Holy Shit… Home and Happy!!!

20151104_100544Holy shit.. Home.. I’m actually finally in a place that I can call home. I don’t have a garage, storage area, or even all of my shit from life, but here I am sitting on a couch next to my gal with my pup at my heels. Something I have never truly believed would happen has happened. For the entirety of my adult life I have been on the run. I have been running from so many things; my nightmares, the loss of good brothers, not understanding how to cope with life, bad relationships, and most often times myself. For the longest time I had no idea how to operate as a civilian, and what’s more had no idea that I had no idea. Yet now here I sit with no place to go and no plan to get there. I am without a doubt more in the moment right now than I have ever been. Not to be emotional but never in my life did I think I would be here; sharing a home with someone I love let alone be alive at 32. In my last post I spoke to real life. I spoke to things smelling like shit and that we can’t hide ourselves from reality. Well I am here to tell you that sometimes hiding ourselves from reality also keeps us from enjoying joy and happiness that often times we believe we don’t deserve. How does someone who has committed so many “wrongs” in life deserve to be happy? This very question was posed to me by a very close and dear friend of mine. The answer I had then was one that I thought was right. I told my friend that at the end of the day, all of the trials and tribulations we have faced happened, and because of that we can assist others in not having to deal with those same issues. Unfortunately that simply isn’t the case. No matter how hard we try we can’t IMG-20151104-WA0000stop folks from making bad choices. We can’t take away misery, pain, or heart ache. That is real life. That is something we can’t ignore. However no matter how many pains we endure or “wrongs” we commit we still have a right to happiness.

I have for the longest time believed I would never truly be happy. That I would always be on the road living out of my truck and that for whatever reason karma would chase me to my grave. Most recently I had a guy tell me that the bike ride was an inspiration and that my last write up was something that inspired him further. What I didn’t get a chance to tell him was that his dedication was my inspiration. Heroes are born daily. Most often they don’t even realize the impact they make in other’s lives. The day I was told I was an inspiration I found another hero. It was the guy who made the decision to change his entire life in order to provide support to those who need it.

I say this to let you know without a doubt that happiness is a real thing. That same mentality of living without fear and chasing your dreams doesn’t change. Standing up for what you believe, striving to achieve your dreams, and living in the moment is something we have to dedicate our lives to. It’s something that actually requires work. You don’t just wake up one day and have the magical unicorn which shits rainbows and pisses sparkles to have arrived and made life better. It takes work. Very hard work.

So with that I say to get up and move. Take a stand, make a plan, and stop letting comfort, worry and fear dictate your life. Look to your left and right at this very moment and ask yourself if you’ve lived a life deserving of the things around you. If the answer is no, then it should be your daily mission to earn what’s around you. If the answer is yea then congratulations, you’re the rarity and apparently have done some spectacular things in your life.

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Real Life… It’s Here and Now.

              Beach time I am sitting on the balcony of a condo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico on a stormy day. The waves are crashing hard against the shore while the wind whips the warning flags. I sit here knowing that in a couple of days I return to “real life.” That idea is one that has been weighing heavily on my mind for a few weeks now. Questions like; what am I going to do for work? How am I going to pay my bills? What is it going to be like finally moving in with Megan? Is she going to be let down with me after a couple of weeks? So many questions but the biggest thought that weighs on my mind is what will “real life” be like after this trip. This is something many from my community ask themselves during deployments or just before transitioning into the civilian world. However I believe I have finally come to understand what “real life” is.

               Allow me to digress for a moment. I love adventures. I love traveling the world and living life on the edge. For the longest time I have been very cavalier with my life, never truly feeling like I was alive unless I was risking my neck for some sort of adrenaline rush. Mountain climbing, whitewater rafting, or disappearing into the wilderness alone for a period of time have been the things that have helped me find myself as well as center me while battling with my own demons. While on the trip I finally had a moment where I thought, “you know this living thing is pretty good, maybe I should be a touch more careful with some things.” Those who know me will read that last sentence and laugh knowing that for me to say that is like me saying I like cats (which I don’t and never will). Many things have happened during this trip which has given me a new mission in life or maybe a better word for it is perspective. That new perspective has also helped me better understand what “real life” is.

I put real life in quotes because in so many ways I’ve looked at real life as something that takes me away from adventure or truly living. I have finally come to understand that real life is not something to be loathed. Real life is comprised of experiences and those experiences range from adventure to dealing with shit that life deals us. There are plenty of things we all hate dealing with. Paying bills, dealing with stupid people, or the constant swing of the politics in the country can all pose major frustrations and headaches. However in between those frustrations we also have morning coffee, warm smiles from our loved ones, high fives from our buddies, and cold beers in remembrance of our fallen brothers. Each aspect of life is real, it’s simply how we let life affect us that makes it something to be loathed or embraced. This bike ride has kept me from the love of my life, but has also provided me with some perspective.

I leave you with my lesson learned. Every day of life is real. Life can suck sometimes and it seems that in those moments is when we learn the most. Every moment spent with those you love is a moment to be cherished and not wasted. Stop arguing with those you love and enjoy the fact that they are in your life. Appreciate each moment that you get to learn something new. Finally this. Stop being afraid to live. So often we become comfortable and are fearful of change. Accept life as real and make a decision to be happy in it. This trip has done just that for me. What am I going to do now that it’s over? I have no freaking idea, but I do know that I will be pursuing life with my best friend and love of my life next to me. That is something I have not had in this life and will finally have the chance to pursue. I will live each day in the moment, and be present for that experience. I say bring on “real life”, and I’ll live it just like I’ve lived my last 32 years; full of piss and vinegar. Though maybe a bit wiser.

Death Is Part Of LIfe

The crew plus some new faces.

The crew plus some new faces.

The last few weeks have been extremely hectic, emotional, and inspiring. Eight months ago I dedicated my time and energy to a trans-American bicycle ride in support of a brother from the US Army Special Forces. The ride was his way of giving back after being supported by an awesome foundation. As we rode through little towns, and what I would consider the real United States, I began to gain some new perspective. We experienced support and many warm welcomes. We were invited to sit at the family dinner table and share in meals, ride firetrucks in a Texas 9/11 memorial parade, and meet legends from the Special Forces Community. These wonderful people helped me regain my hope in humanity. Then after arriving in Dallas I received a message that would change the course of my epic adventure.

Tuesday, 15 September, I received a message that a very close lifelong friend was in a bad motorcycle accident and in critical care. I would have caught a flight out that moment however I had a fundraiser to help with the next day. As I understood at that moment he was stable I believe that he would understand fulfilling this obligation. The following day, with the understanding and support of my teammates I hopped, a flight back to Louisville in order to see my friend and offer my support to his family. I arrived to a scene of something one would only expect to see happening to someone else, never to one of your own. My friend laid in a coma while his wife and family moved into the waiting area. When I say moved in I don’t mean there were folks waiting patiently, I mean there was an inflatable mattress, food, drinks, the constant coming and going of family and friends in support, and finally a very tired wife holding onto whatever hope possible. After a week full of counting minutes while also watching family and friends hear about possible improvement’s, only to be shattered by overnight declines, the epic battle ended in a finality no one was ready for.

Monday I was asked to be by his side when the final moments took place. I stood with my head held high and pain in my heart as I watched one of my best friends be carried away by the Valkyries. Monday, 21 September 2015, at exactly 13:10 Jeremy R. Woodruff took his place amongst our brothers in Valhalla. What I witnessed over those days as well as those leading to his funeral are the reason why I am writing. Spending as much time as I have in the lowly places of the world and constantly seeing the worst of people, what I witnessed this past week has been inspiring. Jeremy was the type of man who could bring people together. While he was still in the hospital people flew in from all over the country to check in on the family and offer support. The day Jeremy died I watched as people who were only together because of Jeremy stand together around his wife, holding shoulders and hands, forming one singular force of love and strength. In that moment I witnessed a coming together that I’ve never truly experienced. In that room and in that moment nothing else in the world existed except the common grief we all felt and the desire to ease the pain. More importantly you could feel the strength being projected from that group to the family. Those who are religious speak often about God, Christ, and the strength they provide however I am not a religious person and in that moment I witnessed firsthand the “something greater than myself.” How does one ever express that adequately? This was all Jeremy’s doing.

One of the hopes I had while riding bicycles was to come up with an idea of what I wanted to do when I grew up. This has been a long term battle since I can remember. Over the last couple of years Jeremy and I would talk about how life had changed, about new priorities, and how much he loved his new wife. I would express how proud I was of him for overcoming some of the issues he had been facing as well as my jealousy that he’d finally figured out what path his life would take after the Corps. His arguments about what I should do were heard, though I never felt like I had the ability to really make a decision. Mortality truly makes one reflect on life choices as well as the future. Apparently Jeremy’s impact didn’t stop in life. His death forced me to face some realities I believe I have been ignoring for a long time. Let me list some of these for you quickly.

  1. Mortality is a gift and a curse.
    1. Because of limited time on earth we have a chance to experience feelings we often take for granted, and yet seem to live more often with those feelings we need to eliminate.
    2. Love, joy, and happiness are the emotions we should strive for daily.
    3. Fear, worry, and regret should be eliminated from our decision making process completely.
  2. Family, including your closest friends, should never be taken for granted.
    1. Many of us live a life that is fast paced and full of “things to do.” These things to do keep us “busy” and because of that we don’t take the time to visit our family and friends even if they only live down the road.
  3. Money pays the bills and puts food on the table, but family, friends, and helping others provide a connection that feeds the soul.
    1. When friends who haven’t seen each other in over a decade come back together and interact like no time has passed is an experience hard to describe. That connection is a rare one and should not ever be forgotten.
  4. Mortality is real. Make sure the impact you leave on those you meet along the way is one that is positive.

Living in fear and making an impact are the ones I think about the most. I’ve written before about my fears. With the fundraiser I fear I haven’t worked hard enough and that I haven’t been able to raise more money. With family and friends I fear that I haven’t been available enough to them or made enough time to express my gratitude and appreciation. However, after witnessing all of the support for Jeremy’s family I truly believe I haven’t made the impact I should have made in the lives I’ve come into contact with.

The point I am trying to explain is twofold. Because of this experience I believe I have found a direction that will help me achieve some goals I’ve always had, while also carrying on Jeremy’s legacy. Secondly my experiences have reinforced some things I’ve always believed in. Each day I wake I will remind myself to live without fear, make the small moments count, let those whom I love know it often, pursue my goals with reckless abandon, always stand for what is right, and finally bring the motto De Oppresso Liber to the civilian world. This country is lacking men like Jeremy R. Woodruff. We need men willing to accept responsibility for their actions, while also constantly striving to better themselves. We need men who will be strong in the face of adversity, and compassionate when dealing with those less fortunate. We need men who will live to honor their family and the willingness to show their children what it is to be a warrior poet. We need more like Jeremy Woodruff.

To his family I send what strength and love I have to offer. To the men and women I have met and become quick friends with I offer my time and efforts with whatever issue you may have in the future. To my brothers who I have finally seen again because of Jeremy, I am only a phone call way and if you should ever need anything I will be there. Finally to his wife. In your children I see every aspect of you and Jeremy. You were in so many ways the reason why he was able to find his path. You provided more strength and support in his missions than I believe you will ever understand. I offer you whatever it is you may need. I am a call away and will always be available in support of you and your wonderful children.

To Woody. Keep my cup full and my plate with meat. I will be there to share in the feast one day. When that day comes we will feast together again. Rest easy brother.

Adam.

Fear, Pain, Frustration and the Realities of Life.

Crossfit Mendota. Memorial Day Murph Crew.

Crossfit Mendota. Memorial Day Murph Crew.

I was recently emailed an awesome TED Talks video. The video was that of Amanda Palmer and her discussion on “The Art Of as king.” She spoke to the idea that when asking for help you become vulnerable and yet at the same time you form this connection with those who are willing to help. Well here is a little about my experience of living a life that I never expected to live.

I expected to be in the military as long as possible. I honestly never expected to live past 25. I expected to advance in my career, have awesome stories, and retire with a decent pension. I never expected to be living in Minneapolis, working in a bike shop, and prepping for a ride across the country.

This adventure started as just a bike ride across the country for two guys. It has turned into something so much more than that. Everyday I wake up I go through my check list of things I need to accomplish. This list is long and seemingly never ending. This list pertains everything from emails and phone calls to ensuring I get training in for the day. This endeavor has become a mission I can not stop pursuing. This laundry list is truly nothing compared to the efforts I see daily from my brothers and sisters attempting to recover. Those people are truly inspiring and they’re struggle gives me daily motivation for this mission I have embarked on.

Asking for help is something I have a very hard time doing. Call it pride or ego, but my overwhelming desire to be self sufficient is something hard for me to let go of. I hate asking for help mainly because I don’t wish to burden anyone else with my issues and more importantly I never want to be a burden personally to anyone else. This great nation has to many folks expecting something for nothing and seem to expect free handout, so when I am in a tough spot and truly need help it’s something I am extremely reluctant to do, and yet more and more that is my task for this mission. The entirety of my mission is to ask for help for those who need it. I have had to learn to set aside any issues with asking for assistance because the team needs help spreading the word and even more the Foundation needs help raising enough money to support those in desperate need.

I have lived a life of adventure through choice and sometime necessity. People have called me fearless in my pursuit of adventure and some of the things I have experienced and lived to tell about. The truth is I live daily in fear of so many things. I fear that I have let my family down because I’ve spent the last 15 years of life living as a nomad. I fear I will fail when it’s time for me to have my own family because finding work and making a living in the civilian world is a true challenge. I fear I will let my teammate down by not being ready for this trip. Most of all I fear daily that I am simply not doing enough to spread the word and fear that we won’t reach the goals we’ve set forth. These are the things I fear the most.

Last week we celebrated Memorial Day. We were able to celebrate that day with a wonderful group of people at Crossfit Mendota. Those folks held a fundraiser for the Green Beret Adventure Team, and let me just say it was one of the most inspiration things I have experienced in a long time. That day about 45 people came together, suffered through the workout Murph (1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, 1 mile run), and shared of themselves. This is the a reality I haven’t really experienced. My list has been fraught with frustration, anger, and heartache. I tend to see the worse in most folks, and yet this event showed me the deep down goodness of these people. As I drove back to a home that was graciously offered to me by my teammates (Zack, Lindsey, and Scout), in a truck that was recently wrapped by 3M in support of our trip, with boxes of shirts donated by my family back in KY and IN, two bikes secured in the back of the truck donated by two different amazing companies, and an envelope full of donations I started to get overwhelmed. Thoughts of all the friends I’ve lost began streaming through my mind, and all I could think about was on that day, those who took part in that event understood. They honored our fallen by supporting the living. I had to pull over and compose myself. Here I live in daily fear of not spreading the word and yet I am surrounded with support and love. I’m not one to get all emotional about things but this was one of those moments. I lost myself. Lost in the overwhelming awesome that is happening. For every no I’ve heard, every “that sounds like a good cause but we can’t help,” all of the awesome support we have gotten has made everything worth it. I will never be able to express the gratitude or appreciation I have for the support we have received and in turn the foundation has received. I simply cannot say thank you enough. I stand speechless daily knowing that we have such great supporters in our corner.

Living in fear is something I am not used to and even more importantly something I hate to admit. However it seems that this fear is something that keeps me striving to drive forward, open up, and let people I am asking for help from to see my vulnerabilities. We all need help at some point, it’s so much better to ask for it than try to go it alone. We are here, we will listen, and we will support or we will die trying.

CFVIKING

Recover through Adventure

Beards, Beers, Bears, and Big Ole Smiles

Beards, Beers, Bears, and Smiles

BEARDS

         Beards are without a doubt a huge source of pride and at the exact same time that of frustration. My beard collects all sorts of wonderful things from food while i eat, coffee from breakfast, and the best is beer foam when I’m having a tasty brew. Those aspects are by no means a source of pride but rather a source of constant struggle to keep my face clean (yes gross I know). With that being said my beard is a constant reminder of where I am and what I’m doing. For the longest time I have had to keep my face clean shaved unless I was prepping for a deployment to a location where having a beard meant being someone full of wisdom and life experience. Well I would never claim that I have either of those things, however I am preparing for an extremely special and important deployment of sorts. I have dedicated a huge amount of time, effort, and emotional energy into this bike ride we are taking in August, and my beard is a constant reminder of what I’m doing. It may seem silly in so many ways that a large growth of bushy, glorious, facial hair is a reminder of a goal, but from the moment I wake up until I go to bed my beard is pestering me like that annoying little brother you love more than the world, but would also like to flick right in the nose regularly. For me my beard is a true reminder that this endeavor is not just some bike ride, but rather an epic battle against extremely oppressive injuries that our brothers are suffering from, and many times losing to. My new battle field is that of the mind. That dark place where we have all been, battled through, and sometimes emerged out the other end. That battle is never one we take alone though sometimes it feels that way. That is why I am doing this bike ride. I don’t care about fame or making a name for myself. I care about making an impact…period. There are no other ulterior motives. I am ready and willing to do whatever I must in order to support my brothers in the battle they wage every day and night against the foe that is PTSD and TBI. That is where I get pride for my beard.

BEERS

       I freaking love beer. Its a wonderful, amazing, and bubbly refreshment that reminds of all the places I have been in the world. Each beer is like a happy little party in a glass which turns into a wondrous experience as I consume it. What’s better than my own consumption of this godly nectar? It’s the community that comes with it. I have spent more hours on the phone and sending emails for this ride than I have ever in my life done for any other thing….. ever. But the one common thing I have experienced in the desire for folks to want to talk about our event over a beer. Recently I got a chance to chat with a founder of a local small business who is really taking it upon himself to help us out with our ride. A couple of emails were passed back and forth and then it was time to meet for a beer and really have a talk. The decision was already made to help us, however having the beer brought us together in a common place. Could this have happened with coffee, tea, or wine? Sure, but there is nothing like a cold beer shared between people to really bring things together. This is what we are really trying to do. Build a community of mindfulness, compassion, and support. Through the work we are doing with this ride we are truly building a community of people with common goals and the willingness to help others. We may not be volunteering at a soup kitchen, or handing out jackets to the homeless, but what we are doing is feeding hope to the hopeless and providing a compass to those lost in the dark. That’s our community. That’s my hope.

BEARS

       I have been called many things in my life, but a reoccurring nickname has been Bear, or oso in Spanish. I am sure this is a reference to my build and stature, but I also would like to think it’s because of my mentality. Many in our community, as well as many other veterans, have two sides. One side is something we share with most everyone we meet, especially those of us from the Special Forces Regiment. We truly wish to help, we tend to be respectful, and attempt to be gentlemen as often as possible. Of course we all have our moments when we are none of those things, and even then we still aren’t showing our other side. That other side is a place of complete disregard for our own life and willingness to bring harm upon others who wish to do our brothers, family, or country harm. This is a place where violence is swift and many times ruthless. Unless you have ever been to that place you can never truly know what it feels like and more over will never understand our unwillingness to share it with our loved ones and friends. This is not a side we are ashamed of, but rather one of necessity. This side is also a side that we use to achieve daunting tasks. Its a side where we bury frustration, accept the pain, and push forward in order to reach our goal. Ultimately this is the side that destroys so many of our brothers when they get home. I guess we are all bears, but even bears need hugs, and a place to dump all of the pent of stuff they bury to stay focused on the task at hand.

BIG OLE SMILES!!!!!!!!!

        This is what it’s all about. Smiles!!!!!!! I like to consider myself a jolly fellow. This is my outlet more and more. Recently I have been battling lots of frustration. Not feeling like I am doing enough for our cause, not being where I want with awareness, social media, or monetary goals. Personally my training is going really well, especially compared to where I was when I started in January. However, no matter how much personal success I’m having with training it doesn’t overcome my overwhelming sense of duty to this goal we have set before ourselves. What helps me get over all of these struggles? Everything I just wrote above. Beards, Beers, Bears, and smiling. The network of people who have come into my life here in Minneapolis is one that amazes me daily. I work with a crew of people who are not only supportive with the bike ride, but also know when I’m a bit out of sorts and help me regain my smile. My teammates, Zachary and Lindsey Garner, and their daughter have given me a place to live and train for this thing as well as a common support channel for when I am feeling out of sorts. For that I am eternally grateful, and that makes me smile. My girlfriend Megan is a constant source of inspiration, love, and support for everything I am doing, and when I am down I can always call her. She helps me regain my focus and in turn my smile. Really this is what it’s all about. Smiles. Smile because you are doing good things, have a great support group, and get to train for something that many people won’t ever get to experience. Smile because no matter who you are, or where you’re located you have the ability to positively affect change for yourself and others simply but doing just that… Smile!

Bikes, Ice, and Everything Nice

2015-03-18_19.49.44

I have now been in the Minneapolis area for 6.5 weeks. Needless to say it has been an awesome experience, but has also provided some serious stress. Because my teammate Zack, and his wife Lindsey, I have an awesome place to live, but this doesn’t come without its own interesting situation. We total two kids in their 30’s, one 8 year old, and one adult (of course that would be Lindsey). This is an interesting dynamic, but we are all finally falling into a routine and understanding how this thing is going to work. I have never had the chance to have any children in my life, but after getting to babysit I have to say I am excited when the time comes for me to find a woman who’ll be willing to actually bear the spawn of insanity and hyperactivity. (Megan… just let me know whenever you’re ready). We not only live together but Zack and I train together, Lindsey supports us with planning and brain storming, and the munchkin is a constant reminder to maintain our love for what we are doing rather than letting it overwhelm us. I am also extremely lucky to have my girlfriend who lives in Chicago and is my outlet to daily frustration, my compass on rough days, and my first phone call when we have a success. Simply put I could not live with, or be with, a better team of people to help keep me focused on our goals. With all the wonderful help, this event is still a beast.

TRAINING:

Going from powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting to pure cycle training is an interesting transition that comes with its own interesting aspects. Firstly, I am constantly checking bicycle weight limits. You simply can’t put a 280lb man on a bike rated for 240lbs, apparently the wheels and frame literally yell at you as you get on and begin pedaling. Secondly, cardio training sucks. There is a reason why I love lifting so much, it doesn’t require running. Have you ever seen a Rhino run more than 200 meters? Hell, have you ever seen a Rhino run more than 20 meters? So making the transition has been challenging. That being said, I have seen a marked improvement in my cycling ability as well as my technique.

PHONE CALLS: (and small victories)

I have had the chance to be a part of, and experience, some pretty awesome things in my life. I’ve been to Mt. Everest, seen the ruins of Carthage, and have gotten to celebrate some amazing events with my family and friends. I have also missed a heap in my life. As anyone who has been deployed knows, we miss a ton. I’ve missed funerals of close friends and family, weddings, the birth of new cousins, and even my God Children all because duty called. With all of my experiences this event is shaping up to be one of the most dynamic, incredible, and meaningful events of my life. It covers the full spectrum of human emotion. As a Green Beret we are constantly reminded to keep sight of the small victories, and eventually those will amount to the success of the mission. Well, let me just say, that the smallest of victories for this event have had HUGE impacts. Of all the hours we spend on the phone, planning, calling, writing, more planning, and more calling, to finally get a return call or email that shows even the slightest interest is like we just summited Mt. Rainer. In the same instance, not getting call backs or emails in return is horribly frustrating, but also strengthens my resolve to get our message to as many people as possible.

ICE, SNOW, SPRING: (within 2 days)

One day we were out smacking pucks on the ice and sledding down hills, the next we are wearing t-shirts and shorts crushing a PBR or two out in the front yard. Also riding outside is significantly more fun and rewarding than riding inside, in the dungeon, on a stationary trainer. Minneapolis is also an awesome place to ride as the city, and many private organizations, have provided a veritable buffet of trails and dedicated bike lanes to enable us silly cyclists to piss off all the drivers of the city.

SHOWERs, CHAMOIS, and LYCRA:

Nothing fits me. Literally nothing. I have to stand sideways to fit in showers, look for giant freaking shirts and pants to fit over my shoulders, legs, and butt so obviously biking attire doesn’t fit. Just as bikes aren’t designed for what we will call beefy riders, neither is the clothing. Who would have thought that a sport where everything is designed to be as lite as possible that there would be a need to produce XXXL products for dudes who are built more like Oxen rather than Gazelles? All I’m saying is someone, somewhere should have thought it before now.

SPREADING THE WORD:

All of this comes down to one thing. This is the most meaningful endeavor I have ever taken on. I have lost close friends to suicide because of PTSD and former teammates because they never were ever quite right after getting shot to shit. This is why I am doing this. I don’t ever want to look at another mother burying her son or daughter, because they weren’t able to get the treatment they needed. Because a system that is broken wasn’t able to support or identify their needs. This ride is the beginning of something I hope will make a real change. I don’t care if it changes 1 or 1 million, all I care about is the people helped get a chance to live a long and meaningful life here back in the land of the “normal.” No matter how much time we spend here as civilians, only other vets will get our morbid, disgusting, and often times none PC humor. We owe it to our brothers and sisters….. I owe it to my brothers and sisters to do everything I can to ease their suffering and assist them to find that happiness from a life they once knew so well.

If you want to support our efforts, it’s as easy as texting “RIDE” to 80077, and then reply to confirm your donation. Just with the few taps on your phone you can donate $10 to the cause. You can also visit our donations page at https://www.crowdrise.com/ridetovalhalla/fundraiser/GBAT.

The Green Beret Adventure Team….. Yup, viking dudes in Lycra, riding bikes to Valhalla.

spandex and Coach D

 

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done some writing. Here is a little catch up. I spent two years in Guatemala getting fit and having fun; returned to the US and worked in the Oil Patch for about six months never sleeping, working way to many hours, and getting fat; quit said job in the oil field, packed the truck, and moved to Minneapolis.

Back in November I received a phone call from a buddy of mine, Zack, who had been medically discharged from the Army. He was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, and while in Afghanistan had a series of seizures, was evacuated, and then diagnosed with epilepsy. Talk about a huge and shitty transition. One day he was working as a Green Beret, which takes most of us between 1 to 2 years to win, and the next day he’s getting discharged to the civilian world of doing ….. yeah, exactly. No freaking clue. Which seems to be the going trend with many guys getting out of discharged.

My time in military has revolved around trying to find the next chance to deploy or the next school to attend. I have never had any idea what the hell I would do as a civilian. I had a big epiphany while I was in Guatemala when I made my first attempt to open a CrossFit Gym. I focused heavily on building and developing a new network of people; ones that focused on fitness as therapy, and using that fitness to accomplish awesome feats of physical prowess. I’ve followed and cheered as fellow brothers in arms daily overcome major injuries while also chalking up international successes. I’ve watched as addicts have changed their lives and dedicated it to a healthy life while also helping others achieve success. Finally after all this time I figured it out. Helping others through fitness and adventures to overcome great adversity.

One night while sitting in the deep cold of North Dakota, while fighting to stay entertained with something other than the constant hum of the generators and the ear piercing squeal of the rotating drill pipe, my phone rang. Zack was calling to fill me in on a crazy idea he had about riding a bicycle from Seattle, WA to Eglin, AFB in Florida. He further explained that he wanted to do this ride in order to give back to the non-profit foundation that supported him during his transition. I, of course, gave him the verbal high five over the phone and then he asked me, ” dude I was thinking you should come along.” Boom!! yes and yes!! It could not have been better timing. Oil prices were dropping, the company I was working for had 4 lay-offs and 3 pay-cuts within a 3 week period. Plus I needed to stop being fat and get back to training hardcore again. I arrived in Minneapolis, unpacked, and the next morning we were on bikes pedaling away. That first night I iced my ass while having a bourbon, and The Green Beret Adventure Team began.

Zack and I both have a passion to serve a greater purpose. It’s one of the biggest reasons why we both volunteered for the U.S Army Special Forces. Well that and the fact that being a Green Beret pretty much opens the door to every kids military fantasy. You know, shooting guns, playing with explosives, jumping from planes, and hanging out with other bad asses. That last part is one of the hardest things to lose when we get out or step away for any amount of time. Most guys in the Special Operations Community tend to be alpha males with personal drive and a never quit mentality, however having teammates that challenge you is something hard to replace. In comes The Ride To Valhalla.

The Ride to Valhalla is the bike ride from Seattle to Eglin that Zack and I are planning. We are doing this ride for multiple reasons the principals of which are to help Zack in his recovery and raise money for The Task Force Dagger Foundation. The TFD was formed by a former Green Beret, and focuses their support to men and women within the Special Operations Community and their families. They truly believe that when one of our own is wounded, or going through hard times, that the best way to recover and succeed is by involving the family in 99% of the effort. That’s what TFD did for Zack and his family last year, and that’s what TFD is doing for us on this ride. Our hope is that this ride will raise some serious awareness as well as some serious money for a great foundation. TFD will use every penny we raise for the treatment of PTSD and TBI.

If you would like more information on how you can support our mission and help us achieve our fundraiser goals, please click here: http://www.crowdrise.com/RideToValhalla/fundraiser/GBAT .

Stay tuned for some awesome adventures, and follow us at www.Facebook.com/TheGreenBeretAdventureTeam