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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer in Suburbia

Ah summer in suburbia. The twinkle of the ice cream truck. The smell of fresh cut grass. Tooling around on your bike with the other townies. Hitting Cumby's for a Chill Zone. The good life, am I right?

After a brief interruption in my usual summer programming, I'm back to the repeat life, living at what will quite soon be an empty nest (lil' bro Henry heads off to college in two days!! They grow up so fast...) The rest of my internship went well, but flew by faster than I expected. While still in Boston I got to spend some quality time with ski alums (@thetanrussian) and finally learned my way around the city. But after one too many Littleton roller skis (CSU peeps know what I'm talkin' bout), I was glad to return to the Becker homestead and get my summer vacay on [cue this on repeat].

Run views. Bonus points if you know where this is @lucy @braden
Tbh, I'm still trying to wrap my head around how my poor family managed to survive this summer without me. I mean, now that I'm home, my dad (aka Patagucci Paul) finally has a partner in crime to tag team Patagonia outlet sales, and someone is around to eat mow down our garden. True story though, my mom thought something was wrong with our tomato plants because every time she went out to our garden there were no tomatoes. She came to me all upset, and I as the tomato thief, had to sheepishly explain that no her plants were in fact fine, I was just going out to the garden and eating all the ripe tomatoes. Everyday. Oops, sorry mom.

"More than a hustler, I'm the definition of it / Master chef, lord of the kitchen cupboard.": kale salad with roasted purple potatoes, sungold and big beauty tomatoes, and eggies. Plus a mason jar. Cuz I'm so hip and cultured. 

While I'm still flying solo for a lot of my training, it's been fun to get out and explore some new[ish] turf. Ran a new loop this morning and check out what I found!

Easy week means stops for blackberries
After doing mostly running in Boston, I've loved getting back on my road bike. And back to roller skiing. Duh.
Typical Becker wall decor (hard week motivation)

After a big week of training last week, I'm looking forward to some down time, and am planning to spend this week catching up with friends, eating my weight in watermelon, and attempting to correct my tan:freckle ratio. I'm also going on a tasting tour of Portland's new kombucha brewery! Gotta balance out all that DD iced coffee somehow. 

Rest day chillin'

Hope everyone is doing well. Sending big love to you all! 



Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer Roxx

Ok so my photos are probably not quite as quality as Jack’s, but I have been up to similar adventures in the mountains of Washington, aka the state that’s even better than Alaska. I’ve been trying to tick off some of the more classic alpine rock climbs in the area with mixed success, but loads of stoke. I’m starting to daydream about being dehydrated and semi-lost in the mountains after dark, which is probably a helathy(?) sign. 

After getting surgery for chronic compartment syndrome in April, I've been making slow but steady progress to regain my strength and fitness. Rollerskiing has been no problem, but I've had to slowly work back up to running. Last week I finally got the go-ahead from my PT to go on a 45 minute trail run. Life is good, friends. Life is good. 

Except life in the valleys isn't so good at the moment because we are dealing with smoke from not one, not two, but three wildfires. Word on the street is that the town where I work has the worst air quality in the nation! Good thing I have lungs of steel by now and enjoy a strange love for treadmills. When I’m not intently monitoring the local air quality, I’ve been working in a lab at a tree fruit research center where I do sciencey things I don’t quite understand, but I trust are important somehow. 

This face post-climb describes it all. 21 hours car-to-car, 7 hours of hard scary climbing whilst dehydrated and verging on heat exhaustion. 

Sun was setting and we still had a loooong way to hike back to the car. 
Topo from the aforementioned epic. Still have PTSD just looking at it.

They look cute, but don't be fooled. Quote from guidebook: "be prepared to throw rocks and yell if they start running towards you."

Crazy smoke plume from a nearby fire witnessed from Washington pass.

Sunset from a pretty stellar bivy. 
Needless to say, I slept with my ice axe.
Good ol' Washington granite

Part of an upcoming series titled Ivy Napping and Eating at the Top of Cliffs. Stay tuned for more exclusive footage. 

Central WA is not the place to be right now.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Ahoy from Adventurous Alaska

Greetings from the best state on Planet Earth. 

With practically unlimited mountains to climb and even more glacial lakes to swim in, there's really no way you could possibly dislike it. All stately bragging aside, this summer has been a busy one, training included. Here's a list that has some, but not all, of the activities I have been doing:

  • Mountains have been climbed
  • Glacial lakes have been swam in
  • Runs have been ran
  • Trails have been rollerskied on
  • Glaciers have been skied over
Now you may be thinking, "But Jack, these seem like such short descriptions of your seemingly amazing adventuress! I would like to know more!" And you're in luck. There is more. I have carefully handpicked photos from my summer adventures, and they are below, for your viewing pleasure:
Climbing the second tallest peak in Chugach State Park
Swimming in one of the many glacial lakes Alaska has to offer.
This one is coincidentally our city's water reservoir.
Camping food is a must. Not pictured is my drone, due to a poor accidental landing
on the other side of the ridge. Sad.

Set a new fastest time on "West Goat Peak". Of course the one time
I forget a shirt it decides to snow at the top. In late June. 

Did some prolonged walking for 4 days in Denali National Park. You could say it was a good time, and you'd be right. Except for the 8 miles walking out along a railroad track. That was not a good time. 

More Denali 

Brief jaunt with the mother to the Italian Dolomites for 8 more days of prolonged walking and climbing in the mountains

Not a bad place to wake up at 5am 

Again, not bad. 

I spent a week living in this dark-green box with 10 other people.
To the right is the glacier that we ski on.
To the left is a 4000 ft drop to another glacier. 

A sun-dappled day on Eagle Glacier

The Man Himself.
Jack "Connie" Consenstein

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Greetings (again) from Idaho!

Happy August! The summer is flying by!

As you know by now, Carmen and I have been having a grand old time out here in the middle of the nation's most underrated state. Great company, beautiful views, awesome training, and supah cool work! (I somehow ended up snagging an internship after just deciding to walk into this place called Idaho BioScience?! They make antibodies for research labs! Cool stuff! Just don't ask about the mice...) Since it is so freaking beautiful here, and since a picture is equal to a thousand words, here is my summer so far in images:

Super stoked to be arriving in Idaho after three long days of driving! Even more stoked to not look like a chipmunk anymore after wisdom teeth removal!
Trekkin up Galina Peak with some of the training squad on a mountain bike/hike adventure. 

Some cool viewz of some gnarly trees on a mountain bike OD. Mountain biking is my new favorite thing.

I FINALLY GOT TO SEE HAMILTON!!! Here's me and my bro on the San Fran stage (!!) because somehow our uncle knows the show's drummer and got us a backstage tour after?!?! The obsession is more real than ever. I cried lots and almost fainted.
A couple weekends ago we went backpacking in the Sawtooth mountains. Not a bad view for a lunch break, eh?

Cookin some dinner. It was a freezing night but the stars were incredible!

Tryna get that perfect shot. Such incredible scenery!

Facetiming with Sarah! Bad quality wifi, super quality company.

Out for a ride with the Bangonator. Stopped for a view break.
The Bangonator reading some Hemingway. Seriously- what a gem.

I'll be sad to leave Idaho at the end of the month but I'm super excited to see everyone again and make some new friends too! 

Keep rockin the cow!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

My newest training edit.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

S U M M E R !!!

Hello from Minnesota, land of 10,000 hot dishes! (Actually, the official count is 11,842, but for some reason the sloganeers thought 10,000 had a better ring. And, if you include our lovely jello-concoctions, the number is actually 21,871.)

I have found that lately, my mind, untethered from the strain of essay writing and choosing what to eat for brunch at Driscoll, has started to turn to mush, kind of like the middle of a green-bean casserole. In this state of raised mushiness, I've started to forget some things, so I decided to make an acronym to ensure I keep track of what season it is. (I'm sure many of you are feeling something similar so feel free to adopt this helpful memory aid.)

Sweating - With the volatile mixture of following the training plan, hot and humid weather, and just generally existing outside of air conditioned spaces, sweating has become one of my daily (hourly?) activities. But don't worry, I've been getting in the proper hydration by having a sip of water or sports drink every 15-30 min round the clock.

Sweating it out on a run in June

U-betcha! - Despite the sometimes cringey sayings and lack of mountains, it's good to be back in the midwest, where people know what 'hair binder' means and don't sleep in alcoholic beverages (I like to sleep in my room, not my rum).

Oh for cute, what a nice midwestern sunset!

Mosquitos - For the month of August, I'll be working at the same summer camp Nick Gardner works at up in Northern MN, leading kids on canoeing and backpacking trips and swatting away the numerous mosquitos and black flies that call the Boundary Waters home.

Photograph of Nick G. from 6/31/17

Mountains - Minnesota might be pretty great, but I had to get a dose of the mountains in sometime this summer, so I flew out to Truckee, CA for a training camp with the group that I've been training with this summer, Loppet Nordic Racing. We did lots of amazing mountain runs and uphill rollerski sessions and overall, it was a blast. The highlight of the trip was, of course, seeing Dylan's smiling face and having him join us on the run to a sick-gnarly waterfall.

Rollin with the crew
Just some midders juggling massive pinecones

Running with Dylan at Royal Gorge
(You could probably already tell but I'm the one in the orange tanktop with a black backpack and Dylan is right in front of me)

Escape - Unfortunately, the Truckee camp wasn't all fun and games, as the group was hit by a stomach virus midweek that successfully knocked out 16 of the 33 athletes present. Sugar Bowl Academy had been kind enough to let us stay in their dorm for our trip, but as many know, this style of living does tend to encourage the spread of sickness and paranoia. One full day of training was canceled and instead devoted to being very sick, cleaning, and generously applying lysol, bleach, and hand sanitizer to everything. I fortunately was able to escape the plague, but lived in fear for the rest of trip that I was going down next. (Perhaps the third wave is still coming...)

Margie and I, a couple of the uninfected, taking a hike on the sick day

Racing - Racing the New York Times mini crossword, that is. As we all know, summer is NOT the time to be getting in lots of L4 race efforts, but I have to let my competitive spirit out somehow, so the NYT mini crossword has become the new arena.

Yesterday's mini. Spot that time of 0:38. 

Summer's been a blast so far, but I'm also excited for fall to come- new classes, new teammates, new coach, new friends, and, best of all, a new acronym!

Get psyched,

Monday, July 17, 2017

Greetings from Tahoe

Everyone back at home kept telling me how large of a winter I had missed. The phrases it is snowing again or there is too much snow became the mantras that I would hear whenever talking about Tahoe. The bottom line is it was an anomaly to be mentioned alongside the big years of 1990's and 1980's. The first month I was home I was able to ski groomed trails and when they stopped grooming (not do to lack of snow but rather cost of operation) I went up to Bend continuing to chase the snow.

Peter Holmes sending it 


Flash forward to Mid July and the snow is still defying the summer heat at higher elevations 

A long hike section with about 15 feet of standing snow

Julien and Lena posing up above Marlett Lake and Lake Tahoe 

A view from the Flume Trail

Happy Summer