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type 1 diabetes

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Life Moments

From Alyse:

“Hey Dave, it’s Alyse. Not sure if you remember me but a year ago yesterday was the day that we went bungee jumping at Navajo Bridge. I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for getting me excited, easing my fears, and capturing my adventure. Because of that, I’ve learned more about myself, my passions, and life itself.”

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Alyse airborne at the Navajo Bridge (Grand Canyon - Arizona). Photo composition by Eric Peffer Photography


From Dave:

I recently received this grateful and inspiring email from Alyse, who was visiting the Navajo Bridge (Grand Canyon, Arizona) with her family when she was ‘invited’ to jump off of the bridge.

Adventure and taking on new challenges will unveil new learning opportunities about yourself and possibly others who are hovering within your adventure space.

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Photo by Barry Glazier


Alyse would write a memoir for her English class sharing her reflection on this unique experience and the impact it would have on her life.

From Alyse:

From her paper (which she received an A!), she shared some of her thoughts and steps toward doing the unusual.
”Hey, Wanna jump?” Of course, I didn’t hesitate to respond. Being as outgoing as I am, I replied with, “Heck yeah.” My response, even though said in a normal tone, was just me kidding around. I obviously did not plan on jumping off of a bridge just because a stranger invited me to.

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Dave Nevins - photo composition by Eric Peffer Photography

From Dave:

After some family dialogue on whether they were going to watch their daughter jump to her death or not, Alyse got the thumbs up and she received instructions on how to perform the perfect swan dive.

Let me ask you a simple question. Are you taking on the challenges that call your name?

From Alyse:

It was just me. Standing alone on the edge of a 467-foot bridge. I felt ready, adrenaline pumped through my veins. I heard everyone on the bridge start to count, “5….4….3….2….”
I jumped. I let out a scream as I went from diving horizontally to plunging vertically. I wasn’t even thinking about the danger I just faced or the height I was conquering. All of my worries and thoughts just slipped out of my mind.

I looked off the bridge once more and smiled. That’s when I knew I was hooked. That life to me isn’t worth anything if I’m not risking it. I realized what it is like to actually be alive and what it’s like to really be scared of dying. I had experience something that no other event could compare to. I had felt a way that for the rest of my life, could never exactly be matched or repeated.

From Dave:

Let me ask you a simple question. Are you taking on the challenges that call your name?

Video of my jump.

Similar to Alyse, I have heard the voice calling my name, sometimes I take on an adventure or challenge, sometimes I do not. I confess that I am truly thankful for every yes that I take on when a new challenge has presented itself, and those memories are lasting and those experiences have shaped and molded me into who I am today.

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Dave Nevins during the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo with Team No Limits (all type 1 diabetes riders)

I have shared before that a neighbor in Boise, Idaho came by the house and asked if I wanted to go bungee jump. I realized I could have come up with some excuse to avoid a “scary” challenge, but I thought about it and decided that if I do not have a solid reason for not doing something then let’s do it!

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Snorkeling during a No Limits (for people with type 1 diabetes) kayak expedition near Sitka, Alaska. Photo taken by Scott Harris.

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Taking on challenges can also happen in the work world. This is me during my time as a bicycle messenger in Boise, Idaho.

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Canadian Death Race with a team of runners with type 1 diabetes. Dave Nevins on the left and Will Schock on the right.

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Last Call From Her Brain

I wrote this fictional story of an ultra runner who has type 1 diabetes for a Creative Writing class I am currently taking from the University of Alaska Fairbanks taught by Diana Saverin. The story is also posted in my fiction section. The final for the class will include a revision of this story and I will re-post the new and improved version.

I met Diana while I was in Sitka, Alaska and she is the writer for an interesting follow up story on Chris McCandless (Into The Wild). The story appeared in Outside Magazine. Click the box below:


Old Pueblo Endurance Run Aid Station

Old Pueblo Endurance Run Aid Station

Last Call From Her Brain

     “If I can just reach Melendrez Pass”, mumbled Kelsey as she quietly shuffled her trail shoes along the dusty dirt path, high in the Santa Rita Mountains. At 5,784 feet the pass is not a high one, but one that she had worked hard to attain. While dimly realizing she still had about nine miles of rough, desert terrain to battle.

     Unfortunately, her battle was much deeper, more personal than those limited miles depicted on her ruffled race map.

     At the age of three, Kelsey had been living the normal life of a child growing up in Helena, Montana. Some tantrums, swirled in with laughter, pulling the cat’s tail and a quizzical nature that made Kelsey a walking textbook of childhood life.

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     Then life took a turn, that caught the Jackson family off guard and Kelsey had been losing weight, drinking extreme amounts of water and had a bewildering lack of energy. Life should not be sucked out of someone so young and usually vibrant. Her body was doing the only thing it could do in this extreme situation. Flush out the extra sugar as she now had type 1 diabetes and her pancreas was no longer making insulin, a hormone that helps the glucose in your blood get into your cells to be used for energy.

     Kelsey looks back. No one is in sight. She has been running on her own for the last couple of hours. The start gun went off promptly at 6 am and she was joined by Brad as #105 and #134 rambled forward in the dark as the Old Pueblo Endurance Run adventure left historic Kentucky Camp as the headlights bobbed and the footsteps headed north, on a chilly Arizona morning. Brad, ever complaining about sore knees, had dropped out at the Gardner Canyon Aid Station suggesting that he would rather be at home, eating pizza than enduring a ‘sufferfest’ that he actually had paid to be a part of. Kelsey had trained and felt ready for the event but there would be a few question marks as the race drew near. “You Go Girl!” yelled Brad as he stepped into the aid station. An untied shoe and an open trail running pack, with a few items that had found a new home along the course, seemed to sum up Brad’s mentality. On to conquer pizza while the K machine said a quick goodbye and strode toward the next aid station at Cave Creek and the brief thought of whether she had enough food in her pack to cover her for the coming stretch of climbs and distant aid stations. She quickly did a swipe on the last section of the table and grabbed two more Hammer Nutrition gel packs.

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     This was a challenging race as Kelsey and Brad had contemplated their options for races in the Southwest for the coming season. Due to extreme temperatures during the summertime, this race had an early March date. Runners would encounter the mid 70’s which for many stumbling out of the frozen north would feel severe.

     Kelsey had been successful with 50k races and leaned toward an event that would further challenge her and maybe give her success that she initially felt she could never achieve while having diabetes. She had been a good steward with the diagnosis and had taken care of herself as well as possible and she was enjoying better blood sugar control with an insulin pump and a cgms (continuous glucose monitor system). A cgms is an advanced way for people with diabetes to check blood glucose readings in real time or monitor glucose readings over a period of time. The combination of these two made exercising and endurance events easier to control.

     In most people with type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system, which normally fights infection, attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. As a result, your pancreas stops making insulin. Without insulin, glucose can’t get into your cells and your blood glucose rises above normal. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

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     The weight of this diagnosis had sent shockwaves through the Jackson family. Kelsey’s father, John, had very limited knowledge of the new discovery that Kelsey would have the rest of her life. What he knew about diabetes could be written on a small post-it note with room left over. What he did know is that the condition is usually genetic and that no one on either side of the Jackson family lineage had diabetes. So much for that theory. For the next twenty-seven years, John and Cynthia and their other children Sara and Jake would support Kelsey as she

     Besides some extra sugar in her system, Kelsey also has a dose of grit coursing through that 5-foot 6-inch frame. She knew that that would be her insurance ticket if she needed to cash it in. Now, where was Melendrez Pass?

     People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to get heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, high blood pressure, blindness, nerve damage, and gum disease. Untreated type 1 diabetes can cause coma. It can even kill you.

     While annoying, the ‘beep, beep, beep’ coming from her insulin pump was meant to relay important notices from the mechanical wizard that relied so heavily upon. It could be a warning that her sugar was getting low, the battery needed changing, she was almost out of insulin, or that the cgms sensor needed to be changed. The beep continued while Kelsey juggled the pump, while she ran, to see what the message was. She had an unsettled feeling, deep inside, of what this particular sound might signify. ‘Sensor Expired’ is what the screen indicated. With the rush of packing necessary food, supplies, gear bags for two aid stations, and a monumentally bad night of sleep, the all-important status of the cgms had not been checked on. Now she would rely on old fashioned blood sugar checks with a glucose meter. She shuffled through her bag for the meter. And shuffled some more. No meter. She yelled in anger and frustration. Her words tumbled down the mountainside.

     Kelsey had been consumed by too much at the same time and was could not remember what her last blood sugar was. She was tired, now stressed, alone, and still a distance from the finish. She began to panic. Nearly forty miles into a difficult trail race, she had expected to be extremely tired and there might be some ups and downs in her blood sugar, which would likely affect her energy level. The fatigue had a grip on her and it was now seizing her thought process. Were her blood sugar ok?

     She continued labored motion forward, ever so slowly. Unfortunately, the next aid station was unmanned, but she had faith that there would be a good selection of gels, treats, bananas and maybe even some solid, healthy food if someone had bothered to load it into a 4 wheel drive for delivery.

     Kelsey now lacked awareness of what was around her and the beauty that was around her went by, even more slowly, as her loping run became a staggered walk. After some effort, she ripped the running pack off of her back as it fell to the ground. For a moment she stood still, not knowing what to do. Her brain needed glucose to operate and it was functioning on fumes. She had made the difficult task to deal with the pack in search of some carbohydrates in case that she had low blood sugar. She was not sure of what she needed, but it was better to eat and be wrong than to not eat at all. She knew what the consequences can be of not taking care of a low blood sugar. The sad reality is that she had easy access to the glucose packets in the front of her pack. Her mind was now on hold.

     She trembled, and slowly reached for the pack. This effort made her dizzy and she stumbled onto one knee. The thought urgently streamed across her dysfunctional organ of soft nervous tissue that she needed food now or...

     Now stretched across the dirt road she collapsed and had the pack behind her and now useless as her mind lost connection with the rest of her body. She was now in a coma and would rely on her grit and a helicopter flight to see her back at the starting line of the Old Pueblo Endurance Run the next year.

  

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What Was Supposed to be an Easy Kayak Trip

I have shared this kayak trip in a previous blog, but I am currently taking a Creative Writing Class from the University of Alaska - Fairbanks, and I had an assignment to write about something that had challenged me. This is the story re-told and hopefully with improved English.

Water bubbles over the rocks as it continues its snaking journey across the Arizona terrain, deep within the desert landscape better suited for cactus than a rushing river. Water, the key to life and the center of a topography that is abundant with life that calls the Gila River home. The key to life can also be a link to death. This journey settles into the rippling flow of a river that stretches 649 rugged miles within New Mexico and Arizona. I can hear the sound of life as we drag our kayaks to the edge of the water. The kayaks scrap and scratch across the barren sandbank and slightly slip into the liquid highway as the shore ends and the adventure begins. The wildlife echo sounds of life beyond our visual realm, but they are there, at home in this somewhat harsh climate. I was not to be part of this scene, this experience, this moment. Billy had asked for car support along the 15-mile stretch between Hayden and Kearny, Arizona as he wanted to kayak this section. He is an experienced river kayaker and has a very secure, safe, sit-on-top kayak. I would not be so fortunate in the mode of travel that did find me on the Gila. This was a lake kayak with an open seating area (no spray skirt).

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Billy and I had met through a 24-hour mountain bike race near Tucson, Arizona. The connecting piece was an inquiry on Facebook for adventurous people with type 1 diabetes who wanted to form a team that would tackle the undulating cactus-studded hillsides north of town. Team No Limits would include the two of us along with Kent and Olivia. All of us possessing a nonworking pancreas, a factor that would make challenges like this a bit more challenging for the riders with a chronic disease.

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The phone had rung a day before the Gila River trip, and Billy had an offer or shall we call it a proposal. He had located a second kayak, and we could now insert me into a seat. My mind swirled temporarily, but he reassured me that he had run a nearby section to our proposed section and it was an easy section. Sit back, float and enjoy the wildlife was the vision in my mind. I had a background in sea kayaking and the thought of sitting back and floating sounding appealing. I had also had a rough experience during solo kayaking on the ocean in Alaska. Mild stuff for most people who have spent sufficient time in a kayak, but I had a deep, searing fear of water. Do not ask me to go swimming unless you have a life jacket I can adorn. Well, not quite that extreme, but a pure liquid environment does little for my confidence level.

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A few photos and videos were captured as we stroke our paddle forward then back, propelling us gently in a westward direction with a higher than usual current thrusting us from the back.

The calendar shouted for short sleeve shirts and shorts as the calendar turns placed us just in front of the simmering heat of the summer. We were looking toward a perfect day to enjoy the river as it took us to new places and memorable experiences.

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Video of the Journey Below:

I hear my GoPro scrap and thud against a floating landmine of logs and branches as I thrust the kayak directly into the tangled and twisted mess. There is a small waterfall a few feet from us; the GoPro splashes into the water. Thankfully, I had connected safety lines to the camera, my gear, food, and medical supply bag. A quick session on the water and we decided to run the short drop as we lacked an adequate route to go around the hole of turmoil. A quick bump and drag and we were back on a river that took on a serene, peaceful, quiet tone.

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Subtlety, the Gila began to change its nature as we continued to our take-out point. It was still a relaxing time on the river, and I enjoyed a different kind of adventure tucked into a life brimming with an outdoor lifestyle and many excursions that often challenged me but have also blessed me greatly. I was not going to let diabetes stop me from living life to the fullest. Billy has the same mindset.

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We were approximately five miles into a journey that would end after fifteen miles in the town of Hayden, Arizona. The subtle changes notched up a few levels as the river would narrow at points, exposing the tumbled shoreline of fallen logs and brush. I began to piece the equation together realizing that if I got caught amidst the minefields the force of the water against me and the debris would cause me to capsize. Was I ready for this? I did not have much choice as our vehicle was another ten miles downriver and there was little access to a major road. The safety of my many ocean kayaking expeditions with others within a few strokes of you, in case of trouble, was lacking on this trip. Billy and I tried to stay close together, but as I followed his lead, I was slower and was sometimes getting caught in some minor issues with the river causing distant to separate us. I no longer had ‘support’ as I lost sight of Billy and I was unable to squeeze through a narrow patch in the river that was free of brush and logs, and I temporarily found myself pinned to a log, my head was swirling as I tried to prepare myself for what was about to happen.

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The boat began to tip, and my heart leaped as I plunged under the kayak and into a dark scene that had me disoriented and slightly panicky as I now had to claw my way to the surface and keep the boat and oar within my grasp. A few underlining bullet points on my ‘Dave This Could Be A Serious Moment’ list:

1. I had my insulin pump attached to my shorts. This vital piece of medical equipment keeps me alive and helps maintain proper blood sugars. It is not waterproof. Would it continue to function?

2. My contacts allow me to see well and to avoid as much debris zones in the river as I can. Would they come out as I opened my eyes underwater to gauge where I was?

3. On one of the plunges, I had trouble coming to the surface as I was snagged below the surface in a battle with debris that had entangled me.

4. I had numerous cameras to capture the adventure, and a number of them were not waterproof.

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When I came to the surface, the ordeal was not quite over as I floated down the river with an upside down kayak and an unsure opinion of whether I had everything with me and that everything was staying dry and still working. Next up was getting to the shore and the monumental task of dragging, pushing a kayak full of water up the angled shoreline so that I could empty its contents to prepare for the next plunge.

I would experience the underside of the boat seven times.

By number seven, I had not seen Billy for over an hour. Billy has an easy going nature and was likely not too concerned about the status of the red kayak and its occupant. He had tried to reach me on the phone, but it was nestled deep within a layer of waterproofing, and I did not get to it in time. We finally chatted, and he assured me that he would wait for me at the take-out point.

At one point we had reconvened briefly, and we promptly picked the wrong branch of the river to float. It was a side branch and embedded with an overwhelming amount of everything that you do not want to have to take a kayak through. I took another plunge into the river, but this time I had assistance from Billy on a problematic shore to free a kayak engorged with water. I did not know how I would pull the kayak up one more beach and flip the kayak. During an epic moment, I had accidentally broken one of the carrying handles. It was now more difficult to flip, and I was seriously tired, and the nerves were firing.

I would be tested one last time as I chose the wrong channel to travel. The kayak and I once again bobbed along as the scenery passed, ever slowly. I will say that by this point I had gotten much more comfortable in a rather unusual circumstance that found me in and out of the womb of water. Even with the risen current, the Gila River in this section is not a deep river. I was able to stand most of the time with a rare occurrence of toes not dabbling on the rocky bottom.

While getting more accustomed, I was ready to call it a day. Thankfully the day had not called my name. Number seven was a rare spot on the map as there was a picnic area where I had taken on more water than I cared. The sound of a truck rumbling down the dirt track and parking right in front of me was an emotional stirring of relief and a hint of joy as I kindly and wearily asked for a ride.



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Thank You to Beyond Type 1 for posting my story!

I have been very fortunate to have many opportunities to share my life as a person with type 1 diabetes. I was honored to be featured on the Beyond Type 1 website.

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I titled my story ‘My Fearless Approach to Type 1’ and you can read it here: https://beyondtype1.org/my-fearless-approach-to-type-1/

and they have also posted it in Spanish: es.beyondtype1.org/mi-valiente-enfoque-para...1/dave-nevins-1/

If you have Type 1 Diabetes and would like to share your story you can submit a story to Beyond Type 1. Here is information on doing this:
https://beyondtype1.org/type-1-stories/

Life has taken me to The Dalles, Oregon and I am a bit behind on sharing a few pages of a life that has provided much in the way of adventure, travel, challenges, and some humor along the way. I am now the Director of Tourism for The Dalles, Oregon, employed by The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce. I am loving it here and I look forward to sharing more about my new playground in the Columbia River Gorge.

The Dalles, Oregon

The Dalles, Oregon



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Kayaking on the Gila River

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Kayaking on the Gila River

The Gila River was flowing at a yearly high rate (357 cubic feet per second-C.F.S.) and I received a phone call from Billy Joe, an adventurer who also has type 1 diabetes. Google unveils a record flow at Winkelman (our entrance point) of 55,000 C.F.S.! A slight difference from our day on the river but it would be enough flowing H2O to make things interesting.

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Initially, I was to join Billy and a friend to support his journey down the Gila River from Winkelman to Kearny, Arizona. The Gila River is not a large flow of water but for the arid desert Southwest it is a vital piece of the life puzzle for the area. It is not a deep river, although I can share that in many points it was over my head. We will get to my means for analyzing this fact, later.

Billy Joe on the L. Photo by Billy Joe's friend.

Billy Joe on the L. Photo by Billy Joe's friend.

I would receive a phone from Billy the night before the trip and he had secured a 2nd kayak so that I would be able to join him on the river instead of along the river. While I have a decent background of sea kayaking this would be my first time to river kayak. No spray skirt nor bear spray. With a bright and early start I scrambled to pack items for the trip. My nature is to start packing well before an outing and meticulously go over the details. I am a planner and know that I need/want diabetes supplies, safety and camera gear, food, etc. I headed out the door a little short on the full list of items. While I am not aquaphobic, I dabble in some level of -ic that is right below aquaphobic (water panic).

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The journey would start well and gave the indication that it would be a simple float. River was moving us along at a good clip and thick, lush vegetation crowded along the vital water source streamed by. Soon the river narrowed under a railroad bridge and the nestle of branches and trees encroached upon our water highway and revealed a drop off. Grabbing nearby foliage, we analyzed our situation and decision to 'ride' the drop or negotiate around it. Negotiation appeared to offer minimal opportunities so we rowed forward. No problem and we continued on our way to Hayden then Kearny.

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At some maze of roots and branches and a narrow point with a funnel of faster flowing water I ran into a low hanging branch. When this happens the outcome is somewhat settled. You can do your best to push off, duck, or skirt the 'object' but if the current is flowing in its direction and/or you pick a less than adequate line, you will be stopped. While you may be furiously tackling the water with your oars the liquid freight train continues forward and the laws of physics begin to evolve. I was flipped.

Billy Joe taking it easy. The only good landing area we saw until near the extraction point.

Billy Joe taking it easy. The only good landing area we saw until near the extraction point.

Into the river I went and I was now submersed, pawing upward to break the surface. At the same time, you, the kayak and your oar are riding the current, thankfully at the same speed. At this point it is a crushing reality that I need to keep that kayak in my grasp and capture the oar. Pure misery if any of those vital pieces got caught up in the thickets and I was still moving downriver. Really difficult to land on the steep slopes and go back upstream to retrieve anything.

Billy Joe's Video on our kayak adventure.

This is not the first time I have been introduced to a body of water while kayaking. During an ocean kayak venture, I unvoluntarily exited the kayak and found myself in Sitka Sound (Alaska). Thankfully, it was close to shore and I had a spray skirt. Bobbing in the Gila River, I now had an open kayak that was now full of water. I knew how heavy 90 ounces of water was to run with. Imagine the weight of a boat full of water. Billy Joe had been just ahead of me but he was out of sight and screams to know that I had been hung up. I secured the oar, righted the kayak and found a spot to 'park' the kayak while I did some bailing to lighten the kayak and pulled it up the steep slope to turn over and drain the aqua pura.

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This would happen a number of times and I began to get more comfortable with an equation that would have overwhelmed me in the past. Do not ask me to go out on a raging river and practice kayak exits, but I was taking some steps (strokes) in the right direction by the end of the day to getting more comfortable in a watery environment.

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Me and my gear (I had tethered the living daylights out of my gear bag) did survive and I am happy that I had this opportunity. It was a learning experience and I realized that many things could have gone wrong. Yes, oh yes, the insulin pump brilliantly kept on ticking. Thankfully, we did not encounter these landmines and did have a memorable, but good  ish time on the Gila River.

I am working on a video of this. Take a deep breath!

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Why I Bungee Jump

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Why I Bungee Jump

A question my parents, friends, relatives and unknown strangers ask (Why I bungee jump). Why would you jump off of a perfectly good bridge? Or a bad bridge for that matter?

From the Navajo Bridge near Page, Arizona. A Perfectly good bridge in the sensational Grand Canyon. Photo by Dave Nevins.

From the Navajo Bridge near Page, Arizona. A Perfectly good bridge in the sensational Grand Canyon. Photo by Dave Nevins.

My adventurous life of jumping from bridges, out of airplanes (tandem jump), base jumping (tandem jump), rope jumps and swings from bridges, mountain climbing, rock climbing, caving, and organizing extreme events (long ocean swim races in Alaska), etc. all goes back to a single moment in life while I lived in Boise, Idaho. A clarifying moment of who I would become and how I would find a little extra zest in life and how I would make decisions as opportunities would cross my path.

My Sony POV video.

My neighbor Curt strolled by one morning and asked me a simple but complicated question. Would I like to join him and a few others to bungee jump off of a bridge near where I lived?

Kayakers near the start of the paddle down the Colorado River. Photo by Dave Nevins.

Kayakers near the start of the paddle down the Colorado River. Photo by Dave Nevins.

My mind played some games with me and I inched toward creating a reason I would or could not jump. My heart said, No, We are Not Going That Direction! A few more seconds of swirling brain waves bouncing in my head and I took a deep breath.

Video of me from my camera. Filmed by Sean Crosby.

Ok, maybe a few deep gasps for breath. I walked next door, rattled Curt's door and semi-confidently uttered, 'Yes'. 

My thought was simply and in a somewhat child-like manner were that I could not come up with a solid, valid or even heroic reason to not do the bungee jump.

Colorado River from the bridge. Photo by Dave Nevins.

Colorado River from the bridge. Photo by Dave Nevins.

That is how I approach decisions to take on new challenges in life. Is there a good reason not to do this?

Snapshot from my Samsung 360 Camera.

Snapshot from my Samsung 360 Camera.

Interesting timing as Matthew Butterman, a type 1 diabetes acquaintance, contacted me for an article to post online at Diabetes Daily. He knew that I did not live the usual lifestyle of a person with diabetes. In the 'Out of the Box' zone!

He did an outstanding job on "Be Extreme! Seven Lessons for People with Diabetes Doing Extreme and Adventure Sports". Thank You Matthew for reaching out  and sharing a niche lifestyle for those with diabetes. Article link below:

Snapshot from my Sony POV.

Snapshot from my Sony POV.

As mentioned, the timing was unique as I was doing a bungee jump at the Navajo Bridge (Grand Canyon-Arizona) very soon (all photos and videos are from this jump).

Snapshot from my camera. Filmed by Sean Crosby.

Snapshot from my camera. Filmed by Sean Crosby.

This was to be an extra special experience for me as it had been ten years since the last time I had connected to a bungee cord. I had contacted Eric Lyman (Over the Edge, Inc. Bungee) to see if we could orchestrate a group get together at the bridge. Bingo on seeking adventures!

Me - Testing Gravity. Photo by Barry Glazier.

Me - Testing Gravity. Photo by Barry Glazier.

Bryce Myhre - video 

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Bungee Eric had selected April 1, 2018 for our jump. No, not an April Fools Joke! It was a nod to the Dangerous Sports Club and their first bungee jump on April 1, 1979, helping to usher in a sport that I was now attached to. Pun intended. A crazy group of people from England who traveled the world doing very interesting, unique and crazy events. Also an amusing read.

Composite created by Eric Peffer Photography.

Composite created by Eric Peffer Photography.

Composite created by Eric Peffer Photography.

Composite created by Eric Peffer Photography.

I journeyed up to the bridge with Eric Peffer, who would create some excellent memories of the bungee jump via his trusty camera. We were joined by Barry and Sharon Glazier (friends from Kanab, AZ) and some of their friends.

Me - ready to almost lose the camera. Photo by Barry Glazier.

Me - ready to almost lose the camera. Photo by Barry Glazier.

Alyse (video above) had come to the bridge with her family (with the Glaziers) to watch some crazy people jump off the Nav. She would get a thumbs up from her parents and would make an exceptional leap.

Alyse - Composite Photo by Eric Peffer Photography.

Alyse - Composite Photo by Eric Peffer Photography.

Spinning, bouncing, hanging upside down, and........ I had caught the camera and now was trying to put a camera back on my head. Photo by Barry Glazier.

Spinning, bouncing, hanging upside down, and........ I had caught the camera and now was trying to put a camera back on my head. Photo by Barry Glazier.

The day would go very well as Abe and Bryce balanced on the railing, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and they were in flight and no screams ensued. It was now my time to scream, or not, as I did my best to balance on the narrow railing. Did I happen to mention that the wind was fierce, howling at those whose scary moment 467 feet above the Colorado River was now turned up a couple notches.

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My years and years of leaping off things seemed to have soared back through my veins and I was at the low end for nerves rattling. That 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 did jingle a part of my brain that had semi-retired on my last jump in 2008, but I managed to jump in somewhat good form.

If 1 hits and you are still standing, you owe Eric a 6 pack!

From my Sony POV.

From my Sony POV.

I enjoy plummeting to the earth at race car speed but the bounce back up toward the bridge will flip flop your innards in a special manner. I expected this, but did not expect that my camera would fly off my head. Miraculously, I would catch it. Only issue now was I was spinning, bouncing and upside down and would have to put it back on my head. An incredible stroke of luck (maybe a bit of skill) but I now envisioned dropping the cam into the river far below.

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I was successful in mounting the Sony and I clicked into a free ride up to the bridge far above. A few anxious seconds, but so glad that I had a life moment on the media card and the life changing experiences that doing such extreme things in life can produce.

Moments such as these do not happen sitting on the couch and wondering what if. Say yes to what may challenge, scare, or freak you out. The rattling anxiety is temporary, the memories are forever!

Sunset from the historic Navajo Bridge.

Sunset from the historic Navajo Bridge.

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Dave's Diabetes Story on the ADA Blog

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Dave's Diabetes Story on the ADA Blog

'Dave's Diabetes Story on the American Diabetes Association Blog'

I was fortunate to have a story of mine posted on the American Diabetes Association Blog. The link is below.

For the story, I submitted 3 photos.  If you pull up the story you will see my Medtronic Global Hero photo from 2012.  The photo above is from the Boise trail book of which I am a co-author.  It was an incredible experience to have run over 1,000 miles in the exceptional Idaho terrain that we covered.

This photo is from the 2015 El Tour Expo.  I was a new hire to the ADA and this was an event where I promoted our coming Tour de Cure.  I am sporting the Red Rider jersey which highlights riders at the Tour de Cure with diabetes.  

It has been a real honor and inspiration working with these outstanding individuals.

Dave's Diabetes Story

Link to the story.

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The Mission Hits Close to Home

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The Mission Hits Close to Home

The Mission Hits Close to Home

The following was part of a presentation at the American Diabetes Association Mountain Region meeting in Phoenix, AZ on April 20, 2016.  My story was edited and included with encouraging and inspirational stories American Diabetes Association staff from the Mountain Region.  They were: Lynda Jimenez (Phoenix ADA), Beverly Bartel (Montana ADA), Anne Dennis (Phoenix ADA), Hannah Hoogenboom (Denver ADA), Julie Garcia (Phoenix ADA), Kirsten Weatherford (Montana ADA) and Kaylee Gronau (Phoenix ADA) and myself.  All of us either have Type 1 diabetes or have family members who do. 

I believe my first real connection with the ADA was a journey from Seattle, WA to Glacier National Park (Montana) for a backpacking excursion to the Granite Park Chalet.  We actually celebrated Christmas on August 25

th

while at

the Chalet.  This was the last 25

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on the calendar before they closed for the season.

The Glacier National Park trip might have been the spark I needed to make an entry into the world of adventure and seeking new challenges.  Another tie in with the ADA was the BBAD (Border-to-Border-Against- Diabetes) Tour.  A group ride from the Utah/Arizona border to the Utah/Idaho border.  4 of the 5 riders were T1’s.  The trip was organized to finish the day before the ADA EXPO Salt Lake City where we were involved/featured.

Hannah Hoogenboom’s uncle Peter was on the tour!

I have also been involved with the ADA being the beneficiary in past events.  Two ocean swim events benefiting the ADA in Alaska (10k/5k) made for some interesting experience in event planning!  So glad and fortunate to be working with the American Diabetes Association and to have such  wonderful people helping me out and inspiring participants in our events.

Note:  I am the Market Manager for the Tucson ADA

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2 Peaks Adventure in Alaska

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2 Peaks Adventure in Alaska

2 Peaks Adventure in Alaska

Following the Canadian Death Race in July of 2011, I was open to another adventure, one a little closer to my home in Sitka, Alaska.  Out my window, opposite the Pacific Ocean breaking under my home, I could see 2 prominent peaks near downtown (Mt. Verstovia & Gavan Hill).  Gavan Hill is known for the ever popular and long suffering Alpine Adventure Race.  Mt. Verstovia is known for its wickedly steep, rugged trail that climbs 2550 feet in about 2.5 miles.  

Gavan Hill trail is no less brutal, with about 2400 feet gained in 1.6 miles.  This would be my own custom created event.  A signature event without the aid stations.

Video of the 2 Peaks adventure

I elected to run/walk from a parking lot (Sitka National Historical Park) between the 2 peaks, run to Verstovia, grunt up to picnic rock, zoom down, run to Gavan Hill and of course, up, up, up to a point that I felt was a high point.  Trail does continue from there but I wound be content with about 5,000 feet of gain for the elevation deposit for the day.

This is trail running/walking in SE Alaska.  One of the nastier sections.

The effort would take place in September, about a month after my 23+ mile, 6,500 foot (elevation gain) ordeal at the Canadian Death Race.  This was a momentous occasion as I signed on to run with the I Challenge Diabetes team.  I had recently had knee surgery and  was hoping for one of the easier legs.  That easier leg transformed into the toughest leg as others on the team withdrew or pleaded a little louder than I.  

The timing should have been perfect for the 2 peaks effort, but I managed only 1 hill training run before September rolled in.  Also rolling in was weather.......SE Alaska rainforest weather at its gnarliest. The teeth would bite later in the day.

1st view point on Mt. Verstovia (800? foot elevation)

I set off with a well stocked Osprey running pack.  The blood sugars were good and the day appeared to be in a stable hold.  It might be a decent day, weather wise in the rain forest.  Could it be?

Despite a lack of specific training, meaning, actually running up hills, I made my way up Verstovia.  Slow but sure, a mix of walking and running.  I passed 1 person (if memory serves me correctly), my only link to humanity on either trail.

I had brought along a camera that was lacking in quality and performance but was waterproof.  I shot footage at various stages, knowing that I would eventually piece together a somewhat rough film (see link above).  It would take 21 clips to create the short film that would be my introduction into the world of filmmaking.  I have been working on my first 'real', quality film as I work through the footage of a No Limits Sea Kayak Expedition,  tentatively, named 'Alaskan Waters'.  

Near the first summit of Verstovia

I would reach picnic rock, which is the first summit of Verstovia in good shape.  The Arrowhead is the true top of Mt. Verstovia was jutting just above me.  A more technical approach, which I was not willing to attempt without a partner. 

Goal #2, Gavan Hill

The weather was turning as I made my way down the mountain.  As evidence by my array of photos, running SE Alaska trails is a challenge and requires a major dose of concentration.  I had a lot of trail time and was somewhat skilled at the ballet on rocks.  Having diabetes increased my need for good planning and focus.  I had dealt with higher blood sugars for the first half of the run but would eventually level out.  

Gavan Hill

I hit the trail head of Verstovia and made a right turn.  On to Gavan Hill.

1st viewpoint on Gavan Hill, approximately 1,000+ feet up

A bit more tired, Gavan would require more walking and an onslaught of nature as the wind, rain and a thick,  layer of wetness became the next chapter in my 2 Peaks experience.

Gavan Hill near the first summit

I would glance at my watch and realize that darkness would begin to envelope the mountain terrain soon and the dismal day would usher in darkness quicker.  

Near the top of the first Gavan Hill summit

Reaching the trail head, I shot a final memory of the 2 Peaks experience.  Darkness casting its shadow across the Last Frontier. Deep in the woods the evening came at an alarming rate as I ran toward my vehicle.  There was an encouraging glow of light and life as I escaped the veil of forest behind me.  

7 hours after my first steps toward Verstovia, I slowed my run to a walk and unlocked my car door.  Done.  A tired, but happy thumbs up for another adventure check off the list.

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A Wild(life) Year in Video! 2015

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A Wild(life) Year in Video! 2015

A Wild(life) Year in Video! 

I shared in my previous blog

A Wild(life) Year in Photography

Another 'wild' year for me and my encounters with wildlife.  The wildness factor dipped into my photography and in video.  If I am taking photos I am usually just a button touch away from capturing wildlife in video.  It is always my goal to walk away with photos and video if I happen to encounter a Sasquatch, Aliens, javelina, or whatever crosses my path or chases me in the rugged landscape of desert terrain in which I call home. 

I have posted some memorable moments below with links to video(s) taken.  I have not posted all of the videos under each photo.   It was a good year for the videography, whether it was filming a tarantula crawling up my arm, a rattlesnake a few feet away or something away from the animal/insect kingdom.

Other videos on my channel can be found at:  

Dave Nevins YouTube Channel

Thanks for your visit and I look forward to more unique and exciting opportunities to use my camera in the future.

Rattlesnakes interacting

 - on one of my runs

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A Wild(life) Year in Photography!

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A Wild(life) Year in Photography!

A Wild(life) Year in Photography!

Me and the Roaming Bison in Colorado.  

Photo by Eric Peffer.

It has been been a wild year for me, in many aspects.  One of those areas that continues to make my head swirl, is the amazing desert I live in and the wildlife I have had the opportunity to spend some quality time with.  

Most of the photos are from my home base in Catalina, Arizona, although photo adventures to Colorado and New Mexico have added some new animals and geography to my photo line up.

Part of the large herd of elk in Colorado (approximately 150)

I have a number of things in my favor:

1.  An eye for things that are 'wild'

2.  a 70-300 lens

3.  Many of my photo adventures are with a wildlife biologist.

4.  I run in an a desert area where I see maybe 1 person a month.  More of a true desert setting. 

5.  Just plain luck

Family of 4 Bobcats in the neighborhood

Many of my photos are taken during my daily runs through the desert.  I typically run near sunset, which I feel is a better time to see animals plus it puts me on the highest road in our area to capture stunning sunsets.  The runs limit my camera options but I have had good success with a decent point and shoot camera (Samsung WB350F).  The Samsung is sporting a 42x zoom.  Oh yeah!

One of the four bobcats (family) in the neighborhood

My goal, when possible, is to take film along with photos.  I may put together a film blog for this year.  

I think back to last year and I did not get much in the way of wildlife photos while this year has been phenomenal.  Looking toward 2016. 

Wild horses near Fort Garland, CO

Enjoy the photos! 

When I grab my camera, I aim to get photos and video.  Check out the videos on my latest blog:  

A Wild(life) Year in Video!

Wild horse near Fort Garland, CO

Bighorn Sheep - Taos, NM

Redtail Hawk - Klondyke, AZ

Not totally 'wild' but a wild setting - near La Veta, Colorado

Rattlesnake on one of my runs - Catalina, AZ

Roadrunner near the house - Catalina, AZ

At the house

A Javelina visit during a run - Catalina, AZ

Horned Lizard during a run - Catalina, AZ

Young Desert Tortoise - Catalina, AZ

Walking Stick, almost stepped on and bypassed - Catalina, AZ

Tarantula visit on a run - Catalina, AZ

Tarantula on one of my runs

Gila Monster at the house - Catalina, AZ

Family of 4 Bobcats in the neighborhood - Catalina, AZ

Bobcat photo published in a local paper

Young Desert Tortoise on a desert run - Catalina, AZ

A brief stop during the Race Across America as wild horses cross the road in Utah

During the Race Across America - Pagosa Springs, CO

Praying Mantis, Lori & Eric in Klondyke, AZ

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The Klondyke Cold Rush

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The Klondyke Cold Rush

Off the heavily traveled Interstate 10, Klondyke Road weaves through gently rolling prairie, skirting the towering Mount Graham, at 10,720 feet, the tallest peak in the Pinaleno Mountains and the majestic Santa Teresa Mountains.

It was a lengthy four-hour drive to reach the little hamlet of Klondyke, where the aged sign boasts a population of five.  About 35 miles were dirt, although road conditions were much better than anticipated.  The road ends at the eastern entry of spectacular Aravaipa Canyon, within the supremely rugged Galiuro Mountains, a rough and remote place that was the home of Arizona's last wild wolves before the reintroduction program of the late 1990's. 

Our goal was for Eric, Lori and I to pitch tents at the start of the trek and spend the next two days exploring the spectacular setting that Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness offers.  Little does one realize the crazy circumstances that are involved in this ten mile hike (mainly in the creek).  While the west entrance is only 50 miles from my home, the east entrance is 200 mile drive.  These miles and the 4 hour drive will become more significant, later in the story.

Video of the last section of road to Aravaipa Canyon East.  

Road to Aravaipa Canyon East (last section)

Entertaining a visitor at the old Klondyke School
 

The sun had slid behind the towering cliffs of the dramatic canyon. We exited from the Peffer family taxi (Eric's folks), grabbed the seriously overweight backpacks (did someone throw rocks in my pack?), clamped on our headlights and began our search for a campsite. None being found, with looming darkness and threatening skies, we strolled back to the parking lot.  Flat, close to a toilet and no time for a crisis, parking lot camping was perfect, for the moment.  

The rain began to fall and buckets of the liquid sunshine were pounding us as we scurried to set up shelter.  I had 'planned' to practice setting up a tent that I had not used in many years. This did not happen. Those years had destroyed the elasticity of the bungee cords in my tent poles.  Lovely.  Any idea how dismal it is putting up a tent in a driving rain, in the dark, with largely worthless poles?  

The tent would eventually, somehow, find shape, as the skies continued to unleash their madness.

The weather forecast, being a serious matter when spending most of your hiking hours within the creek, in a very distant location, and carting a lot of expensive camera gear, was for about .07 inches of rain.

Those .07 inches of rain fell in about the first 12 minutes of bombardment, and would continue through the night with an occasional boom of thunder thrown in for grand measure.  

Santa Teresa Mountains
 

The morning saw the three adventurers tired, needing coffee and questioning the wisdom of entering the rising creek.  

A single truck would splash its way past our parking lot accommodations.  Odd, to have traffic roll past us, since this was basically the end of the general road system.

An old windmill structure and wind sock behind the Klondyke School. The school now serves as a search and rescue location and helicopter pad.
 

The truck would ramble back through our disaster zone and Lori, in a heads up move, would emerge from the tent and flag down the vehicle.  It was a rancher checking on a horse on her property.  The news on creek conditions was not stellar.    "Can we get a ride back to Klondyke"?

Redtail Hawk
 

We scooped up our wet belongings and joined 2 drenched dogs, in a crowded truck, for the journey back to Klondyke.  It would have been a long slog, on foot, back along the road that Billy the Kid had once traveled.  Our home for the day would be the old Klondyke School.  It is now being used as a search and rescue base, for community meetings and a helicopter base.  

Klondyke Road and the Pelocillo Mountains
 

The call was made and it would be another eight hour drive for our gracious and now overworked drivers to pick us up.  

Adorning the now sparse, marginally used school, were posters advertising the film 'Powers War' and an old poster on a historic gun fight in the Galiuro Mountains called 'Shootout at Dawn'.  I read Shootout maybe 15 years ago and was intrigued by the story and history of Klondyke, the Galiuro's and the Power family.  The story chronicles the Power family and a conflict and eventual gun fight over draft dodging during WWI.  There are a number of books on the subject, with some siding with the Power family and others which back law enforcement.  The actual facts elude those seeking the full story, so the details and guilt will never be fully known.  Four men would die in the most deadly gunfight in Arizona.  The world premiere of the film was shown in Klondyke.

The film is an excellent documentary:

The Power's War film

With a lengthy wait, I explored our surroundings, equipped with a camera and thoughts of a future Aravaipa trek.

We were quite the sight, with wet gear spread out over a lengthy section of stone fence in front of the school.  Checking on the status of the new members of Klondyke community was 'the Grader Man'.  He had grown up in the region and his role was to keep the roads in working order during adverse conditions.  I missed his visit but heard of some of his exploits and of his nearly famous dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, who travels on the roof of the truck and of his courting the females of the isolated area, with special escape visits to a girlfriend eight miles from his home.  

Storm clouds over Willcox, AZ
 

Plans for another Aravaipa journey are in the works.  The area is too amazing to not come back. The wet gear and clothes should be dry by then.  

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'Let's Do It!' (Part 4) - An almost cross country cycling adventure

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'Let's Do It!' (Part 4) - An almost cross country cycling adventure

'Let's Do It!' (Part 4) - An almost Cross Country Cycling Adventure

Pouring cats and dogs and some unidentified critters as we rode the final 16 miles to Lordsburg, NM.  An exhaustive search yields no reasonable housing options, so we opt for camping in the thickets behind a city park.

The Holiday Inn of Pecan Orchard Camping

Roger's 'Breakfast Machine' greets me in the am and flat tires greet me later in the day.  It occurs to me that I am the lucky recipient of about 100% of the bicycle problems.  Amazingly, tire terror would puncture Rog's life, and out of mine, the last half of the country.  

Hatch, NM, capital of all things chile, was next on the ever expanding pedal universe.  Timing being perfect in our little chile world, we entered Hatch during their Chile Festival.  We would attach 3 chiles to the back of our velocipedes to share our allegiance to chiles. Journal notes fail to supply the question of how long those lasted.

A little further along New Mexico roads, Rog would ride over a deceased coyote.  In the slashing darkness, my laughter echoed across a rather empty landscape.  

Near Nutt, NM and an approaching storm

Feeling good, but a touch of grogginess in the head, we spin triumphantly into the metro kingdom of Albuquerque.  Blood sugars have been ok, but there are moments.  Those moments are consuming when you are exhausted, pedaling into the wind (a true story teller will share that it was always a headwind!), dodging diapers in your path and dealing with agonizing blood sugars.  The challenges of each day are easily forgotten as the day yields special blessings sprinkled through the miles. 

Albuquerque, NM

As the big city looms, we jet into civilization behind our first tailwind.  We are one day ahead of schedule and this is Rog's previous hometown, so we stay four nights.  We set up camp in Grandma Burke's backyard.  A novel setting for our tour that has yielded many different settings for our 'home' each evening.

I turn 26, with little fanfare and the fact almost escaped me.  September 9 - Albuquerque to Santa Fe.  A cold has developed and will effect the next few days of pedaling.  My educated guess was the chilly night and horrible camping conditions upon the cement ground between a pecan and chile orchard in Garfield.

Amazingly, my back feels great and we are adapting to the long hours on the bike.  It is a miracle, and I am truly thankful that I hopped on the bike, a little over one week ago, despite a back that was screaming no way Jose!  There are still additional adaptions needed to a still uncomfortable seating arrangement.  

We spin through the rugged beauty of the Pecos Mountains as we head into Las Vegas.  No, the other Las Vegas (NM). The glory of this journey is embedding a mark upon my soul.  Rog and I have taken on a trek that was hastily thrown together, with a serious lack of funds, between two people that did not really know each other and it is developing into the trip of a lifetime.

Rog, shirtless in Santa Fe

Within the scribbled notes of my journal;  "A lot happens in 112 miles".  This post was on a long day (September 11) from Las Vegas to Tucumcari.  Those 100+ mile days,  fully loaded packs, do make for a lot of possible journal entries, but a soul and body that is too tired to write more than a few scribbles.

The days are slowly blending together and the bicycle and the road are becoming our lives.

  I no longer wonder, 'why are we doing this?' It is too amazing and enriching not to.

First extended rain hits us as we wheel into another state and an ever changing landscape.  We say hello to Adrian.  That is Adrian, TX.

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A Front Row Seat to the Race Across America

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A Front Row Seat to the Race Across America

A Front Row Seat to the Race Across America

by Dave Nevins

While the Tour de France has twenty-one stages, hotel stays, catered meals, ample sleep opportunities and is ‘only’ 2088 miles, the Race Across America (RAAM) is one single, grinding, relentless stage.

Vic Armijo and Jennifer Salazar and rider Christoph Strasser near Trinidad, CO

 The top solo participants in RAAM average about two hours sleep a night, with no hotels.  Their meals

are corralled from the confines of cramped vehicles and they pedal 3,004 miles (if they are among the 50 percent that prevail as overcomers ).  The clock starts in Oceanside, California as riders follow a detailed network of  back roads that take them through the searing heat of the Mojave Desert, up and over the Rockies (high point is 10,856 feet), across the wind ravaged Kansas landscape, over the dreaded Appalachians, with a final tick of the clock in Annapolis, Maryland.  This year, the country unleashed some brutal, nasty weather upon the participants.  The desert Southwest was 5-10 degrees hotter than in the past decade and torrential rainfall and floods east of the Mississippi River slowed the race field.  

Christoph Strasser (Austria) near Trinidad, CO

With the start of RAAM on June 16, I was driving the RAAM Media 1 vehicle. I followed the procession of solo riders as they left the Pacific, churned up Palomar Mountain, took the plunge down the Glass Elevator, a ten mile plummet into

Borrego Springs, CA and the searing heat of the Mojave Desert. This is stark reality punishing the riders, especially those coming from Europe.   Their training doesn’t usually include adapting to oven temperatures.  I had a front row seat to the highs and lows that make up one of the toughest events ever concocted.  

Severin Zotter (Austria) - Hanover, PA

With me in the Media 1 vehicle were photojournalist Vic Armijo and  videojournalist  Jennifer Salazar.  Their task was to provide photos/commentary and video of the race, with a special eye on the leaders.  My task was to assist them in reaching their goals. I drove, drove, bought gas, and drove some more, with ample opportunities to take my own photos/film and assist Jen with filming. 

Along beautiful Highway 12 near La Vita, CO

It took a short while to

work our way through the whole field of solo riders and eventually catching the race leaders near Brawley, California.  The teams (2, 4 and 8 person) started the race on June 20

th

and generally caught the tail end of the solo field in Ohio.  

Adam Bickett

This was my sixth RAAM.  In the other five I had participated in I had been part of a crew supporting a team.  This included Team Type 1 and their first RAAM (2006).  I also crewed for Team Type 2 for two years (2009 & 2010).  During this year’s race I was extra thankful for my CGM, as I was living a life that was definitely off-track from my usual lifestyle. I had to stay focused and do the best I could with blood sugars and control, constantly checking the sugars on the CGM.  It was easy to check the blood sugar levels with a quick glance on the CGM.    My basal rate had to be notched up a significant amount to cover my deficient exercise life while fastened to the driver’s seat. Thankfully, I had good blood sugars for most of my time on the road.  Another smile….

Vic Armijo and Jennifer Salazar near Hanover, PA

The long hours at the wheel did affect my glucose levels and management.  

started each day with a low carb meal and kept the basal rate at a higher rate than normal.

Lunch was usually whatever could be snagged at a roadside gas station/convenience store.

Not ideal, but slightly better with coffee in hand.

Dinner found us chasing riders or settled into a hotel in Anywhere USA.  I often packed a dinner of sorts early in the day from food that I was able to pick up or had packed in Dave’s ever-relied upon food bag.  Our first sit-down dinner didn’t happen until the end of the race in Annapolis.  I relied on constant contact with my CGM and the convenience to make bolus shots

when needed

on my insulin pump during crazy-busy times often while driving.  

Pagosa Springs, CO

Steering wheel in hand meant dealing with traffic, a long list of turns and directions for each day and continual filming and photography.  Often I drove alongside the cyclists to provide some of best opportunities

for Vic and Jen to take photo and film

yet a little unnerving for the driver.  We were always on the search for choice places to capture incredible footage.  Thankfully, this was Vic’s tenth year and he was pretty dialed in to the premium locations for shooting.  Our route took us mainly on back roads where we were immersed in the beauty of this country

the nooks and crannies of a beautiful and historic landscape that eludes most people zooming down the main arteries that crisscross this country.

Jennifer Salazar in Maryland, near the end of the race

Toward the end of the race, the notorious hills of West Virginia and Maryland greet each rider with a wicked, sneering grin as the finish line hails.  By this point riders are at their lowest ebb energy wise.  We ended the race tracking the top two solo riders; Severin Zotter (Austria) and David Haase (United States).  Severin wheeled across the finish line in Annapolis, first (eight days, eight hours, and seventeen seconds).   An amazing feat since this was his rookie year.  

A fun shot taken by Jennifer Salazar as I was not, quite, the RAAM Rookie Male of the Year

So what was the payoff for me? I came away with a vast number of photos and a healthy amount of video from a truly amazing event.  Not to mention the many  outstanding and inspiring

stories, too many to recount in this blog.  No doubt the memories will stay with me forever, not to mention the hope that I’ll be back on the roads of RAAM next year.  

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Make Sure It's Inspiring

Make Sure it's Inspiring

As we near the end of November, I am reminded that besides being a month focused on turkey, leftover turkey (and even some pardoned turkeys) some extra days off and giving Thanks, I cannot forget that this is also diabetes awareness month.

The 'I Challenge Diabetes' race team at the Canadian Death Race

An excellent time to communicate the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of diabetes prevention and control. With nearly 26 million children and adults in America living with diabetes, and another 79 million at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, the disease is taking a devastating physical, emotional and financial toll on our country.

Pumps Rock at the No Limits Sitka Sound Adventure Swim post swim dinner

Yet, most Americans don't consider diabetes a serious matter. They feel it is someone else's responsibility; someone else's problem. That someone else, just happens to include me. I am one of the 26 million. That bit of news hit me 36-ish years ago. I had rocket high blood sugar (in the 500+ range), felt like I was in the walking dead club and got that very unwelcome news that I not only had diabetes but I somehow am striving for extra credit, with Type 1 diabetes, a lifetime chronic disease.

This tidal wave of news had a deep impact on me, of course, but also touched the core of the Nevins family. This disease would affect each member in the family in different ways. I am forever thankful for my loving and adaptable family and the support they have showered me with.

Our film, created on a kayak adventure, to inspire others

It made all the difference.

Receiving the Reifenstuhl Award for promoting community wellness

"Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it's inspiring."

~Lorrin L. Lee

I stumbled across this quote during late night Facebook manuevers. Life with diabetes has been a challenge but it has also been a truly amazing ride. I have chosen to chase and spread "inspiration".

Make sure you do the same.

Our sky diving event

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