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Stepping off the plane, I couldn’t believe where I was. Home. It was surreal and crazy to think that I was back in Arizona exactly a year after leaving. Absolutely no one knew I was coming in until I made the phone call when the wheels touched down.

Taking a couple steps backwards. After talking to my parents while we were all hiking the Alps together, the bright idea hit my mind. Maybe….just maybe…I might be able to find a cheap flight home for the big 10 year celebration in the new facility and 20 years in business. My parents have done an amazing job at taking a small business, growing it 400% and surviving through the 2008 depression. This was something I couldn’t miss and wanted to be apart of.

About a month before the celebration, I started looking at flights expecting them to cost way too much. Low and behold after much searching and debating with myself, I stumbled upon a flight priced just right. I couldn’t wait to show up and surprise everyone! It was constantly on my mind as the days in Norway passed by and the date got closer.

Well, before I knew it I was packed up and sleeping in the airport waiting to catch my flight. With a 7 hour layover in Chicago, this gave me enough time to see some of my family there and surprise my grandpa as well. I soaked in every moment I could hanging out and talking with him, my Aunt Becky, Aunt Janelle, and Cousin David.

My Grandpa and I

My Grandpa and I

Boarding the plane, the time had come and in just 3 short hours I would be in Phoenix. Right as I landed, I called one of my best friends Alex to pick me up. Bringing Eric along, we made sure our priorities were straight and headed right to In N Out and boy did it taste good! After that, it was time for a couple drinks where I made a surprise appearance for my girlfriend, who was beyond ecstatic, and Tony another one of my great friends.

Not excited one bit!!!

Not excited one bit!!!

Saturday afternoon couldn’t come fast enough and I was so nervous and excited walking into the gym building. My mom was right there as I stepped through the doors and I was able to leave her speechless. Just then my dad walked down the stairs and couldn’t believe his eyes. It was such a wonderful surprise for them and I was so happy to be apart of the excitement.

Surprise!! At Aspire Kids Sports Center!

Surprise!! At Aspire Kids Sports Center!

Amazing Aspire Staff

Amazing Aspire Staff

The next week was spent catching up with friends, family, the JSD boys I used to coach, and of coarse some mountain biking. This was also a good time to make some gear changes, swap to my “fun” bike (needed for New Zealand), and get some awesome bikepacking bags made by Nick at Rogue Panda Designs in Flagstaff. It was crunch time and the great guys at Shadetree Bikes did an amazing job getting my bike ready to go, installing a new fork, chainring, cassette, and chain in just two days. With such a short visit, I cherished every minute I had in Arizona.

Nick bringing a frame bag to life

Nick bringing a frame bag to life

Learning about his work

Learning about his work

Rogue Panda Designs Rock! Check out that sweet Az frame bag!

Rogue Panda Designs Rock! Check out that sweet Az frame bag!

Thanks Joey!

Thanks Joey!

Sunrise Ride with Matt

Sunrise Ride with Matt

Pack Time...My Favorite...

Pack Time…My Favorite…

Before I knew it, the packing began again and it was time to leave the country. I couldn’t be more thankful for all of my friends and family. They will all be dearly missed as the journey continues right where it left off…Oslo, Norway. Let the adventures begin!

On to Oslo!

On to Oslo!

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