Three Five

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This week I completed my 35th lap around the sun. Until recently, I have never given much thought to this age as any kind of milestone. I have always considered 35 as this forgotten age somewhere between loosing your 20’s and officially being old at 40. I still have the motivation and the energy of a 25 year old. Even if the creaks and pops of my broken body in the morning remind me otherwise.  Then a few months back some friends made this video about a guy having a huge day outdoors on his 35th birthday and it got me thinking. Maybe I should do a little more with my birthday besides just going for a ride and going to the bar.

The majority of my life has been centered around only a few things. Friends and family, skateboarding, climbing rocks and mountains, and riding my bike. It only made sense to me to try and squeeze as many of these loves into one big day. So I loaded up the truck with way too much gear and headed north to Flagstaff to see what I could do

Who knew having fun required so much footwear?

I was up before dawn to make coffee and get a nice early jump on the day. We got some stuff to do. I broke the day down like a stage race. Five stages consisting of hiking, skateboarding, mountain biking, rock climbing and whiskey drinking.


Stage 1: Summit Humphreys Peak. Not an epic feat by any means but it’s still about 9 miles of walking and it has a damn fine view at the top. Plus, for a few minutes at the summit, I would be the highest man in Arizona.

the highest man in AZ

We were just chilling on the summit, enjoying a cocktail, when the weather suddenly decided to get a little ugly. That was our cue to get going so we hustled on down the hill to gear up for Stage 2.


This stage would be the highlight of the day. A nice technical downhill run through the pine trees with a bunch of jumps and drops. It was a Monday morning and shuttle buddies were hard to come by, so I just rode to the top. Driving up seemed like cheating anyways (at least on this day).  Berms were carved, drops were dropped and I had that perfect run where I felt like I could do no wrong. Stage 2 finished up just in time, as thunder boomed and the rain came down for the second time of the day.


Stage 3 was slated for the skatepark but all the rain sure made that difficult. I was a little bummed, considering the fact that the only other activity left on the list was rock climbing. Which is also a bit difficult in the rain. But I decided to scratch skateboarding off the list and wander out to the rocks in the rain anyway. I picked some nice easy stuff to paw at and got my fix. I was pretty tired and it was a little sketchy, but I got on some rock for my birthday. Stage 3 was short but high quality and I walked away stoked.


A short drive down the road found me finishing the day with whiskey and friends at a local tavern. This is my favorite kind of place. A place where the green chile cheeseburgers are amazing and the bartender drinks as much as you do. She was even nice enough to mix me up her specialty birthday drink called “The Running Bear”. When I asked what was in it, she just handed me a mini pitcher full and said “A lot of booze.”

I drank every last drop of that sonofabitch and it is officially been named Stage 4. That was a rough one. But I am a goddamn professional and I did my drunkcyclist duty.


So that was my day. Three and a half decades down, and who knows how many more.

Throughout the course or the day I realized that 35 is actually turning out to be a pretty big year for me. It is the culmination of years of hard work, life re-arranging, and penny pinching. In the coming months I will finally be living out dreams that I came up with when I was 15 years old. I was just a bike addicted kid in northern New York thumbing through what was probably a National Geographic magazine when I saw some pictures of people walking to Mt. Everest base camp. I said to myself “Those trails look like the would be way more fun on a bike. I’m going to ride there some day”

It has been 20 years in the making but that someday is now. In less than a month I will be putting my tires to dirt in Nepal, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. The one thing on the very top of my life list that I thought to be unattainable, is finally happening. Planning, riding, researching routes, and shaking down gear has been all consuming and even detrimental to some aspects of my life. But I rest easy knowing that come November, I’m going to need a new list and some bigger goals. Cheers to more years and childhood dreams!

Keep it dirty…


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About dirty biker

I am a fan of singletrack, singlespeeds, single women and single malt. Currently in Carbondale, CO Follow on Instagram @dirty_biker

20 Replies to “Three Five”

  1. 40 is officially old?

    Fuck. I need to retire I guess, take up shuffleboard and FatBoat cruises.

    45 this year. My only solace in this is that my wife will forever be older than me, we’re equal for four months then, zoom, off she goes getting older than me again…..

    Hope you packed something to allow for updates from over there, sat phone enabled device or some such modern wonder.

    Happy birthday all the same, now get off my damn lawn!!!!

  2. I don’t remember my 35th but my 40th was a full-on hoot-fest. Long weekend in Sun Valley with about eight of my friends. I retired when I was 49, so my 50th was basically my best year to that point. Since then, they’ve pretty much gotten better every year. Get some!


  3. Happy birthday. What a way to commemorate the 3-5. Now the bar is set for what I need to do next month on my 3-7. Thanks for the Stoke.

  4. 46 here. Still swingin’ for the fences with bikes and booze. Keep doing what you are doing, and stay handsome, you rascal, you.

  5. just a couple of things….

    1) you love shoes and you know it.
    2) pretty sure there is some stoner sitting in a cute little cottage house in downtown Flag who will be way higher than you on any given day. (and Humphrey’s is no joke, with it’s stupid false summits. cocktail well deserved.)

  6. Three five. Fuck me runnin’, I hit the big six two the Sunday before last. It ain’t the years, you understand; it’s the miles, and I’ve been down some rough old roads. Now I’m mostly held together with bandaids and bubblegum. Mrs. Joe and her sister have both made noises about yours truly taking early retirement. Ain’t ready to hang it up yet. Not by a damned long shot.

    But it’s all good. Long as I can love my family, enjoy a wee dram and throw a leg over a top tube*, I don’t mind hangin’ around.

    *As to the last, I’ve been eying that mixte frame from Soma Fabrication. I think they make one in my size. Well it’s something to keep in mind for later, at least.

  7. “I’ve been eying that mixte frame from Soma Fabrication. I think they make one in my size. Well it’s something to keep in mind for later, at least.”

    Joe— as the inimitable Warren Miller so often says, if you don’t buy that frame this year, you’ll only be one year older when you do.

  8. No argument there, pal. Thing is, riding a stepthrough would be a concession to the ravages of age. Ain’t as limber as I used to be, but I can still swing a leg over a top tube (almost) as well as I ever could. Like I said, a contingency plan.

    Besides, I got way too many bikes as it is.

  9. Happy birthday, Dirty!
    I lived in Nepal for 2+ years and it changed me in the best of ways. That country and the people in it continually amazed and humbled me. The beauty is both grand and raw, much like your path.
    Have a blast and enjoy the raksi (local moonshine).

  10. 40 was actually best time of me adult life.

    49 now and have to depart from mikey here. 50 scares the shit out of me.

    Great post brother.

  11. Best time of my life? That would have to be the first five years or so of Li’l Joe’s (my daughter). That would put me around 40 to 45. Not that she’s ever been anything but a gift from God way beyond anything I deserve, but those early years-did I mention I was Mr. Mom?-well, like Kristofferson said in that one song. “I’d trade all my tomorrows for a single yesterday”.

  12. I wish to revise my earlier remark. Getting old sucks.

    I was riding in the dark last night (why yes, I had been drinking beer— why do you ask?) and I rode right into a stout fucking city-owned piece of trail furniture. Never touched the brakes. Took a horizontal 4×4 across the head tube and went on over. Pretty sure that 4×4 budged less than a tenth of an inch. Caught the stem pretty much where you might expect.

    Today I’m limping around like some busted up ex-rodeo cowboy, all pouting and feeling sorry for myself. I can’t take a hit any more. Fuuuuuuuuuuck.

  13. Tell me aboot it, eh. Stuff I used to shrug off nevermindhowmany years ago would send me to bed for a week.

    It ain’t that I can’t ride as good as I ever could. It’s what a formerly minor incident does to this beat to crap old carcass.

    I feel your pain, brother. Seriously and for real, and in ways that can’t be conveyed on this crude intardwebnettoobs medium.

    (Lifts glass of low-zoot vodka in Mikey’s general direction)

  14. When I worked in Nepal in 1996 (35– fuck you!) in Pheriche on the way to Everest Base Camp, I ran into numerous people that had attempted to mt bike to Everest Base Camp, usually during some version of a divorce or mid-life crisis. Most of them had their bikes carried the majority of the way by porters in baskets by a tump line around their foreheads. That shit’s steep. Like, unrideable steep, not like “oh, you’re V02max just isn’t high enough steep.” If you’re gonna ride, stay away from the Khumbu. Oh, and if you ride “The Queens Park” outside Katmandu bring extra tubes and pump or the leopards will feast upon our flesh .