WOW, what a year! While I wasn’t very good at maintaining the blog, behind the scenes I was having a fantastic year. In fact, 2013 was hands-down the most amazing year of my life. There were great runs, grand adventures, international travel, an incredible Fall in the Wasatch, trips to the Tetons, clean energy work, a handful of fun design/home projects, etc. But the climax came at the end of December when our baby Phoebe was born. This write-up is meant to be a quick summary of the highlights of 2013.
Most of the month was spent working and and trying to get ready for this year’s Running Up For Air challenge (which took place in March).
One January highlight was a big dump of snow SLC received at low elevations which led to some unique skiing on the peaks immediately adjacent to the city, including Mount Wire, which Mindy, Ryan and I simply couldn’t miss. Photos
City Home Collective
Our house was featured on City Home Collective in a fun article written by Corigan Kushma.
New York City
Mindy and I took a very unique trip to New York City, where I received an award for “2012 Engineer of the Year” at the company I work for. We had a blast running around Manhattan Island, eating extremely well, seeing several plays (Wicked, Avenue Q), visiting museums, etc. I never realized how much fun I could have in a big city!
Running Up for Air
March started off with the Running Up For Air – Grandeur Peak fund-raiser for Breathe Utah. Many folks joined me for relentless slogging up and down the peak. 58 different people made a total of 127 summits as we worked towards raising $5,000 for one of Utah’s most influential small non-profit groups. I pulled off 12 summits this year (40,000′ of gain) in 23 hrs 10 min. Links (overview – re-cap – Breathe Utah site)
I have come to love this event. It is the most raw organized mountain challenge in the lower 48 states. I went into it this year’s event super-fit, focused, and excited. All was going incredibly until I got lost in a down-pour and thick fog, which quickly shifted things into a bit of a survival contest. After I eventually figured out where I was, I slogged back into camp some 7 hrs late. After a bit of re-grouping I went out to finish a 3rd lap, good for a “fun run” in just under 36 hrs. In recent online dialogue regarding comparisons between Barkley and silly events such as the Death Races, Gary Cantrell had this to say about it all, which beautifully captures why I’m drawn to Barkley.
Net Positive Home Building Presentation
On the 25th, I gave a presentation on Net-Positive Home Building, sponsored by Utah Clean Energy and hosted at the Episcopal Diocese of Utah. This was so much fun for me. I loved the process of pulling together a polished presentation and sharing my story with a diverse audience of builders, architects, home owners, etc.
- Running the Fat Man’s Misery Loop with Ryan
- Running Deeprtrap Ridge to Weeping rock fast
- Running the 5-Peak linkup in 4hrs 3 min
- East Side Linkup (E. Temple, Twin Brother, MOS, Deertrap, down Hidden Canyon)
- Mindy and I did an incredible run up Squirrel Canyon, down Water Canyon
- Imlay with Ryan
I had been scheming a new route in Zion called the “Zironman” that traversed the park using the most interesting route I could devise, connecting classic canyons, iconic peaks, and the least amount of established trail possible. In 2011 Ryan, Buzz and I did an abbreviated version of it in 21 hrs, which wet our appetite. I was SO happy that we returned in 2013 with the right amount of planning and preparation to pull it off (in 28 hrs and 2 minutes). Buzz did a great write-up here, Meghan Hicks did a nice story in the Utah Adventure Journal, and I wrote a few quick thoughts. And, some photos here. This was an incredible adventure in my favorite place with two fantastic friends.
One weekend after our 28 hr Zironman Adventure I headed up to Pocatello to run the P50. While my legs weren’t working very well, I had a blast finally running the course that Ryan and I had created and hosted for four years. Luke (new and improved Race Director) did a perfect job with the event and it is always such a treat to see so many friendly faces. Pocatello has a great running community.
Mindy and I went to northern Spain and Andorra for 2.5 weeks in what turned out to be an insanely fun trip. We spent most of our time in the Cadi Moixero Natural Park and surrounding areas and played hard nearly every single day. Our friends Mig and Nicole from the Holland, graciously showed us around and joined us for several adventures. We were hooked on the area and would go back in a heart-beat.
The trip culminated with running the Ronda dels cims race, some 110 miles and 40kft(?) of gain in the beautiful mountains of Andorra. I was fortunate enough to run the entire course with two of the best guys I know, Ben Lewis and Ty Draney. Finishing as a trio we took 7th place. The course was stunning and we had every type of weather. It was beautiful and surreal. Ben’s write-up here. Talk Ultra Interview (starts @ 1:26:18 contrary to the 1:25:04 listed). Also, here is a great video of the race.
The worlds best slog, especially when you’re tired. 🙂 I love Hardrock and always consider myself fortunate when I get to participate in it. Battled out another finish on tired legs and managed to finish in 29hrs 32 min, my 8th time finishing. This one hurt so good. Ryan McDermott paced me for the final 27 miles, which made it extra fun.
Speedgoat – Did the timing again for Karl, which is always fun. Amazingly fast field, I was very happy to be on the sidelines.
Electric Vehicle advocacy
Spoke alongside Utah Clean Energy at the Utah Capitol building about air pollution and the roll electric cars can play in improving it. Ultimately the Utah Public Service Commission modified a tariff to clarify that “Electric Vehicle (EV) Battery Charging Service is Not Considered Resale of Electricity” which will enable local businesses to install charging stations and sell power to EV drivers.
- KSL – Commission talks shop on Utah’s electric cars
- EV World – Utah Studying Potential Role for Electric Cars to Address Regional Air Pollution
- KK11 News – People could profit from buying electric cars
Had Fantastic trip to the Tetons. Ran Paintbrush-Cascade, Granite to Coal Creek, and the Grand Teton with Ty Draney and Luke Nelson. Pictures here.
Another fun jaunt at the Wasatch 100. The combination of heat right from the start, a perfect evening where I was joined by my co-worker Dave Ellis, followed by a fun solo run into the night where I felt stellar for the 5 miles out of Brighton followed by feeling absolutely terrible to the finish, made for a classic WF100 experience. The new finish wasn’t my favorite, but I fortunately got to do it at night. The intense rain-storm just during the awards ceremony was outstanding.
Cub-Scout Solar Racecar Derby – Hosted the 2nd annual cub scout solar-powered race-car derby. 🙂 Not a big group this year, but I have fun demonstrating the power of the sun to the kids.
Tetons – Mt. Moran Direct South Buttress – My bro-in-law Brendan and I headed to the Tetons to climb the Direct South Buttress. Brendan and I used to climb together tons so it always brings back a wave of great memories to be with him. We’ve climbed the Nose of El Cap together, Half Dome, climbed in New Zealand, Spain, France, Thailand, etc. He’s a 5.14 climber, ace-Engineer, incredible father (to my nephew), and super husband (to my sister). Could you think of a better guy to spend time with? Me neither.
Oh yeah… and the approach to the route isn’t so bad either… 🙂
Solar Array – Lewis
Helped Ben install his PV array
Built a really cool Corten steel (intentionally rusting) fence in our backyard
Had a magical trip to Zion exploring new terrain I’m not at liberty to write about… 🙂
Stayed local and enjoyed the stellar Fall we had in the Wasatch Mountains
Presented to a group of students at the PCCAPS in Park City, Utah. This is a outstanding program for high-school students. I spoke about solar energy and its role in architecture in an effort to help the students who are working on a sustainable affordable housing unit that will be built in Park City.
Mindy and I received an “Energizing Visionaries” award at a Utah Clean Energy banquet on November 13th. We were extremely flattered by this and honored to be associated with such a great organization.
Gave thanks to the holy land, Zion, in late November:
- Ran the 5-peak linkup (Pine Valley, Northgate E&W, and N&S Guardian Angels) in 3:42. One of the finest routes in the world and I shaved 21 minutes off my springtime effort.
- Brent, Emily and I did the Deertrap (S. ridge), Great White Thrown (GWT), down Hidden Canyon route, exiting in cold/dark conditions. Two of my favorite people in the world on one of my favorite routes in Zion. Pictures here.
- Mindy and I hiked up to Kanarraville Falls just north of Zion National Park
Designed and built a really neat custom awning off the back of our house
Gramps turned 100
My grandpa, Lowell Hicks, turned 100 yeas old this year! He is such an amazing guy and is still playing marimba and piano. KSL did a nice story on him as well as the Desert News. Also, check out these youtube videos of him (Flight of the Bumblebee @ 96 years old, and Chopsticks @ 98).
But… the best thing that happened to me in 2013 was that I became a new father. Mindy and I couldn’t be happier about this next chapter in life with our daughter Phoebe! Mindy blew my mind with the entire birthing process. She went 100% natural and re-defined strength and control for me. I’ve always been drawn to her because of how amazing she is, but observing the pregnancy and birth solidified her as my all-time hero. I love her and our beautiful baby.
2014, here we come!