adventure

Fat Tires

A new adventure was on my list for today. It involves big fat tires. A little snow. Some stamina. A positive attitude. A fabulous guide and the perfect terrain to conquer. Today’s adventure is snow biking. 

I had zero expectations. I knew it would be hard work but other than that I just wanted to give it a try. The scenery was amazing. The downward trek through the switchbacks was my favorite part of the ride. I loved the wind in my face and the feeling of freeness from the climb. The thrill of the whole adventure or what’s next was what I liked. The unknown.

The initial leg was the hardest. Getting used to the terrain. Learning the bike gears and really just how to pedal in snow and breathe. It’s really important to balance both. Too much too quick will gas you out. Too little will make fall over. It’s a process you have to figure out. It’s also a process to adjust to the harshness of the seat itself.

Once we had the hang of things we shifted from the wide trail to the narrow trail to climb the mountain. The trail isn’t straight up which is good news, but it means you have to zig zag your way up. That equates to lots of sharp turns, inclines, more work and so much more. As you get higher and higher the trail becomes less traveled. This makes it harder to follow the trail and not veer off course. With less tracks to follow the path gets narrower. The line you must adhere is extremely thin and not forgiving.

The porcUclimb trail was the hardest for me. It was the height of the climb. I was hot. Yes, hot in 20 degree weather. The air was taxing me as I huffed and puffed my way through the switchbacks and tree limbs. This is where I wiped out not once but twice. The word wipeout makes it sound awesome but it was really more of an I lost my track and tipped over. Nonetheless I ended up in the snow and had to brush off and move on. Much like life.

Soon enough I was at the top. A little water break. A little time to catch my breath. A few photos and time to reapply the heavier layers for the descent. This was the Downward Dog trail. My favorite and most thrilling ride. No spill on the decent. One close call but no wipeouts. I definitely rode down much faster than I went up. All and all the trek was close to three hours of awesomeness and hard work. I was so proud of myself for conquering a new form of fitness and embracing the experience itself including the cold. There were no complaints about the beautiful views in every direction.

Some fun sights along the way were the trail signs. Getting a little history on the area. The people watching. Seeing young families to older folks to young couples moving along via bike or cross country skis. I also saw so many different dogs with their humans. They all seemed to love running in the snow. They had a freeness to explore yet they stuck with their humans. From German Shepards to little mini doodles. I saw a good variety of dogs. This of course meant plenty of yellow snow, which I avoided.

I don’t know that I will ever be in another cold place to adventure out on a fat tire bike up a mountain but I can say I enjoyed my adventure today. I didn’t get to see any moose or deer but I did see their droppings and tracks so I guess it wasn’t my lucky day to see any wildlife.

If you at ever in Park City, Utah in the winter give snow biking a try. It’s a great option to try something new.

adventure

First Timer

I’m a first timer. A virgin of sorts. New skill. New form of fitness. New level of cold. New land to explore. New. New. New.

I guess I should let you in on the secret. I’m wearing an apparatus that I thought was going to resemble a tennis racquet on my feet as I trek through snow. To my surprise I had something more modern and practical. They call this snowshoeing and I’m paying for this form of torture just to say I did it! I must be a little nuts but I love completing unique excursions whenever possible.

I obviously love to share my stories in case one may want to try said activities. I also like to catalog my crazy adventures for the years ahead when I am not physically or mentally able to complete such crazy things. So here goes. Snow is on the forecast for today 1-3 inches. Cold temps and strong winds. That is just the start.

I’m layered up and ready to tackle the unknown. The initial climb is a few switch backs that get the heart rate going while you get used to your new footwear. I loved the bottom of mine. The claw-like bottom gives you so much traction in the snow. It was definitely an experience.

Hiking through the trees was my favorite part. Every corner was a little different. We traveled around a mine site and learned a little about the area history. We hiked near cliff hanger house that was being built with million dollar views. We got pretty close to an avalanche area and saw how the path changed.

I didn’t use poles for my hike but my pal did. I’m sure I could have benefited from them but I felt the traction from my snow shoes gave me the stability I wanted. I guess I opted for less baggage on my trek. A little more vigorous than hiking is what I would explain. If I lived somewhere cold I think I would definitely have a pair of these to kick around town in.

This view was amazing although the picture doesn’t do it justice. The skies were grey today due to the stormy weather but the climb yielded some amazing views of the city and the ski trails. If you are ever in this area, you should give snow shoes a try. Just because.

fitness and nutrition

A Year of Endurance

52 weeks. 52 workouts. Some as short as a half hour. Some as long as 90 minutes.

Learn how to manage your energy. Focus on your pacing. From easy to comfortable to moderate to hard to very hard to sprint. Can you figure out the difference? Then, can you apply it?

As it is with most of my challenges, the number one rule is just show up. Many of these workouts were done early in the morning on the C2 bike at the gym. Often, I opted for them when none of my friends could make it to CrossFit or when I woke up extremely early and could fit it in before class.

And I’ve made it to the end. 52/52. The program is designed with initial tests and retests. How did I progress? In all of the tests I took a solid percentage off of my times from last January. Almost a minute in some cases.

Many days I didn’t feel like it. Many days I struggled. Many days my paces were slower than what they should have been. But I kept at it. I did not quit.

And honestly, the real sense of victory came on a recent fat tire snow bike ride. A lot of the first 90 minutes of the ride were up, up, up. Gentle inclines to moderately steep. All of it on SNOW. Keeping in mind this is a klutzy girl who actually fell off the bike before we even made it out of the parking lot, I was pretty anxious about riding on snow. But once I got the hang of it, I was all good, especially going up. I could just keep going with a few breaks here and there. Even figured out most of the uphill hairpin switchbacks. Being able to do long endurance outside of the gym is a different sort of test, and one I feel I passed with the high five at the top from our guide.

There are many in the SP endurance community that are on their third year with no misses. Will I continue? Probably, but I will also probably branch out into other bikes or rowing or running. A goal to think about. For now, I will smile as I relish the rewards of just showing up, time and time again. A new badge in my app and a medal in my mailbox. All it takes is once a week. Just keep doing it. Give what you have that day. Consistency really is key.

adventure

Main Street

A day of leisure.

A day to explore.

Main Street called my name.

I walked the streets and enjoyed the mountain air while stopping in all the shops on Main Street. My first pit stop was for rocket fuel, also known as coffee. One in my party opted for two shots of espresso, another tried the red velvet hot cocoa with whipped cream and I tried a brown sugar cinnamon latte. All kept us warm as we strolled and sipped on this cold morning.

Many cute shops to visit. From T-shirts to ski shops to fancy art displays. There was something for everyone. I enjoyed looking at all the stickers and magnets unique to the area. It was also a treat to see the snow globes decorated for the holiday and set to music and you cruised Main Street. Just another specialty for this holiday season in Park City. I didn’t really have a favorite snow globe but I did enjoy checking them all out. 

Another fun feature was heated benches or heated stones. A great place to take a break while enjoying a toasty seat warmer. Something I didn’t expect but very much enjoyed. There were also historical facts posted around the buildings as well. A little history lesson was available to those who had an interest. I found some alleys decorated in scenic art along with some neat doors to-capture the ski town vibe. All in all Main Street was a fun place to stroll and browse.

I will probably visit Main Street again to try out a restaurant or visit the shops again. I may need to buy another snow globe since I broke the one I bought on my first trip down Main Street.

After an adventure on Main Street we opted to explore the Olympic Training Center. Pretty cool to see the facilities, snap a few photos and just experience the few offerings that were available. I did enjoy the virtual ski jump simulator. I wasn’t very good at it and probably why I’m not an Olympian, but nonetheless I enjoyed the opportunity. I also enjoyed bobsled and parachute skiing simulations. Very different experiences but since I probably will Never do any of these activities in real life, the simulation experience was perfect for me.

Another great day of amazing views and new experiences. I’m sure you will read more about my travels in upcoming posts.

celebrations, family

The Owl Series

This series isn’t your ordinary owl story or two. This will be a series for the years to come. It’s the beginning of documenting the path to college athletics and what happens along the way. The good. The bad. The in between. All of which is solely from my vantage point. The outsider looking in. The fan girl view. 

Will there be success? Failure? Injuries? Accolades?

Will this be an initial destination or a long term commitment? 

How hard will it be to balance academics and athletics?

Will the love of the game continue to flourish?

The story started years ago. A dream. A belief of you can be who you want to be. Hard work. Practice. Travel. Tryouts. New friends. Old friends. Enemies. Encouragers. Coaches. Mentors. Motivators. Cheerleaders. Sprains. Strains. Bruises. Hours and hours of training. Eating smart. Saying no to some events due to games early the next day. All of which made her who she is today. Every experience helped shape her. Every risk paid off. She did the work. She beat the odds. 

I can literally say I’ve been with her every step of the way. Now I see her standing on her two feet ready to conquer what’s ahead. Proud is an understatement.

Strong. Charismatic. Determined. Confident. Smart. Athletic. Talented beyond words. She made her choice. She decided to be an owl. It wasn’t an easy decision either. She weighed options. Many options had pros and many had cons. What would be the best overall? When she made her choice she committed in grand fashion. A cool graphic on social media started it all.  A tweet from her travel club followed. The college gave a wink. A nice spread in the local paper was an added surprise. As an owl she will begin to take flight. Her flight to her destination(s).

She will continue her athletic career as a Division 1 athlete. What an accomplishment. A female division 1 collegiate athlete. It’s a celebration to make it to this level. I couldn’t be prouder of her and how she handled the grueling process. She stayed true to herself. She went far but ended up near. Sometimes you need to see what’s out there before seeing that you have what you need closer than you think.

She learned to be interviewed. She learned how to interview others. She learned a little about negotiations. She learned what is official and unofficial in the athletic world. She forged her own path. She is now beginning a new journey with her new teammates. The teammate relations began with text and other mediums. The group is “chatting” which is somewhat of a honeymoon phase to get to know each other and build rapport.

The team logos are making their way into the wardrobes. The thought of what’s next is on the horizon. Everything from who you are now to future roommates to major course of study selection is on the chat feed. The hard part is done but now so many more new experiences are on the horizon while still wrapping up existing school and sports obligations. And don’t forget keeping her image squeaky clean. This is a big responsibility. 

The first out of state meeting took place for 8-9 young ladies on this same journey. Some competed against each other. Others just socialized. Multiple states represented. New personalities drawn together by a sport they love. A sport I have grown to adore myself. Although I didn’t participate, I celebrated the opportunity for her silently. So much is ahead and I can just smile knowing she will grow during this experience. And so this owl story has begun, but where will it lead and what will I choose to share in the years ahead?

I will continue to write about the owl adventures as they evolve. Not sure how frequently this will happen but it will happen when I feel led to document something. Until then know I’m practicing my best owl sounds and thinking of how I will find a way to like the team colors.