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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Whitney hangin' with the tigers in Thailand.
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Whitney, 2016
Whitney's research team. Bazaruto Island, Mozambique.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Nik doing a little kayaking near Krabi, Thailand.

Whitney, 2011
Night hike through a jungle swamp near the Tiputini research outpost in the Amazon rain forest.

Eclipse!!

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. Here now, below, are some highlights from past posts.)

IRONMAN Texas: Everything's Bigger in Texas (except the Ironman bike course)



Ironman Texas gave me a lot to look forward to. I was excited to be out there fighting the good fight with people like my new coach, a handful of QT2 teammates (including last year's defending champion, Jodie Robertson), some of my heroes from Boulder, and one of my athletes from Madison.

IMTX has a reputation for being a fast course (AKA "short" course), it takes place early in the season when training feels fresh, and it's located in The Woodlands, an aptly named, beautiful suburb of Houston.

It is also designated as the North American Championships, meaning some of the top dogs would be out there, but my goals had more to do with personal execution than competition, so I was undeterred by the presence of greatness. In fact, it was unsettling how extraordinarily calm I was on race morning. There is an appropriate level of pre-race anxiety that underscores how deeply invested you are in the challenge. It should fall somewhere between "I hope to do alright today," and "I'm on my way to the Hunger Games." I had a nagging feeling that maybe my arrows should've been a bit sharper.

The race day water temperature was 74 degrees, which is much too warm for flopping around in a neoprene cocoon, in my opinion. On one hand, I was relieved that this made it a non-wetsuit swim for the pros (the cutoff is 71.6). However, since the age group cut-off is 76 degrees, this meant that the age groupers would be posting faster swim splits with their wetsuit advantage. Pro women had a ten minute head start, but by the end of the swim, age group men were coming in hot (in more ways than one, I'm sure). The swim exit was nearly in view when we were overcome by a tsunami of men, mercilessly barreling right over the handful of us who weren't fortunate enough to make it out of the water in sixty minutes or less.

The bike course wasn't as quiet as I'm used to, with such a large participant field (more than 2,500) and so many fast age group men already out ahead. My first discovery on the bike was that my power meter wasn't reading. Since power is my preferred metric for controlling my effort over a very long day, and also what I had planned to use as my measure of the day's success, this was more than a minor disappointment. But the number one rule of Ironman is: Things will go wrong.

So after wallowing in despair for a mile or so, I allowed myself to indulge in forty more seconds of pouting, then it was time to suck it up and move on. Once I got out to the main section of the course on the Hardy Tollway, I found I was keeping an even pace with two of the other pro women. Ironman abides by USAT regulations which prohibit drafting, defined as riding less than twelve meters behind a given athlete. Keeping the other two in view helped me set a good pace, and the focus on staying exactly twelve meters back gave me something positive and productive to think about. (You can measure using the lane markings in the road - the space of two painted lines is approximately how far away you need to be from the bike in front). We rode 30 or 40 miles this way, occasionally trading positions, but always staying just far enough - but not too far - from each other. By the second lap, though, I had to laugh at how deeply concerned I had been about adhering to non-drafting protocol. Around mile 60, we were swarmed by a pod of several dozen age group men shamelessly riding wheel to wheel. So much for rules.



Posted by Kimberly 05/01/2018

Cambodia to Malaysia, Via Thailand

Well, I was gonna write all about the rest of Laos and Cambodia but I've fallen dreadfully behind so let's take up from our reentry into Thailand.

This time through Thailand began with a 24 hour trip from Siem Reap, in Cambodia, all the way to Krabi, with a brief stopover in Bangkok long enough to arrange the next leg. Krabi is well known for its world class climbing. The small beaches in Krabi are isolated from the mainland by towering Limestone cliffs.

Rock climbers paradise

The main beaches are Aow Nang, the busy primary stop accessible from the mainland, Railey East and Railey West, two beaches on the peninsula and accessible by boat, and Ton Sai, a tiny cove that can be accessed by boat or from Railey at low tide. Aow Nang is used as a jumping off point for the islands in the area or to catch boats to the other beaches. Railey's beaches have excellent climbing but are dominated by expensive family resorts and the families that go with them. Ton Sai is wonderfully removed from the resort beaches and far cheaper. The result: Ton Sai abounds with rock climbers from around the world; it is to rock climbing what Koh Tao is to diving.

The first day we were able to rent gear and enjoy some of Krabi's epic climbing at Ton Sai, a short walk from our bungalow. By the end of the day we could feel the effects through our unconditioned arms and opted to make the next day a day of rest.

Posted by nik 12/03/2008, revised 02/06/2009

Impressions of Brazil

Here are some impressions that have developed thus far... It's hard to know what applies to brazilians as a whole, to the region, or just to the people I've been with over the past 2 weeks, but for now, I'm gonna let my experience shape my impression of 'Brazilians' in general:
  • Brazilians are a very welcoming people. They are hosting the world right now, and they seem to really enjoy it, and want visitors to enjoy brazil.

  • They eat a lot of cheese. Cheese with every meal.

  • Their meat is quite good but, man, do they like their meat salty! Saaalty!

  • Light on veggies, other than onions.

  • Fruits are good.

  • Food is expensive. Dining out seems common (i.e. daily) and I can eat cheaper in Honolulu. How do they pay for living?

    Posted by Whitney 06/25/2014