Introspective – Dealing With Cyber Attacks

When I started my blog, I was inspired. I saw awesome stories in people’s lives and was fascinated with the I thought of sharing it with like-minded people.  People enjoying something, sharing it with the world for others to enjoy as well.  Continued enjoyment and inspiration.  I also thought having a blog would be a neat way to have a time capsule into a section of my life.  I wasn’t thinking about Ukraine hacking me in the middle of the night though, which is now a known part of continuing to blog. Sorry Ukraine, didn’t mean to single you out, there’s other offenders as well. This is me pulling the curtain back again to talk about my thoughts and lessons learned about the blogging process, specifically cyber attacks.

These green countries are awesome, they visit this site and come back regularly.  If you’re in one of those green countries, thank you.  Really.  Some people though, they don’t come here looking for fat bike pictures or my thoughts on biking at beautiful mountain passes though.  Some people like to break things.


These red countries have hosted attackers of my blog in the last sixty days.  My site’s not abnormal from other sites, I just know a few things, have safeguards, and like metrics.  I know the site next to mine on the web with similar traffic gets hit just as often.  I manage enough online sites to see it consistently.  Bigger sites or more advertised sites get hit more than smaller sites.


Why do they do it?  Boredom, wanting to attempt some internet hack they read about on a forum, trying to place ads on someone else site for revenue, to be malicious, or a handful of other common reasons.

What do I do about it?  Blogs like mine commonly use a few different frameworks to manage content.  I use one called WordPress because it’s awesome.  Wordpress uses a default login URL at  A lot of attacker scripts know that fact and target that known login page with predefined login combinations.  So one thing that I’ve done to prevent this is to move my login page to another URL.  Sorry, it’s super secret now, only other soul that knows it is my floppy eared dog (and a handful of trusted people).  With that done, you’d be surprised at the percentage of attacks you can avoid.  Attackers tend to pick the lowest fruit on the tree.  If they can spend a few minutes to get into another site, they tend to look past a more secure site, unless they have reason to single a site out.

I won’t detail all of my security measures, but I’ll outline a condensed list in interest of hopefully helping other blogs or sites stay safe too:

  • Use good passwords, if you can find your password in a dictionary, someone’s name, a date, or all of the other common passwords, it’s no good.  Statistics say most people who read this common tip are offenders but don’t fix it.
  • Backups.  Backups.  Backups.
  • WordPress – Don’t use the default user name of admin.  Also, set up a nickname so readers can’t find your login name.
  • WordPress – Don’t use the default login URL.
  • WordPress – Install some sort of monitoring software.  There are plenty of free options that are awesome.  I like Wordfence for security monitoring and Jetpack for site stats.
  • WordPress – Limit login attempts with automatic IP address bans on repeated failed attempts.

Almost three years into this, attacks are still a thing.  It’s not a concern, I’ll continue to manage.  I think most site owners or blog creators don’t even know the level of attack they receive, at least I know and will continue to place the appropriate safeguards.  I’d like to think this will help someone.  Ideally this falls into the right corner of the internet and onto someones screen so they can enjoy the creative possess more and not have to worry about the bad as much.  If that someone is you and you need a hand, shoot me an email.  I’ll give you some pointers.

EDIT 11-23-2015: 1:42PM
I’ve had a conversation with a fellow site owner and wanted to add a word of caution.  Wordpress plugins are written by individuals and as such they don’t test how they interact with combinations of other plugins.  Sometimes bad things happen with software.  Technology…  I’ve locked myself out of my own site and other bad things in the past and as such, it felt like I needed to add a word of caution.

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Cheap Artwork & Priceless Memories

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Flashback to 2013, I was a Illinois cyclist headed out west for my first taste of real mountain biking at Crested Butte, Colorado.  My eyes were opened.  A great trip filled with amazing friends, world-class trail, and lifelong memories.

While I was hanging out in Mount Crested Butte with friends eating and enjoying a beer and the warm mountain sun setting in the range behind us, I saw a few local newspapers and local ads.  I saw this visitor’s guide in that pile.  I really like the art design.  I brought it back to the tent that night, folded in half and put into my luggage.  After the good byes were said and we arrived back in the cornfields of Illinois, I bought a frame and hung it on a wall.

Every time I walk by this $12 frame holding the 2013 Crested Butte Visitors Guide I smile thinking of the good times that I’ve been privileged to experience.  Good times that are the result of bicycles and more importantly the amazing people who I call friends and family.

Relive the trip in question here.

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Today On A Bike

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After returning from our Moab cycling trip, I still wanted to ride more rock and tech.  The closest rock I knew about was in St. Louis at Chubb and Greensfelder.  Group adventures on trips like this are more fun I think.  I posted a feeler on my local MTB club’s Facebook and was happy to find ten or so others wanted to join in.  The trip was great, and I think a few of us really needed a day of fall awesomeness in the woods with others.2015-11-07 12.35.26

The trails were fun.  The fallen leaves slowed the pace as the rocks were hidden and corners were a mystery of grip.2015-11-07 12.43.27

Chubb trail’s staircase or whatever you want to call it was still cool to look at and mess around on.  I really wanted to do the drop, but couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Maybe next year.  I did roll the feature on the side a few times.2015-11-07 12.02.43

After we finished both rides we smiled, soaked in the warm November sunshine, and enjoyed a beer before leaving to get food and head home.2015-11-07 16.26.51 2015-11-07 16.24.24

My first road trip with my (new to me) STI.  It did well, more fun to drive than Element but not as functional.2015-11-07 16.51.13

Another great fall trip complete.  Another memory in what has been an interesting year for me and bikes.  Group adventures like this are good for my soul, a reset of perspective and energy.  They are what I tend to remember most fondly.  Good times with amazing people not focused on work or troubles, but rather enjoying the moment, the opportunity to get away and enjoy the outdoors with like-minded people.

I’m looking forward to watching Mother Nature’s color palette change from burnt oranges of fall sunsets and fall leaves to the cool and still blues of winter.  Lots of winter snowy riding ahead.

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2015 Moab Utah Trip

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What an amazing trip…  My family and I joined some great friends for just over a week in Moab, Utah.  The company, trails, and weather were terrific.  I checked off The Whole Enchilada and Slickrock, two of my bucket list trails in addition to others.  The terrain was unlike anything I’ve ever ridden before.

The trip started with my luck of never losing any luggage on trips coming to an end…

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All of my riding gear was in the bag so I was in bad shape for the planned week of riding.  Relief came in the middle of the night when the powers that be located my bag and had it delivered to our good friends lovely home.

Day One, Moab Brand Trails – Garmin Data

We drove into Moab with about an hour and a half of sun burning through the ridges on the range.  The perfect setting for my first ride in Moab.

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Looking across the desert to the La Sal Mountains where The Whole Enchilada lays waiting for us later in the trip.

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I have a handful of rides that rise above the rest to be my favorite memories.  That first ride in Moab made the list, and I knew it pretty early into the ride.  The warm glow of the sun setting on the desert range, the great friends I was sharing the experience with, and my long waited first ride in Moab.  It was great.

After our first ride, we made our way to Moab Flats, our sleeping arrangements for the trip.

Photo from

I was blown away at how nice everything was here.  Everything was excellent from the beautiful flats, to the small details that made it feel like you were staying at someone’s really nice home.  There was a locked storage setup for bikes including a bicycle stand and hose for cleaning.  There was a secure patio area with hot tub, grill, and very nice outdoor seating.  It was one of the nicest places I’ve ever spent time in.  If you are in the area, I would highly recommend staying here.

Day Two, The Whole Enchilada – Garmin Data

This was the it, the trail that has been at the top of my want to ride list since I’ve had a list.  I’ve waited years, heard a lot of hype, and was finally ready to clip in and discover it for myself.  We finished the hour-long shuttle up to the Burro Pass trailhead before sunrise and prepared for the ride in the brisk fall high elevation temperatures.  The warmer desert temps were very nice as we descended.  The trailhead is at 10,300 feet elevation and you then climb Burro Pass at 11,200 feet elevation.  At the top of Burro Pass, you have 8,000 feet of descent to look forward to.

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Climbing Burro Pass2015-10-17 07.59.30 2015-10-17 08.28.08 2015-10-17 08.00.36

The descent off of Burro Pass was great single track filled with steep rocky sections and lots of switchbacks.  One of the neatest things I took away from riding The Whole Enchilada was how great it was to experience the different kinds of environment.  We started in the Pine trees, transitioned into Aspen trees, and then into the desert.

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My talented friend riding the entrance to LPS from UPS.

Overall The Whole Enchilada was really great.  I underestimated the difficulty of the ride, and came home pretty tired that day.  I’m not as fit as I was earlier in the season.  The constant rocks, drops, and moves you have to make took their toll on me by the end of our almost five-hour ride.  It was an amazing experience and I enjoyed it immensely.

Day Three, Amasa Back, Hymasa, Pothole, Rock Stacker, Captain Ahab – Garmin Data

The Amasa Back, Hymasa, Pothole, Rock Stacker, Captain Ahab loop we did was a lot of fun.  It had great vistas, flowy sections, great downhills, and features that ranged from small to much bigger than anything I’d ride.

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My talented friend riding the qualifier for Rockstacker and a drop towards the end of the Captain Ahab descent.

Day Four, Slickrock – Garmin Data

Moab was tough on bikes, lots of rocks that would like to leave a character building mark or slowly eat your tires with the sandpaper like surface.  I needed to have a rotor trued after a few days of riding.  I know a guy that is an avid rider and works at Moab Cyclery, so I swung by.  They had my bike back to perfect in no time with their walk up service.

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Slickrock was the other check box for me on the trip.  It’s such a famous trail that seems to make so many of the “Must Ride Trail” lists.  My experience was different from I thought it would be.  I expected to find trail that involved up and down moves, like ledges.  What I found was none of that, but steep rock faces, both up and down.  I was shocked at how steep some of the faces you climb and go down were.  I swear some of the angles the trail goes up are beyond 60%.  My fear of heights stopped me from trying some of the longer climbs where if you didn’t make the whole climb you’d be rolling down rock for a while.  Overall, it was great, unlike anything I’d ever seen before.

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Day Five, Family Zoo Time

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Day Six, 7-Up – Garmin Data

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7-Up was a fun trail with equal parts sand and rock.  We ran into a pretty decent weather front and bailed to head back to the truck.

We ended the week with a return trip to Amasa Back, Hymasa, and Captain Ahab.  That ride was sans camera, just to take it all in with no distractions.  We rode up through the canyon a little after sunrise, La Sal mountain range in the background looking back at us.  A fitting end to the trip.  A great time with great people.  I’m really glad I have the opportunity to do these trips with my friends and family.

And just like that, another great trip transitioning into great memories.

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Gore ALP-X Shorts Review


I love Gore gear, it always performs.  It’s functional, well designed, and tailored for intended use.  What makes great shorts compared to normal shorts for mountain biking?  I think it has to start with a lot of intention.  As with all Gore gear I own, every aspect of these shorts seem to be well thought out and has an emphasis on functionality.

The fit of these shorts is great.  The length has the legs end at about the knee or a little lower while standing or higher when pedaling.  The legs are that magical area between too tight and too baggy.  They have a detachable inner great chamois, comfortable all the way through a six-hour ride.  Comfort is key in a chamois, and these deliver.

They have useful normal placement pockets on both sides, something that isn’t guaranteed on every pair of shorts.


The waist on the outer short has a zipper and button closure, it is both secure and comfortable.

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The crotch and back panels feature wind and spray protection, a feature I throughly tested while on a recent trip to the mountains of Colorado caught riding in the rain and grit.  It’s hard to see how covered in water and some mud I was but under my Gore gear, I was comfortable and dry.


These shorts have vents that can be opened or closed via zippers allowing cooling on demand.  A feature that I used more than I thought I would.

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Overall I’m really happy with the shorts.  Off of the bike, they are a touch longer than my ideal preference, but when riding with bent knees and sitting in the saddle, the length is pretty great.  The chamois and functionality is stellar and that is the most important aspect to me.  The best part is, I know they will function just as great in years to come.  Gore continues to amaze me with their quality.

Full disclosure, Gore sent me these shorts to use, and try.  This review, my thoughts, and opinions are as honest, unbiased, and transparent as I can possibly be.

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