About terrypetersthoughts

I've been fortunate enough to lead an interesting life and known some fascinating people. I am passionate about a number of things, art, fitness, motorcycles, family. Those topics and others will show up here as I enter into my first blog experience.

Going Meatless

After a lifetime as a carnivore the move to being vegetarian has definitely been a long time coming. I have been aware of the environmental and ethical implications of eating meat for a very long time. My wife is a lifelong vegetarian and now vegan. Both my daughters made the choice as teenagers to not eat meat. To all of their credit they have not harassed me over my choice and for decades I have eaten different meals from the rest of my family.


I tried to be a conscientious consumer by choosing organic meat, only cooking it outside on the barbecue to keep the smell of it out of the kitchen and being discreet when preparing my meal. Over the past few years my meat consumption has dropped and more frequently I found myself thinking about the reality that what I was eating was once a living creature that likely suffered a horrible death so that I could dine on its flesh.


But in the end the turning point came from the mouth of my 3 and a half-year old grandson. His simple statement while I sat with him as he ate his dinner reverberated to my own moral core. “We like animals, don’t we Poppa? We don’t eat them.”


His brown eyes holding my gaze as he looked to me for confirmation was like a battering ram to the gate of my poorly held defenses. I do love animals and I do recognize their unique place in our world and I had no choice but to agree with him. Those words would come back to me over and over in the days to follow.


Six weeks ago I made the final decision to leave meat behind. I am no longer eating the flesh of other creatures. I have also given up drinking milk and switched to an alternative of cashew milk. Next will be the shift to non-diary cheese but I’m self-aware enough to know that I need some time to make that adjustment.


Fortunately we are living in a time where there has never been more options to have a plant-based diet. In mainstream grocery stores you’ll see a wide range of burgers and various other options for a vegan diet.


I know there will be situations in social settings, restaurants, traveling and such that will mean my new lifestyle will have limited choices but I’m okay with that. I’ve witnessed my wife deal with those restrictions for over 40 years and today there are far more selections being offered to take into consideration the non-meat eating person.


I feel much better now when I respond to my grandson, “Yes, we love animals and we don’t eat them.”

Missing Friends

I’ve been thinking of old friends lately. Those friends you’ve lost along the way. They have all had an impact on the person you are today. We are all the result of the constant accumulation of thoughts, interactions, connections and actions. We feel the joy of an uplifting moment and those people close to us are buoyed by our emotions, just as we can be brought along by their enthusiasm for something that we are indifferent to. Life is like that. Friends make a difference.

As I’ve gotten older it has been interesting for me to look back on the friends who are now missing. Those people who were once a big part of my life that have drifted away. I’m not placing blame on those losses. I stopped putting the effort in, they stopped reaching out, it doesn’t matter because what I’m appreciating now is that they all played an important part in the person I grew into.

There are times in our lives when our priorities shift and it can be hard to sustain certain friendships. But what I’ve learned now is that it is harder to go back and try to reconnect. Someone whose company you once treasured is no longer a phone call away because that number was disconnected years ago.

I wish I’d recognized the value of more of those friendships sooner. I wish I’d made more effort to stay in touch. I’ve got plenty of time available now but no longer have the connection.

It’s too late to hang out the Open for Friendship sign when it suits you. All your friends have value and have helped you evolve. Don’t shut anyone out. Be the one who makes the effort to stay in touch. You’ll be glad later on.

Looking back at the Crossfit Games 2014

It took two years to make the return trip but on July 20, 2014 I found myself in Los Angeles registering to compete in the Crossfit Games. My experience in 2012 in the 55-59 Masters division had been amazing and I worked hard to make it back in 2013 but was ultimately disappointed with my final ranking ended up two spots out at 22nd. That disappointment fueled me for an entire year as I trained to make myself be ready for the next open.
I turned 60 in April and that moved me into the top division. I was now going to be one of the youngest of the oldest and I knew it was my best shot at getting back to the Games. I trained hard, got extra coaching, worked on my weaknesses and when the Open began I was ready. Five weeks later I was in the top twenty but this year the Masters had a second round of workouts to do. Over the Easter weekend the top 200 in each division did four more workouts and when it was over I was sitting in 5th place. Once my video was approved I received my invitation to compete. Then there was another surprise. Two of the top twenty had their videos rejected and lost their spots. One of them was ahead of me so now I was in 4th place.
The next two months was all about my training. I practiced my double unders every day. I had more special programming supplied to me from my coach, Chris Schallo, and I was doing 8-9 workouts a week while still taking two rest days. On July 20th I boarded a plane to LA and felt I was ready.
The worst part of the trip was the super long lineup to get my rental car, which I booked in advance. Then it was over to check in to the hotel and finally to the host hotel to register. At check in you are treated so well, they literally pile stuff on to you as you are given the clothes to compete in, new running shoes and new lifting shoes, a ton of other stuff and an enormous bag to carry it all in. For me the next part was to go to Trader Joes and stock up on healthy food. When I compete I stick to a very simple diet and eat the same thing every day. The bottle of wine I bought that day would sit in the hotel room sealed until Thursday night when it was all over.
Monday was a relaxing day with a long stretching session before I drove down to see Hermosa Beach and then later head to the Games Site for the Athlete briefing. We had only been told on Sunday what the workouts were going to be so there’d been no chance to try any of them and I hadn’t been able to discuss them with anyone so the briefing was the first chance to analyze them. We would be doing four events on Tuesday then at the end of the day be briefed on the next day’s events. I had an early night after stopping in to see Richard and Kate who were staying in the hotel beside mine and talk about what we’d be facing.
Tuesday morning arrived and I tried to stick to my routine, which is to get up early, shower and have a protein shake, then stretch for at least 30 minutes. I made up some food for the day, packed my gear and headed out. It was already warm by the time I walked into the Athlete’s area and dropped off my bag. In the warmup area I talked to Casey and Seth who had come down to support me and then Sarah Clark, Samantha Cox and Pete Williams. Sarah and Sam had flown down on Monday night and were flying back Tuesday evening. They had made this trip just to support me and I was moved beyond words by their being there. Pete was already in California but had made a two hour drive up, picked up the girls at the airport and then gotten them to the stadium the next day. Truly, such an amazing group of friends. The first event was a deadlift ladder that started at 265 and progressed through 10 bars to 455 lbs. I warmed up, included some triples at 285 and 305 and then it was time to check in. The announcer called our division, and we jogged out to the starting area. We would lift in the order we qualified so I’d go near the end. You were introduced, then you stepped on to the lifting platform and at the announcement of lift, had 20 seconds to complete the lift, then a call to rotate moved you to the next bar. If you were unsuccessful you could step to the bar behind each station that was loaded at 225 and perform as many reps as you could in the 20 seconds as a tiebreaker score.
I moved easily through 265, 295, 315, 33, 355, 375 and 395. Now it was getting heavy. My personal record was 425 and I was anticipating doing the 415. When I did the 415 I felt like I could do more so I stepped over and on the next lift set a new PR with a 435 deadlift. I could hear my friends shouting out my name as I lifted it. I knew 455 would be too heavy so I moved to it then went immediately to the 225 and did 9 reps although the first one was called a no rep for not getting my shoulders back far enough.
Afterwards I talked to Sarah, Sam and Pete and to Casey and Seth. Casey told me when I lifted the 435 she cried because she was so proud of me. Hearing that created such a special moment for me that at the end of the whole experience it would hold up as one of the best highlights.
It was time to go and eat something and relax until the next event. This one was an alternative for the 60+ division to the handstand walk that all the other Masters had to do. We would have 2 minutes to go the length of the football field doing walking lunges while holding a 50 lb slam ball over your head. The first ten went and then my group followed. We stood on the starting mats and the announcer called 10 seconds and then a buzzer went and we all hesitated. I think we were waiting for 3,2,1 go. Then we grabbed the balls and started the march downfield. I felt strong on this and focused on pushing up against the ball. I was soon ahead of the pack with only one guy slightly ahead of me. Stephen Algrove and I kept pace with each other and were well ahead of the rest. At the 90 second mark they called 30 seconds left and I figured it wasn’t worth pushing any further and I’d take second place and get the rest because all the others were already resting.
Sixty seconds later it was the sled pull, which was a 100 yard dash pulling a sled with a 45 lb plate. It was just put your head down and run until you crossed the finish line. I did okay with this one. All my training with the sled had been with heavy weight so I wasn’t sure how it would go.
At 3:00 we were back in the coral waiting to start the 4th event of the day. The Run/Rope was 400 M run then 1 rope climb for 5 rounds. The temperature had soared and it was around 104 F on the track. The rope climb was easy but each lap of the track got harder. On the third lap I looked at the fence and thought how nice it would be to just climb over and forget about the rest of the event. I kept going and ran the best I could but my already slow running was made even slower in that heat.
At the end of the first day I was in 4th place overall and delighted by that. It was back to the hotel to shower and eat then later Casey and I went for a drive up to Venice Beach and had a walk around at sunset. It was really great to hang out with her.
Wednesday morning I followed the same routine and then headed off to the stadium. We were starting the day with 2007, which was a workout from one of the early Crossfit Games. The Masters version was 1000 M row then 5 rounds of 15 pullups and 7 shoulder to overhead with 115 lb barbell. I stayed calm in the row, going at around a 1:55 pace and was one of the first off the rower. The first set of pullups I did as 8 and 7 and went unbroken on the barbell. I was able to stay unbroken on all the barbell work but my pullups got slower as I went along. On the third round I could feel the heat in my left palm and even though I was wearing my gymnastics grips I could see I had started to tear. I didn’t look again until it was over and by that time there was a puddle of blood in my hand. I went in for medical treatment and was told to go wash it first. In the washroom I let out a few screams as the water ran over the four, quite deep, gouges in my hand. The medical team cut off the torn flaps of skin and then applied polysporin and bandaged it up. Later I added some rock tape on top to keep it together for the next event.
The afternoon event was 21, 15, 9 of cleaning the 50 lb ball and tossing it over your shoulder followed by burpees. I’d never done this movement with the ball but it felt fine and I thought I moved pretty well with it. I did the first round of burpees as step ups and felt fine going into the set of 15, when I hit the last set I tried going faster and had a no rep called on the first ball as I didn’t get it properly over my shoulder, so I focused on the technique then did the burpees as fast as possible. The black matts we were standing on were so hot that some of the guys ended up with blisters on their hands like they’d just touched a hot plate, fortunately I’d worn gloves for it. I did okay on these two workouts and apart from my hand I was feeling pretty good physically. At the athlete’s briefing at the end of the day they announced the final event for Thursday afternoon. It would be a very fast event with a sprint across the field and back, 7 Chest to Bar pullups and 5 snatches at 115.
It was a quiet night, with a trip to Trader Joes for more food and some hand care treatment with Ript skin products, along with a lot of thought about the final day. I was sorry that I didn’t have anyone to really talk about the next workouts to and to consider what my best strategy should be.
Thursday morning was all about sticking with the routine, did my stretching, had my morning protein shake, once again I was glad I’d brought my own blender down with me, then made food for the day. I got up extra early so I could spend a good length of time doing a really good tape job on my hand.
The morning workout was a long chipper. It started with 40 box step overs to a large 24 inch box that you flipped over every 10 reps, then 20 toes to bar, followed by 40 wall balls, then 20 stationary dips on a attachment mounted on the rig and all the way back, 40 wall balls, 20 toes to bar and 40 step over’s. I had thought this would be a good workout for me because of the kind of training I’d done but I had not properly factored in how it was going to feel in the heat. I tried to do too big of sets and got tired. I was no repped a lot on my wall balls for insufficient depth and I struggled with them because we were standing on a very soft thick matt, which made my footing more difficult. The no reps frustrated me and the sun shining in my face sucked my energy. Halfway through I felt exhausted and a bit light headed. I kept pushing but I was slow. I finished in under the time cap but no where near the time I had hoped for.
Tim and Christine were there with Casey and Seth cheering me on. I went in to the Athlete’s tent to eat and rest to prepare for the final event. This one was going to be over quickly. When we were marched out I wanted to try to do well on the run, hoping to gain a few extra seconds for the pullups. That didn’t work out so well as halfway across the field I felt my right hamstring pull and I was forced to slow down to a jog the rest of the way. I got back to the rig and started on my chest to bar. With my sore hand I tried a reverse grip which gave my hand some relief but I had 2 no reps called for not reaching full extension. Once they were done it was on to the bar. The first two caused me some pain in my hamstring but I just said to myself it was only 5 and I had to do them touch and go, this was the last event and in the end I was finished in 1:16 beating Richard who was right beside me by just .05 seconds.
And then it was over. All the months of training had lead to this and in the end I knew I’d tried my best and had a couple of weaknesses exposed. But I ended up 6th overall and could certainly be proud about that.
me and name sign

The Bull’s Burner Surprise

I don’t get caught by surprise very often. I’m usually pretty aware of all the things going on around me but today I was completely unaware. When a few extra people started to show up for my regular Sunday Bull’s Burner I didn’t pay much attention but then the numbers kept increasing. Pretty soon it was obvious that something was going on.

I was absolutely delighted to see so many people from our incredible Crossfit North Vancouver community come out in support of my upcoming trip to the Games, and even some friends from other gyms. With a look at the number of people in the gym I quickly changed the workout to a partner WOD and got started on a warmup.

I was touched and grateful to the kind words Dave and Mandy expressed, and so happy to see so many people there. I have appreciated all the support and encouragement I’ve received through the Open then the Masters Qualifier and my eventual placing of 4th in my division.

It has been a long road. I went to the Games in 2012 and then in 2013 I thought I’d made it again but some late postings of scores bumped me out of the top 20 and into 22nd place. To be so close and not make it was a tough lesson. I started my training for 2014 right then. I am grateful for all the coaching I’ve received this past year from Chris, Alex and Dave. And also from the other great athletes in the gym who constantly inspire me to be better. To Roe, Mandy, Corey, Richard, Matt, and all the others who regularly kick my butt on the workouts and make me push that bit harder to try and stay close to them. And I’m grateful for every encouraging word from all the other athletes who fight their own battles alongside me, all pushing themselves and me to finish every round, to beat every time cap, to hit new PRs.

Hard work does pay off and the fact that after such a long struggle I am now in charge of my double unders is an example of it. I don’t claim to be anything more than someone who is willing to put in the work to improve and stubborn enough to never quit. If that can inspire someone else to stay on the path for their own improvement then I’ll accept that compliment.

On July 20th I will fly to Los Angeles and register for the 2014 Crossfit Games. When I pick my workout gear I will proudly be displaying our gym’s name and putting Crossfit North Vancouver on the Games map. I am delighted that there will be familiar faces in the stands when I compete and am so grateful for those who are going down early to cheer me on. That means an awful lot. It also means a lot the money that was collected today to help with my expenses. I appreciate everyone’s generosity and kindness.

All I can tell you know is that I feel I am ready. I will go out there and compete against my peers and do it with a smile on my face. I will try my hardest at every workout and hopefully to a good job at representing all of you.

Goodbye to Dad

The brilliant blue sky is contrasted against the stark white snow on the ground. It’s cold and I watch my breath escape. I tighten my grip on the handle and look across at my brother, John as he does the same. Behind me is my other brother, Allen and across from him John’s son, Braeden. They grab hold as well and we step forward so Allen’s sons, Adam and Kyle can take their positions. As one we move away from the hearse and take the final steps with my dad as we carry his casket to the gravesite. It is not far and all too soon we release our last connection and step back and the switch is turned on to lower the casket. John and I say goodbye to our father while we all watch his last journey. Back at the vehicles we all exchange hugs and then drive back to Pine Hills funeral home where the others are waiting.


My dad was born in 1920 and almost made it to 94. Although he had experienced health issues for the last year he had refused to give in to them. We agreed it was his stubbornness that had kept him going after he turned 90. Earlier we held a small ceremony before delivering him to his grave. Family and close friends had come together to say goodbye. John had addressed the group first, talking of my dad’s past; his journey from London to Canada during World War II for training where he met my mother, and later after they had two sons their immigration to Canada from England and the life they had created here.

When it was my turn to speak I had to rely on my notes for fear of missing something that I wanted to say. It went like this.

“I’m lucky and I know it.  Not because I’ve stayed healthy, not gone to jail for speeding tickets or had to face the consequences of the numerous dumb things I’ve done. I’m lucky the same way Allen and John are lucky. We won the parent lottery and I’ve always known that.

I learned a lot from my dad but I wish I’d learned more. I wish I’d paid more attention when he was fixing my motorcycles so now I’d know better what to do to mine.

But I did pay attention to how he treated people and my whole life has been an effort to follow his example.

I said to my mom yesterday that I thought life was simple. You just have to treat people the way you would like to be treated. I learned that from my parents.

I don’t know two more helpful people than my parents and I’ve always admired their kindness and generosity to others.

From fixing a kids bike to helping someone repair their house my Dad was always ready to grab his tools and help. It didn’t matter how it happened if something was broken my dad could fix it.

When John put the ladder through the front window when we were trying to help Dad put up the Christmas lights he never got mad, just dealt with the window and carried on with the lights.

When I wrecked John’s 69 Firebird by driving it on the highway in low, it was my Dad who fixed the transmission. He didn’t get mad at me and neither did John, and I love him too.

My Dad is gone but his memories live on. Everyone who knew Dad probably has a story of him fixing something for them. My Dad helped others and never asked for reward. He did it because he could and he wanted to help.

I learned from him to never give up, to not be afraid of big tasks and that kindness is it’s own reward, and the best gift is to help others.

I am very lucky because I had my Dad in my life for nearly 60 years. We are all lucky because we got to know the truly amazing person that was Len Peters.

It is sad that he’s gone but we should be happy that we were the lucky ones who knew him.”


I loved my Dad. When I became a father myself I often thought I would do well if I could be as good a father to my kids as he was to me.

There are so many images that come to mind when I think of him. Sitting in his favourite chair with a cup of tea, pulling a zippo lighter out of his pocket to light his cigarette while he worked on some project, his easy laughter, his incredible concentration, his attentiveness, so many things blend into one memory.

His was a life well lived and he won’t be forgotten.Image

The Open

The Open


            On the eve of the 2014 Crossfit Open competition I decided to toss my own thoughts into the giant blender of information circling around the digital world.

            The Open will mean different things to different athletes. For some it is a chance to have a comparison of their fitness against their international peer group, end of story. That is enough of a reason to compete in the Open. Do it for the challenge.

            If you have been Crossfitting for a while and have done previous Opens then maybe this is a chance to really check on your own performance against your main competition, yourself.  At the end of the day this is the most important benchmark and the real measure of whether or not you have improved over last year.

            For those athletes who are seeking to earn a spot to compete in the Regionals, this is a much bigger deal. You have been training hard to prepare but you are still focused on an event that is in the future. You need to do well to make it to Regionals but that is where your real goal is. Your training hasn’t peaked but you are on track and ready to give 100% each of the 5 workouts.

            Then there are the OFAs, Old Fart Athletes. That’s where I fit in and the class has been extended to include those young 40 year olds, so that division has gotten really interesting. This group is facing their finals. The 5 week Open will be followed by a 4 workout weekend but to get to the Easter weekend competition you have to be in the top 200 worldwide in your Masters age category. Doing well in the Open is very important for this group. After the Open your standing will count as 1 workout to be added to the results of the next 4. Those extra workouts have created an international Regional competition and from there the top 20 advance to compete in the Crossfit Games this summer.

            So that is the lay of the land but no matter what part of it you fit into there are things to do and things to avoid to ensure you are satisfied with your performance in the Open workouts. I have a few suggestions, not all of them my own ideas but information that seems worth sharing.


Be Rested.  It makes no sense to show up for an Open workout tired or beat up from what you did the day before.  Your body needs some recovery time so have a rest day the day before you are doing the workout. Rest will give you better focus as well as more energy. Be sure to drink lots of water the day before you do the workout. Good hydration is vital to good performance. Eat good foods at the right time, not a Big Mac as your driving to the gym.


Don’t Freak Out.  While the weight may seem heavy or the reps bigger than you’d like, it is just a Wod. You do them all the time, treat this the same. Stay calm. Don’t wear the brand new shoes you just got, stick to those things that are familiar. Be consistent because consistency will bring calmness.


Focus on what you can control.  You know how to do a burpee or box jump or wall ball. The movements are not complicated. Do each movement properly and efficiently. Perform them at a pace that allows you to get through the workout as quickly as possible. Far better to go a bit slower and have every rep count than to get frantic, start shorting the movements and have a bunch of no reps called on you. Every no rep is taking time and energy away. Those things are finite so make the most of them.


Have a plan.  Don’t stand there and hear 3,2,1.. go, then try and see how far you can go before it all falls apart. Watch the announcement video, talk to your coach, try a couple of sets of the movements, then decide what rep scheme makes sense for you and do your best to stick to it.


It will be over before you know it.  Most of the workouts will be shorter than 12 minutes. 20 minutes has been the longest one. Be prepared for the shorter time duration and stay calm but make sure you leave nothing on the table. It’s the Open so when you put your foot on the gas, do it knowing you will keep it there until you hear ‘Time’.


In the end that is why we do this. Cheer your fellow athletes on. Celebrate the good scores and move past the bad ones. This is not life and death, this is a fitness competition and by just signing up to do it you have already proven that you are an athlete.


Good Luck and be proud of yourself, you’ve earned it.

Peel back another layer

Peel back another layer


A new year arrives, marching to its own beat and moving forward with its relentless rhythm. The Rolling Stones beautifully sang, ‘Time waits for no one and it won’t wait for me’. They were right. There is no way to stop, slow down, or turn back the clock so we might as well embrace the evitable and celebrate the milestones it produces.


The beginning of the New Year is probably the biggest global reference point, but aside from the desire of some to be including in one of the massive gatherings on its Eve, this is mostly an individual benchmark. There is no better place for a fresh start than the arrival of a new year. We all are given the same opportunity. A new line is drawn and we can all decide what importance to give it.


I’ve never been one for making resolutions. The have always seemed to me to have a negative connation. I’m going to quit that, I’m going change this, I’m going to save instead of spend, or whatever else you might be focused on.

But setting goals is something different. They become the target for my energies. Rather than a negative I find a goal to be a positive. I am going to do this, I will do that, I want to achieve this, no matter how ambitious I find solace in identifying those things I plan to work towards.


There are short-term goals I set for myself, like I want to work towards consistently doing 20 pull-ups in a row. And then there are longer, more ongoing goals, like the one I have tattooed on my arm, to simply Be Better.

At this time of year I am happy to revisit my long-term goals and to clarify what my short term goals are. I hope that as life goes on I am able to regularly peel back another layer of myself in the effort to get closer to the core of my being and hopefully discover a central gathering there of the love, kindness, friendship that I try to share with those people I come in contact with. Alongside goodwill to others I do selfishly acknowledge my own ambitions to see myself improve as an athlete, an artist, a writer, and whatever other pursuits I follow.


I hope that my short term goals are attainable and as I continue to push myself physically that my efforts are successful and I am able to make it back to the Crossfit Games this summer. But more important are those internal goals that I hope to get closer to and in the process become more like the person I hope to be and in some small way be able to make a difference in the lives of others.

Believe in yourself.

There are plenty of good reasons to believe in yourself but so many times in life the decision that gets made is the one that walks hand in hand with your self-doubt. The choice is always there to make but believing in yourself is probably going to be linked with some hard work, some risks, some potential embarrassment, or any other number of challenges.

As a young boy I didn’t have a lot of confidence but was lucky enough to have a good role model in my older brother. At sixteen he and I spent a summer riding our motorcycles across Canada and back. That trip showed me that it was possible to achieve big ambitions. I think of the things that followed that trip, living in London, going to Australia, meeting Helen and moving to the west coast. I learned that so much was possible when you believed in yourself.

One of the most dramatic demonstrations of the power of believing in yourself was the board breaking I did in my various belt testings in Taekwondo. Every time I faced a new technique and those boards I visualized myself breaking them and then I did it. When we moved up to concrete I was forced to dig deeper into myself than I ever had. The first time it didn’t go so well and I have the moment recorded on video. I set up a single 1.5 inch thick brick supported on two blocks and prepared to break it. I wound up over and over again, then at long last I swung my hand down. It didn’t break and the video shows me walking away holding my hand. It didn’t break because I didn’t believe it was possible. I was forced back to the beginning. I practiced my technique over and over again, I visualized, I convinced myself I could do it, and then one day I did it. As time went on pieces of 2 inch thick concrete were stacked on each other. I kept on believing and I kept breaking and finally I did what no one else in the dojo had done and broke through a stack of 10 blocks.

concrete break







The martial arts gave me confidence. I believed in myself and that belief was rewarded with successes. Later when I started doing Crossfit I was presented with a whole new set of challenges. Lifting weights, performing gymnastic movements on bars and rings, just being able to complete something in less time than a previous attempt, it all adds up to challenges that have to be faced.

Every day provides an opportunity to believe in yourself. When you do, you move forward even if it is only one tiny step, the size of the step doesn’t matter it’s the direction that does.  I think when you take those challenges and do your best you have a fresh chance to learn something new about yourself. When you give up without trying, you take a couple of steps backward. Better to try and not succeed than to be afraid of trying.

I competed recently in the Taranis Titan Challenge, a three-day Crossfit competition in Victoria. I was going in as an individual and at 59 I was by far the oldest of the 63 men competing. I went in with the goal of facing the challenge of the competition and to do my very best in an effort to not be last in any of the workouts I would be doing. It was not about beating someone else, it was about putting myself on notice that there was no turning back, there was only going forward. It was hard but I did all my events and was never last. Finishing 60th overall out of 63 was like a gold medal to me. I had believed in myself that I was capable of doing all the work and I was happy with my results.

Believing in yourself can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Do it and it will happen.believe profile

Life and Death on the Open Road

Life and Death on the Open Road


We’ve all seen them, the dead bodies at the side of the road. Deer, raccoons, skunks and other animals that zigged when they should have zagged, that made a fatal decision to run across the road at the exact instant when thousands of pounds of metal was rolling towards them at a speed they couldn’t comprehend. Their deaths are not recorded, no statistics added up and tallied, they’re just gone. One moment everything was fine and then nothing.

This morning I came as close as I’ve ever come in my life to that same crucial moment. Had I moved later I might not be writing this. Today was day 7, the last day of a fantastic road trip and I found myself on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. My buddy, Michael and I had just spent 6 days riding our motorcycles over some of the best roads we’d been on since we began making these annual trips 12 years ago. We rode everything from fast open highways to extremely tight, twisty technical riding through incredible roller coaster roads and then had plenty of gravel roads over hidden mountain passes and along forest services roads. It had been an amazing trip, riding hard all day, camping at night then getting up and doing it again the next day.

On the last day Michael needed to be back in Vancouver sooner than me so we parted ways early and I headed off for my own way back. Around 10:00 I was outside Raymond, Washington on a long open stretch of road and pulled over to look at my map. No cars in sight, I parked on the paved shoulder and put the bike on its side stand to have a moment to study. While looking at the map I noticed a white delivery truck in my rear view mirror approaching me. I continued what I was doing but kept tabs on the truck as it approached. With no other cars in sight, and plenty of room for it to go past I wasn’t concerned. Then I saw it was running along the white line marking the shoulder of the road and crossing over it.

Now everything happened in a moment. There was no time to get scared. I could see the tire as it moved out of its lane and skimmed the edge of the shoulder. I had no time to move but I could stand the bike up off the side stand and I leaned away from the road. Attached to the crash bar around my bike’s engine I had mounted folding highway pegs for this trip and they were pulled down, extending about four inches outside of the edge of the bike’s profile. As I leaned away from the road the truck roared past me and scraped the end of the highway peg. I couldn’t believe it had come that close. Another inch or two closer and it would’ve hit the peg and likely spun the bike throwing me into the side of the moving truck either killing me or certainly maiming me severely. I screamed ‘Fuck’ and then was speechless by what had just happened. Had I not leaned the bike away the truck would have likely hit me. I had zigged when I should have.

The truck barreled on down the road and I was left shaken but unharmed. I started the engine and followed the truck into Raymond and eventually into a parking lot where I stopped and got off the bike to confront the driver. I started yelling at the man who through his bad driving had come so close to hitting me. He had no idea but when I showed him the mark on the peg he was shocked and kept apologizing. He kept saying sorry and I kept yelling at him. In the end my anger ran its course, I couldn’t change what had happened, maybe I made him a more careful driver and saved someone else. He was an older, overweight man with a hound dog face who should have been a better driver.

I got back on my bike and left him. I rode down the highway and then pulled over. The adrenaline rush was over and I was feeling shaky and a bit overwhelmed by what had just happened. I couldn’t help myself but I felt I needed to reach out and send some messages. I felt I had to tell some people important to me that I loved them. Life is so very precious and it can disappear so quickly. I’ve crashed a motorcycle before, I’ve had dangerous falls skiing and done numerous questionable adventures but I’ve never come so close to being killed. I spent a lot of the rest of the ride home thinking about mortality and what an instance can do to suddenly take it all away.

When I was yelling at the driver I said ‘you almost took my life away’, and with the saddest, remorseful eyes he said nothing more but put his hand on my shoulder, trying with this gesture to convince me further of how sorry he was. It wasn’t malicious, it was dangerously bad driving but I knew he had not meant for it to happen.


Those animals we see lying on the road never got any apology. I couldn’t stay mad at him. For whatever reason the two inches that would change my life were given back to me and I was spared. I know bad things happen all the time and it is sad but all I can do is believe today was my lucky day. I can never forget how very close I came and hopefully can find inspiration and purpose from my good fortune.

Life Throws Another Curve Ball



crossfit Open workout 13.2


Life never seems to send any easy pitches slow and smooth right to you. More often it’s the curve ball, the fastball, the change up pitch that leaves you swinging and missing then wondering what just happened.

Every time you step up to the plate you never know what is going to happen, and that is life. Every day you start fresh with pretty much equal chances to do well or screw up. In the end you just hope that over time your percentage is leaning towards the doing good side of the scoreboard.

Sometimes we are able to maintain some control over our destiny and other times outside factors weigh in bigger and stronger than we’d imagined, then suddenly we are adrift on a sea of chance.

On that rare day when everything is going smoothly and you feel like you are in control, its easy to be gracious and a good sport. After all things are working out, you are heading in the right direction and you can see your destination. On those days you can present a positive outlook to the world. On those days its easy. But then there are the other days.

I had made a goal for myself and thought it was attainable but in the end it slipped away leaving me shocked and disappointed. One year ago I competed in the World Crossfit Games for the first time. I was in the Masters Division of 55-59 year old men and had earned my spot on the competition floor by placing 15th against 450 men from around the world. I worked hard to get there and in the end a bad performance during the 4th workout saw me go from 10th place to 14th and out of the running to compete on the final day.

I came back from it committed to do better and trained hard for the year to be ready for the Open competition. One month ago it all began again and I faced the challenge head on. I fought my way through the five workouts with some ups and downs but never quitting, redoing some of the workouts and for the final one I ended up doing it three times over 5 days to try and improve my score. My score didn’t improve on my last attempt and I got the same 88 repetitions and had to hope it would be enough. I watched the results appear on the leaderboard for the Crossfit Games website and it looked like I was going to make it. While I slipped from 10th place to 13, to 17 and then when the deadline arrived I was tied for 19th place. I was thrilled. I would be going back to the Games.

But then the curve ball arrived. While I was celebrating at a barbecue with our wonderful Crossfit North Vancouver community and believing I’d made it life had other plans. Two hours later when I was at home having another look at the scoreboard, to my shock and dismay I saw my position had been knocked down by some later entries. I was now in 23rd position, which meant I was no longer top 20 and no longer going to compete in the World Games. I felt like the floor had opened up beneath me. On top of the disappointment I also felt some embarrassment over the congratulations I’d been accepting just shortly before. It sucked.

I sent some messages out to some friends and put a posting on facebook to get the word out. I was not going to be a Games athlete this year. Immediately the messages of support began to arrive. I was once again amazed at the caring community of CFNV and so grateful to be a part of it.

After my short pity party I got up the next day and took some of those kind messages to heart. Sure, I was not in the top 20 but I was 23rd out of a division of 800 men from around the world. I realized I still had plenty to be proud of and I had represented our gym to the best of my ability. I went back into the gym the next day positive and ready again to train hard.

Life threw me a nasty curve ball but even though it was a strike, it wasn’t a strike out. I have 11 months until the 2014 Open competition begins and when it comes around I’ll be better than I am today and will once again give 100 % and no matter what the results I’ll hold my head up because I will have tried.