Age: 48 and getting older by the minute.
Birthdate: 11/17/1973, the day Nixon said, “I am not a crook.”
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Current Residence: Pittsburgh, PA
Occupation: Math Professor
Current school/Alma matter: Duquesne University (BS), Univ. of Pittsburgh (MS), American University (PhD)
Family: Wife (Molly), daughter (Indie, 13) and son (Otis, 12)
Personal Website/Blog: https://lugschainspaddleblades.blogspot.com/ (but it’s been awhile since I wrote anything)
Club: Three Rivers Paddling Club (but it’s been awhile since I was active with the club)
How I started paddling wildwater: In 2007, the last time the Team Trials were in Ohiopyle, I thought about doing this for a hot minute. After I crashed and burned in the pre-race clinic, I grumbled and said, “it takes all the fun out of kayaking.” But, I love racing so I continued to enter races with the fastest boats I could find that weren’t wildwater boats (I eventually settled on the Phoenix Isere – does anybody have one they’d like to sell?).
When the trials came back to Ohiopyle in 2022 I purchased the nearest affordable boat I could find and got to work overcoming the learning curve. I was terrified at first, even on flatwater, but after a few very stressful runs of the Youghiogheny River, Slippery Rock Creek, and (gasp) Laurel Hill Creek, it became more natural. Even at trials I started out with dry gear because I was worried about swimming!
I still think paddling a wildwater boat takes all the fun out of kayaking, but being committed to getting one under control has been an exceptional challenge. Early on I discovered that every time I get in a wildwater boat my skills improve. So, I’ve been getting into it a LOT!
The class(es) you race: K1M
Local and Regional results of note:
Cheat River Race: Seven top ten finishes between 2007 and 2021; 2nd overall in 2021
Upstream Nationals (Entrance Rapid, Youghiogheny River): Finisher, 2007 – 2022 (with a few missed races); 4th in 2020; 2nd in 2021
Lower Yough Race: 1st overall in 2022
Stonycreek Rendezvous Downriver Race: 2nd overall in 2007; 1st overall in 2022
National Results (Team Trials & Nationals): 3rd place for men’s K1 at 2022 National Team Trials
International Results: none yet
Years on the U.S. Wildwater National Team: I’m new!
Other Paddling/Sports/Hobbies: My two favorite paddling endeavors are kayak camping and attainments. Wildwater is a new thing for me. Off the water it’s trail running, mt biking (Frick Park love!), bike commuting, backpacking, backcountry ski touring, and general exploration. Two days after I return from 2022 Worlds I’ll be driving west for a month long road trip with my family. Utah or bust!
• I am married to an exceptional mother and very tolerant wife.
• My kids - Indie (13) and Otis (12) – are my best adventure partners.
• I used to be 5’10” but there has been some slippage
• I used to weigh 160 lbs and ditto
• I love a variety of music types and bands. That’s why I am usually stuck on Pittsburgh’s WYEP (91.3 FM)
• I love Sushi and overeat every time I have it. I love a savory breakfast with fried eggs over pretty much anything. My mother is an old school Italian American wizard in the kitchen and I aspire to replicate it.
• Before a race I stress and work to control jitters. After a race I sit back and watch.
• I think about math a lot.
• Boat: Wildwater Boat of unknown origin/build
• Paddles: Galasport Elite Carbon (downriver racing), Galasport carbon shaft with Celtic N12 blades (upstream racing), homemade wooden shaft with Celtic N12 blades (training for both)
• Helmets: Wildwater Design and ShredReady Scrappy
• Spraydeck: Immersion Research
• PFD: Stohlquist
• Paddling Clothes: Whatever’s clean and not cotton
• Shoes: old sneakers
• Car: Jeep Wrangler
• Favorite energy food: NuGo (chocolate covered pretzel)