Brian. Regular Joe. A man barely alive.
Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make him twice the man he was. Brian will be that man. Better than he was before. Better… Stronger… Faster.
When you have walked as a predator near the very apex of the food chain–absorbed, withstood, and even perversely relished the creak of worn knees and the steady stream of sweat and pain under the weight of armor and weaponry…you have lived life with the aperture wide open, no filters. All other endeavors fade to insignificance in dim comparison.
I’m nothing special. I’ll never claim otherwise. But in 2013, after returning from another all expenses paid vacation–this time to Afghanistan–I realized: something was missing. All the energy, all the emotion, all the passion had been sucked out of me. Angry, depressed, and searching for a new direction, I desperately needed a new obsession. Something engrossing that I could throw myself into. Something challenging in a way few civilian pursuits can be.
I needed therapy.
“War is life multiplied by some number that no one has ever heard of.”
“Combat isn’t where you might die — though that does happen — it’s where you find out whether you get to keep on living. Don’t underestimate the power of that revelation. Don’t underestimate the things young men will wager in order to play that game one more time.”
Exactly. I needed to keep on living. Thus began a new battle: the off-road big bike obsession, which eventually led to my sometimes abusive, sometimes unrequited love affair with the mighty 2009 KTM 950 Super Enduro (950SE-R Ezberg Edition). The SE is, without a doubt, the most incredible machine ever gifted from the moto-gods to Mortal Man. The Devil himself probably sits up and takes notice when the two-wheel trophy truck blasts by. It’s a stupidly powerful and stupidly fun bike to ride, and I love it, even though its attempts on my life are both frequent and fantastic.
A few years later, some unrelated medical hobby work on the part of Uncle Sam presented me with the opportunity and motivation which only an unexpected brush with mortality can furnish. As I lay alone near death in a hospital bed in the worst pain of my life, fighting a steadily worsening, out-of-control infection, I resolved to wring every drop of experience out of this new opportunity at life.
Thus in bloody agony, the Unibrawler was born.
I’m Brian. As I write this in late 2016, I’m a 39-year old Infantryman in the US Army. I’ve jumped out of planes in the black of night with a thousand close friends at my side, I’ve stalked the sweltering streets of Baghdad under the eerie glow of night vision equipment, and I’ve chatted with a local wannabe warlord while stealing ice cream bars from a passing cart vendor in Afghanistan. I have an endlessly patient wife, three incredible kids with their own moto desires, and a house in the suburbs with a postage stamp yard guarded by three ridiculously large mutts. Life is surreal sometimes.
I started riding street bikes when I was 19. While I was serious about that off and on, I only started riding “adventure” bikes when I was 36. I ran my first single track on a dirtbike at 37 and my first off-road race a few months later at 38. I paid my registration for the Baja Rally a few months before my 39th birthday, with a grand total of a year and a half of hardcore off-road experience.
When I screw around, I don’t screw around.
I started this webpage for several reasons. First, I have write-ups and facebook posts and gear reviews all over the place. People keep asking me where to find them. Moreover, friends and acquaintances have offered me a glimmer of hope at post-military retirement income by raving about my writing. OK, it was one friend. And one acquaintance. Certainly no one well schooled in my wholesale destruction of the English language. But still, it would appear some folks enjoy my ramblings.
Next, some incredible companies have chosen to sponsor me in my ill-conceived endeavors. Getting past how insanely foreign and amazing that concept sounds for a Joe Lunchbox rider like me, it seems only fair that I assemble some semi-coherent body of work to show what I’m doing with their support. Plus, the riding community is replete with fanatical jihads centering on oil, tires, brands, gadgets, gizmos, technique, and a hundred other topics. Might as well add my voice to the cacophony, since I’ve spent a lot of time learning the hard way.
Most importantly of all, I started collecting my work here because people have asked me how I arrived at the decision to ride my ass off and where I learned about X or Y, and what my background is. “Wait, you’ve been riding off-road for how long???” “You’re doing what???” As with riding, I find myself only a decade or so behind the power curve, throwing myself into starting a website blog. Hey, whatever it takes. If I can do it, anyone can. I want people to be inspired. Be challenged. Be stronger. The most epic journey starts with a few steps…and probably a lot of bitching and throwing of tools and broken parts. A sense of humor probably helps too.
Sounds stupid. Let’s do it!
Welcome to the ride.
- Let’s just get this out there already. Finish the Dakar Rally. “Dude, that’s the Everest of motorcycling! You’re insane!” Overly presumptive and a little crazy? You bet your ass. But that’s my kind of crazy. Tell me I can’t.
- Iron Man the SCORE Baja 1000. Again, my kind of stupid.
- Ride on three continents with each of my three kids. My oldest is 13 now. By the time she’s 17, we’ll head off on some epic journey before her senior year of high school. Kids deserve that kind of adventure!
- Inspire people to ride like the heroes they always wanted to be. You don’t have to be young Ricky Brabec or another one of those martians (that’s a compliment!) to ride to the best of your ability and always push.
- Start a moto-adventure based business and stop “working” for a living, without growing to hate my favorite form of play.