Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gravity Testers

Published in "The Challenge" put out by DESA (Diabetes Exercise & Sports Association)

"Gravity Testers"

The countdown begins and the anxiety meter rockets upward as the rope crew sends out a booming 5, 4, 3...My mind fights the battle to resist the urge to step off the narrow railing I had cautiously inched on to.  A nervous glance downward and I catch a heart pounding view of the Snake River flowing 500 feet under my tenuous perch.  There is a lot of air space between my frame and the water far below.  I take one more look at the array of crazy characters that have joined me in this unique sport of bungee jumping.  

Our take off point is the Perrine Bridge near Twin Falls, Idaho.  At 1500 feet in length, it is the longest span bridge in the West.  However, I am much more aware of the vertical qualities. 

My confidence in the gear and the experience of the crew puts me at ease in a sport that few venture into.  Today I am joined by some of my dearest friends who I trust will remind me to disconnect from my life support before the final countdown.  I doubt that my insurance would cover an insulin pump donation to the Snake River.

My leap of faith draws near.  Marcos Rojas of Over the Edge Bungee, a  close friend, is in charge of today's operation.  He spots the bungee as he echoes ..2...Fellow gravity tester Matt Score also joins us on the bridge.  Matt does a whirlwind of work with our No Limits group that was formed to promote, educate, and inspire an active, healthy lifestyle for all people with diabetes.  Bungee jumping is a unique fit to this equation.

The Biggest Danger in Life is Not Taking Adventures

I am constantly approached with the question of why a person would leap off of a perfectly good bridge.  Yes, the question has surged through my mind and fear is definitely a factor.  However, the fear of falling pails in comparison to the fear of missing opportunities to live life more abundantly.  George Mallory (of Mt. Everest Fame) stated it in terms that adventure seekers can relate to.  "The biggest danger in life is not taking adventures."

People tend to live life inside the limits of their designated "boxes".  Like many of you I deal with the barriers that diabetes can impose.  We are faced with physical, mental and emotional challenges that we must overcome to break the barriers the disease inflicts on on.

Letting Go

The count reaches..1...Despite firing nerves, jumbled thoughts and a nano second prayer, I dive off into space.  Gravity is now my partner as I accelerate towards earth at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.

Despite some earlier reluctance and thought, I am now immersed in the moment as I put my arms to my side and do my best imitation of a torpedo.  I reach a split second where I am motionless then the stretched out cords recoil, sending me back toward the under carriage of the bridge.  After a number of rebounds I slowly reach a point where I am handing upside down and loving the moment, dangling about 250 feet above the river.  I can only smile as the retrieval rope is lowered to me.

More...Over the Edge

Further adventure took us to the Navajo Bridge near Page, Arizona where we connected with a film crew working for the Discovery Channel.  They took some great shots of our flights into Marble Canyon above the Colorado River.  A couple night jumps off a local bridge in Idaho added a different spin to our memories.  Leaping into a "black hole" was a novel experience for this gravity tester.

No Limits had their second fund raiser of the year (other fund raiser was a sky dive event) with a bungee jump off the Hansen Bridge (400 feet) near Twin Falls, Idaho.  We were fortunate enough to be featured in the Times-News newspaper (Twin Falls, Idaho) and had a very successful day with 13 jumpers, many of whom were first timers.  I especially love helping first timers.  What an experience for them!

Bungee jumping is not for everyone, but if you can muster the courage to escape your box for a little air time, you too can become a gravity tester.

Over the Edge Bungee - / 208-731-1648

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Helicopter Bungee Jump

Heli-Bungee Jump with Over the Edge Bungee

January 30, 2009
Over the Edge, Inc. Bungee has scheduled for Friday, January 30th a Heli-Bungee event at Lake Elsinore, California. (Exact location to be announced). Sharp Entertainment will film the event for the Travel Channel for their series television program called "Extreme Adrenaline".

Each jump costs $700. Reservations must be booked in advance only prior to January 9th by check or money order to Over the Edge, Inc. P.O. Box 386, Stanley, ID 83278, or by online credit card through PayPal
( payment for half the total. Upon receipt of deposit Over the Edge (OTE), Inc. will confirm payment and the balance will be due on jump day. Please contact us by email or phone to schedule a tentative jump time.

The Jump:
Over a grassy field the A350 helicopter will hover approximately 1200 feet in the air at the moment the jumper exits the open door while attached to a four-hundred foot bungee cord. The cord will double in length at furthest stretch.

The last Heli-Bungee in Toronto, Canada was a huge success which has been televised on the Travel and Discovery Channels and other syndicates worldwide. Recently, OTE was the sole bungee company at the "Go Fast Games 2008" at the Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City, Colorado. There on the world's highest suspension bridge amidst jetpack pilots, rock climbers, BMX riders and BASE jumpers from around the world doing what they do, a record number of bungee jumpers leaped off the Royal Gorge Bridge.

Over the Edge, Inc.

And yes, Dave does plan on being there with harness in hand.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dream Big and Take Action

This was published a few years ago but the encouragement still applies and the the dreams are still larger than life.
published in "The Challenge" put out by DESA (Diabetes Exercise & Sports Association)
"Dream Big and Take Action"

I made a commitment several years ago, because of my diabetes and the incredible life that I have been able to lead, that in spite of this disease and a busy schedule I would dedicate time to the diabetes community. The decision has reaped abundant rewards.
I am what you would describe as "outdoorsy" and "adventurous". I love physical activity. Trail running, mountain biking, cycling, climbing, bouldering, bungee jumping, sky diving, and slacklining are some of the pursuits I enjoy. No shock to anyone's system that my degree is in Exercise Science. Many of the listed activities are part of a diabetes outdoor group I started in Boise, Idaho called "No Limits". Our mission is to promote, educate, and inspire an active, healthy lifestyle for all people with diabetes.
I had been a card carrying member of the "you have diabetes" club for about 30 years and I finally decided it was time to take action. It was high time, after having Type 1 diabetes for a long time and having been assisted by others who had diabetes, that I stepped forward to assist those who could use a little extra help or encouragement in dealing with this sometimes difficult disease. No Limits has been an excellent venue for my background in diabetes, my passion to lend a hand and to my slightly crazy lifestyle.
We organized a No Limits skydive event fund raiser called "Dive for Diabetes". The event was a soaring (pun intended) success and surpassed our wildest expectations. We put our lofty hopes on having 60 jumpers and ended up with 134. We were 3 tandem jumpers from a Guinness Book of World Records. It appears to be the biggest skydive event in Idaho history. The day was jammed with activities for everyone.
Although, I missed out on seeing all those bodies falling to terra firma and catching the huge smiles, I managed my own smile as I was in West Chester, Pennsylvania attending the DESA (Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association) North American Conference to receive a DESA Athletic Achievement Award honorable menion.
The conference also triumphed in flying colors. Spending time around other athletes with diabetes and learning how they were using their talents to assist others and to hear about their goals and dreams helped reaffirm my desire to be of service in the diabetes world. I went home with many new, interesting and extreme ideas for athletic events/activities to organize on behalf of diabetes awareness.
On a personal note, I am still dreaming big. Really big. One of the dreams is to do a 50 State Bicycle Tour for diabetes.
I just returned from a 500 mile ride from Arizona to Idaho. The B-BAD (Border to Border Against Diabetes) Tour was a great warm-up and promoted diabetes awareness and No Limits.
Afterwards we presented our trek at the ADA Salt Lake City Diabetes Expo.
My dream (shared with my friends at Over The Edge Bungee-OTE) of doing a bungee jump off the highest suspension bridge in the world just came true. The Royal Gorge Bridge (1,053 feet above the Arkansas River) in Canon City, Colorado is rarely jumped and OTE was asked to be the sole bungee company on the bridge for the Go Fast Games. It was an unbelieveable experience.
Embracing the challenge that diabetes presents by striving for those dreams and by volunteering your time toward a local diabetes group, local hospital, health club, medical clinic, etc. can be an experience of a life time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cruisin Alaskan Water

Ethan gazing at Annahootz

"Cruisin' Alaskan Waters"

Touching down in the far outpost of Sitka, Alaska, I exited the plane and snagged one of the two bags from the conveyor belt. The other bag? The one filled with the most vital items for this new adventure? Missing, perhaps sitting idly in the Juneau or Ketchikan airport.

I had approached Sheldon Jackson College (SJC) in Sitka with a proposal to run a kayak trip for people with diabetes. Kayaking was new to me. Unless an adventure involves swimming or riding camels, I am generally game to give it a go.

I was here to ace the kayak route and plot the coming trip. I would be on the water with Ethan Ring from the Sheldon Jackson Outdoor Center. My goal (other than the already mentioned "swimming"), was to absorb knowledge on the fascinating sport of sea kayaking and plan the trip for a group to take place next summer. Ethan would learn all he could about diabetes (I just had to be my usual diabetes self) and what it would take to run a course for people with diabetes. It was a trial run, or shall we say trial paddle.
We would put our minds together during and after the expedition to organize a quality event.

My Perception Eclipse Kayak sat on the shores of Old Sitka a few days later, aimed at the incoming tide of Sitka Sound. The day before had been a scurried one as we shorted gear, filled out paperwork, purchased groceries, discussed plans, and yes, dumped Dave out of the kayak a few times for practice (and laughs). Thank goodness SJC has a pool, as Sitka Sound is on the frigid side.

I pulled the kayak forward and carefully deposited both legs into the bottom of the boat. I had previously done some "bunny slope" kayaking with someone else in a beast of a boat, on a calm lake. This would be different, way different.

I was quite amazed at all the storage the kayak possessed. I should not have been suprised when Ethan pulled out a huge 12-ounce container of Parmesan Cheese. Don't get me wrong, I love Parmesan Cheese, but living with a "lightweight" backpacking mentality, I was thinking more about throwing a couple packets stolen from Pizza Hut than including a 233-day supply.

Ethan had planned a route with some options depending on weather conditions, fatigue and diabetes management. Our first day would cover about 7 miles, the second woud be either 13 or 18, and the third would encompass 4. Sounds like decent mileage if your a strapped into a pair of running shoes, running or hiking or trails, but paddling? With my legs now useless, tucked into the bow of the kayak and unable to save me, I would rely on muscles that I knew about from anatomy and physiology, but had found little use as an athlete involved in leg-dominant activities.

Immersed in the moment and the stunning beauty of the Alaskan wilds, I got into a good rhythm with a dip of the right paddle, stroke, a dip of the left paddle, stroke. Ethan was an excellent teacher and I was feeling comfortable in my new H2O environment.

Our expedition participants were not just limited to both of us. We had a backdrop that provided lots of wildlife. There were numerous bald eagles, along with porpoises, seals, salmon, ravens, crows, cormorants, Sitka black-tailed deer and an occassional load of bear sign.

We pulled into an established site on Magoun Island to finish our first day. The setting was incredible, with a huge bald eagle commandeering a large tree at the entrance to the cove. He was very visible despite being almost 1/2 mile away. Ethan had me so impressed with his mastery of hanging a bear bag, that it became a Kodak moment.

Day 2 would be our day of decision, with two different mileage options, depending on circumstances. We reached Olga Point, a fork in the water, and made the bold choice to go the longer, more scenic route around Hallack Island. It was a glorious day with almost zero signs of civilization. Conditions can change quickly while roaming the sea and today would unveil choppy seas, wind in our faces and at our backs, changing currents and crystal, glassy waters. At the southern end of Hallack Island sits a beautiful kayak campsite. End to a perfect day, Ethan executed another bear bag trick. Dinner was devoured and life was being enjoyed in backwaters Alaska.

Day 3 we slipped out of our idyllic cove and into Sitka Sound. A short but scenic route would complete our loop. As we cruised along the shoreline, admiring the vast life attached to and floating within a few feet of the shore, we stroked past our first kayak-bound travelers. With the sound of pebbles grinding the underside of my vessel, the journey had come to an end. Less than one-half hour after exiting the kayaks,, conditions quickly deteriorated. The safe return of two adventurers and a 230 day supply of Parmesan Cheese.

Go Fast Games 2008

unknown jumper @ the Go Fast Games
Over the Edge Bungee

Monday, December 15, 2008

An Opportunity at 124 Miles Per Hour

An Opportunity at 124 Miles Per Hour

"An Opportunity at 124 miles per hour"

A dramatic, inspiring site perched high above the Arkansas
River, the Royal Gorge Bridge is a popular spot for tourists
to death-grip the railing, and take a heart thumping view to
the river 1,053 feet below. I have a special fondness for
bridges. For four days every year adrendaline seekers descend
upon this special bridge for base and bungee jumping, slack
lining, rock climbing with a few jet pack flights thrown in for
good measure.

With a call at 3 am I received the invite to participate in the Go
Fast Games by my friends at Over the Edge Bungee. I wanted
to be part of the unique experience by working on the bungee
crew. Of course, I was also there to jump. As a person with diabetes, I have chosen to live life as fully as possible. I am not sure how many is in my quota, but this will be one notch in my 'adventure' quota.  

The crew and I have shared the long-lasting dream to leap off of what is probably the ultimate gravity experience on the planet. So, when Over the Edge Bungee was invited to be the sole bungee company working the festival, I knew this was my ticket to adventure.Ticket punched and harness in my suitcase, I made my way to Canon City, Colorado.

This was not the first time I had spent time on the Royal Gorge
Bridge. As a child, the Nevins family had made an excursion
to the bridge. I don’t remember much about the visit except that
there was a definite cloud of fear while on the bridge. Never
did I envision (nor did my poor parents) jumping off the
highest suspension bridge in the world. Come to think of it, I
have spent a large chunk of my life doing things that would not
be on most people’s lists. Sometimes life presents unusual
opportunities and sometimes we need to say yes.

Not wanting to loaf around and allow fear to permeate, I made
sure that I would be dangling from bungee cords on the first
day. The Go Fast Games are four days of intense craziness
held at the end of September. You have to be invited in order
to participate in all the activities except our bungee gig. It
was a real highlight to assist over 80 people make the leap of
a lifetime. It is my guess that almost half of the group, who
were from distant points all over the globe, were first-time
bungee jumpers. In my jumping career, I had started off
slowly (all of 95 feet on my first jump), working up to
loftier bridges. These participants were not messing around.
The novelty of the event truly hit home when I found out that
less than 100 people had ever bungee jumped off this structure,
before we had arrived. It is illegal to jump the bridge unless
it is during the Go Fast Games.

Early on the first day of the Games I climbed over the railing
and onto a platform that had been created for our time on the
bridge. What an amazing place to be! Was I nervous?
Standing at the end of a platform over 1,000 feet above the
River, ready to do my best imitation of a torpedo and fall at
Terminal velocity (124 miles per hour), I had some anxious
Thoughts. But thankfully the anxious-meter was low and I
was smiling. Gravity works exceptionally well at the Gorge
and I had a grand leap. Another phenomenal memory
forever stored into the brain bank.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

That's What We Do

'That's What We Do'

Sitka Mountain Rescue doing what they do on Gavan Hill - Sitka, AK

I have been a member of Sitka Mountain Rescue. The life of a search and rescue person can be quite interesting. Below is another of Dave's experiences.

"That's What We Do"

That was the response by Don Kluting, captain of the Sitka
Mountain Rescue Team (SMR) after another successful mission by the SMR
(Sitka, Alaska) and the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard and SMR combined to rescue a 16-year-old girl who had become seriously ill while hiking with a group on the local Gavan Hill trail. She was hoisted by a helicopter off of the heavily wooded slopes of Gavan Hill by the Coast Guard's Air Station Sitka and flown to the airport where Emergency Services personnel were waiting to take her to Sitka Community Hospital. She was released that evening by the hospital.

I am a new addition to SMR and as my first mission, the Gavan Hill rescue was an eye-opening experience. I had received a message on my pager for volunteers to assemble at the Fire Hall. Teams, gear, and directions were already in progress as I stepped into the Fire Hall about 20 minutes after the initial page. Being on my first call, I wrangled with what I needed to throw into my 24 hour pack. A gear junkie at heart, I had plenty of "stuff" to choose to ride with me on the mountain. Did I pack the right things? Having diabetes causes one to be prepared and to analyze(and over analyze) what to bring on
different outings. I loaded first aid supplies from the Search and Rescue command center(Fire Hall) and was sent out as part of the first team. We arrived with needed medical items and began clearing the area for a helicopter rescue.

As the U.S. Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter arrived, it began to look like something out of a Hollywood script. Truth was that this was reality and our semi-coherent hiker needed to take the first bird out of there. A litter was dropped and the hiker was hoisted up, loaded into the helicopter and transported to Sitka Community Hospital. Mission accomplished.

As I finally connected with a computer to plunk out a story on the incredible helicopter rescue, my pager pulls me from the MacBook and into a frenetic shuffle to prepare and fly out the door for the next search and rescue mission. A hiker has been injured on Gavan Hill and will need to be carried down the mountain. It is a different set of circumstances than last week and a litter, litter wheel, a large number of volunteers, and good ole muscle power will be needed to see this rescue through. Finesse and rope will also be involved as the hiker is hauled down a rugged, winding trail etched into the Alaskan hillside. This will be the second successful mission in one week and was another eye-opening (in more ways than one)experience.

The SMR is a group of volunteers dedicated to providing wilderness safety education to the public, and prompt, professional emergency services for people who are lost, injured, stranded, or in need of rescue primarily within the City and Borough of Sitka. I have diabetes, but my active lifestyle creates a good fit with being a member of the team. I joined the team to help the community, forge new
experiences, and learn whatever I can cram in. Have you considered being a part of search and rescue?

Below is a Thank You letter written from the hiker who rode our litter taxi service.

Used with the writers permission.

I just want to again thank all the men and women of the Sitka Mountain Rescue in assisting me off Gavan Hill last Sunday. I would especially like to thank Dave Patt, Nils & Lucie for staying with me and convincing me it was not a good idea to come down off the mountain without the help of the Rescue team. I tore my ACL and probably have damage to the meniscus in my right knee. I know now I would have done
much more damage to the knee and possibly sustained other injuries if I had tried to get down on my own. I will have to go through therapy, wear a knee brace, and eventually have surgery but it could have been much worse. It is a very humbling experience having to ask for help and being strapped into a litter to be carried down, but everybody was
the utmost professional. I felt totally safe in their care and their
upbeat attitude made the trip down much more bearable. The Sitka Mountain Rescue provides an invaluable service to the community and you should all feel proud.

Sincerely and always in your debt,

(name withheld)

Navajo Bridge (AZ) Bungee Jump

Sita Vaughan in flight

With some encouragement from the Discovery Channel a few of us headed down to Arizona for a bungee jump off the Navajo Bridge. I jump with Over the Edge Bungee. Terrific group of people who know their business and know what friendship is all about.

Race Across America Team Type 1

Steve Holmes on Team Type 1 during the Race Across America - photo by Joseph Linaschke
I was fortunate enough to be a crew member for Team Type 1 ( during the amazing Race Across America. It was a great experience and I would like to ride in RAAM in the future.

By Mile 33

After the Peterson Ridge Rumble Race - Sisters, OR (35 miles) with Matt Score
A story I wrote on the Peterson Ridge Rumble experience:

"BY MILE 33"

In a quest for new adventures, I pulled out the current Trailrunner magazine and
scanned the list of races that would challenge me, travel through terrific scenery, take me
one stop beyond the marathon and provide me with that all important, valued race
t-shirt. A $35 check in the mail and I was on the registered list of suffering
wannabees for the Peterson Ridge Rumble, a 37-mile ultra marathon run on the trails
near Sisters, Oregon. Due to a generous supply of snow, the course was rerouted and
shortened to 35 miles. They did promise that suffering would not be in short supply
and as luck would have it, race t-shirts would also be in short supply.
I ended up working the day before the race, so Matt Score, my partner in
extreme adventure, and I would slide into Jamie’s home in nearby Bend after midnight.
Jamie, who also has diabetes but may possess more sense (he did not run), would
have his own adventures this day working backcountry ski patrol on Mt. Bachelor.
By 5 a.m. we were up and…well…we were at least awake.
The snowy, jagged peaks of Central Oregon were at their grandest as we sped toward escapades unknown. The Rumble is a low-key affair for those who like to run a really
long way and are not overly concerned about receiving a cotton prize at the end. These
are truly the diehards of the sport. If I did finish, I would receive a pair of screaming, loud socks. Very loud. But first I had some miles to cover.
Our friend and supplier of our secret carbo stash (Pear and Paley Energy Bars), Jeff
Warren, shook his head, wished us well, and shook his head again as we strolled to the
starting line. With little fanfare, we were on our way, and I would start my 34-mile “kick.”
A threatening evening and dismal forecast had us wondering what the conditions
would throw at us. Throughout the day, we would encounter snow, rain, hail and cloudy
conditions--but all-in-all it was a great day to be running (and running and running).
I was continually encouraged by the ever-present camaraderie of these incredible
individuals involved in their self imposed battles of physical ability, emotions, will power, conditions, mental challenges…not to mention the cute blond (Christel) who kept passing me. One extra battle I would be dealing with: my blood sugar was not coming down very quickly. Not the start that I had hoped for, but this disease has often presented extra me with obstacles and I chose to keep moving forward.
By mile 26, I had found my gear. I was still stalled in second gear, but I had the blood sugar where I wanted it and I continued to dig a little deeper. As the skies unleashed, we pulled into the only checkpoint that I had arranged for a supply drop. Considering myself lucky, I pulled a jacket on and continued ambling toward the finish. Cramps would kick me back to first gear and I encouraged Matt to run his own race. Christel would painfully pass me one last time.
Hours of striding through a beautiful forest allowed for some deep reflection.
I thought about how fortunate I am to have chosen a life of participation. To live
life as full, big, and fat while seeking those challenges that stretch me, pull me,
and transform me.
The last 300 yards were on a running track. Coming upon a pair of hurdles, which were set up in the outer lanes, I contemplated an impressive act, but realized that I had had a stellar day and did not want to end it sprawled out on the ground in lane 4, 100 yards from those prized socks.

No Limits Blog

Welcome to the NO LIMITS blog!

My name is Dave Nevins and I have Type 1 diabetes. Living with diabetes can be a challenge, but this blog was created to encourage those with the disease to live life to the fullest. No Limits.

I have been blessed with participating in many exciting races, events, unique opportunities and creating a few of my own paths. It is my strong desire to share some of those tales, encourage those with diabetes and to possibly connect with other adventure seekers.

BBAD Tour (Border-to-Border-Against Diabetes - Arizona to Idaho)

No Limits Blog

Welcome to the NO LIMITS Blog. My name is Dave Nevins and I have Type 1 diabetes. If you have diabetes you are aware of the challenges it can present. This blog was created to encourage those with diabetes to live life with No Limits, to pursue your goals, and to hopefully be a means for fellow adventure seekers with diabetes to cross paths.
I have been very blessed to have been able to participate in many exciting races, events, unique opportunities and to create some of my own paths.

(Picture) After the Peterson Ridge Rumble in Sisters, OR (35 mile running race) with Matt Score