I step out of the car. It’s colder here than I thought it would be. Of course it is; it’s February and Mill Creek sits at nearly 5,000 feet. Fortunately I have a puffy jacket in the back seat and put it on — not my first choice for this ride, but better than the only alternative, a t-shirt.

I feel silly for forgetting. It’s easy to forget about things like seasons down the hill. It’s why I try to get up in these mountains as often as I can. It never seems to be often enough.

I know it’s…

Oh, that hike?

No, I mean yeah we can totally do that hike, it’s just a little… boring.

Like, it’s definitely better than nothing. It’s a good way to get outside, get some fresh air, and absorb some sunlight that has travelled ninety one and a half million miles from an ongoing nuclear reaction floating in outer space to our skin where we experience it as warmth, energy and light, at which point a mysterious automatic chemical reaction occurs that literally transforms cholesterol stored in our skin into Vitamin D which is essential to life as we know it and…

Adventure is pretty pointless. Not pointless in the sense that we shouldn’t do it, not at all, but pointless in the sense that we have no real survival need to get to the top of mountains, climb hard projects, or ride bikes grueling distances. Most adventure these days falls distinctly into the camp of elected suffering. Mountaineers are “conquistadors of the useless” according to Lionel Terray, and I’d extend that to cyclists, backcountry skiers, whitewater kayakers, and pretty much every other adventure recreationalist.

So I’ve been asking myself… why do I do it? Why do I hike mountains or climb…

Just as all good articles start with over generalizations, all good adventures start with a cup of piping-hot coffee.

The United States is booming with amazing third-wave coffee shops. As a matter of fact, I’m sitting at one right now-Bar Nine in Culver City. They serve their drinks in fancy glassware and sprinkle cacao nibs on top of their mochas. The girl sitting across from me has The Los Angeles Coffee Guide 2019 open on the table and seems to be plotting out her next stop on a coffee tour of the city.

A lot of people who say they…

It’s equal parts inspiring and disheartening scrolling through photos of professional athletes pushing the limits of possibility. The next V16 boulder problem. An unprecedented bike-packing trip through Uganda. Another record broken in ultra-running.

All super cool, and all completely and utterly unattainable to the 99% of us watching. Which is I guess what makes it cool… but I digress. I want to give a shout-out to all of us average athletes out there.

I am super average. On a good day I ride my bike 30ish miles. One time I rode it 160 miles over three days and it about…

Aaron Rickel

Climber. Cyclist. Hiker. Writer. Currently has base camp set up in Los Angeles, CA.

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