Gear Review: Edelweiss O-Flex 10.2mm Rope

Ok, more accurately, this is a review in progress. A few ropes manufacturers have been coming out with new core designs that help the rope maintain its roundness, avoid soft spots, sheath slippage…

Could this be the answer for high usage programs?

This spring I decided to put their claims to the test. Besides my usual spool of gym line, I put an Edelweiss O-Flex rope at our climbing tower and high ropes course (approx. 7000 and 4000 participants respectively each year.) Five months into my field test, the difference is clear. My usual ropes have all been serviced to some extent – trimming off stretched sheath material, rolling and “milking” ropes to firm them up and round them…

The Edelweiss rope? Besides washing them, they're practically as firm and round as the day in April when I put them in service.

My verdict? There's still several months left in my fiscal year before I buy more rope, but I gotta say, the new Edelweiss rope is high on my list. It is more expensive on the front end, but being nearly maintenance free, plus saved labor makes up for it for me. As a bonus, it's available in bulk by the spool, or in 30m lengths, perfect when you just need to pick up one rope and don't like the waste of cutting a longer rope down to climbing wall or course length.

Where were you?

September 11, 2001… I remember I was pulling into camp, listening to my usual morning radio show. The hosts were bantering back and forth when they suddenly stopped with breaking news out of New York that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. For several minutes, notes of concern were mixed with quips of “how did they not see the building?” when things went silent and they announced the second plane crash, that something was going on, and that they’d stay on the air as long as they could before network news & official communications preempted them.

We had school groups that day. Belaying at the climbing tower, the blue skies were eerily silent as all air traffic was grounded. I imagined it like this when Wisconsin became a state… no contrails, no aircraft sounds, just birds & crickets chirping, breeze blowing…



My baby girl's first day of kindergarten. Jen and I are already racking up parent points… we knew we were in the wrong place when Olivia's teacher started her class, we looked around and realized we were the only parents still in the room.

Oops. We'll be leaving now…

I know an endless stream of dads have been in my shoes, so my experience is far from unique. It'd be easy to worry… will she make friends, will she be teased, are the adults surrounding her trustworthy? The list is practically endless. I want to be there for my girl. I want to share in her new experiences, as well as protect her from harm.

With tears in my eyes, it's hard to articulate how precious she is to me. I'd do anything to shield this little one who hugs me tight and whispers, “I love you, daddy.”

As much as I'd like to, I know realistically that I can't. Over the course of her life, it's impossible for me to spare her from every illness & injury, every family crisis, every bully, every careless driver, etc. Last night, stroking Olivia's hair as she slept, I asked God to watch over my little girl. I know He loves her, delights in her more than I'm capable of understanding.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

Have a great day at school, sweetie. Your daddy loves you so much!


C25K – Redeux

Ok, remember those posts months ago about me training for running a 5K? Many months ago?

Remember that?

Yeah, that didn't go far. Ok, that's not completely true & discounting over a month of running progress. Last spring I was slightly more than halfway through the training regimin, then I hit my wall & learned a few valuable lessons…

  • Treadmill running is NOT like running on the road.
  • Don't eat & drink like a fiend before a run.
  • Even weeks into a regular training schedule, the temptation to quit is still there. Habit, bah! Decide to push through!

So… there ya have it. This morning I hit the road again, square one of my training program. First event of the Winter Series is November 11th. I will run all six. I will earn my sweatshirt!


12 years with my best friend

This weekend, Jen and I shared our 12th wedding anniversary. Cleaning a drawer today, I came across a handwritten list I wrote in preparation for one of our premarital counseling sessions.

“Why I love Jen”

  1. She accepts me for who I am
  2. She respects me, my opinions, decisions, thoughts
  3. We have a similar sense of humor – we can really make each other laugh
  4. We communicate well – we can talk & know we are being listened to
  5. I love that she gets along with my family
  6. I love her family
  7. The way she looks at me, her smile, eyes
  8. We share similar interests
  9. She shares and supports me in the ministry God's called me to
  10. She's beautiful
  11. She's thoughtful – phone messages, post-it notes
  12. We respect each other physically. Both of us are committed to keeping our relationship pure, making it much easier.

I love you, my sweet!

The accidental athlete?

Forty-eight hours from now, I'll be about halfway through the Lake Country Classic ride. Going for a new personal best distance of 45 miles. A couple rides remain this summer that will sweep that record to the side, replaced by even longer distances.

An accident? Did I suddenly, mysteriously find myself straddling a road bike, traveling distances most would consider a normal commute to the office?

Nope. It's a choice.

Actually, for me, it's a series of choices…

Set alarm for an early ride, continue pushing when your body wants to stop, turning down that extra slice of pizza (or buffet at Chen's Kitchen. Mmm, Chen's), enjoying retirement with my wife (on our motorcycles, of course), being around to hold my grandchildren…

Choosing to believe I can do this…

The list is practically endless.


Social insanity

Have you noticed we seem to post more & more about ourselves online? It's getting a tad over the top…


For the love, if I see another Instagram pic of your sandwich, I'm going to click furiously where the Facebook “Nuke 'em” button should be.


And don't even get me started on the plethora of apps that automatically post status updates across all your social networking accounts. Some people go the extra step and add personal notes to the post that makes it meaningful, but for those of you clogging my feeds with auto-spam, please stop! I don't want to block you, but seriously…


(A bit exaggerated, but not far from reality)


“[YOUR NAME HERE] just pooped a 2 pounder. They're only one deuce away from earning the Golden Dookie Badge!”


“[YOUR NAME HERE] just alerted motorists on I-394 to the guy urinating on the shoulder at mile marker 281. Get it in the App Store!”


What's really awesome is when the app glitches or feedbacks across your accounts (since of course all your accounts are linked) and reposts each one several times… now I can see three pics of your lunch, three poop updates, dude peeing alerts in another state, etc…


Ok, ranting over.



I bought a motorcycle helmet.

I don't own a motorcycle.

I haven't even taken a motorcycle safety class, gotten my permit or license yet…

… but I bought a helmet. Really nice one, too. 🙂

I'm believing that next year I'll purchase a motorcycle and ride it to work, saving a lot of money in gas each month. I believe it strongly enough that I'm choosing to take active steps in that direction – bought a helmet, registered for a class so I can get my license, have planned the financial process necessary to save by next spring.

Faith requires action.

How many times do we sit on our duff, stuck in our “waiting on God” rut, surprised that nothing's happening?

Sometimes we can work toward something, sometimes all we can do is pray.

Sometimes we may not like or understand God's answer.



The best of intentions

So, I rode in the Tour de Food last weekend, a ride to benefit a local food pantry. Cool premise, and not bad considering it was the first year it was held. I look forward to doing it again next year.

Being honest, this ride killed me! Granted the 90 degree heat, blazing sun, and 15mph sustained headwind for the last 12 miles didn't help, but I could've done so much better. My sins…

(1) Three hours of sleep the night before was dumb! Yes, watching “The Event” on Netflix is captivating, but not the best idea the night before a ride.

(2) I hadn't trained at all before this ride. What was I thinking? I rode a slightly shorter ride last fall without a problem… could've been the several 12-17mile rides I was doing each week prior? Maybe?

(3) Did I mention my just getting over a chest cold?

So… functioning on 3 hours sleep, unconditioned, and still under the weather and I'll just dive into a 35 mile ride on a scorching, windy June day?

Where's my sign?

I had the best of intentions – tuned up my road bike, registered for the event, even donned my cool REI bike jersey, but I hadn't put in the time, the effort. Subconsciously I was expecting the results without the sacrifice.

Do we sometimes face challenges in life in a similar fashion, chasing the latest thing that gets us excited without counting the cost it'll take to get there? When opposition strikes, how tempting is it to drop our “dream” and seek the next path of least resistance?

Improved finances, better physical fitness, elimination of harmful habits, the list can go on and on. All take work – how bad do you really want it?

BTW, I finished the ride on my bike. I kicked, clawed… rested… prayed… clawed some more… more rest. Thought it was good idea to stop for the freight train. 🙂 It felt so good to ride up to the pavilion and check in with the ride organizers. I want to finish next month's 45 mile ride, and the 65 mile ride in August. Time to get to work!


Never forget…

On a day where many of us are off from work, stuck in holiday traffic, preparing for family visits, cookouts, etc., I started out a little differently this morning…

I read as much as I could find about Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis Levy Youngblood. Travis was a medic in the Iraqi town of Hit when he was wounded July 15, 2005 by shrapnel from an IED. He died 6 days later in Baghdad. He left behind his wife, Laura, and a young son named Hunter. Laura was 8 months pregnant at the time with the beautiful girl seen in the picture, Emma. Travis was scheduled to come home before Emma’s birth.

The freedom we enjoy, flipping burgers or splashing in the pool came with a price. A heartfelt thank you to all those who serve or have served in our armed forces, and my sincerest condolences to those who’ve lost a loved one.

Thank you, Travis.


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