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Crypto for DUMMIES

Crypto for DUMMIES

Well I just jumped into Cryptocurrency (pretty late in the game but there is always a second opportunity) and blockchain after talking w/ few of my friends. Here is my experience with digital currency and how to contribute/distribute cryptocurrencies.¬†This blog is solely based on my experience and is not compliant with any legal digital exchange(s) ūüôā

What is cryptocurrency: Designed as an exchange that uses crypto algorithm to secure its transactions. Bitcoin (BTC) was the 1st decentralized cryptocurrency developed and since then there has been a bunch of them in the market. It is a limited entry in a database.

In layman terms, Blockchain provider open decentralized database of every transaction involving money. In future it can be use to pay taxes, transfer money within seconds, and financial fraud will reduce as all the public transaction will be recorded on public ledger.

Every transaction which takes place on a network is a file that consists of the sender’s and recipient’s public keys and the amount of coins transferred. The transaction also needs to be signed off by the sender with their private key.

Cryptocurrency wallets- Wallets are software programs that store your public and private keys and interface with various blockchain so users can monitor their balance and do monetary transactions.

My favorite Cryptocurrency/Tokens:

Ether (ETH) : Ethereum is a decentralized platform for applications. With ethereum, servers are replaced by nodes run by people across the continent. A team developed CryptoKitties and people have started buying CryptoKitties on Ether blockchain. I feel there is more to come and price will reach north of $1000.

Ripple: XRP enables banks to settle cross-border payments in real time, with end-to-end transparency.¬† XRP has jumped a lot with¬†new link to some Japanese credit card companies. XRP has jumped roughly 28,000% in FY 2017. Expecting XRP to reach $5 by end of 2018 ūüėÄ

There are smaller cryptocurrencies that might have a promising future return for investors. Promising altcoins includes Litecoin (LTC), Stellar (XLM),  Cardano (ADA), TRON and IOTA.

How to start: 

Coinbase: A user friendly interface to start buying/selling bitcoin, litecoin, ether and bitcoin cash. Other crypto and tokens are not yet supported on coinbase. You can buy thru your checking/savings account or credit card. Credit Card transaction usually takes around 2-3 hours for a purchase but there is transaction fees charged on it. Coinbase is a user friendly interface to get started.

Referral link: https://www.coinbase.com/join/5a1476a9876c4400d91018b3

If you want to save the transaction fee then you can use GDAX to transaction your crypto currency to other interface.

Gdax is a digital exchange coinbase interface- https://www.gdax.com/

Bitstamp: A good interface to buy Ripple (XRP). You can buy XRP using other cryptocurrency and USD. You can also wire transfer or use credit card to purchase XRP. While buying thru credit card make sure that the card is eligible for international transactions and that you are enrolled to the 3D Secure program.

Binance:  One-stop services of digital assets. I like binance because of the fact that you can limit order or market order on binance which is not available on coinbase nor bitstamp- https://www.binance.com/?ref=11710066

There are few cryptocurrency trading bots available in the market which  fully automate your currencies  by trading robots running 24/7. I have not yet used crypto robo advisor.

There are few Cryptocurrency hardware wallet in market as well. These are basically hardware wallet for securing digital payments. Few hardware wallets- Ledger Nano S Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet, KeepKey: the Simple Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet

UNCLE SAM!! Don’t forget to pay taxed on virtual currency. More at¬†https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-14-21.pdf

Future: Personally¬†I like the fact that oBike from Singapore are launching oCoing tied to TRON (entertainment ecosystem) token. Bikers will be receiving the oCoins by riding the bike. I am also doing my homework on the use case of health incentives where swashbucklers can earn coins for hiking, biking, skiing and running. They can earn this new coin if they doing any health related activities and it can be integrated to corporate companies as well to generate rewards. Please contact me if you are a developer and interested in this use case ūüôā

Useful Links: 

# Well Google is your friend ūüôā

# Check the market cap and circulating supply: https://coinmarketcap.com

# Coin prediction: https://coincheckup.com/predictions 

# Great forum for digital currency discussion: https://www.reddit.com

# Search the blockchain: https://live.blockcypher.com

# Crypto described in 4 words: https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/19/100-cryptocurrencies-described-in-4-words-or-less

# iPhone/Driod apps: HODL, Coincap, BTCNews, StickTwits

 

Gracias and lets watch the volatility of cryptocurrency market in 2018. Please navigate to contact us page and use any social media to get in touch with me to discuss this trending topic.

Published: December 31, 2017

Steps to apply H4 EAD

Here are the few steps which I followed for filing H4 EAD Application- new and renewal application. This blog is solely based on my experience and nothing to do with acceptance and denial of someone else application. Always read USCIS H4 employment links before preparing your package.

Basis for Work Authorization:

    • Approved Form I-140
    • H-1B Principal Received AC21 106(a) and (b) Extension.

H4 I-765 application form:

    • Full Name: Legal First, Middle, last Name
    • Address in the United States: Address you stay
    • Country of Citizenship/Nationality- Your citizenship based on passport. If you are a dual citizen, write the country noted on your I-20, which should match the passport you use
    • Date of Birth – month/day/year
    • Social Security Number: If you have a SSN then write it but If you do not have a Social Security Number, write ‚ÄúN/A‚ÄĚ
    • Alien Registration Number (A-Number) or I-94 Number: 11-digit I94 record number. Refer https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/consent.html
    • Have you ever before applied for employment authorization from USCIS? If you have never applied for an EAD before, mark ‚ÄúNo‚ÄĚ. If you have applied for an EAD in the past, mark ‚ÄúYes‚ÄĚ finish the questions at the top of the next column. Which USCIS Office? – Write the USCIS office. Example LIN ‚Äď Nebraska Service Center, EAC ‚Äď Vermont Service Center , SRC ‚Äď Texas Service Center , WAC ‚Äď California Service Center.¬†Date(s) -Valid from and Card Expires date from EAD card. Results -Granted or Denied
    • Date of Last Entry into the U.S. (mm/dd/yyyy)- Put Last City in US and also put port of entry (if both are different)
    • Current Immigration Status- H4 Visa
    • Current Immigration Status: C26
    • Current Immigration Status: H1B I797 number (start with EAC or LIN ..)

 

Here are the documents which I have sent for H4 EAD application:

    • 2 colored photo of 2*2 inch (Write name and I94 number on back with Pencil and black light ink)
    • Cashier‚Äôs Check- Check payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security for $380
    • I-765 form
    • Form G-1145
    • I-140 approval of spouse
    • I-94 of EAD Applicant
    • I-94 of Spouse
    • I-797A of EAD Applicant
    • I-797A of spouse
    • Birth Certificate of Applicant
    • Marriage Certificate
    • Stamped Copy of H1 and H4 Visa (optional)
    • Driver License of Applicant (optional)
    • Employment verification letter of spouse (optional)

Please refer to the latest documents required based on https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/employment-authorization-certain-h-4-dependent-spouses

 

H4 EAD Renewal application:

    • You cannot file for a renewal EAD more than 120 days before your original EAD expires
    • Please send your I797 Notice of action (Notice Type: Approval of Action), ¬†EAD card and the receipt on which the previous EAD was attached. I have heard that the paper w/ attached EAD is also required, so please don’t trash it (I have trashed one)
    • Send all the applications documents as listed above. The process doesn’t change for new application vs renewal except the above 2 point

 

Key things to note:

    • Two identical two-by-two-inch passport-style color photographs. Print Name and I94 number of back of photo
    • I765- Please sign the form w/ black ink. Don’t sign outside of the space provided
    • Place of last entry: I feel this is bit¬†confusing in the case when¬†port of entry is outside of the US (eg Abu Dhabi). In this case your last entry into the US and port of entry will be different. I’d just put Last Entry as US City, Port of Entry: Port of Entry¬†as per I-94
    • Where to send your package: Refer to C 26 section on this link: https://www.uscis.gov/i-765-addresses and send it to the address based on H1 most recent Form I-797 Notice of Approval (begins with EAC or LIN, SRC or WAC)
    • Use latest version of Form I-765
    • You cannot file for a renewal EAD more than 120 days before your original EAD expires

 

Few important links:

Good Luck and this process is helping tons of H4 dependent to step outside of their house and start working. Please navigate to contact us page and use any social media to get in touch with me to discuss my experience w/ H4 EAD application process or any other questions.

Published: August 28, 2016

H1B Stamping

Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application – H1B Visa Stamping. This is solely my experience and process which I followed for H1B Visa stamping ( 2 years back in 2014). This blog does not guarantee your visa stamping approval or denial. Please contact ustraveldocs.com for latest information or any changes.

Step1:
Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form which is available at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/

Frequently Asked Questions about the DS-160
a) Are you 10 printed? If I don’t know then I select No
b) Purpose of trip to US: Temporary Worker. Enter your Visa expiry date in Date of Departure from US
c) Address where you will stay: Your US address
d) Application Number/Petition Number: This is EAC number on your I-797 form
e) Contact Person Name in US: I prefer to enter my Employer Immigration Department Contact Information
f) Have you been in the US: I enter all my arrival date in US till date

Payment at AXIS bank /Citibank option-
Note that without getting the receipt number from bank one won’t be able to see the calendar. Now create your account at http://portal.ustraveldocs.com/?language=English&country=India and enter all the relevant information, after few pages you will get the confirmation number (U.S. visa fee collection slip). Before going to the bank in India, you must print and carry the applicable U.S. visa fee collection slip. You need to give this collection slip along with visa application fee to get the receipt number. After receiving your payment, the bank will give you a receipt. You can schedule your interview within 4-5 hours of paying your visa application fee

Step 2:
Visa applicants, are required to pay a non-refundable visa application fee. Visa Fee amount is available at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-visafeeinfo.asp

Bank and Payment Options: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-paymentinfo.asp. Note that now Over the Counter is AXIS Bank and Citibank
Bank locations: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-loc-bank.asp

Step 3:
Again login to http://portal.ustraveldocs.com/?language=English&country=India to schedule an appointment. The receipt number will already be pre-populated on your account so you will be able to see the calendar on next page.

Now we need to schedule two appointments, one for the OFC and one for the visa interview at the Embassy
First, schedule your visa interview appointment at the Embassy and then schedule your Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) appointment. OFC appointment must be at least 1 day before your visa interview appointment at the Embassy

Step 4:
Once you take the date you can click on
Appointment Confirmation link and get the confirmation print out.
As per US travel doc: For your Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) appointment, you will need to bring:
· A passport valid for travel to the United States with validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person desiring a visa must submit an application.
· Your DS-160 confirmation page.
· Your appointment confirmation page.

Following your visit to the OFC to have your photo and fingerprints taken, you will then visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview. You will need to bring:
· A printed copy of your appointment letter,
· Your DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken within the last six months,
· Your current and all old passports, and the
· Original visa fee payment receipt.
Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

Information available at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/index.html

 

Published: August 23, 2016

National Parks Visited

National Park visited so far-

1) Crater Lake National Park–¬†Located in southern Oregon. Famous of deep blue water. This park is called as¬†The¬†Old Man of the Lake. Attempted¬†Snow shoe Hiking in December 2012 which was an indelible experience. Crater Lake Album

2) Death Valley National ParkРLocated in California which is famous for race tracks. Located Great Basin and Mojave deserts this park is known for record summer heat. Death Valley Album

3)¬†Grand Canyon National Park– Located in Arizona and I’d say one should visit this park and try to attempt Rim to Rim hike. This park is famous for its spectacular view of the formation of rocks, overwhelming size, multicolored rock walls, steep valley’s and amazing scenery. Grand Canyon Album

4) Rocky Mountain National ParkРLocates near Denver, Colorado. One of the biggest park and one should attempt to hike the diamonds peaks. Few of the gorgeous lakes are Nymph lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald lake. Rocky Mountain Album

5) Black Canyon of the GuinissonРLocates in West Colorado. We did a day hike down to the Guinisson river. 2,000 foot tall canyon walls dropping almost vertically to the Gunnison River where you can see the rock climbers. Black Canyon Album

6) Great Sand DunesРLocates in San Luis Valley, Colorado. Best part of this park is Sand Dunes and Snow peaks at the same location. This park contains longest sand dunes in North America. Sand Dunes Album

7) Great Smoky Mountains National ParkРLocated in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Really cool downtown to try moon shine . The Alum Cave Trail is a beautiful hiking trail which ascend towards Mt. LeConte. Clingmans Dome is third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Smoky Mt. Album

8) Mount Rainer National ParkРHighest peak which is located at Seattle . I just took a drive to this park. Need to hike this sometime soon.

9) Yellowstone National ParkРLocate on the border of Wyoming, Montana this park famous for volcanic eruption, geysers, and hot springs. Park boundaries enclose craggy peaks, alpine lakes, deep canyons. Yellow Stone Album

10) Hot Springs National Park– Locate in Arkansas, about 300 mile north west of Dallas, this part is famous for hot spring water and bath house.

11) Arches National Park- Exclusive for hiking at Big O Arch and Delicate Arch. Amazing landscapes, beautfull rocks and famous for delicate and landscape arch.

12) Canyon Land National Park- Beautiful canyons, horse shoe view and get more info from the movie 127 hours.

13) Virgin Island National Park- Located at St. John U.S. Virgin Islands which is famous for beautiful white sand beaches, snorkelling and scuba. Few are the beaches like trunk bay, cinnamon bay, maho bay, hawksnest are breath taking. There are ferries from Charlotte Amalie and Red Hook throughout the day to Cruz bay, St. John. After leaving the ferry just keep travelling in your car throughout the park to see an amazing view of this island.

14) Acadia National ParkРVisit Maine during fall foliage. This is located at Maine’s Mt. Desert Island, Atlantic coast. Best time to visit is October if you want to see the beautiful fall colors along the ocean. Visit Cadillac Mountain and please forget to carry your windproof jacket.

15) Bryce Canyon¬†National Park–¬†Amazing glowing hoodoos and best 3 mile hike at Navajo and Queen’s garden loop.

16)¬†Olympic National Park- I have blurry memories of this park because of heavy rain and fog when I visited it ūüėČ

Other ‘popular’¬†State Park and Canyon’s visited-

1) Antelope Canyon located near Page, Arizona is one of most beautiful canyons located in South West which is famous for sightseers. Antelope Canyon Album

2) Glen Canyon/Horse Shoe Bend– Horse shoe bend is a horse-shoe shaped bend located 5 miles away from Glen Canyon Dam within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The horse shoe hike is located outside the city Page. It overlooks one of the great view of Colorado River. Horse Shoe Bend Album

3) Lake Ouachita State Park near Hot Springs, Arkansas- Surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest this park is famous for natural beauty. Lake Ouachita is a water sports mecca for swimming, scuba diving, boating, and fishing.

4) Devil’s Den State Park, Arkansas- This park is located in¬†Lee Creek Valley of the Ozark Mountains.¬†Good time to visit this park is in Spring and¬†is ideal for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.¬†Few good trails are¬†Devil’s Den Trail, Vista Point Trail. Devil’s Den Album

5) Mount Washington State Park, New Hampshire- The summit is the highest peak in the North East and you should visit the park in October via Kancamagus Highway to see falls colors. The park is accessible by road, Mount Washington Cog Railway, Appalachian Trail and hiking few trails. Mt. Washington Album

6) White River State Park, Indiana

7) Degray lake State Park, Arkansas

Blogger: Akhil Jain

One Degree of Separation: http://www.theswashbucklers.net/?page_id=423, facebook

 

Published: April 12, 2015

States Visited

States and territories visited in the USA since 2008-

1)     ArizonaРPhoenix, Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Sedona, Antelope Canyon

2) ¬† ¬†¬†Arkansas– Eureka Springs, Devil’s Den,¬†Lake Ouachita

3)     CaliforniaРSFO, LA, Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley, Zephyr Cove, Nevada Beach, Death Valley

4)     ColoradoРDenver, Rocky Mountain, Garden of Gods, Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of Gunnison 

5)     FloridaРMiami, Key West, Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, Cocoa beach

6)     KansasРManhattan

7) ¬† ¬†¬†Louisiana–¬†Shreveport

8)     MassachusettsРBoston, Cambridge

9)    MissouriРKansas City

10)   MontanaРWest Yellow Stone

11)   NevadaРLas Vegas, Reno

12)   New HampshireРMt. Washington, Kancamagus Highway

13)   New JerseyРJersey City,  Atlantic City

14)   New YorkРNYC, Niagara Falls, Buffalo

15)¬†¬†¬†Oklahoma–¬†Oklahoma City

16)   OregonРPortland, Crater Lake, Canyon Beach

17)¬†¬†¬†Pennsylvania–¬†Philadelphia

18)   Rhode IslandРProvidence, Newport

19)   TexasРDallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, St. Padre

20)   TennesseeРGreat Smoky Mountain

21)   UtahРSalt Lake, Moab

22)   VirginiaРRichmond

23)   WashingtonРSeattle, Mt. Rainier

24)   WyomingРYellow Stone

25) Maine– Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park

26) Indiana–¬†Indianapolis, Columbus

Inhabited territories-

1)¬†¬†Puerto Rico–¬†San Juan, El Yunqie Rain Forest, ¬†and Fajardo Island

2) US Virgin Islands- St. Thomas, St. John, and Water Island

 

Blogger: Akhil Jain

One Degree of Separation: http://www.theswashbucklers.net/?page_id=423 , facebook

Published: April 12, 2015

Grand Canyon R2R

Grand Canyon North Rim to South Rim hike: November 2013

Never give up.. Don’t ever… Trust me that the miracle was not that we hiked Grand Canyon north rim to south rim but the miracle was that we had the courage to hike rim to rim in 1 day.

2nd November- We reached South Rim around 7AM and parked the car and took a shuttle to North Rim. Don’t really remember the drive as I was sleeping in the shuttle ūüôā

We reached north rim around 11am. Met the ranger and told her the plan to rim to rim in a day and she was like “that we be aggressive” and we were like “let’s do it”.. Another few minutes we started downhill from the kabab trail..

Day 1 plan was to hike 7miles and sleep early as the plan for day 2 was aggressive and we have to hike around 15 miles with the 7 mile up hill hike. So finally we started descending which was pretty awesome, taking pictures, cracking jokes and getting the feel of red rocks and huge mountain. So technically we started our hike around 12pm on day 1 and around 4 pm we reached the cottonwood campground. After reaching the campground we assembled our tents and started planning for day 2. The campground was very well managed. We started cooking after sometime and had a really good time. Went to the tent around 8PM.. Temperature was down to 30F.. But the excitement was at the par.

3rd November- We woke up at 3.15AM, wrapped up the tents and other stuff and started our hike at around 4AM. It was pitch dark and the view was simply superb. Trekking around the Colorado river within the canyon is an experience which can’t be explained. You have to be there to just get the feel for it. Stars were so close to us that one can touch them. We hike around 7miles towards the bright angel Campground. We reached at this campground around 6.30AM. This is the best camp ground I have had ever seen in. Any campground. I can’t believe that there are lodges and a restaurant inside the canyon.
Now it was the toughest part of the hike. Hiking around 7 miles and reach the south rim by noon.. Few miles ahead of the campground on South Kaibab Trailhead is the bridge to cross the Colorado river. The view over there is gorgeous. I would say this is the best part of the hike. It’s a paradise from where you can feel Colorado river, huge Grand Canyon, red rocks, and your hike which will never forget in your life. Took tons of amazing pics doing crazy activities on the bridge and had a really good time with my lads.

Now was the toughest part of the hike as we all can see the peak of the canyon and this was not the peak but this was the one of the canyon peak which we have to hike before reaching the south rim. We started heading uphill and slowly our emergent bar and gels came out of the pocket.. Lol.. It seems that me and Tom were getting tired but the best part was that we were mentally prepared. Georgie, Bhavik, Husain were energetic and we all were super duper excited. After 3 or 4miles I completely lost my energy. I was not able to walk and that was the worst part of the hike. Every 5minutes I started taking rest. Georgie was walking along with me at that time and he was completely pushing me. That push was really very important at that particular time because I was completely drained. More over I think that I was loosing patience.

I feel that’s when you are attempting a challenge like this then it’s all about the mental state, ability to control your patience, emotions and frustrations. Once your control all these bad vibes then everything is possible. I’d rather again say that everything is possible and impossible just takes longer. Sometimes the situation is not the problem which makes you down, it is the reaction to the situation that creates the problem.. After finishing those 2 or 2.5 miles of the hike I was kind of better. We stopped at the top of canyon and attempted array exception again. Now we were like 3 miles away from the south rim and body was completely loosing the energy. This time Bhavik was along with me to push hard to finish the last lap of the hike. Last few miles were challenging but full of enthusiasm. The trail was changing the color as the altitude was changing. I think the total elevation was like 7200 feet. We again stopped at the base which was around mile ahead of south rim.. We all were very excited as it was around 11AM and we were a mile ahead to finish the hike. Listening to music, eating energy gel, taking pictures and feeling one of the most energetic trip of the life was the last mile. We finished the hike at around 12.30PM and that was just “wow” . After that we visited a restaurant and cheered up for the rim to rim hike. Our body was soar and legs were hurting badly. We started driving back towards Phoenix airport which was the again the toughest drive in the pain. Finally we reached the airport and it was the end one of the most beautiful journey and the start for few more upcoming hikes. More to more and more to hike. In every hike of nature one receives far more than he seeks..

Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body.. But rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting “holy shit… What a hike!!”

Blogger: Akhil Jain
Hikers: Akhil, Georgie, Bhavik, Tom, Mustafa
R2R Route: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bxf5MiFFCNPadjJGTzY5aDRaakU
Pics: facebook 

Published: April 12, 2015

Bike MS Round-Up Ride

MS 150 Round-Up Ride (Bicycle Ride)
15 indelible hrs, 150+ incredible miles
May 4th/5th 2013

Let me back track a little for you, trust me I won’t go past 2 months when I thought of participating in MS 150 bike ride. By the way MS (Multiple Sclerosis) is a progressive neurological disease that affects people in many different ways. It could be paralysis one day, loss of vision the next or impaired memory the day after that. So 2 months back I was talking w/ Jeff and he mentioned about MS 150 and his brief experience since last 5-6 years and then he got me introduced to George from Texas Revolutions team. I read about MS and why people ride to raise fund for MS. I thought that this can be a good way of¬†making a difference in the lives of those living with MS and a great¬†opportunity¬†to test my limits and try something new. Finally me and Jeff started biking practice. We used to bike once in 2 weeks for around 20 miles and then visit Sunny’s place for dinner. Sanika/Sunny we owe you queso and XX ;). After work practice was somewhat challenging but I tried to ride 20-22 miles on my hybrid bike.¬†Just a week before the race Jeff, Lisa and Jason arranged a road bike for me. Thanks Jason ūüôā

Returning back to Day 1- May 4th. Our team reached at Dr. Pepper Arena Frisco at 6.30AM. I was full of energy and excitement to ride but really nervous with my 1st ride. Mentally ¬†was prepared to finish 150 mile but¬†the fact’s were that I never biked for more than 25 miles. When I saw the riders suffering from MS and participating, I was like- the¬†miracle isn’t that I’m biking for the 1st time but the miracle is that these brave hearts ¬†have the courage to bike. Very inspiring people living with MS and riding. Well we crossed Dallas Parkway and moved towards Celina town. 1st lap was close to 13 miles and full of energy. Excellent services at the rest stop. Next 13 miles towards Pilot Point city were also full of energy as every rider crossing you was cheering up. Now comes the exciting part of the day- Ray Roberts State Park. No doubt it was a great view, waves rippling over the lake but the wind chill of approx 35 miles/hr made the ride really challenging.¬†¬†Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving and I moved on.¬†After that¬†challenging¬†lap we stopped at Sanger High School for lunch and we almost finished 45 miles \m/ . We didn’t spent more than 15 minutes at lunch and started biking again. I was getting tired after lunch but then I saw a¬†fighter biking on a hand powered cycle. Well that was enough to motivate myself. Rest stop 4 was at Denton and after that the last rest stop was at Ponder city. At the last rest stop Jeff told that- Only 13 miles left and I was like Wow!! I can’t imagine I’m so close to finish Day 1. Thanks Jeff for riding at my pace throughout :). Last lap was really smooth and I was waiting to reach the Finish line. We were close to finish line and everyone was cheering us. I really can’t explain the feeling of crossing the finish line. We reached at the texas revolutions tent and met our team mates. Everyone was so happy to meet each other after the finish line ūüôā

Day 2- Woke up again at 5AM. Reached at Texas Motor Speedway with body ache and pain. They opened the speedway track at 6.30AM. You might have seen nascar race on the the track but you need to participate in MS 150 to get the feel of biking on the speedway :P. Though temperature was around 42F but 13 miles towards¬†Fairview town were not bad. Next 10 miles were again challenging but then I thought that every stop will be my target until I reach the finish line. Lunch was at Decatur High School and we finished 30 miles before the lunch. Rest Stop was at Boyd town and I was getting exhausted. After crossing Boyd, I was like skipping next 10 miles but I thought about Armstrong – “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.‚ÄĚ Next 11 miles towards the last stop were the most difficult miles of my life ;). Those miles tested my patience, my stamina, my anger and eagerness to achieve 150 miles. I was¬†completely¬†exhausted at the last rest stop of the day at Rhome town and was wondering that I can be the Turtle of the Day.. lol ;). Everything is possible and impossible just takes longer and I was just 15 miles away from the finish line. I feel last 15 miles were like a piece of cake as I was full of energy during my last lap :D. I think we finished the last 15 miles in an hour. Finish line at TMS was visible to me and I heard people shouting “Go Fidelity” and at the finish like George speaking- Great Job Akhil :). Thanks George and other members for creating Texas Revolutions ūüôā After that¬†Steve comments like Akhil Attaboy; Axel again motivated me and yes I’m ready for next MS 150 ride and to raise funds to¬†make a difference in the lives of those living with MS.

It’s true that finishing MS 150¬†is about heart, not just legs. If you can achieve something without a struggle it’s not going to be satisfying.¬†After completing finishing 150 mile ride I experienced the pain of people living with MS. ¬†Every mile spent during 15 hrs is dedicated to the fighters suffering from MS.

Life is not about being self-centered but it’s about fighting for someone.. Fighting until last breath.. Never giving up.. ¬†Life‚Äôs journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body.. But rather to skid in sideways, re-defining the craziness, and shouting ‚ÄúHell yeah‚Ķ We enjoyed every moment of the life… ‚ÄĚ

Blogger: Akhil Jain

Riders/Volunteer: George, Steve, Jason, Diana, Lisa, Justin, Jeff, Michelle, Spence, Justin, Brenda, Robert, Akhil
Pics: Google+
Ride Check-in: foursquare
About MS: What is MS

Published: April 12, 2015

Austin Dragon Boat

15th Annual Austin Dragon Boat Festival
Festival Beach at Lady Bird Lake, Austin
April 27th 2013

This started last year when I joined Dallas Delite family (now DUC Delite) . I met Jovin at White Rock Lake and we started practicing at the white rock deck. Day 1 was pretty boring as I was continuously practicing for an hour. And I remember the next day after that practice when I woke up, I was like I’m done with this, ¬†as my lower back was hurting me. ¬†But now that’s not the case or else I would not have been paddling till now ūüėČ

Coming back to Austin Dragon Boast Festival 2013. This was my first race at Austin. We started driving on Friday along with Serey and Archi. The drive was not bad as half of the way I was sleeping ūüėČ . So kind of Serey for driving us every time ūüôā Reached around 11.30 and crashed soon. Saturday morning woke up at around 5.30AM and reached at race site on time. The weather was gloomy for sometime but who care’s, we all were there to get the 1st trophy of 2013.

It was a 500 meter competition. Our first heat had the time of 2:24. We secured the 1st position in the 1st race which boosted all the paddlers. Our second heat had a time of 2:19. After the second heat we had a break for around 90minute. We knew that we will make into top 5 ;). The final competitive race was against Austin Coolers, Houston Heats, Tora and Samsung Fire. The race was intense and I think everyone gave their best in the final race. With every stroke we were moving towards victory. We were waiting for the result and the output was- DUC Delite 3rd, Tora 2nd and Heats 1st. We defeated our biggest competitor which is Coolers. Winning takes talent and the result proves it.

After we came back to the house, everyone was tired but with a smile on every face :). Aaron, Bob, Jason were motivated to cook for the team. The food was delicious. Thanks guys was making such an awesome food after spending the entire day at the race. Followed by few drinks and food we went for the beer pallooza party at Molotov bar. The after party, dragon beer pong and dance was crazy. Jovin, Serey, Shirley and Angie were burning the race floor ūüėÄ

Thanks to Jovin in believing in us. This is a good start to the year. With every stroke we will bring smile to our team.

Blogger: Akhil Jain
DUC Delite family: Jovin, Eddie, Andy, Jason, Jennifer, Shirley, Randy, Aaron, Angie, Akhil, Archi, Serey, Natalie, Natalie, Gustavo, Sue
Team Moto: Give it our all with every stroke.. Take a win through every effort.. Leave a smile in every wave.. Make a friend on every ride
Check-in: foursquare
Pics: Dragon Boat

Published: April 12, 2015

Hero Rush Obstacle Race

Hero Rush- Tough, Crazy, Fear-Facing Fun
4-5 miles with 17+ obstacles created by firefighters
April 6th 2013
 
After finishing 1/2 marathon on 24th March; Me, Shishir and Prashant registered for fear facing fun- Hero Rush Obstacle Race. And then we started spreading the word and I¬† can’t believe that 13 swashbucklers registered for it and we named the team as The Swashbucklers.
The Day was really beautiful which started with the dragon boat practice early morning. Early morning I was at White Rock Lake for rowing practice and Aaron told me that he is also participating the the hero rush. After 90 min of rowing practice in the high tide he was full of enthusiasm to participate in the race which made me more energetic on that day ūüėÄ
 
Coming back to the race. We started the race at 1PM. The race started with Dispatch Descent. Heroes  have to climb to the platform and whoosh down the fire pole. Then you have to run for around 10-15 minutes  before to hit another obstacle. Few other obstacles on the way were Forcible Fury, Entanglement, muddy river, small mud hills, Crowd Control.
 
Stretching The Line was a good obstacle where  you need to get the hose within range of the blaze. One have to grab the tire and run which require energy to  pull the heavy tire.
 
Another obstacle which demonstrate your team work was Stretcher Evac. Hero rush describe this obstacle as-  When a victim requires urgent medical care,  you’ve got to transport them as quickly and safely as possible. But getting them onto the stretcher might just be step one- sometimes you encounter a slew  of obstacles in your path.
 
I enjoyed Towering Inferno where you have to climb over the dark, slippery stairwell. I call it as a beer tower too.. lol.. Once you climb that slippery  stairwell with water coming over you have to slide down. Its like a water slide at hurricane harbor waterpark.
 
Another obstacle I came through was Entanglement which is something similar to trapped collapsed stairs. One of the most exciting experience was Basement  Entrapped where you have to pull yourself to reach the top which require your arm strength and encounters body weight. Once you reach the top you have to  grab the hose and climb to safety. It was a balancing act.
 
Mud race obstacle included mud pits, mud-covered hills, mud bogs. One of the mud pit was to bury your toe shoesIt was hard to get your shoe off that mud pit but it was fun in itself.
 
Few other obstacles I think were to cool you down.. phew.. like HazMat Zone where you have to jump over the gel water . Another one was Foam Adventure where you get little sloppy followed by nozzles firing water at Bystander Blast obstacle.
Mazed & Confused which forces you into a low, tight, dark crawl. Hoarder’s Hell was all about smoky room full of trash and debris.
Last but not the  least was Fearless Finish with the open flame. And at the end it’s all that stands between you and that finish line.
 
‚ÄúThe miracle isn‚Äôt that we finished. The miracle is that we had the courage to start”. Overall it was a fun chasing the obstacles with a huge team. Hat’s off¬† to Ankita and Tanu for finishing the obstacles in close to 120 minutes. Great job!!
 
After the race was over we all went to a nepali restaurant. Everyone was exhausted, thirsty and hungry. Having a BYOB option at this restaurant helped us to  survive and  obviously chilled booze, tasty food was a big relief for everyone.
 
Looking back, sometimes life seems like  obstacle race but Obstacles cannot crush you. One can ride on over all the Obstacles..
 
 
Blogger: Akhil Jain
One degree of Separation: http://www.theswashbucklers.net/?page_id=423
Check In: foursquare
The Swashbucklers: Tanu, Ankita, Rishi, Vipul, Shishir, Abhijit, Akhil, Prashant, Rahul, Bhanu, Mayuresh, Hasnain, Rashida, Sonal, Sonam and Shreya

 

 

Published: April 12, 2015

13.1

Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon
24th March 2013

So before I start let me back track a little here for you… 3 months back I registered for Rock n Roll Half Marathon. I’d been a globetrotter but never a half marathon runner so as expected a question came into my mind ‘What Next?’. And the stupid answer was to post about it on facebook.. finally few more friends registered for the race.. So me, Prashant and Shishir finally kicked off our practice after that.. Shishir attempted 1/2 marahton last year and I knew he is full of energy.. So after few days of registration we met at the trail in Plano and started our practice.. I still remember the 1st few practice were like 3mi: I’m tired, 4mi: That’s enough…

My stride rate was really bad, Prashant was doing good and Shishir was really good… Eventually we started meeting almost every weekend and as usual after partying on Friday night, I tried to hammer next Saturday morning but eventually ended up in slow distances.. But as John Bingham defined miracle- “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.‚ÄĚ and I tried hard to run and run..

After a month Abhijit also started running with us.. He also attempted rock n roll last year.. Finally we started doing some more practice and started running around 6-7 miles… and last month we went to White Rock Lake Dallas and ran for 9 miles… This was my last long run before the race..

And Yes the idea to start The Swashbucklers came while doing the running practice.. I thought why don’t have our own One Degree of Separation portal where I can redefine craziness and post about my friends and the activities they are into…

Coming back to 24th March.. Frankly I was nervous as I wanted to finish 1/2 marathon within 2hrs 30min.. and for last 2 weeks I’d no practice… Woke up at 5.15 AM and had some cereals and reached at State Park.. Weather was like 45F, wind was like 25-30mi/hr and everyone at State Park was like What? What??

Reached at Young St and Lamar Street and the crowd was full of excitement. So we were finally 5 Swashbucklers starting together- Me (Akhil), Prashant, Shishir, Abhijit and Ajay.. The race started at 8AM and the crowd was all excited to rock n roll.. First 30 minutes were really bad because of the wind chill.. Shishir and Abhijit already took the lead and me, Prashant and Ajay were running side by side and suddenly I realized that I need to Pee.. lol.. After that there was no one I met until the end of the race.. 10 mile were not bad with the average pace of around 10.30.. Everyone around was full of energy and I was getting motivated to increase my pace. Volunteer were not bad as they tried to cheer up with unique and funny quotes.. As the longest run so far for me was 9mi and eventually after 10mile my legs started hurting me and I was really waiting to see the Finish Line. I was asking myself ‘Can I give more?’ and the answer was ‘Yes’. Yes I can do it… Even being motivated during the last 3 miles the pace was gradually going down. But people around me were running and volunteers were Cheering and I was like Let’s do it. Last 3 miles took 11:43 and the kick was challenging but I was satisfied that I’m about to finish it.

The overall experience is indelible and I’m really happy that I achieved something today. In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished and gained a new experience’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that. And yes I achieved my 1st half marathon today and looking forward for few more races this year. As someone told that the will to win means nothing without the will to prepare and special appreciation to everyone with whom I jump started the practice this year. Believe me or not but every mile I ran is a lifetime experience to me.

Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body.. But rather to skid in sideways, rocking 13.1, totally tired, shouting “Holy Shit… What a Marathon!!”

Blogger: Akhil Jain
Finish Time: 02:24:54
One Degree of Separation: http://www.theswashbucklers.net/?page_id=423
Running Course: http://runkeeper.com/user/akhiljain/activity/160044911
Live Race Results: http://running.competitor.com/cgiresults?eId=32
Local Check-in: foursquare

Swashbucklers Pic (Missing Ajay) – http://instagram.com/p/XQO0BgAVtw/

Published: April 12, 2015