Category Archives: travel

Colorado!

I often express how fortunate I am. I’ve good health and the time and energy to make use of it. But sometimes I feel extra fortunate. Like ‘I can’t believe I get to do the things I do!’ fortunate.  Sasha Perry, my partner for the Day in the Life project, Megan Dean, close friend and builder of Moth Attack! Bikes and I recently went to Colorado to film for Day in the Life and it ruled beyond belief.

Sasha takes some well-earned time off from behind the camera to ride the Dizzy Drome

I knew we’d meet phenomenal vegan athletes. I also knew it would be beautiful, as I’ve been there before. But for this trip Colorado really pulled out all of the stops!  Every where we turned were people stoked to meet us and hang out. We worked full days most days, and then hung out hard with the people we had worked with. Could not have asked for anything better. A few people need to be thanked:

Handlebar Mustache for putting us up and letting us cuddle their five dogs

Ritual Chocolate for giving us a tour of their vegan chocolate factory

Girl Bike Love for the hangouts

Boulder Indoor Velodrome for letting us film and ride every where

Nederland Mountain People’s Co-op for having the biggest AND best vegan blueberry muffins ever

Chris for filming (who also just had a Kickstarter reach full funding!)

Eric at Ground Up Custom Bicycles for building a pump track, a dizzy drome, rad bikes to play on AND being so stoked on me riding them.

And finally we need to thank all of the individual athletes who let us invade their life for a day, or sometimes longer. I promised Sasha I wouldn’t give too much away so I can’t actually thank the athletes by name! You’ll see before too long, I promise.

Meanwhile, enjoy a few videos of me riding during our down time!

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Filed under bike, bmx, off-road, travel

Fall is here, can you believe it?

I cannot!

First off, in case you didn’t see it on @TrueLoveHealth or in my last update, our Kickstarter for Day in the Life got fully funded! Eighty-five wonderful people kicked down money to the tune of $3,880 ($3546,58 after fees).  Check the update for the details and thank you to everyone who helped! More on our project coming soon…

Also, the Furnace Creek 508 came and went and I was not a participant for the first time in 4 years. Last year’s race wrecked me and I needed a break from ultra-cycling so I went out as an official. Chris also gave me access to @AdventureCORPS, which I used mostly responsibly. Was a pleasure to be out there watching all of those amazing cyclists make their way through the 508-mile route. Rookie solo fixed gear entrant and friend Shaun Stegosaurus Arora has a fantastic recap that gives a great perspective of the race adventure.

I'm rocking staff weight, not race weight.

Last month was the American Dietetic Association conference, FNCE, in San Diego. I am the Chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietary Practice Group and a lot of my ‘free’ time is spent working with other amazing vegetarian/vegan Registered Dietitians. This year I was in charge of our Member Reception and we took a big risk and held it off-site from the conference at a bar. Would anyone show up? Well, we secured a sponsor and lured RD’s there with free drinks and vegan food from the absolutely delightful Ocean Beach People’s Co-op, and it worked! Over 100 dietitians came, ate, drank and learned about what we do for vegetarian nutrition. Next year the conference is in Philadelphia and our Practice Group will be celebrating our 20-year anniversary. If you are an RD or Dietetics student you should be there!

And last week I had the honor of speaking at Loma Linda University, where I did my masters degree, about vegan nutrition. I love working with students; they are so engaged and hungry for knowledge. And even at a school that actively promotes vegetarianism, there is a lot to discuss. My presentation has changed over the years from the tenets of vegan nutrition to more along the lines of ‘look at all the awesome stuff I get to do as a vegan dietitian!’ I’m not interested in just convincing students that you can get enough zinc or whatever from plants, but that veganism is not about restriction, but new, bigger opportunities. And also, that is about the animals! Sometimes people forget this and I never want to fail at reminding people that this is why veganism is so important.

This Fall I am not teaching college and have more time than usual. It’s both a treat and a curse! Expect more posts and stories here. I’m also looking for more speaking opportunities at schools and other places. If you have ideas please get in touch. My current locale is Southern California, but I do travel. A lot. Ha!

Also:

-I’m working on an article about iron for vegans for No Meat Athlete, keep your eye out for that.

-I have an Instagram account now and I love sharing photos, so if you’d like to see more of what I shoot (mostly dogs, right now!), find me there. I’ve made a very special handle: MattRuscigno.

-I post to twitter with regularity and don’t forget my facebook page where I share nutrition articles and other fun stuff.

-My good friend and spectacular chef Joshua Plogue is in Southern California for the fall and is looking for cooking opportunities. He does unbelievable themed dinner parties that, with no exaggeration, I can say is the best food I have ever eaten. Hit him up and plan something awesome!

What is everyone else up to? Based on my facebook feed it seems cyclocross and cooking root vegetables, mostly.

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Filed under travel, vegan

3 Photos- Minneapolis

After diligently collecting photos from all the cities I visit for my 3 Photos project I have been very undiligent about posting them. After spending time in over a dozen cities this year I think it’s time to bring it back.

Each of us experiences space in a unique way. Everything we have done and seen leading up to our time in a new place sets up how we will interpret it.  I spent much of my teenage years visiting new places- but mostly BMX trails, skateparks and street-riding spots.  I could tell you where a great wallride or handrail is in Chicago, but have no idea about where to eat or what else to do. Then food became my obsession and each new city meant new places to eat! Even now when I visit a place like Pittsburgh, where I have been dozens of times, I see it in a new way depending on my most recent experiences.  I started this project to force myself to take a minute and evaluate my environment and the emotions they trigger.  Some are obvious, some are silly and some will only make sense to me, but I’m joyed to share them all with you.  Thanks for looking.

 

 

Double-decker, covered, bike parking in a city where the temperature dips below zero. Impressed.

 

 

Working my way west through Montana and North Dakota the buildings in towns gradually got bigger. But having the perspective of tiny towns in the West, Minneapolis felt like a big old town, not a city. But in a good way.

 

 

Pizza Luce. This photo may belong more in the Seattle-Minneapolis bike tour set because I had thought about this pizza so much while riding, but it was so crucial in my Minneapolis experience I have to include it here. Vegan pizza served by attractive women covered in tattoos: I was no longer in the rural US.

 

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Filed under 3-photos, travel

Agreed.

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Following Le Tour and Why I Love the Norwegians

The view from a hill in Eidfjord, Norway when I was there in 2007.

Often I am indifferent about the Tour De France and road racing. I’m just not big on watching anything, really. But a giant tv with cable and free time has changed that this year. I wake up each morning and flip on the tv to catch the last hour or so. I’m actually learning racers names and teams! And watching the Norwegians kick ass has been a treat! I had the fantastic opportunity to visit Norway in 2007 when I went to Europe for the Norseman iron-distance race and Paris-Brest-Paris. 2011 is a ‘PBP Year’ as randos like to to say, and I gave serious consideration to getting out there again, but alas couldn’t make it.

Back to Norway and Norwegians. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that the Norwegians are the nicest people I have ever met. I think this comes across in their post-race interviews; they are so stoked and happy without being arrogant (like that green jersey wearing guy). I went out a week early for Norseman and scoped out Oslo a few days on my own and then with my close friend Max who came out to crew the race.  Norwegians have this pride in being friendly that is apparent soon after your first conversation. For example at Norseman I missed the cut-off on the run to finish on the mountaintop and the organizer hugged me! Not like an ‘oh it’ll be okay’ hug, but a serious embrace! I’ll never forget that. They are like the Norwegian terrain, super rugged. But it’s as if that ruggedness has taught them what it is like to suffer so they balance it with softness. Their socialized medicine and anti-lawsuits government is pretty good proof, if you ask me.

As I sit here stoked on bike racing and Norway, I’d like to share some of my photos from that trip. Enjoy!

Norway loves bicycles

Even in 2007 Oslo had a bike-sharing program. We rode them all over the city including to the sculpture museum

Even rode the public bike on a public halfpipe! Community!

Oslo street riding

An exhibit about gay animals at the Natural History Museum. How cool is that?

Action Speaks Louder Than Words! Listen up, California people.

In Oslo there were a few totally vegetarian places including this buffet.

The world is beautiful.

We got to Eidfjord a day before the community center was open for racers to sleep in so we slept in a shed behind a school. This is the view out the window when we woke up. One of my favorite photos ever.

My photos are public if you’d like to see more of the Norseman race or exploring Norway. I don’t think we’re going to see any Norwegians on the podium at the tour (personally I’m pulling for Cadel Evans because of his mountain bike background), but their impression on the 2011 Tour is undeniable.  If you’re watching, who are you pulling for and why?

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Back on the saddle: Boggs 8hr mountain bike race

I did a bike race! Was a little burned out on racing for awhile there, but we worked a race into a 10-day road trip, which is the best way to do it, in my opinion. Last Thursday I headed up to Boggs for the Global Biorhythm 8hr/24hr race for the third year in a row. Two years ago Max and I did this race on a trip that included the Alta Alpina double century and it was my first ever solo 24hr mountain bike race. Time flies! Last year I went up solo and also raced 24hrs solo, again on single-speed, this time placing second. Stoked! Was not stoked on having to drive back to LA for work on that Monday though…

This year Max was up for the adventure as, was Mike. Since none of us have been racing we all signed up for the 8hr. Timed mountain bike races have a loop course that usually takes about an hour, with the start/finish in a campground. Simply, who ever does the most laps wins! The courese are technical, diverse and fun enough that it never feels like you are riding in circles.

After a fun road ride and vegan donut tour in SF/Marin on Friday, we headed north and got ready to ‘race’. I say ‘race’ because we were all in chill mode. Mostly. I will admit though that at registration I was SUPER tempted to race the 24 hour. Why not, right? I’m already here…but I remembered my coach’s lecture: “You do too hard of events and burn out and then stop running/riding!’ so I stayed in the 8hr race. Oh and by coach I mean my friend Jeff who happens to be a coach who happened to tell me that on a ride once.

Back to the race! At 11am the gun went off and we started the 2-mile climb to space riders out. I was racing a geared mountain bike for the first time in 3 years and spun and chilled. We all rode together till the single track forced us apart. The single track is in great shape there: flow-y, fast and fun. Having gears gave me a rest on the big climbs and let me punch  it a little more on the descents….

After five laps I rolled through our camp and Mike was chillin on the blanket as was our friend Al who also came up from LA for this race for the third year in a row. Max was sleeping in the van! Chill race for sure. An hour later I came through and Mike was getting a massage!  My goal was 8 laps, but I just couldn’t get my lap times fast enough to have time for the 8th. Oh well, hanging out, right? I headed out for a 7th and pushed a bit to get a feeling for where my fitness is. Not as bad as I thought it would be! Definitely didn’t feel strong where I normally do, but not horribly so.

Not racing single-speed was quite different:
-I got fatigued in the same way I do from road riding
-My butt hurt because I wasn’t standing for every hill
-I didn’t get that dread I usually would before a big climb because I knew I could just shift down
-I’d pedal in places I probably should have applied my single-speed coasting skills…

In the end it was a great time. I feel much better about my 1×10 bike, the tubeless tires, etc after spending 8 hours with it. I felt exerted, but not crushed. I don’t know what place I got because I raced Pro/Expert and probably didn’t place in the top half…

We spent the night at the race and woke up early to cheer on the solo 24hr racers. And yes, after a solid 8 hour sleep I was positive I made the right decision to not race the 24hr. We spend the week mountain biking some select spots along the coast and then we’ll be at the Grand Tour double century on Saturday. Yay summer adventures! Hope you are getting your stoke on wherever you are.  Thanks for reading!

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Filed under off-road, race, travel

The Big Parade Staircase Walk

Hey everyone! First off, thank you for all of the awesome feedback from our Day in the Life episode with Brian Davidson.  We are so excited about episode two, which should be done for tomorrow. Yay! Wait to you see Brian in Death Valley, it is truly amazing.
 
Today’s post is from an event I did in 2009, called The Big Parade Stair Walk. I am posting it now because 2011’s Big Parade is this weekend. If you are in the Los Angeles area I highly recommend you come out to some or all of this. Did you know there over 100 stairways in the City of Los Angeles that are maintained as travelways? This walk explores them over two days and is full of historical and cultural events within the walk. If you think you know LA well, you need to come to this and see an LA you had no idea existed. I’ll be out there one or both days, come say hello! See the schedule and make your plans.
 
 
 
On the Big Parade
Making the city our own
One stair at a time.
(thanks to Lisa for the haikus)

Photo galleries, thanks to Steve Matsuda, Day 1 and Day 2.

 

The Big Parade is a 45-mile, 2-day walk that covers over 100 staircases in multiple Los Angeles neighborhoods. Over 250 people walked varying lengths, while a core group of us walked the entire route and camped in the Music Box Steps Park Saturday night. We started in downtown Saturday morning at 7am and finished after 10pm at the Hollywood sign.
 
When I do an event like this, almost no matter how I describe it, the automatic interpretation is that is a purely physical endeavor. While completing this walk is no easy physical task, that is only a small component. Walking is so humanizing and seeing the sections of this beautiful city that are only accessible by foot was much more of a social and emotional experience.
 
When we got to the Hollywood sign after 10pm (had been walking since 7am), and looked down on the city we had traversed, I looked at my tired, worn-out friends and felt closer to them than I ever have. I’ve always said that times in our lives where you are fatigued, hungry and just plain worn-out is when you see most clearly. I felt such a love for the people I shared this experience with and for the possibilities available to us when we slow down and see what our environment has to offer us.
 
 
 
 
 

Is it political? Is there a campaign? Are we a group? These are some of the questions asked. But really, the whole idea stems from Dan Koeppel’s fascination with these stairs as public access ways. They are technically ‘streets’ and they are there to be used by people. The small budget came from Backpacker magazine, but almost all of the work and effort came from Dan and the people close to him. His love of staircases-and he has many reasons-drew other ambitious, interesting folks to him. No organization or group, board of directors, mission statement, official endorsements, etc, etc…just a love for what traveling by foot means to each of us. There are political, environmental, social and even historical ramifications from our walk, but none are ‘the’ reason we walked.  And that’s the beauty of this!  “Togetherness’ is so cliche and over-used, but this bringing people together- urbanites, explorers, athletes, artists, historians- is what this walk is about in my eyes.

Sunday night we reached the Hollywood sign about 40 hours after the main group had started- the 9 of us who camped out at the Laurel and Hardy park and walked the entire 45-mile route. Literally hundreds of people walked some part of the route, but this core group had been together for the entire 40 hours. But then, as the only person walking home from the Hollywood sign, I had a solitary hour and a half walk. It was nearing midnight, I had pain in my legs, feet and shoulders which made the other pain I was feeling all the more sharp. So many automobiles-closed off metal boxes-hiding people from the joys of feet on the ground exploring and feeling.  It made more angry about our dependence on automobiles not because of the danger they presented to me, but because of what the drivers were missing out on by being trapped in a car so often.

Celebrate, rejoice!
Our feet get us anywhere
Why bother driving?
 

Physical pain is a pathway to the pain one feels inside. Physical pain brings clarity. And this internal pain that you feel makes its way to the surface. Many of us have set up our lives to avoid both of these pains, but pulling it to the surface can be pure motivation and energy for changing what we see is wrong in the world. It is power!  So I encourage you to explore this pain and use your human-power to change the world. And when it is exposed and you feel vulnerable, know that you are not alone.

Thanks to everyone, Dan Koeppel especially, who helped plan and organize the walk and to those who came out and walked part of it. We are changing this city one step at a time.

 The tech numbers for the nerds!

Mileage: 44.90
Time: 26:48:06
Ascent: 24,188 ft
Descent: 23,340 ft
Ave Pace, Day 1/2: 1.6/1.7 mph
 

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Filed under city, hike, political, road, travel