Follow by Email

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Jones Pass!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tenessee Pass Kickoff Classic Snowshoe Race, 12/10/11

The snowshoe season began with a began (actually, a “3-2-1-SHOE!” from Race Director Bruce Kelly) this Saturday at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center outside of Leadville, CO. At well over 10,000’, the five-mile course provided technical terrain and plenty of lung-burning hills.

I traveled to the event with fellow trail runners Brandy Erholtz of Evergreen and John Tribbia of Boulder. As expected, John provided some tough competition! We finished 1-2, and Brandy took the women’s win.

Bruce puts on a superb series of races (details at www.pedalpowerbike.com), and I look forward to the next event outside of Vail on New Year’s Eve.

Here’s a quick film from the race:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Just Came Across an Old Boys' Life Article...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Clash of Worlds at China’s Wulong Mountain Quest

Big action at the opening ceremony; it felt like the Olympics!

Not a bad view from the hotel.



How does one begin to sum up a whirlwind journey of eight days that included 34 hours of travel twice, four days of racing with three teammates in nine sports, thousands of feet of elevation gained and lost, cultural exchange with members of all three "worlds," and a snapshot glimpse of a booming country that proudly hosts one fifth of the human population?

Doing China justice with a single blog post proves beyond my capability, so I'll start with what was, for me, one of the most symbolic moments of the journey. As I shopped for souvenirs after Day 2 of the Wulong Mountain Quest in the city of Wulong, which, like every other place I saw in china, is absolutely exploding with construction and quick growth, I was approached by a woman who said, "Hi, are you Travis?"

Yes, I was. Cindy, who is fluent in English, introduced herself and we got to talking. She reads my blog.

Wait...

WOW...

Thanks for reading, Cindy!  

The spread at the pre-race dinner was quite impressive!
She had come out to the race to see the athletes, and we enjoyed a quick moment of chat about our shared profession, teaching English. That a Chinese person reads my blog and knew I was coming to the race astounded me, and that I was able to connect with her out of a potential one billion plus Chinese citizens truly blew me away. Amidst the endless construction projects (imagine never-ending scenes of scaffolding--some metallic and some of old bamboo sticks and cranes) that tower over traditional huts and many people who still hike the countryside all day in search of wood, plastics, and other trade-ables to fill their back-strapped wicker baskets, my interaction with Cindy reminded me of china's powerful push towards large-scale first- and second-world living styles.

One element of this effort has been state sponsorship of the Wulong Mountain Quest, a four-day, stage-formatted adventure race that uses significant prize money and keen competition to attract some of the best international teams on the circuit. This was my first trip to the race, and I am thankful for the support of Evergreen High School (and the timing of Labor Day weekend) for making participation possible.

Our four-person, coed team, OutThere USA, would be the only one to represent the US, and, as an all-Colorado team, we hoped to use training at altitude in the hills to our advantage. Mountain biking aficionado Gretchen Reeves, fresh off an awesome second place finish at the Leadville 100 MTB, headed up our contingency. Gretchen is a great person and strong competitor, and I have always enjoyed racing with her. Jay Henry, who's also a world-class mountain biker of local fame, would be our team engine.  Watching him on the bike during this race was truly inspiring--and instructional. Jay is incredibly down-to-earth and approachable, and we have quickly become natural buds. Mike Kloser of Vail added an intangible level of experience, racing savvy, and positive momentum. Yes, he still maintains that his racing status is "retired," but we figured he'd make a darn good fill-in for the final spot. I hoped merely to keep up and stay out of the way!
A whirlwind of travel followed by quick catch-ups with friends from around the world on the bus and at the hotel brought us to the opening ceremony and Prologue in Fairy Town, a growing resort town that, according to Jay, "Wasn't even here five years ago!" The crowd, performances, kids, and festivities made us feel like we were in the Olympics. The first clip shows the opening ceremony.  The second shows the closing ceremony.  The third shows a quick market tour.




The Prologue itself was a quick effort consisting of a two-kilometer, uphill run, 400 meters of carrying one teammate in a traditional bamboo chair (imagine a princess being carried in a Disney movie), four kilometers of "biathlon" that allows two bikes on course for the whole team, 12 kilometers of mountain biking, and a final dash to the finish. Lucky to survive a pile-up at the starting gun--one reason I stick to endurance sports is that it generally keeps me AWAY from scenes like the ones at Macy's on the day after Thanksgiving--we got off to a good start on the run. Gretchen is a small woman, but Mike, Jay, and I are MUCH smaller than most of the big fellas in the race, and we lost a few places on the chariot carry. As it turned out, special "adventure challenges" like this would be our weakest segments of the race!  Taking turns of two people running about 500 meters while the others bike ahead, leave the bikes on the ground, and take off running themselves, we maintained a good position on the biathlon before hopping right onto our bikes with running shoes in pursuit of Champion Systems-APA, the top Kiwi team of legends Richard and Elina Ussher, Nathan Fa'avae, and Trevor Voyce.  Placing remained consistent for the remainder of the 43-minute sprint, and we finished second on the day.  Prize money for stages and the overall ranking keeps the heat on at all times in Wulong, and you've always got to be ready to go hard!

Day 1, the first full day of racing, brought severe suffering in hot, humid conditions. Attrition was paramount, and we did well simply by being consistent. After another ten kilometers of biathlon at the start, we ran down a slippery, steep slope to a barely-filled reservoir. About 500 meters of swimming--well, struggling through the water while the Australian teams fly past--brought us to the opposing shore, where we loaded the two bikes that had not been used for the biathlon on a small raft and returned to the previous shore. The raft had just enough room for three people, two bikes, and two small sticks used for "paddling." As the designated "swimmer" on our team (I did two triathlons in college, apparently more than my teammates), I hooked on behind the raft with a tow line and flopped for dear life as Jay and Mike powered our rig forward.  I'm glad the thin bungee line held strong because I'm pretty sure they forgot I was there!

Glad to get on our bikes with real cycling shoes, we finally felt in our element on a solid cycling leg of nearly three hours. Long, steep climbs led to fast descents on little dirt roads, and I gained my first experience of the truly mountainous terrain featured in this event. We never pushed the pace, but were able to use our experience on the bike to pass all teams except the Kiwis before an explosive BANG marked the snapping of two of Gretchen's spokes. Mike brings a number of intangibles to any team, and one is unparalleled bike knowledge coupled with an equally unbelievable fervor for fixing things. On a side note, I was later able to discern that Mike was truly ill (probably from some sort of foreign bacteria) when he had about 20 minutes in the morning before the bus that could have been used to tinker with something but was instead spent resting.

A repair that would have taken me all day took Mike about ten minutes. Three teams passed us, but we took in some much-needed electrolytes during the stop and moved back into second after some more climbing.  As usual, the Chiru Pulse 29er, used at this race by a number of athletes on the top teams, was an outstanding bike!

Post-cycling, a huge rappel (1000 feet?) off a bridge brought us to the mouth of a canyon that we would descend with running, rock-hopping, shimmy-ing, jumping, and swimming. Although I lost my prescription sunglasses (oops!) on the first jump, the canyon was a ton of fun!  Technical terrain tested skill, wit, and endurance. Nearing the end of the canyon, we found ourselves waist-deep in mud for a few hundred meters that seemed to take an eternity!  Fearing that we would be stuck for good, we were caught by the army-trained Swedes of AXA Sports Club, who calmly remarked that they always do this in the army and proceeded to literally crawl past us a “flying” pace!  With increased surface area on hands and knees, we, too, made it out to the final significant segment, a 25 kilometer paddle on a reservoir.

Under the beating sun, attrition truly bared its teeth on the paddling section, and we pulled away from teams simply by continuing forward. Truth be known, we were probably motivated simply to be finished and out of the heat as much as anything else! The suffering of the sport of adventure racing had finally set in.

Transitioning to a steep run up stairs and then through an immense cave (it was SWEET), the MKIF (Mike Kloser Intensity Factor) kicked in. With the "old man" cracking the whip, we flew through the cave, which was outfitted with walkways for tourists, who we nearly ran over as our eyes adjusted to the darkness, en route to a satisfying second place on the day.

On Day 2, racing began early in the morning with a 20 kilometer paddle down the Wulong River.  Steering bulky kayaks through small wave trains and a variety of river currents proved challenging for many racers, and the teams from New Zealand and Australia quickly sped to the front to gain almost ten minutes on the section. A transition in Wulong City brought us back to the bikes, and we rode consistently enough over two hours of ups and downs to gain the lead by the transition to running and caving. The Kiwis had missed a turn on the bike section, enabling us to pass them as they lost a few minutes.

Hiking up a steep hill to the entrance of the cave, we passed by locals who watched from their traditional houses as we trekked just past corn, peppers, beans, seeds, and other vegetables set out to dry. This close brush with traditional culture was illuminating and seemingly ages away from the economic boom that's readily apparent in urban centers.

The caving section began gradually with a run through a riverbed that slowly filled with water as it moved underground. We eventually found ourselves in total darkness, using headlamps to guide the way while sliding over slippery rocks and swimming through intermittent pools, some accessed via rappel, jump, or hand-line. Richard's chipper voice signaled that the Kiwis were close behind, but we were able to hold them off long enough to reach a breathtaking scene off scattered light refracting off waterfall drops at the huge mouth of the cave. Another monster rappel took us to the cave floor, from which we ran down slippery walkways to the parking lot where bikes lie waiting.

With the Kiwis and now the Swedes in transition with us, the race was on!  Remaining terrain consisted of 12 kilometers of cycling and three of running.

Jay and I felt relatively fresh due to conservative racing and cooler temperatures, and we were able to work hard on a paved ascent that cracked the Swedes but did nothing to the Kiwis. Decisive racing occurred on the fast descent, and Gretchen showed admirable poise in riding along a two-foot wide concrete track flanked by drops into an aqueduct or off a ledge. Although riding such a width on a nice singletrack would be fun and thoughtless, doing so for almost a kilometer with a guaranteed wreck on either side was a bit gut-wrenching. Needless to say, Mike and Jay made it look easy!

Back on rocky, loose roads for a descent, we were able to put another minute on the Kiwis before leaving the bikes for running shoes and heading down a riverbed to run to the finish in Wulong City.   Winning the stage was fulfilling, and we entered the final day 16 minutes behind the Kiwis and 30 minutes ahead of the Swedes.

On Day 3, Mike's persistent stomach bug gave us a conservative strategy from the start, and we decided to focus on the war without getting caught up in the battle in a way that would burn us out early on.

Traditional wicker baskets with shoulder straps greeted us at the starting line, and Gretchen ran 50 meters to load up a watermelon before returning to pass the basket to Mike, who picked up a cabbage. Mike handed to me for the squash and I to Jay (he almost missed me due to a last-minute trip to the pit toilet) for the lettuce. After stashing our full basket, we left the adventure challenge in last place to set out on a 14 kilometer run. Some of the teams must have trained for the veggie challenge because we got smoked!

Thankfully, the technical descent of a couple thousand vertical feet through a jungle suited us fairly well, and we arrived at the transition to paddling just off the heels of two Kiwi teams in the lead.

The final paddle was short and sweet, and we hit the bikes ready to ride steady but not too hard. Even when Mike is not feeling good, he still descends like a superstar (I sometimes forget he was Mountain Biking World Champion when I was seven years old), and we held on to third going into the final transition area.

After a final, monstrous rappel, we began the penultimate segment of 2011 Wulong Mountain Quest, a 22 kilometer run with nearly 3000 feet of climbing. As the hours wore on, we all ran at the edge of limitation. When a team passed us, we decided racing them for third on the day and risking full blowup would not be wise, especially since they were really motoring!

Ascending a steep, rocky footpath, surely ancient in origin, I was reminded of the timelessness of the jungle that surrounds the booming urban centers of China--and of the incredible fact that I would be teaching again in a classroom in Colorado in a mere 48 hours.

A few miles of fast running on the flats brought us to a jumble of vines that ripped a decent gash on my cheek.

The final stage, the "field shoot," had arrived! Each athlete had five shots with a military-style pellet gun to hit a target. If he or she did not hit the target, a three minute penalty lap was to be run.

Unsure of whether or not one of the teams ahead had moved close to us in the overall standings, we shot with all we had. Mike and I got a good gun and hit the target, while Jay and Gretch each had to do a quick penalty lap.

Crossing the line moments later, we were pleased to finish fourth on the day and second overall.

Wei Jun, Peter, and the other organizers of the Wulong Mountain Quest have created a well-run, high quality racing experience. American teams interested in adventure, excellent travel, prize money, and a chance to race against the world's best for a good price (entry plus airfare equal less than entry alone for many races, and there's a prize pool for first year teams), would do well to put the 2012 event on the schedule.  I know I'd love to return!

And by the way, Cindy, please be sure to drop a line (I mean it) if you ever come to Colorado.








Jay doing his best Lord of the Flies scene (yes, that's a dried  pig head, although it's not "on a stick," Simon).
Gotta like traveling with bikes and gear!
The Chiru Pulse gets ready for action.

Monday, September 5, 2011

In second place... at the moment!


Racing continues at the Wulong Mountain Quest, and things should really be heating up.  We hope to be one of the top teams; check out results and updates online if you have a chance.


LITERARY CONNECTION

Lisa See’s Snowflower and the Secret Fan has become a popular novel and hit movie.  Check out the movie preview here:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Race Begins


Racing begins September 3rd with a fast and furious prologue.  We will run, bike, and paddle for about two hours in a preliminary “mini-stage.”  The full race begins on the 4th with three days of racing for five to seven hours.  Each day will feature multiple sections of running, mountain biking, kayaking, and ropes, and we will need to stay sharp and transition quickly from discipline to discipline.  Every member of the team completes every section (we travel as a unit), so we’ll need to help each other out.  Sometimes, this involves literally towing a teammate with a short bungee to keep him or her going!

Racing continues this weekend, and you are welcome to follow results online, through either a link below or a Google search.


LITERARY CONNECTION

Xue Xinran composed a powerful piece called The Good Women of China.  Spend a moment learning about this compelling author at http://www.xinranbooks.co.uk/ .

Race Preparation- Thursday, September 1


Race preparation is generally a scramble that involves packing bags for gear drops, marking maps, building bikes, eating, and trying to gain a lay of the land.  Food for this race may prove especially challenging because international competitors, like us, often get sick here due to so many differences in the bacteria present in food and on various surfaces…wish us luck!


LITERARY CONNECTION:

Check out this interview clip with Amy Chua, author extraordinaire and creator of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother:

Monday, August 29, 2011

August 30th


Traveling to China begins early this morning.  I’ll arrive at DIA with a backpack, a very large duffel bag of gear, and a bike, which will be dismembered and packed in a special bike box.  Getting through the airport with this stuff is challenging—and sometimes humorous!  Nearly 24 hours of plane travel coupled with a time difference of ten hours will bring me to the Chongqing airport, where I will board a bus and travel three more hours to the race location.  Sometimes the travel feels like a race in itself!  We’ll have one day to organize gear and adjust to the time difference (well, maybe!) before beginning the race on the 3rd.


LITERARY CONNECTION:

Title: Hong Zicheng. A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature (Zhongguo dangdai wenxueshi)
Author(s): Liang Luo
Source: China Review International. 16.4 (Summer 2009): p517. From Literature Resource Center.
Document Type: Book review
Full Text: 
Hong Zicheng. A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature (Zhongguo dangdai wenxueshi). Translated by Michael M. Day. Leiden: Brill, 2007. XIX, 636 pp. Hardcover $148.00, ISBN 978-90-04-15754-5.
When does "contemporary" start in the history of Chinese literature? What qualifies as Chinese literature in contemporary times? Contemporary literature (dangdai wenxue), as used in mainland China, refers to literature produced in the mainland after the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. This specific category of contemporary seems to reinforce the watershed moment of the founding of the People's Republic. It also excludes literary productions from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Chinese-speaking Southeast Asia, and the Chinese diaspora. Hong's history makes a deliberate choice to revisit the politically determined history of contemporary Chinese literature. Its inherent limitation is obvious. However, such a limited representation, when translated into English, proves to be most constructive in presenting a lost dimension in the study of twentieth-century Chinese literature in the English-speaking world.
Compared to other similar Chinese texts on contemporary Chinese literature, such as Chen Sihe's edited volume A Textbook of Contemporary Chinese Literature (Zhongguo dangdai wenxueshi jiaocheng [Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 1999]) and Tao Dongfeng and He Lei's Chinese Literature Since Reform and Opening Up (Zhongguo xinshiqi wenxue sanshinian [Beijing: Social Science Press of China, 2008]), Hong's history appears deliberately conservative in that it focuses on "traditional forms of poetry, fiction, drama, and prose" (p. xviii). Chen's edited textbook covering the same period incorporates film adaptations of novels. Tao and He's textbook on the past thirty years pays special attention to nontraditional forms of literary and cultural productions, such as online literature, popular cultural icons, and commercialized literature and the literary marketplace.
In English, Pang-yuan Chi and David Der-wei Wang's edited volume, Chinese Literature in the Second Half of a Modern Century (Indiana University Press, 2000), is more a critical survey than a textbook. It covers exactly the same time period, from 1949 to 1999, and it shares with Hong's text a similar vision of bridging the great divide before and after 1949 and resurrecting stimulating literary movements during the second half of the twentieth century. Although Chi and Wang's survey includes fifteen scholarly contributions from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Chinese diaspora, and covers as wide a terrain as the origins of the contributors, one still finds Hong's text filling an important niche in its insistence on the mainland literary scene of the same period.
Hong's history is a study of the cultural politics of literature under socialism and following its transformations in mainland China from 1949 to 1999. The encyclopedic nature of his work, its ambitious scope, and its attempt to be inclusive necessarily invite suspicion on its analytical depth. However, as is emphasized in the author's disclaimer early on, complete and exhaustive are not the goal. Furthermore, although the author often relies on aesthetic nature in selecting works to be included, he also deviates from that new criticism criterion and ventures beyond to include literary phenomena, art forms, and critical models with "undeniable faults with regard to 'aesthetic nature'" (p. xviii). As a result, periods and works long overlooked in the study of twentieth-century Chinese literature, such as the Seventeen Years of Literature (1946-1966) and Cultural Revolution Literature (1966-1976), are seriously dealt with in this history.
With its focus on both the literary mainstream and its discontents, Hong's history not only resurrects many of the socialist canons often tainted by an overly simplified and politicized reading, but also probes the possibilities for polyphonic literary expressions under socialism. It is equally valuable with regard to the last decade of the twentieth century, as it touches upon the formation of a popular cultural space for leisure alongside the mainstream in the 1990s. Hong's narrative is more sensitive than the official versus unofficial, within-the-system versus outside-the-system type of analysis.
Hong's history consists of two main parts. Part 1 covers literature of the 1950s-1970s, while part 2 deals with literature since 1976 (up to 1999 when the book was first published). Hong pays ample attention to the first half of the fifty years feathered into his history, especially the often overlooked Seventeen Years and the Cultural Revolution. Moreover, Hong starts his history not from the watershed moment of the 1949 founding of the People's Republic. Rather, Hong pays serious attention to the transition in literature, focusing extensively on the literary scene in the 1940s throughout part 1. Hong's attention to the continuities of literary trends also facilitated a vigorous dialogue between the modernist mode of literature of the 1920s and the realist mode of literature of the 1950s. Hong emphasizes how contemporary ideological trends and literary campaigns determined the recommendation and reception of literary heritage, and highlights the brief intermissions between various movements, such as the years between 1952 and 1953, 1956 and 1957, and 1961 and 1962. Further research on these intermissions could be envisaged following Hong's guide.
Hong's special contribution in this history, as far as this reviewer is concerned, lies in his expertise in poetry. For the Seventeen Years and the Cultural Revolution periods, Hong devotes large portions of three major chapters to poetry, and highlights the avant-garde nature of poetry writing under socialism and the political lyricism of poetry from 1950s into the 1970s. For the period after 1976, Hong again foregrounds poetry's central position in the literary history of the 1980s, especially its continuous avant-garde tendency. The two chapters on poetry of the post-1976 period vividly recount the waves of new poetry tide, from the Poetry of the Returnees, to Misty Poetry, to Third Generation Poetry and other dynamic poetic expressions.
Hong's treatment of fiction is equally strong (four major chapters are devoted to fiction before 1976, and three after), though comparatively less exciting, as fiction has always been the mainstream in literary production and historiography in modern China. Hong's contribution lies in his sensitive attention to the myriad forms of fiction writings both before and after the Cultural Revolution. Hong's emphasis on Zhao Shuli restores the centrality of rural area subject matter and its consequent popularity to its rightful place in literary history. His critical attention to revolutionary history subject matter, popular literature, and nonmainstream literature in fiction again demonstrates his serious engagement with mainstream popular culture under socialism. It provides readers valuable vignettes to enter into the dynamic field of literary production amid political intrigues and personal vicissitudes. Hong's discussion of post-1976 fiction is at once eclectic and wideranging. Liu Xinwu, often the first representative of scar literature in the initial post-Cultural Revolution period, is highlighted with his 1990s attempt to advocate "refinement of literature of the masses, popularization of refined literature" (p. 307). Chen Kaige, often only known as one of the leading fifth-generation film directors, is specifically mentioned because of his Dragon's Blood Tree, a memoir of the Cultural Revolution and of "remorseful introspection" (p. 314), published and distributed not in mainland China but in Hong Kong.
Hong covers prose and theater rather succinctly, in concise prose and with insight. Each genre before 1976 is given one chapter. Prose is discussed in another chapter after 1976, but no individual chapter is devoted to theater in the second part of the history. Given the heightened political nature of these genres, it is regrettable (but understandable given the limit of space) that they are not treated in more details and with more consistency. The single chapter on prose highlights the renewed interest in the avant-garde nature of "prose, special reports, and reportage" in the year 1958, when these prose genres were called "the responsive nerves of the age, the bulge call to fight" (p. 174). Lao She is the only playwright given a separate section in the only chapter on theater, and his familiarity with social life in old-time Beijing is described as being put to use in his effort to represent the "true people's nature of the new government" in the 1950s (p. 192). Post-1976 theater is treated in a single paragraph highlighting the debate on a "crisis in theater" (p. 288). Huang Zuolin and Gao Xingjian are singled out as representatives of theory and practice of theater during this period, respectively.
Such a genre-centered approach does not do justice to the wide-ranging and historically situated approach taken in Hong's text. In fact, what seems to be Hong's insufficiency is often supplemented by his contextual chapters, which often take into consideration a cross-genre and a highly politically and artistically sensitive approach.
For example, in the contextualizing and synthesizing chapters such as chapter 13 of part 1, "Towards 'Cultural Revolution Literature,'" Hong highlights the direct link between art, "action" (especially political action), social movement, and "the direct 'aesthetic-ization' of 'politics'"(p. 213). In the chapter "The Re-construction of 'Classics,'" concerning the Cultural Revolution, Hong emphasizes the use of the down-to-earth yangban (rather than the more elite-sounding jingdian, or classics) as the core concept to anchor such an experiment as the model operas, or yangbanxi. According to Hong, the effort to popularizing yangbanxi reached its height in 1970. Its popularization strategies, as far as I understand, vividly echo the strategies of the guerrilla drama warfare of the 1930s and 1940s. Such a connection could enrich our understanding of the institutional continuities before and after 1949, a key theme that Hong demonstrates throughout his text.
Hong's sensitive approach to the continuities of literary history not only connects the Seventeen Years and the Cultural Revolution literature to the post-1976 period, but also traces the pre-1949 developments in his history of the literature of the People's Republic. Although constantly putting contemporary scholarship in quotation marks may soften the critical edge of Hong's history as a whole, the very fact of their inclusion enriches his text with a vivid historicity.
For students and scholars of Chinese literature, as well as for the interested layperson, Michael M. Day's translation can be considered better than the original in some aspects. It includes not only a glossary of terms, organizations, and periodicals, a bibliography, and a list of titles of works cited (that is, within the text but absent from footnotes or bibliography), but also a detailed index of personal names with Chinese characters accompanying Chinese names. All are added to the English translation with meticulous care for the sake of serious readers, who may be inspired to pursue further certain threads laid out in the original Chinese text.
Hong's panoramic history of contemporary Chinese literature, now in English translation for the first time after its many printings in Chinese, will be indispensable for both teaching and research. It will provide a solid basis for the teaching of Chinese literary history in both undergraduate and graduate programs. Its thorough and wide-ranging coverage from 1949 to 1999 touches upon many fascinating and understudied texts in that history, which can be points of entry for students and scholars of contemporary China to further their researches.
Liang Luo teaches modern Chinese literature and culture at the University of Kentucky. She is interested in the avant-garde as an international movement and its relationship with modern China, with particular focus on the performance, politics, and popularity of the avant-garde in the context of twentieth-century China.
Luo, Liang
Source Citation
Luo, Liang. "Hong Zicheng. A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature (Zhongguo dangdai wenxueshi)." China Review International Summer 2009: 517+. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 23 Aug. 2011.




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wulong Mountain Quest Preview

Hello EHS Students, Colleagues, and Other Followers,




Thanks for tuning in and following the progress of a whirlwind Chinese adventure that includes racing in the Wulong Mountain Quest Adventure Race with Team Out There USA coupled with some literary highlights of the Chinese tradition.



The race includes running, mountain biking, kayaking, and fixed ropes with a coed team of four. My team is entirely from Colorado, and we’ll race against the world’s best from China, France, New Zealand, Australia, and other countries. The four-day stage race features a short prologue of approximate two hours followed by three days of racing for five to seven hours. The race begins on September 3rd, and you may follow results on a daily basis at www.wulongquest.com.



Literary highlights (thanks, students, for following along in class with Mr. Preston) will include important and interesting bits and pieces from the region.



Thanks for tuning in and following along!



Mr. Macy





Monday, August 15, 2011

Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race: New Study Confirms that Four 100-mile Races in Eight Weeks Might be Too Many...


As I planned out my schedule for the summer last winter, my thinking went something like, "I'll do three mountain biking races of 100, 85, and 135 miles leading up to Leadville; that will get me ready to finish in the top five of a strong field."

As it turns out, the plan, which seemed perfect but neglected road riding and interval training in June, July, and August (oops), did prepare me well to crush steep climbs after 70 miles.  Unfortunately, it also zapped my legs of high-end speed and acceleration, meaning that I hit the bottom of the first climb at Leadville in about 100th place, topped out on that climb in about 50th, and spent the next 35 miles trying to chase wheels in a what felt like a frantic road race (which, as it turns out, I'm not particularly good at).

The field was not only strong but also incredibly DEEP (14 riders under 7:00 and 25 under 7:15), and my inability to make the right group--and even stay with the group I was in--throughout the first 40 miles was decisive indeed.

When we finally hit the climb to Columbine Mine at 40 miles, the race opened up to become more of a typical mountain bike race, with each competitor moving at his or her own pace up the climb to over 12,000'. "Thank goodness," said Max Taam, Travis Scheefer, and I to each other.  We all felt more comfortable when the road-style terrain had passed, and I was energized to be working up the climb in the company of friends.

Columbine went well, and I gained a number of places at high altitude and one more on the descent.  After the turnaround and descent, I again found myself in no-man's land across the flats back to Powerline, hammering out the miles and hoping to catch someone or be caught by a group.  A group of two did catch me, but only with a mile before the climb began.

While the long races in Europe taxed my pure speed early on, they did make me confident and strong late in the race, and I continued to pass riders up and down Powerline and St. Kevins.  Finishing strong is always a good feeling, and I came in with a good deal of momentum over the final 30 miles.  The race was strung out by that point, and I crossed the line with no one in sight, ahead or behind.

26th place generally sounds like a low finish to me, but I am relatively happy with knocking off nearly 40 minutes from my 2007 finish (which was good enough for 12th place back then) for 7:15:43.  A top finish at Leadville, it seems, will require some real work on road racing skills, high end speed, and, just maybe, a few more years of riding experience.

The race has transitioned from an every man's race to something much different, and competing there requires a diverse skill set.  Congrats to a great field, and hats off to good friends Jay Henry (4th), Greg Krause (7th), and Gretchen Reeves (2nd woman; just a few minutes behind me ;-)

Never got to finish that bar I stuck in my shorts!
Thanks also to Amy, Wyatt, Dad, Cannon, and everyone else who helped out with bottles and food.  You guys were awesome!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back on the Saddle at High Altitude at the Crankworx Colorado XC

Winter Park hosts an excellent and competitive series of mountain bike races each summer, and this weekend's event corresponded with the Crankworx Colorado festival, an exciting mix of vending and various competitions. Amy, Wyatt, and I headed up on Saturday morning for the XC race, which covered 25 miles of dirt roads and singletrack.

With JHK (yes, the JHK) at the starting line, I knew the race would be competitive and fast.  My goal for the race was to re-accustom my body to a high effort at altitude before the LT100 in two weeks, and the first climb of the race definitely did that!  Pure suffering for the first 20 minutes set me back in the field, but I regained control and steadily gained places throughout the race.  It seems that two long races in Europe removed a bit of snappiness and high-end speed, as expected, but the strength was thankfully there late in the race.

JHK won by about five minutes, and I was happy to finish 8th, just over two minutes off 2nd place.  It was fun to get out there with a competitive pro field, and congrats to all who made it out!

Wyatt enjoyed some watermelon after the race.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

European Journey: Wrapping it Up!

Three weeks of travel and racing in France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany has left Amy, Wyatt, and I bonded, refueled, happy...and a bit tired out from 30 hours of nonstop travel home!




This was a great trip, and we look forward to life at home and the Leadville 100 mtb on 8/13.

Highlights of the trip:

2nd, MB Race, Megeve, France
With four climbs adding up to over 18000' of climbing and a field of 500, the 140-kilometer MB Race was a bear.  Lots of riding at altitude prepared me well, and I was able to finish 2nd overall.  I won a huge ham and some French wine, and participated in a public speech and TV interview after the race.  It was quite an experience!

12th, Salzkammergut Trophy, Bad Goisern, Austria
A week after the MB Race (and a day after crash-related swelling in my abdomen finally subsided enough to breath hard), I toed the line with a strong international field of 600 at the Salzkammergut Trophy MTB race in Austria.  Heavy legs and the foolish choice of carrying backpack with 3L of water left me hoping for a bit more sharpness on the first climb, and I lost contact with the leaders.  From there, however, the racing was steady and I passed a few racers in the final 20 miles to finish 12th.  The ride gained more than 21000' over 211 kilometers, and it was a solid day in the saddle!

Tour de France
We traveled to the Alps for the final stages of the Tour. Road closures during the Galibier stage forced us to watch the race from a small bar in Bourg d'Oisson, at the base of Alpe d'Huez, and we enjoyed the experience.  The next day, French AR legend Seb Sxay and I rode up and down L'Alpe in the morning before we all headed up the hill to watch the climb.  The atmosphere was absolutely crazy!  Finally, we watched the time trial in Grenoble.

Cancellara and Cavendish at the TT:


The scene at Alpe d'Huez:



Climbing Alpe d'Huez:













Sunday, July 17, 2011

Baptized by Fire for 12th Place at the Salzkammergut Trophy 211k in Austria


They (when I say "they" I mean Jay Henry) said that mountain bike marathon races in Europe would be very competitive, and they were right! With 211k in just under 11:30 and over 7000 vertical meters of climbing, the Salzkammergut was quite a day. Check ou the video for a synopsis.

Thanks to Squirt Lube Austria for hosting us at their house here in beautiful Altenmarkt im Pongua, and as always, to Team Merrell Adventure and Chiru Bikes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

MB Race, Megeve, France

Organizers of the MB Race promise an epic experience, and participants of this monster are not to be disappointed! I was happy to finish second in the 140k mtb ride that features over 6000 meters of climbing and technical, muddy descending. Amy, Wyatt, and Pierre's entire family were an incredible support crew; it was really a team effort! The Chiru Pulse was excellent. The racing time was just under nine hours.

I hope these videos and photos do justice to the incredible views experienced throughout the week and the race. We passed through Venice today and will land in Austria tomorrow.







Saturday, June 25, 2011

Epic Singletrack Series at Winter Park: Feeling Good Heading in to Europe Trip

Disclaimer:
Big races in Crested Butte and elsewhere attracted many of the top names elsewhere this weekend.  Nonetheless, I was stoked to get the win in the pro field at the Winter Park Epic Singletrack series race today.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Front Range 60 MTB Race...and More!


Bee-lieve it or not, this swarming of stingers on a for-sale bike at Bear Creek Lake Park is not the only exciting event of the last week.  In three years of existence, the Front Range 60 has grown into a competitive and well-attended event.  Consisting of six ten-mile loops on a relatively flat course with short, punchy climbs, the race provided a good speed workout for me.

Bailey Hundo

Even in Colorado, it's rare indeed that one can drive just a few minutes from home to compete in a world-class event.  The Bailey Hundo, however, presented an exception to the rule and made for an excellent Father's Day weekend experience!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Teva Mountain Games 2011


Year after year (I think it's been 10 now), the Teva Mountain Games have brought together the country's greatest athletes in a wide variety of adventure sports.  And, year after year, I have sought to take home to the prize in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge, a multisport competition that combines a racer's times in a 20-minute downriver kayak race, a 90-minute mountain biking race, a 10k trail run, and, finally, a 30-minute, all-out, lung-burning road bike time trial up Vail Pass.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer Races in France and Austria

Amy, Wyatt, and I have made plans to travel for two big endurance mtb races this summer.  Check out www.mb-race.com and http://www.salzkammergut-trophy.at/salzkammergut-trophy-pid164.

We're stoked for the journey!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

The 40th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic was a great time for all!  A full Memorial Day weekend of fun sandwiched between seven-hour car rides was memorable indeed.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Motivational Speaking at a Local School

In conjunction with an excellent local event called the Kids Rodeo Stampede, I recently presented "Lessons for School and Life from Adventure Racing" for three assemblies at a local middle school.  The enthusiastic students brightened my day, and one student even exclaimed, "I'm going to be an adventure racer when I grow up!"  It was a good time for all.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

North American Snowshoeing Championships/Beaver Creek Snowshoe Race #3: A Big Day for EHS!









A few inches of fresh powder and a starting line at 10,000' welcomed competitors to the final snowshoe race of the season, the Jeremy Wright North American Snowshoe Championship (also the third race of the Beaver Creek series). Prize money was on the line for series participants, with the spoils going to the those with the fastest combined time for three races in the 5k series and separate 10k series.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon 2011...and Wyatt's First Road Trip!










The list of Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon champions includes some legendary names: Matt Carpenter, Mike Tobin, Mike Kloser, Andrew Adamowski, Jack Swift, and Dan "King of the Quad" Nielson. None(on the male side, that is--Danelle Ballengee's victories reached double digits, including a burly 3:52), however, have dominated like Josiah Middaugh, who has claimed the most victories and never (to my knowledge) finished off the top of the podium.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series: Race #2


Traffic on I-70 was quite a challenge, and I missed half of the Super Bowl getting home. The Beaver Creek Snowshoe Challenge, however, was worth the effort of getting there!

A fresh dump of over a foot at Beaver Creek made for some excellent snowshoeing conditions, and I was lucky to be able to break trail for about a third of the 5k course. Happy that no one was able to catch me on this slow section, I continued to the finish and gained the win in the race.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Educational Interlude: CCIRA Conference Presentation

On February 3rd, I was honored to present with Alyse, Alex, Alec, John, and Sam, five students from EHS, at the Annual Conference of the Colorado Council of the International Reading Association. Speaking in front of a packed room of over 90 educators, the students were poised, confident, and impressive. Our presentation, "Literacy and Technology in the 21st-Century English Classroom," discussed the use of technology in education. Go Cougars!

A video of the session is online here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlNYkEilazs.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Colorado Snowshoeing State Championship


Mild weather in Leadville, Colorado on Saturday provided a peaceful backdrop for a 10k snowshoeing course that was, well, anything but mild. Hosted by the Pedal Power Bike Shop and Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, the Colorado Snowshoeing State Championship began at 10,024' in elevation and went up from there.

I love the courses created by RD Bruce Kelly. Feeling fairly confident from the start, I took the lead at the beginning and gained a bit of a gap on Bernie Boettcher, who is always a very strong competitor. The singletrack--and there was plenty of it--proved to be particularly hard to handle (especially when breaking trail) due to a combination of corn snow, overblown trail, and a chunky freeze-up. I had to work the whole way, and the descents were particularly challenging in these conditions!

I was able to hold off Bernie and take the State Championship; definitely a fulfilling win!

Up next is the second race of the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series on February 6th, followed by the Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon on February 19th.

Photos: Credit Bernie Boettcher and Greg Krause.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series: Race #1


The nation's biggest and longest-lasting snowshoe racing series, the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series (www.bcsnowshoe.com) kicked off this weekend. The Beaver Creek races offer 5k and 10k courses at high altitude, and the groomed trails that make up most of the courses make for a good old lung-burning time!

Prize money is offered in the 5k and 10k divisions this year. I have had a few close races with Josiah Middaugh in other snowshoe races this season, but I figured that besting him in three races would not be a sure bet. So, when my friend, Greg Krause, informed me of the series details on Saturday during our long bike ride (I had not paid attention to the information due to preoccupation with the birth of our son), I decided to try my hand at the 5k distance. I have not done a 5k running race since college, and my last 5k snowshoe race was probably at about age 13.

The wager paid off, and I was able to win the 5k by a decent margin. In order to maintain a lead in the series, I will need to remain consistent for the next two races in the series, as the victory goes to the person with the lowest combined time.

Up next is the Colorado Snowshoeing State Championship next Saturday at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center outside of Leadville. The whole course is above 10,000'...perfect!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Life's biggest and best adventure begins!


We are absolutely ecstatic (thoroughly sleepy, but stoked nonetheless) to announce the birth of Wyatt Jacoby Macy!

Born January 2nd, 2011 at 12:27 a.m.
6 pounds, 10.7 ounces, 13.5-inch head circumference
20.5 inches
Totally cute
Mom and baby are well