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Whitney, 2016
Pavilion at the Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary, Sao Sebastiao, Inhambane, Mozambique

Whitney, 2014
Whitney and Brazilian friends attend a World Cup game, Recife, Brazil.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Nik doing some bouldering along the coast of Koh Tao, Thailand.

Whitney, 2011
Pretty fungi in the Amazon rain forest.
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The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017 crossed the continent, from Oregon to South Carolina, and gave millions of people the chance to witness one of the most awe-inspiring events in the natural world.

Nik's photo of the August 21 eclipse, photographed from Glendo, Wyoming. The star, Regulus, is barely visible to the lower left of the solar corona.
But you had to be within the "path of totality", a narrow band across the earth's surface several thousand miles long but only about 70 miles wide. Outside that band you would only see a partial eclipse, not a total eclipse.

And there is no such thing as a "partial total eclipse", despite the impression blogs and the news media might give. I honestly think that's why so many people misunderstand the utter beauty of the spectacle; they may have seen a partial eclipse in the past that was total somewhere else, and even though they weren't in the path the news kept gushing about it being a total eclipse, so they assume they must have seen a total eclipse and just didn't find it all that impressive.

Posted by Dan 08/29/2017, revised 09/06/2017
(Our kids have grown and are no longer posting blog stories here. Below are some highlights from past posts.)
Rock & Roll Half Marathon

With the end of September comes the annual San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. I've been excited for this race both as a coach and as an athlete.

Out of town friends Meg and Jack were coming up for the race, and it would be Meg's first half marathon. I had been working with Meg on her run training for the past 5 months, and we had seen her long runs go from 2 miles to 11 miles, a thrilling transformation! This would be the culmination of half a year's work, and I looked forward to watching her cross the finish line.

Additionally, I was excited for my own run, since this is a guaranteed PR course. The weather is typically mild, the race well supported, and the route is pancake flat, save for two underpasses. I ran 1:28 at Santa Cruz just a few weeks back, surely I was destined for a 1:25 on this course that featured zero miles of sand running and a significantly shorter pre-race bike ride.

I guess this PR fantasy was rooted in the expectation that I would peak for Santa Cruz ... and then just stay there forever. But this belief undermines the concept of a Fitness Peak. A "peak," meaning you come back down the other side at some point (in my case -- about 30 minutes after completing my "A" Race).

Apparently, the universe determined (quite accurately) that I don't know when the party's over. The off season -- like a good night's sleep -- is healthy and necessary, but left to my own devices I was going to keep adding just one more! one more! one more! race to my schedule

So I got injured.

It happened just after my Santa Cruz finish. I pushed hard at that race, and certainly had a collection of noteworthy aches and pains afterwards. Curiously, the knees were not included in that list. Nor have they ever been during racing or training. However, I sustained a fresh new knee injury while being interviewed for a post-race massage. The therapist asked me to straighten my leg, which I fearlessly complied with, and BAM! Instant knee injury.

What makes this all even more mysterious is that since the traumatic massage interview, I have discovered that I can still bike, climb stairs, jump, barbell squat, dart side-to-side in a game of puppy keep-away, and in fact I can actually jog and run. I can straighten my legs, and I was even interviewed for another massage without incident. There is just one specific movement that my knee refuses to allow:

Running fast.

Unfortunately, this was the single activity I had planned to engage in for Rock 'n' Roll.

Posted by Kimberly 10/04/2015
About Nik

Nik enjoys motorcycling and rebuilding a 1970 Porsche 914.

In high school his interest in working on cars and motorcycles became an all-consuming passion, so he enrolled to study auto mechanics at UTI (Universal Technical Institute) in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from there in December, 2001.

Nik graduated from Ygnacio Valley High School in June 2000. He capped a stellar high school career with 10 varsity letters, including 3 in cross-country (all-BVAL, 1st-Team), 3 in soccer, and 4 in volleyball (all-BVAL, 2nd-Team). But up until 3 weeks before graduation, it was still unclear whether the administration would actually let him graduate -- they seemed to think he hadn't completed enough courses in Physical Education! He got a lesson in bureaucrats and their rules.

Nik finished his final high school cross-country season in remarkable fashion. A grueling schedule was loaded with invitational tournaments, in which they did quite well. In the Bay Valley Athletic League finals, Ygnacio Valley finished a close 2nd, placing an astonishing four runners in the first six in the league. Nik's 5th-place finish earned him 1st-Team All-League honors. In the North Coast Section Championships, Ygnacio Valley dominated the Division I final, placing four runners in the first nine and winning the Division I title easily. then it was off to respectable showings at the State Championships and Far Western Regionals, where Nik placed an impressive 25th place individually.

He also completed three years as goalkeeper for the varsity soccer team, and four years of high school volleyball, earning 2nd-Team All-League honors.

Posted by Dan 01/20/2003

Crossed the border

Crossing into the beautifully distinct landscape of northern Peru

I'm in Peru! Over the past 2 days, I've been making my way from Vilcabamba, Ecuador across the border and through northern Peru. It required a lot of vehicle changes, but the whole way has been absolutely beautiful with some views that people elsewhere pay lots of money on special tours just to see. The border crossing was probably the most tranquil crossing I've ever done. It's a new crossing, only opened a few years ago, and the roads to and from are very lightly traveled. I haven't seen another gringo since Vilcabamba (aside from the Aussie muchacha I'm traveling with at the moment). I'll spend 2 days here in the town of Chachapoyas, enjoying the culture and scenery around here, and then keep heading south.

Ancient ruins of the Chachapoyas, or "Cloud People", in Kuelap

I'm heading fairly quickly to the south, where my main priority spots are. Then I can stop at secondary places on the way back according to time left. So this weekend, I bus it to Lima (22 hours!), and then shortly after (maybe one or two days), continue on to Arequipa and canyon country in the south, where I plan to do some awesome treks and hopefully meet up with a friend.

Posted by Whitney 08/18/2011, revised 09/09/2011

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