles traveled.62141594-Zia+Rides-12+Hours+of+ABQ-545 I continued to ride, lap times remained fairly consistent as grabbed a new water bottle in my pit before heading out for another. 72 miles clicked by, and to my surprise I had a lot of juice left in my legs, so I continued my journey, shooting for the elusive 100 miles.

It was sometime in my 6th lap I began to feel the bus sneaking up behind me, this buss is not only yellow, but it’s filled with good intentions and always seems to go up hill no matter what the terrain looks like. The “Struggle Buss” was near, breathing down my neck, becoming a small voice in my head edging for space, trying to take over, and steer me to the pits, beckoning me with the siren song of my hammock. I found my salvation at the Bikeworks Aid Station. I refreshed my water bottle, and gladly accepted a half cup of beer. It was like drinking gummy berry juice. I was off soon after refreshed and looking forward to the encroaching darkness. Mashing my lap times, trying to determine if I could make it one more lap or two.

Pulling into the pit, I grabbed a new water bottle, Gu Shot, and strapped on my bike light and took off for lap 7. If it worked out I should be able to finish this lap before 730 pm and have enough time to make an 8th. Cranking the Deadman down hill for all I was worth trying to make time as the darkness began to creep in, it was not until I hit the Ponderosa Loop that I had to click my headlight on. My speed began to slow and the time began to click by faster and faster. By the time I hit the finish line It was almost 8 pm, not nearly enough time to get another lap.

I was happy to be at the finish line, and proceeded to my pit filled with excitement for what I had just ridden. I checked my bike computer and observed my daily mileage read 89.59 miles.

As I write this new post six days after the race I am still proud of that ride. 89 miles ridden in my first 12 hour bike race was not too bad. I have a long way to go for the next race (yet to be determined), but 100 miles in 12 hours is the new goal.

This would have been a much more difficult race if not for a couple of great training partners.

Thank You, Karen, Josh, and Paul.

Results for Zia Rides:

62141593-Zia+Rides-12+Hours+of+ABQ-831  62141595-Zia+Rides-12+Hours+of+ABQ-255

12 Hours Mountain Bike Racing

26 09 2015
A scenic vista that Paul and I found while on one of my last training rides.

A scenic vista that Paul and I found while on one of my last training rides.

A lot has happened since my last post. Well that’s because it was almost 2 years ago…wow how time flies. Too much to catch everyone up on so we will just start with short and sweet with where we are now. Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Yes that is right, New Mexico. The desert, now water, well probably more that California…but who is counting right? But there are lots of mountain bike trails. Since moving here in mid summer I have been biking a lot more, why you ask? Well for one thing, the biking is so much better than Ohio. The trails have great lines, and new challenges to throw you off kilter. In Ohio not too much goofed me up, but in N.M. ya I suck, that’s what it really boils down too.

So being jobless, I have little on my platter. I usually wake early and look for jobs on the internet, then it segways into breakfast and then on to a morning bike ride. Then the process of looking for work is repeated when I return home.

While at a local bike shop (LBS) I observed a race flyer for the 12 Hours of Albuquerque Mountain Bike Festival, the main event was a 12 hour mountain bike race. I thought to myself, What else do you have going on?

Fast forward a month and some change…still pretty much jobless. Although I have scored a great coaching job at Bear Canyon CrossFit, in exchange for my monthly membership, I am on the eve of the mountain bike race. In the last month my race preparation has been basically two a days, with biking in the morning, and the gym in the evening. Not too shabby all the while I continued to build some good base mileage on a weekly basis. During the last week before my taper I hit 90 miles.

Where will tomorrow end up mileage wise? I have no idea. With luck it will be 72 miles or greater. I will drop a line and let you known how it shakes out.

Grumpy Pants Goes to Costa Rica-Part 1

13 02 2014



Gumpy Pants Goes to Costa Rica Part One.


It was cold the day we left Cleveland for a place filled with sunshine and adventure. I had no regrets about leaving the weather and grumpy people of Northeast Ohio behind. After parking the Squaw at the airport and hopping on board the shuttle bus we quickly made headway through the lines at CLE airport and before long we were chillin in sunny San Jose, Costa Rica. What I saw was blowing my mind…


Adaptation is the key to survival in any species, fail to adapt and you will quickly be left behind, eaten, or displaced. Being a gringo in Costa Rica, I had a steep learning curve when it came to motor vehicle operation. The big take away is drive fast, be prepared to stop, and use your horn (it just makes the language barrier that much more fun). After driving through San Jose in our rental like a 18 year old who just got his license, we began  our journey towards Quepos. On the way we would pass over some small mountains and several rivers, one having more crocodiles sunning themselves than I thought possible being this far from the Nile River.


After finding our way to the Parador Hotel after dark we were greated by a refreshing glass of fruit juice, and some really friendly folks who eagerly showed us to our accommodations. One thing that I have always loved about traveling to cool places is when you arrive after sunset. Its that first morning cup of coffee and taking it all in that I really like, the wow moment. As our first real day started I found myself staring at the bird, and listening to strange sounds, which were later identified as Howler monkeys. Breakfast was shared with a friendly lizard on the porch and followed up by a walkabout on the monkey trail at the hotel. Afterwards we opted for a walk to the beach. Along the way we spied several Compuncha Monkeys and a 3 toed sloth. Not too bad.


If you know me then you know I get stressed out about stupid stuff so I was able to convince Karen that we need to hang out at the hotel for the first day. Being the good soldier that she is we later chilled at the pool relaxing. It was a good time.  





Day two was a hoot. We made reservations to mountain bike to a waterfall and swim in the plunge pool. meeting our guide at the hotel we were taken to an awesome nature preserve that we later found out was private for our ride and swim. Riding 29ers we slayed the trail on the way in past papaya and banana trees. Danny our guide then turned to us and said we could take the easy way or the “hard way”. We opted for the harder choice and before long we were carrying our bikes through the river to a gravel road. The grade went from steep to “Le Tour de France” steep in a blink of an eye. But none the less we chugged up the hill on bikes. After some time we made it to the swimmin hole. Danny showed us the way to the waterfall and led the charge in jumping in the plunge pool from the rim of the falls.