Like a Bigfoot

Motivation, Mindset, Positivity, Endurance, Adventure, Perseverance, and Possibility

Month: July 2017

Like a Bigfoot Podcast #51: Sarah Cooper — Grit & Ultracycling, Winning the Race Across America

Welcome to the world of ultra-cycling and the insanity that is the Race Across America.  Get ready for a conversation with one of the toughest athletes in the country!

Sarah Cooper is about a month removed from winning the Race Across America, an event in which she rode her bike 3,070 miles in 11 days, 18 hours, and 56 minutes.  An event requiring extreme grit, incredible endurance, and stubborn forward progress.  It is also an event that breeds stories of adventure and shows that to accomplish a goal, you sometimes have to just step up and kick adversity in the teeth!

In this episode Sarah shares how to maintain a successful mindset in the midst of hardships like extreme sleep deprival, severe weather, neck injuries, and insanely long distance.  We also discuss her training schedule and how she discovered this crazy sport.

As a bonus, Sarah shares stories from previous Trans-iowa, “a self-navigated, self-supported, 300-plus mile gravel road event” which is also known as one of the toughest rides in the U.S.

Sarah is also a mother of four, showing all of us that having kids is absolutely no excuse not to chase after your own incredibly difficult goals.  Plus, her kids probably think she’s cooler than Wonder Woman at this point!  She also lives and trains around Des Moines, Iowa, proving once again that Iowa can produce some pretty badass athletes.

Hope you guys enjoy the episode!  I would encourage you to check out other great stories from the RAAM and to read all about Sarah in her excellent features in the Des Moines Register.

(Cover Photo by Des Moines Register)

More from Sarah and Race Across America:

Pre-race article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/local/columnists/kyle-munson/2017/06/07/dont-call-her-wonder-woman-wheels-shes-just-metalhead-iowa-bicyclist-grit/372807001/

Post-race article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/local/columnists/kyle-munson/2017/06/25/bicyclist-sarah-cooper-conquers-race-across-america/425530001/

Race Across America: http://www.raceacrossamerica.org

Trans Iowa: http://transiowa.blogspot.com

More Like a Bigfoot:

Subscribe and Review on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/like-a-bigfoot/id1160773293?mt=2

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Like a Bigfoot #50: Ryan Duplassie — Environmental Concerns of Grassy Narrows, Activism and How to Make a Difference

I’m honored to have a platform to share this week’s story.  It’s all about one of the most beautiful places in the world, the lakes, rivers and wilderness of Grassy Narrows in Ontario, Canada.

Grassy Narrows sits on the English River about 40 miles north of Kenora, the nearest town.  It’s an isolated, wild, gorgeous place full of tranquil watersheds and Canadian wildlife.  When I imagine the northern wilderness, I imagine the English River and it’s lakes.

My dad and I have traveled to the First Nation community (similar to a Native American Reservation) for our last few fishing trips up north and have enjoyed the peace the lake has brought us along with all the delicious Walleye.

The last night of our 2017 trip my perception of this area was thrown upside down.

Ryan Duplassie is part of the department of Native Studies for the University of Manitoba.  As we came back to camp, the area we previously had to ourselves was now full of college students.  Ryan was teaching a 10 day travel study course focused on the Grassy Narrows Community.  Within a 20 minute conversation, two things were apparent, Ryan was an excellent, passionate teacher AND the beautiful area we had enjoyed over the last three days and the people who relied on it for livelihood had been completely DEVASTATED by deadly pollution, neglectful politics, and opportunists willing to take advantage without a second thought.

Here’s the story in a nutshell:

Ryan informed us that in the 1960s a paper mill in Dryden, Ontario disposed  incredibly harmful pollution into the English River and Wabagoon River watershed.  This went on for a decade before the government instated regulations causing them to stop.

This severely disabled the Grassy Narrows First Nation Community, essentially contaminating their food source (the fish that I was currently eating), taking away their livelihood, and poisoning their community (90% have mercury poisoning also referred to Ontario Minamata Disease).  When we spoke at the campsite, Ryan explained that neither the paper company (technically it was legal to dump at the time) or the government was willing to pay for the cleanup (in the last month they’ve put up $85 million to begin this herculean task).

First of all I was shocked.  How could this gorgeous part of the world be poisoned and f****ed over like this?? The paradigm I had in my head about where we were choosing to enjoy outside time was shattered.  And, I was ashamed and embarrassed for being so completely uninformed and ignorant of what was happening in a part of the world I enjoyed.

I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since.  So this podcast was my small way to let Ryan’s voice be heard and hopefully inform and influence you about environmental concerns throughout the world.

Time to get preachy….hold on to your britches (pants..for us non-old timers)….

If you’re listening to this podcast, you probably LOVE the outdoors.  You most likely enjoy your time exploring, pushing your limits, and appreciating the beautiful nature we are lucky enough to have in this country, throughout this continent and on this planet.  Personally, I would go absolutely crazy if I wasn’t able to head out my door into the mountains, forests, plains, lakes, and so on.  That’s why understanding and being informed about issues that affect these wild places (which I fully admit I previously was not about Grassy Narrows) should be important to you.  Let alone the concern with how we should treat other humans (which are also addressed in this episode)!

At the end of the episode Ryan shares a very important message of hope.  Start at a local level.  Understand the issues that are affecting the area you live in and pursue ways to make positive changes.  Start small, be consistent, and speak up when you see or hear about something you don’t think is right.

[Sermon Over]

Get ’em guys! And enjoy this week’s show! Ryan was awesome, intelligent, well-informed, and ultimately optimistic about a place and a group of people he loves and admires.

More Info about Grassy Narrows:

Ryan’s Class: http://www.themanitoban.com/2017/07/grassy-narrows-learning-action/31683/

More Like a Bigfoot:

Subscribe and Review on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/like-a-bigfoot/id1160773293?mt=2

Soundcloud Archives: https://soundcloud.com/chris-ward-126531464

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Like a Bigfoot #49: Shane Dowty 2 — Life Lessons Learned From Climbing the Coaching Ladder

This week we are continuing the tale of Shane Dowty’s quest to coach in the world of college football.

Over the course of starting this podcast my unofficial theme song has become “It’s a Long Way to the Top, If You Wanna Rock n’ Roll”.  The idea to accept that anything worth wanting in life is not instantaneous, instead taking patient consistent hard work to achieve. Shane’s journey fascinates me because it is the embodiment of that philosophy.   And really, when you start from the bottom, embracing the journey and becoming a sponge absorbing knowledge from various mentors is absolutely key.

In 2009 Shane had the opportunity to work as a student assistant for the Iowa Hawkeyes, an experience that set him down this path.  (Going to the Orange Bowl probably had something to do with hooking him!)

In this episode we hear about the lessons Shane learned from his time spent at the absolute bottom of the coaching food chain, how he embraced the stoicism philosophy of legendary coach Kirk Ferentz, why you should be conscious of your principles and always be in alignment with your integrity, and a lot more!

Shane was out here live in studio (aka my porch) and I just had the best time chatting with him.

He currently is about to start his second season as an assistant coach for the Division 2 Missouri S & T Miners and I wish him the absolute best this year!

More from Shane:

Previous LABF Episode: https://soundcloud.com/chris-ward-126531464/like-a-bigfoot-15-shane-dowty

Follow Him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/shanedowty?lang=en

Missouri S & T Bio: http://www.minerathletics.com/coaches.aspx?rc=448&path=football

More Like a Bigfoot:

Subscribe and Review on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/like-a-bigfoot/id1160773293?mt=2

Soundcloud Archives: https://soundcloud.com/chris-ward-126531464

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/likeabigfoot/

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Like a Bigfoot Podcast #48: Caroline Paul — Author of “The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure”

A few months ago I watched a TED Talk from today’s guest, Caroline Paul.  It was called “To Raise Brave Girls, Encourage Adventure” and, as a father of two daughters, to say it connected with me is not a strong enough sentiment.  Her talk was not just something I watched thinking “huh…that was interesting”, rather it made me fully self assess what I was doing as a parent, how we are unintentionally nurturing fear in our girls, and what strategies we can use to change fear into bravery.  It’s my favorite TED Talk EVER!

Because let’s be honest, we all want our daughters (and sons) to grow up to be courageous, happy, brave members of society who are confident in their decisions.  We want them to experience life and all that it has to offer, to go out and embrace their own adventures, and use those adventures to develop self understanding and realize just what they are capable of.

Caroline has embraced a “jack of all trades” attitude and has spent her time throwing herself into all sorts of experiences.   Just to mention a few adventures: she had an entire career as a San Francisco firefighter, was on the national Luge team (think sledding down an ice tunnel at speeds over 50mph), guided whitewater rafting, flew paragliders, and now flies experimental airplanes.

In this conversation Caroline shares stories from her life of epic adventure, discusses what we can do as parents to raise brave daughters, and how to encourage “risky play”, amongst much more.

Caroline’s book “Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure” is a book that empowers all girls to have adventures, face adversity and be brave.  In fact, I would honestly encourage everyone to check it out.  So if you’re reading this and you have daughters or nieces, this is something I would highly recommend gifting.  As I prepare my 7th grade classroom for the upcoming school year I’m envisioning an “Adventure Book Shelf” where kids can check out various books that help encourage positivity and multiple copies of “Gutsy Girl” will definitely be available to each and every one of my students.

I honestly think Caroline’s mission of empowerment and advice is one of the more important messages we have had the opportunity to share, so I hope you enjoy today’s episode and receive as many takeaways as I did.  Humongous thanks to Caroline for chatting with me!  You are definitely beyond inspiring and I wish you nothing but luck in the future!

Thanks for listening! Go out and have your own adventure this week!

More from Caroline Paul:

Caroline’s website: http://www.carolinepaul.com

Gutsy Girl website: http://www.thegutsygirl.org

Order “Gutsy Girl”: https://www.amazon.com/Gutsy-Girl-Escapades-Your-Adventure/dp/1632861232/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499430678&sr=8-1&keywords=gutsy+girl

NY Times article “Why do we Teach Girls that it’s Cute to be Scared?”: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/21/opinion/sunday/why-do-we-teach-girls-that-its-cute-to-be-scared.html

TED Talk “To raise brave girls, encourage adventure”: https://www.ted.com/talks/caroline_paul_to_raise_brave_girls_encourage_adventure/transcript?language=en

More Like a Bigfoot:

Subscribe and Review on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/like-a-bigfoot/id1160773293?mt=2

Soundcloud Archives: https://soundcloud.com/chris-ward-126531464

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