Going on a long mountain bike requires a significant amount of “gear.” Yesterday I planned to go on a ride after an interview, so I loaded all my “gear” in the car and took off.

Gear Checklist:

  • Bike: Specialized Stumpjumper hardtail (old)
  • Helmet: Fancy Bell
  • Shorts: SheBeast brand with a lovely chamois (crucial)
  • Top: Sports bra and jersey
  • Socks: light wool
  • Ponytail holders: Two for pigtails (stays out of the way of my helmet)
  • Sunglasses: Scratched but functional
  • Backpack: Camelback style, with full water bladder.
  • Repair supplies: Small pump, patch kit, spare tube, multi-tool, lube
  • Food: frozen burrito (thawed by lunchtime), gel, Larabars, and a homemade jelly bar (not made at my home)
  • Care products: sunscreen, lube for body chafing
  • Emergency supplies: long-sleeve jacket, leg warmers, iodine tablets, matches, space blanket, compass, map, lighter, more food
I am ready to go! Bring on the 20 mile adventure over the ridgetops! Wait.
I forgot my shoes. My special, SPD clip-in shoes. And I’m about 20 miles from their current location, on the bedroom floor.
Goodbye 20 mile ride, hello 5 mile hike.

Appropriate motion

Sometimes I think that our bodies desire to move through different landscapes at different speeds. Usually while driving in my car, I don’t feel particularly connected to the landscape. It is just the space that I happen to be moving through as I get around. Then I drove through the Salt Flats of Utah. Wow. I remember thinking, “This land wants to be moved through at a minimum of 90 mph.” The long expansive flats of nothingness were a joy to speed through. I felt that at that great speed I really saw and appreciated the land. For me, there are few places on the planet that I’ve known like this.

Where I rode today was not one of those places. The trail I rode today was better experienced running than biking. At least for my body. Other fitter and better technical riders no doubt relish the technical rocky climbs of Upper Upper. I did not. Instead, I found myself wondering why whenever I dismounted from my bike and found myself on foot I started grinning like a fool. As I struggled over the up and down rocky terrain I suddenly realized, This is a perfect running trail. Of course! I should be leaping off these rocks, rebounding off the turn with a swiftness and stealth of foot that I cannot match on bike.

Unlike most in this biking town, I remain at neuron more a runner than a biker. How long until synapses change?

Tony’s Trail and Upper Upper Loop in a T fashion, 8 miles?

Not a champion

First, I dawdled on the computer.

Then, I slowly got dressed.

Then, it looked like rain.

Then, my rear brake cables weren’t working right.

Then, I said, this is pathetic. Just go ride.

Then, I almost turned back early in case the sun set in record time.

Then, I started riding faster.

And faster.

Less braking.

More cranking.

Ah! Flowy! I get it!

Cranking + knowing the trail + feeling good + a send of urgency – braking = better flow

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lower lower loop & upper lower loop, 9 miles?


I’ve learned that when I say, “Let’s go for a short run,” this means something different to me than to most people. Experience matters a lot in any athletic endeavor, particularly for endurance activities far from home. And for newcomers, uphills can be especially tricky, particularly if you don’t know the way. Etiquette can vary too. How often do you stop to wait for those trailing behind, or do you even let them fall behind at all? Such differences in expectations can lead to unfortunate results, such as in this ride. We lost a rider, who we probably should have waited for sooner.

Sometimes expectations turn out surprisingly pleasant, though. Despite my memory of Snodgrass as a flowing downhill, it was not the killer slog when ridden in reverse. No, I dont’ mean backwards on my bike, silly. I’d need a mountain bike fixie for that, and that is just CRAZY (though I hear some folks do it). As it turns out, Snodgrass is a lovely ride uphill, though with some killer ups that my tired legs just didn’t quite make. That might have been expectation too, though. I expected to be tired today, and rode cautiously.

I did not expect rain. I certainly did not expect hail. Yet, on that final ridge we rode, “just for kicks…why not?” we saw both. I grinned and giggled my way down, though damned if I rode any faster. Giggling idiot, soaked and pelted. Very fun ride.

Monday, July 19, 2011

Up the rec path, to Washington Gulch, up Snodgrass, down Snodgrass, to Lupine, down to Slate River Rd and back to town.

14 miles?

with Mark


Sickness has settled into my body, specifically into the top of my neck, nose, and throat. I can barely have a conversation without exhaustion, let alone contemplate a real mountain bike ride. With my balance off as it is, I’d be lucky to make it down even the mildest downhill today. At least that’s how I feel.

So I rode to the Performing Arts Center. And watched a brilliant dress rehersal for a comedic symphonic concert tonight. The seat massaged my neck if I slouched and gently rotated my head. Heaven.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Around town

1 mile


My body said enough. Six days of riding, one night of drinking, and two hours of sleep puts me in rather unpleasant altered states of consciousness. I’m not quite sure how I managed to ride up Slate River Road to Rick’s house to watch the Tour de France at 7 a.m., but somehow I managed. And got back without crashing horrendously, despite my body’s protests and severe unbalance. A “real” ride will have to wait.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Slate River Road to Rick’s House

4 miles

Dead legs keep moving

My legs felt dead from when I arose this morning, but somehow I still managed to fit two rides in before 2 p.m. The first was at 7:30 a.m. with Liz, and overall felt manageable. It was when I felt the exhaustion in my body after returning that I began to dread the second ride. Wildman called to get ready to go right when I was contemplating a short nap. Argh. Amazingly, my legs kept moving and by the end of the day climbing up Kebler Pass, I actually felt okay, better than at the start. This isn’t going so badly…

Friday, July 15, 2011

  1. Lupine trail to Upper Lower loop, 11 miles? with Liz
  2. Dyke Trail from Y turnoff, 14 miles with Wildman

It will justify the beer

That’s what Kevin says when we decide to do a quick spin around Lower Loop. He leads me through an aspen grove full of the most prolific Columbine patch I’ve ever seen. His intimate knowledge of the curves leaves me behind, his loving sweeps contrasting with my stuttering brakes along the curvy trail. Flow requires intimate knowledge of body, bike, and trail. I’m getting better at the first two but lacking the latter. His gorgeous riding is my envy and desire, a movement made natural by what must be known and felt, learned and embodied.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lower Loop

9 miles

With Kevin


This was a ‘ham sandwich’ ride, or in my case, a over-baking powdered tortilla and peanut butter ride. I ate half of my biscuit-like tortilla and peanut butter sandwich at the top of the double-track climb, knowing there was more climb and thinking I needed the fuel. Okay, I ate all but two bites. The processed sugar-y peanut butter was delicious. Today I’m banking on my freaky genetic abilities to engage in mildly strenuous physical activity for periods of time unjustified by my previous exercise regime. From 11 miles to 30-ish miles, with twice the climbing or more? Why not? I’m Endura after all. This superpower relies heavily on my own bodily knowledge, knowing when and how far to push. Today I pushed too hard on that first climb on the two-track, leaving my walking my bike up the single-track climb like a sluggish dog. Have a gummi. Admire the view. Excuses, but good ones, to catch my breath and rest my burning legs. If I hadn’t done hellishly long runs and bikes before, and known my abilities, I would have been worried. Back in the saddle for the final ascent, and sit to enjoy the last two bites of that puffy tortilla. This view is like crack, providing the rush that makes the previous climb even more delicious. I’m one who enjoys the pain, so I can’t say that the view makes the climb “worth it.” Instead, the climb makes the view worth more. Uppers and downers, I’m developing an addiction to both (though on two wheels uppers are definitely my first love–the rush of the down is a bit much for me). This down is just my style, cross-country with bike-stopping views. But I am cashed. The road climb out of Gothic is my nemesis, but I prevail over that unforgiving bastard. While I could do Snodgrass if I HAD to, my body says it’s not a good idea with my tired muscles making my downhill sloppy and even the slightest singletrack uphill making me dismount. Body limits, body moves.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Deer Creek loop

30 miles, including wrong turns