Friday, April 28, 2006

Writing Back in the Bitton Baliwick

My dream in high school and college was to be a writer. A little research taught me that daily newspapers hired reporters, some of whom grew into amazing writers. Get paid to write full-time, straight out of college? What a plan! While at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, I had to take a photojournalism class as part of my journalism program. I found I had a knack for the work, and focused my major on photojournalism. Internshihps and full-time jobs added up to 10 years in the daily news business. I grew disenchanted with the negativity of the industry. I'd won some awards for my writing and photography, but looking around the newsroom, I saw no one I wanted to be in 10 or 20 years. I switched briefly to public relations before abandoning my writing dreams alltogether and became an elementary school teacher. A few years into teaching, my sedentary lifestyle was taking a toll. I bought a mountain bike for my birthday, and started to volunteer at endurance races. I even snapped a few photos at the events. The more races I went to, the more impatient I grew with the lousy stories coming out of these truly remarkable events. The writer in me, long burned out, still wasn't ready to take on the poor prose problem of endurance sports. That has recently changed. I've been writing my guts out for Gordon Wright, media director of the Primal Quest expedition adventure race, churning out team profiles with which he is very well pleased. I've been writing even more for Paul "Yak" Angell, founder of Checkpoint Zero, the website that in my opintion covers adventure racing better than any media outlet in the world. I've aligned myself with Checkpoint Zero because I believe it is the future of endurance sports media. But I'm working five and six hours every night because I love Yak, and I love the athletess he's letting me profile for his website. For the past two years, I've been known mostly as an adventure sports photographer. Please add writer. There's a whole other side of me that you're all going to see with great frequency in 2006.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Mike's New Ride a Real Looker

Photo by Mike Bitton
This is a shot of my Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited in the driveway of my Vancouver, Wash., USA, home.

While on spring break in Idaho, I picked up a replacement SUV for the 1994 Ford Explorer I smashed up on my way home from a fine day of snowboarding at Timberline on Mt. Hood. I moped around for a week when I learned my insurance company decided to "total" the car, even though the damage could be fixed for less than $4,000.

Had I known I'd get so lucky on the Explorer's replacement, I wouldn't have been sad at all. What you see above is my new Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. It's a 1995 and has a LOT of miles on it. But the body and interior are in great shape, so if the day comes that it needs a new transmission or engine, I'll gladly make the upgrades. This platform is exactly what I need to chase my adventure sports assignments all around North America.