Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ray Rice

In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Ray
Rice talks alongside his wife during
a news conference at the team's
practice facility in Owings Mills, MD
(Patrick Semansky AP/Photo)
I've been following with great interest the news regarding former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his well-documented case of domestic violence. If you've been living under a rock here's a link to get you caught up. The most interesting quote regarding this case came from former teammate and mentor, Ray Lewis, “I’m disappointed. This is personal for me, so I’m torn because this is a young man I really took up under my wing and tried to mentor to make sure he had a successful career and stayed away from things like this. Seeing this video, let me be very clear with going through this personally, a man should never, ever put his hands on a woman. Bottom line. We can speculate about a lot of things but what we need to make sure is very clear is what we saw on this video is him putting his hands on a woman and that’s where it’s personal for me.”

Friday, July 25, 2014

Introducing......The Aftermath

The following are my recollections, observations, and opinions. Take them for what they're worth.

"A couple of months ago I started a 'living' blog post in which I chronicled what I believe to be misdeeds by my former brother-in-law toward my sister Heather, her children, and my family. Approximately 48 hours ago, I received a 'cease-and-desist' letter from his lawyer, threatening to sue on his behalf if I didn't remove the post, despite my assertion that every one of my statements was, or could be, proven in a court of law. Well, as you can see, the post has been deleted to avoid any further legal action. In my opinion, only a coward would pay someone else to fight his own battles.  Despite this, I feel that some justice was served in this short time, and I am content with the belief that this man's lies will lead to his eventual undoing without my help. What baffles me is that despite the despicable skeletons this man hides in his closet, he continues to bad-mouth those who have the key to the door."

Thanks to everyone for your support in this matter, and thanks for making this the most popular post on TFC!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


'Babe, did you take these?', I asked Aspen about a week ago as I uploaded a series of photos from our Samsung TL220 to iPhoto. Gracing the set were a number of close-ups of our 2.5-year-old son, Carson, gazing into nothingness with his summer-blue eyes. I shifted the laptop screen in my wife's direction. 'Uh, I don't think so.' Amusement briefly crossed her face before the phone rang and we went on with our day, not giving the pictures a second thought.

A few days later I bounded up the basement steps to the sounds of:  'Cheeeeeeeeeeese. FLASH!!! giggle-giggle-giggle.' It was Carson, perched on the couch with the camera in his hands, snapping a series of self portraits. Ah, the culprit! Still not sure what this means, but we figure it's just a matter of time before he uploads a video to Youtube.

Copyright © 2012 Carson Hilbelink

Postscript: After a closer look at this first set, we were pretty sure that Carson didn't take them (One-handed? Come on.) Those were found to be the work of unGuy (age 5). I would have guessed the same on the second shoot if I hadn't witnessed it with me own eyes! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Working Out The Kinks

Two-mile training runs are the pits!
It's been seven weeks since returning to some semblance of a regular running routine. This brief daily escape has been terribly missed, as I climb back onto the wagon with the welcoming clasp of an old friend. But of course, it's not without its growing pains. I put on some sympathy weight (....OK, 20 lbs), including more than a few lbs of upper body muscle mass that pushed me into the 195-lb range. I attribute this to many long days of swinging a pick and shovel while searching out my most favorite crystal digs. My knees are definitely not getting any love from this fleshy backpack. Now that we're in the gemhunter's 'offseason', the ground is frozen and will not be accepting my hand tools anytime soon. Bye, bye, guns (kisses biceps).  At the start of Week 8, I've already withered to a svelte 187, and looking to shave another five lbs from this frame by the New Year, especially after hearing that each lb of extra weight adds about 0:02 to each mile. So, imagine the hours I would sacrifice in a 100-mile race!

Rather than bore you with statistics or my paltry running log, I'll focus on what has changed for me as I approach the 2012 season. First thing to go was the Maffetone Heart Training Method. I recommend it as an initial means of building a strong aerobic base, but feel that the method is designed for the sea level runner training on little or no hills. I live on a hill at 8,700 feet, and there's just no easy way to keep your heart rate below, say, 140 bpm, without walking at some point. I was hiking at least one portion of every run, not realizing it was reducing me into a comfort-seeking, slow runner at race time. It eroded my ability to suffer, when suffering should be what drives me more swiftly to the finish line.

Instead, I've modified an existing training program to stack two long run days in a row, with a break on either side and then some shorter days throughout the week. It was tough starting from scratch. 'Hmmmm, let's see...Monday - 2 miles.  Uhh, t-t-two miles???'. We'll see how that goes.

The next move was from the Salomon XT Wings 2 to a lighter shoe. I've found that the Wings are simply too beefy, and while I'm not yet ready to jump on the Vibram train, there is something attractive about running technical singletrack in a minimalist shoe. I'll stay with the already-discontinued XT Hawk 2 until I can't find any more in my size.

Finally, there's the heartfelt desire to cut down on Diet Coke and sweets, which has been surprisingly easy - especially the sugary stuff. It only took a few days for the cravings to dissipate, and the health benefits are already materializing in other venues (read:mood). 

As I scan through the 2012 schedules, I realize what I missed most about the races was the camaraderie and competition, and honestly, being able help others along the way. In the meantime, I'm pining away as the mileage creeps forward. Maybe I'll be eating your dust on the trails next spring.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Call of Duty 4 - The Run!

'I'll teach you not to steal my Shot Bloks!'
In the most recent Trailrunner Mag (December 2011), a runner from Las Vegas in the 'Letters' column boasts that he always carries a gun, a knife, and pepper spray on his runs, stating that 'it adds a little weight, but the peace of mind is worth it'

Really???? Is he running down 'The Strip' at 3:00 AM?

It brought to mind the diversity in how we each manage our own sense of security. I live in the foothills of Colorado, where the most one should fear is a possible attack by a wild animal. Yet, I see the metal gates, home alarms and floodlights popping up everywhere. I remember having a discussion with a former FDNY firefighter and a rather large retired fire chief (also from the Big Apple) regarding the level of safety up in these hills. The FDNY guy said that he always packs heat and felt much more secure in the boroughs of New York than in the sleepy ascents of Conifer, to which the gregarious Chief replied, 'If someone breaks into my house, The first thing he'll see is my fist going through his face.' Ah, Chief. Good on ya, man. Maybe you should be joining me on my night runs.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

In Other News...

Carson at Costco Optical
I was trying to think of something clever to announce my brief return to blogland, but alas, nothing. Much has happened since January 2010 - We welcomed the birth of our second son, Carson Ray, just a few minutes into the new year, I left my job as a geologist with a large corporation and started my own consulting company, I discovered a large pocket of monster quartz crystals while on a training run which spiraled into a gem collecting obsession, resulting in a drop-off in my training mileage. Needless to say, the urge to run was always present, and I'm currently in the opening stages of a 'comeback'. I've signed up for a 50-miler in April 2012, and have struck a fragile balance between miles and stones. Much of this stuff deserves posts of their own and may get some extended treatment in the future.
Monster Smokies

In the meantime, loads of 'sorries' go out to those who commented on previous posts only to hang in limbo while moderation notices went to my now defunct corporate address. My music site is also a memory, but the free song downloads will soon find a new home, and I'll post a link when those are ready. (Edit: Here's the link!) Plus I need to figure out all of the new Blogger bells and whistles that have been added since I was away. Good times.

Looking forward to seeing you on the trails.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Dignity of Labour

Ahh, yes. 2011. I haven't posted in a long, long time. I get it!

In a previous life I was a synthpop artist. Back in 2003 I was signed to a small independent label out of Utah, released a single, XRV, in 2004 and then a self-titled album in 2005. During the recording process, I agonized over every detail, and the finished product never really mirrored the image I carried in my head. Years went by before I could even listen to the album. But lately that dissatisfaction has mellowed. Sure, that mental red pen still clicks to life whenever one of those tunes comes up on my iPod. But these days I find myself enjoying the works for what they are - simple musical snapshots in time.

A long time ago, I came to the realization that the album was not going to make me the superstar I had once hoped to be, but it still has merit as a melodic, provocative effort. The disc sold well in the synthpop circles, via iTunes, Amazon, etc., and online sales are enough to buy some new software as of late.

You can download some covers, remixes, and unreleased items here. The album is now on iTunes, and so is the bonus disc!

Download and Enjoy. 

Update January 2016: I've been working on some new material, with a possible new album scheduled for 2017. Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

(cough) May (cough) (cough)

Yeah, I’m still kicking. Work is in the midst of a spring fury, and fire academy is in full swing (or in firespeak, 'fully involved'). The weather has been idyllic, and the long days beg for more grandiose impressions in this ball of clay I call our property. Oh, and there’s this little kid named unGuy pushing his truck up and down the cobbly paths I’ve created. Did I mention that I’m a trailrunner? These days my runs are few and far between, but stuffed with enjoyment and void of injury, forging yet a deeper appreciation for time I once took for granted. With a few exceptions, my racing calendar is a blank slate. Instead of jumping into the old standbys year after year, the idea of exploring new terrain, with no premise of what lies around the bend, holds a fair sense of wonderment. In place of mileage, pace times, and placement are music, vistas, and running to run another day. Only a select few are able to combine these successfully. A common question offered to runners is ‘Why do you run ?’, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard the same answer twice. When asked, I’m also likely to give an indefinite response, and I assume it’s because the nature of my love for running ebbs and flows with my current state of mind. When running becomes a chore, the culprit is usually some other aspect of my life that has gone amiss. But there are times when I’m traveling some unfamiliar terrain and everything appears to be in sync. If only I could eke out a few more minutes in my day so this feeling would linger for just a little while longer.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I'm back on the wagon with the latest race report from the Moab Red Hot 50K. The race marked a marginal shift in my priorities as a trailrunner. Stay tuned for a contemplative account of this Valentine's Day adventure.

Needles District, Utah

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sliding Down That Pole Will Be Fun

My 2009 race schedule recently took a bit of an interesting turn when I joined the local volunteer fire department. Basically, my Wednesday nights and many of my Saturdays will be spent at the academy tying knots, climbing ladders and putting out fires in fake buildings until the end of June, which means Fruita, Gateway and Kettle are out this year and Ice Age, Big Horn, and Silver Rush are in! I'm already there.

My goals for the year are to stay healthy, enjoy my family and take in the scenery. I hope your 2009 is a prosperous one, too.

Aspen, unGuy and Kirk at the Elk Creek FD Open House

Monday, December 22, 2008

Facing The Wind

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of Facebook requests, mostly from friends and relatives who are embracing this latest social networking craze. I’ve never quite forced my finger to the fad pulse, unless I felt it was beneficial to do so. Those close to me will attest that I’ve always followed my own path, anyway. As a youngster, when kids my age were playing football at the local park, I was home scheming a go-cart that ran on the nearby abandoned railroad tracks. While my high school classmates were pumping their fists to AC/DC and Ozzy Osbourne, I was nodding to Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears. Instead of the obligatory Colorado skiing and mountain biking, I took up snowshoeing and trailrunning. I sold all of my ski equipment, and my bike continues to collect dust in the garage.

Aspen recently invited me to join her group, but the folks at Facebook deemed me ‘ineligible’ for membership. Uh-oh, did my hard time at San Quentin raise some red flags? I may never know. Regardless, the denial was enough of a deterrent for the time being. I’m content with blogging for now. And when the inevitable question comes up, ‘Hey, have you been to Grandma’s Facebook page?’, I’ll know I’ve made the right decision.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Catching Up With Depressed Mode

Ahhh. I know I owe you guys a couple race reports. They're coming - I promise! Hope you're having a great summer!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Race Report: The Leadville Trail Marathon

Sorry about the delay in race reports and the like. The weather's been great, and Aspen and I are usually out working on the yard until dusk. Anyway, I suppose I should briefly recap the Leadville Trail Marathon and then my most recent race, the Pikes Peak Ascent. During the Fourth of July holiday we camped near Twin Lakes with our friends Mike, Sasha, John and Ann.

Is that the Big or Little Dipper? I forget.

The mosquitoes were terrible and seemed to prefer fresh blood. I came into the race with about 20 miles of training over 5 weeks, suffering a nasty case of ITBS that mangled my performance at this year’s KM100.

Hoofin' it up 6th Avenue. White visors anyone?

I started out in the back of the pack and picked my way through about 200 competitors, taking numerous pictures and dispensing S-Caps and Advil to struggling runners along the way.

Avoiding those abandoned mines for a change

I arrived at the first aid station in 72nd place and finished 29th out of 244, and it may have been my most well-executed and uneventful race yet.

First brutal climb about three miles in.

Not me, but nice vest, dude!

That scintillating climb to Mosquito Pass.

Chilling at Mosquito Pass (No skeeters were present, by the way).

Ahh, pavement. Soft, forgiving pavement.

.....aaaand the obligatory course map.