Excitement . . . pending adventure down south!

Well, I don't think I've ever pre-blogged before, but I can barely focus because I am getting so excited to head to South America! Of course, I am also super overwhelmed as I have to finish work, pack, see my peeps, organize my gear, and do house stuff in about 30 hours, but I guess I do better when I have too much to do, so I'm sure I'll figure it all out.

I'd have to say that in general, I try not to get excited cuz then I'm so much more likely to get let down, but my excitement is directed at the uknowns, so I think it's okay :-) Here's what I'm looking forward to most . . .
  • 2 weeks with a rental car in Chile . . . basing out of Santiago, Lacy and I are going to ski what we can find and enjoy the random adventure that is navegating a foreign country in search of activity uncommon to most that live there . . . bring on the confusion and laughs! I am almost bursting at the seams in anticipation of speaking Spanish too - I miss it, and all the learning and challenge that goes with it . . .

  • Then on to Antarctica! This year I am hoping the boat actually sails and SkiCruise happens! I'm also excited to reunite with friends with last year, and to have a few laughs with Adrienne (my travel buddy for the last week that I met last year in Ushuaia). If we make it down there, I think the skiing potential will be unreal, and I am excited to see what we'll find! I'm also psyched to meet new folks on the boat . . . fundamentally, people who think it's a good idea to go all the way to Antarctica to ski are the people I want to know!

  • I get one day in Buenos Aires to hang out with one of my favorite people in this world who recently found me on Facebook! Sebastian worked at Las Lenas both summers I was down there, greeting me with a hug each morning and a smile each day after skiing . . . truly a joy! And we're going to hang out in Palermo which is the super funky boutique-central place I loved last summer . . . !

  • And then it's on to the big unknown . . . 5 of us (one of whom I've actually met!) headed on a mission, but not sure if the conditions are going to be optimal. I'm apprehensive and engaged in suspension of disbelief like no other, but it's so far away and so much happens between now and then that we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it . . . cryptic? Maybe, but that's the way it's gotta be!

So, I guess this is sort of a boring post, but maybe I'll go back and add some photos so it looks cool! Then again, it's my blog, so I'm allowed to be boring if I want to! Ha! :-)

A visit to America - family, bikes, friends, and desert!!!

My sister Erin and I getting goofy at the "balancing rock" in Arches

Well, this trip was a little of everything . . . I decided to combine a trip to WSU and U of Idaho college recruiting with one to meet up with my family for a road trip from Colorado Springs to Moab, UT. The story is too long, and likely not interesting, to tell here, but I'll add a few highlights and then share the photos!

  • Got to ride a section of Captain Jack's trail in Colorado Springs - had to do it as a there-n-back ride, so I couldn't ride all the way to the valley, but that trail has some serious potential! It was fun to explore the hills around my sister's cabin :-)

  • Upon arriving in Moab super late, I had a great moonlight run - made me super glad that I'm in decent enough running shape to make that an enjoyable experience! The desert is so vast!

  • Rode Porcupine from Hazard down on my first Moab day - was super overwhelmed by how technical the trail was, and I don't think the altitude helped! Since I was alone and am perhaps one of the chattiest people on the planet, I met a lot of great folks and had a fun ride. I also learned a bit of the trail so that next time I rode it, I knew there wasn't any bike-eating rock-gnar except for the places where there was clearly bike-eating rock-gnar. I also learned a little bit about lifting my front wheel to more gracefully ride off of things . . . what a difference that made! That silly bike was so fun, I found myself laughing as I rode away from a few things, entertained at the fact I hadn't off'd myself in the process!

  • By the best alignment of the planets ever, my lovely friend Rebecca Bailey was in town for a work event, which meant that I got to hang out with her in the evenings and stay in her super nice hotel room :-) We laughed at how normal the whole thing seemed, even though she's a friend from Alaska who's been living in Canada for a year . . . but then again, why wouldn't we be in Moab having slumber parties?!!? Sometimes life is altogether too entertaining!

  • Although the logisitcs of the trip got all funktified, I did get to have some fun family time, and it was nice to combine a personal trip with getting to see them :-) Lessons were learned, so hopefully we can just improve upon the concept in the future!
Okay, now the photos. I didn't get my camera out for the first few days, so no photos of Porcupine from Hazard down or of the 18Road trails in Fruita . . . sorry Sherrie :-)

Beautiful drive from Cisco to Moab . . . I was blown away, and so glad to be doing it at the end of the day - thanks Rebecca for the great suggestion :-)

I met a guy who had just painted this picture of the surrounding area - thought it was pretty cool, even if it was on his dashboard so I had to take the photo upside down!

Riding slickrock . . . how can you go to Moab and not ride slickrock? This trail is the first time I learned that it hurts to fall on slickrock . . . and that I really need to let up on the front brake sometimes! Good ride overall though, and I had enough energy to go explore the BarM trails that afternoon, after a smoothie of course!

Scenic view of the Moab Valley
Look closely to see the bikers :-)

I had met these two guys on Porcupine the day before and was glad to see them again - super strong riders, super fun to ride with!
Happy on my new bike - seriously amazing piece of metal!!!

On slickrock with Porcupine from Hazard down in the background!

Amasa Back!!! I was super glad to get out here. I had plans to meet the fam at noon, so I got up early and left the car with temps of 42 degrees! Oh well, it was super nice climbing weather and I had the trail to myself until halfway back down :-) It was nice to have the solitude, but I was happy to see folks too - sort of odd riding technical singletrack with nobody around to pick up the pieces should the need arise :-)

When I looked up and saw the trail disappear in a jumble of rocks, I thought of Sherrie and how much shit she'd give me for considering this a bike ride.
View from the plateau on Amasa Back . . . beautiful morning - so nice to be out there before the crowds and the heat!

It was so beautiful up top that I couldn't make myself leave . . so I messed around with self-portrait features :-)

. . . and took so many photos I had to post at least some!
I made strangers take this photo just so I'd have at least 2 of me actually on my bike!

There are a few trails in this area that just became legal and I'd be intrigued to ride, but they're supposed to be a little high on the gnar-factor . . . given my time constraints, lack of partner, and penchant for starting with the classic version, I figured such a ride can wait for my return - gotta admit though, my interest is peaked!!!

That afternoon, we went to Arches . . . the fam on a car trip through one of America's finest national parks.
Much more entertaining when you get goofy :-)

Then it was time for more fun and excitement . . . Porcupine from Burro down - easily one of the best mountain bike rides ever . . . and the fun factor is increased by being able to take a shuttle to the top! The ride has about 1500' of climbing throughout (and 7000' descent!) and lots of techie fun stuff to play on, a few sections of fun rollers to fly off of, some super flowy singletrack, some super hairy exposure, and some amazing scenery. I rode this day with a blast from my ski past and the TGR group he'd organized. It was super fun to ride in a group, and I rode a lot more than I had the first time from Hazard down. Again, I was overwhelmed by how amazing, incredible, and FUN my new bike is! She just goes . . . and I just hold on :-)

Burritos on the way down . . . mmmm mmmm good! Our little group of 5 split off in the front of the pack . . . Kellie doesn't play well with others and the group of 16 was way too much for me! But, we had a great ride and I loved the lower section (major progress after having emotional events over all the rock drops the first time!).

On my last day, I got up super early so I could ride in Fruita before the long drive back to Colorado Springs . . . if I hadn't run out of gas, I would have had much more time to ride, but as it was I got to explore a fair bit of the Kokopelli's Trail system (and managed to case it big time on a bit of slickrock - that one hurt, and left a mark or three!). Fruita is definitely a place I'd like to get to know better :-)

A trail shot - I really liked this area - was surprised to run into the river and see the lovely views I saw :-)

Overall, I'm super glad to have gotten a taste of Moab and Fruita riding and definitely want to return - next time, I think a southwest road trip would be in order! What I do know is that mountain biking is super rad, and that my new bike makes it almost a whole new sport . . . and definitely ups the fun factor!!! Hip hop hooray :-)

Finding the spot . . .

Well, after much torment over having actually purchased a frame and enough parts to build a bike, it was time to turn all the parts into a fully-operable purveyor of fun (and pain!) . . . a huge thanks to Doug and Nick for helping me out!!!

Coming to life . . . the pink-accented Turner 5 spot . . .

The boys and the mostly finished product!

Fully operable in Moab - I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever see the day!!!!
Now that it's done, I think building bikes is fun and I can see how some get so into it . . . I also think it's good to have an idea of how these things go together and work so as to improve my ability to respond to mechanicals on the trail. Having said that, I think part-ordering and bike-building with limited time in town was one of the more stressful things I've done in awhile! But, this bike is amazing, rides like a dream, and allowed me to ride trails like I wasn't able to on my old bike, making it all worth it :-)

Ride on!