Monday, April 30, 2012


Shattered, after my last twenty-mile run. For this runner, twenty miles is a big training run. I had an exceptional long run about a month ago that tricked my nascent runner-ego in to thinking the Bishop 50k was in the bag. On said outing, Travis, Emmett, Will and I cast off from my house on Bath Street at 5:55 a.m., ran straight to Tunnel Trailhead, and within four miles were trotting through the steep Santa Barbara front-country trails as the sun crested the range. By the twenty-mile mark, Travis and I (Will and Emmett pulled out much earlier) had gained a total of 4,000 feet, managed to NOT injure ourselves, and finished with a smile on our faces. I remember a particular moment of hubris where I said "let's just keep going, Travis. A marathon isn't that much further." Then life happened, the shop picked up pace, and the cumulative effect of long-distances on trail sapped my stores of psyche. Finally, last week, I bottomed out. My version of "bottoming out" pales in comparison to the gut-busting travails of real trail-runners like Anton Krupicka and Geoff Roes, but I did experience a pervasive sense of flatness, inability to fully recover, and constant hunger. So I took some days off, drank gallons of water, and slept a lot. Problem solved—or so I thought. The couple of days leading up to Saturday's run saw me working long, hard hours, including a frustrating day on Friday where I had to slog away in the shop till 10 p.m., then get up early on Saturday to finish some odds and ends. Then, after going home on Saturday afternoon, I rested for about 45 minutes, rustled up enough energy to wake up, and began to eek out my twenty-miler. Travis felt a little flat as well, but man, that guy has STORES of energy. I won't give you a blow-by-blow. Just know that we finished, and as fate would have it (or planning), the run ended right around the corner from Daily Grind, home to the finest baked goods and smoothies in Santa Barbara. Now begin the taper...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Metal, Ultra-Marathons, and Mugs

I've been making things over the last six months. Really, I have.

Leading up to the holidays, the shop veritably hummed with activity, but not all of it was borne of creative energy. Deadlines—courtesy of generous but demanding clientele—loomed and sanity wavered at times. Still, Santa Barbara Forge and Iron prevailed, and pumped out some great stuff despite (or because of?) the madness.

I've always liked hardware—door-pulls, knobs, hinges, hooks, etc.—partly because you interact physically and visually with hardware on a regular basis. I was fortunate to outfit an entire office with pulls, as well as a bedroom clothes-chest. Check em' out:

This bed-frame, designed by Dan and executed by myself and Joy, conveys the strong, slightly masculine theme of metal the client desired. With repeated scroll motifs, oiled finish, traditional joinery (read: no welding), and simple but dramatic lines, this bed causes its occupant to dream of Valkyries and Wagner.

My old friend (old in terms of the length of our acquaintance, not his age) turned thirty this year, so I made him a mug out of metal. Mild-steel doesn't exactly have the best anti-microbial properties, but we made him sip some frosty brew from the mug nonetheless.

And amidst the busy season, I still found time to sate the LARP appetite within me and forged a sword. If my thirty-year-old self could meet my ten-year-old self, my ten-year-old self would pass the proverbial brick.

Somewhere along the line, amidst work and climbing, my love of running turned in to a love of more running, and thusly, more running still. So I signed up for my first ultra-marathon, which goes down in May. To be sure, I'm merely doing the smallest distance in the ultra universe (50 kilometers), but the course looks amazing and quite challenging. It starts outside of Bishop, climbs up to the Buttermilks, traverses the hills below the snow-capped Sierra, then descends back to Bishop. I did a training run on part of the course this last weekend, and even eked out some post-apocalyptic cross-training as well.

And since no blog-post would be complete without an obnoxiously cute picture of Dale, here you go: