One of the perks of a triathlon lifestyle is that it keeps you shape for other things in life. One of those “other things” for me is the opportunity to hike into the backcountry and enjoy the great outdoors.

A while ago, I published a book called “The Backcountry Bucketlist,” and I want to begin sharing some of those items with everyone as the deep of winter has set in and it sometimes takes daydreams of things like this to keep us going.

Don’t worry, this blog is still about TRIATHLON! But these little bits can help keep things in perspective and maybe give you a few ideas of things to do and see on your next destination race.


We’ve all seen it…that crisp clear mountain lake, sitting completely still on a hot August afternoon. Not a cloud in the sky. Not a breeze in the air. The water is crystal clear, and you can see twenty feet to the bottom from the six-foot-high rocky outcropping you stopped on to take a break.

You’re all hot and sweaty from a couple hours of hiking up that darn hill. Your feet are dusty and nasty from the trail. Yeah, what you wouldn’t do for a cool dip in that lake.

But you know that some of the water in that lake was part of the snowpack just a couple days ago. That means that water is…what?…sixty degrees? How does that compare to the pool back home?  The announcer for the Olympic Games said the water in the pool that Michael Phelps swam in was 78 degrees.   For good measure, you manage to dip your hand in the water. Yowzaa! It’s cold!

Which is EXACTLY why you need to jump in!

There is simply no other time in life you will feel so incredibly alive like you do when you jump in that mountain lake on a hot day.  And, you’re going to do this the old-fashioned way…in your undies.

Creep up and put your toes on the cliff. Stare down. Back up and think about it. Repeat several times.  Countdown and go!  Those two seconds with your arms flapping in the air are pure joy and terror at the same time.

The cold water zaps you and takes your breath away. Your heart pounds out of your chest! You try to swim back to shore, but all you can manage is some sort of weak doggy-paddle because your muscles are shivering so much.  After ten seconds that feel like an eternity, you reach the shore and pull yourself out.

Friends are laughing while you shiver to the bone and get into the sun. As you warm up a bit, you realize just how AWESOME that was.  Then, that little eight-year old kid in you that you suppressed so long ago so you could make it in the “adult  world” comes right out and yells “Let’s do that again!”

Trust me on this one. It’s first for a reason.