My experience at Dirtfish was fun… Until it got uncomfortable.

There I was in my basement apartment in Vail, CO with the bright idea to get out of nursing and into racing. After a few suggestions from friends I enrolled in Dirtfish Rallly School. Between the time I signed up and the time I attended, I entertained the idea of opening a similar operation in Colorado. I didn’t know if it was something I would want to commit to and Dirtfish was as good a place as any to try and that find out.

I went to Dirtfish, as a customer. I had no ill will towards Dirtfish or ulterior motive. I was inquisitive and I asked questions about the operation, none of which were inappropriate or compromising for a staff member to answer. I reserved financial questions for the founder himself who I sought out on LinkedIn following my three day course. The subsequent messages I received from Dirtfish founder Steve Rimmer regarding the operational questions I asked of Dirtfish staff left me with an intuitively uneasy feeling. I felt intimidated. He wanted to know specifics like, who did I talk to, and what did they say? I refused to answer.

I had done nothing wrong. No one at Dirtfish had done anything wrong, so where was the aggressive inquisiton coming from? I got curious. What if Dirtfish employees were feeling the same intimidation I felt? I wanted to rule out the possibility that I misinterpreted my interaction with Rimmer so I sought out former Dirtfish employees for answers, but no one would say a word. In fact, they all said they were uncomfortable speaking with me. They all cited the reason being that they didn’t want to ruin their relationship with Dirtfish. None of them said they had signed a non-disclosure agreement with a non-compete clause which was what I was expecting. Based on those interactions I concluded that former employees either signed something, or the leadership environment at DirtFish is so harmonious that there was no need to explain, but I if were a gambler I would put my bet on the former.

Although I don’t know much about the day to day culture, what I do know is that Dirtfish is partnered with Americas RallyCross (ARX) and ARX is one of the very few racing platforms for professional rallycross drivers on this continent. Their pockets and reach run deep.

I asked a professional driver unaffiliated with Dirtfish what their thoughts were. They said they too found it odd that Dirtfish was so guarded, and suggested that attending a school wasn’t necessary to break into the sport. In fact, the courses at DirtFish relied too heavily on the tire sidewall instead of the contact patch.

Armed with this information, was building my own school even applicable, profitable, or necessary? Especially if I’d find myself battling politically in the crosshairs of Dirtfish? As of right now, probably not. Jumping down the rabbit hole only to find the Madhatter sure was interesting though and I was happy to oblige with my inner Cheshire Cat. 755C3B6F-8854-4AD4-B2FF-FAAC6E24D8D5.jpeg

 

I tried to go Vegan. I lasted 18 hours.

I decided to be a vegan just to try something new. I thought I could go 30 days no problem. My niece actually gave me four days. That was so generous of her. I appreciate how much she believes in me. Also, I recently had my blood work done and wanted to compare any changes a vegan diet may have on those results.

Within 18 hours I was face down in a vanilla Costco sheet cake. Fuck! Those are so good! I could have lied to Instagram and Snapchat. Nobody really cares what I’m doing and the entire cake probably only had one egg in it. The frosting is basically sugar and “plant” based shortening.

Vegan options save animals… but it’s likely they could kill me, which is cool if I’m into self-efacing martyrdom and internet trolling of carnivores. However, processed vegetable oils aren’t good for anyone, but they sure are easier to consume when you don’t feel satiated.

Does every vegan survive on vegetable oil based junk food? Absolutely not. I just want the record to show that’s what “I” immediately started craving. I tried to undo my mishap by immediately eating a salad. In-between my edamame and broccoli I also had two bags of potato chips. I read the label and made sure they were vegan. I couldn’t resist. They were dressed up so cute in their decorative mylar wrapper. A wrapper I promptly threw in the trash. “Don’t worry little lonely wrapper,” I mumbled to myself. “You’ll be floating with your friends in the gigantic pacific garbage patch in no time!”

Here’s a self-assessment of my failure:

1.) I was not prepared. Eating whole, plant based foods takes an incredible amount of pre-planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. I knew this, but I rationalized I could just wing it like I do on my animal based protein diet.

2.) The gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan items I purchased from the grocery store absolutely destroyed my gut. I probably farted 500 times and my abdomen distended like I had Kwashiorkor’s.

3.) I realized I was wearing leather shoes the entire time. In reality I never really started being a vegan. I just tried to eat more fruits and vegetables.

4.) I impulsively jumped in without doing a values assessment. I didn’t have a strong enough “why.” I thought liking cows would be enough to sustain me on this diet for a month. I drove by a field of cows last week and they looked like such kind docile creatures. I tried to turn an emotion I was experiencing in the moment to an entire month of lifestyle change. That was impulsive and dumb.

Would climate change be a big enough “why,” I asked myself? I care about the environment and yes, I have heard about the methane from cow farts increasing global warming. Then I realized it’s probably because cows have a vegan diet and fart like I did. It all makes sense now.

Vegans also have to rely a great deal on synthetic fabrics and materials which also affect climate change so that arguement cancels each other out. To their credit, vegans are aware and some companies are recycling plastics and making them into clothing and other reusable products, but carnivores do that too.

All these debates accumulated in my mind as I was eating a cashew based yogurt full of more fucking sugar. I began to think about the studies regarding high carbohydrate diets and their link to inflammatory issues and exacerbation of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Multiple-Sclerosis, and dementia. All that stress was just making me more hungry.

My advice, which I know you’re not soliciting, is to start with a values assessment. Then, do some research on how to be a vehicle for positive change based on those values. I’m a bit of a narcissist to be honest, so I’m unsure if I have the personality qualities to follow a vegan lifestyle. I’m going to try though. I want the data of my lab results. To get accurate data I should really track everything I eat so the quality of food and macro ratios can be referenced if I ever want to publish my personal findings.

As far as my personal values I will have to leverage the value of connection. If I’m going to connect with others then I need to have empathy. I need to understand and not be judgmental. Will it be enough to sustain a vegan lifestyle for 30 days? We’ll see.