Blackjack (or 21 Days)

1 03 2011

I’m writing this on March 1st, as we begin to close out a winter where we haven’t had any “blizzards.” Well, not yet anyway. Blizzard is a strange term ’round here – it mostly refers to the conditions we experience (fast accumulation, wind and drifting) more so than the amount of snow we get. Last year we had two back-to-back storms that brought us about four feet within a week’s time, offering us the experience of riding East Coast powder. (After we feverishly dug out of a waist-high drift covering our front door so we could make it to the ski hill.)

That being said, I’ve gotten more days on snow this year than possibly any other of my 8 years on a snowboard. Granted, we live within 15 minutes of the closest hill, but we lined ourselves up for success this year.

The first (and best) decision I made was to not work at the ski resort. For two seasons previous to this one, I took a part-time job at the resort so the Mr. and I could ride for free. Problem was that 2-3 shifts a week there actually made me kind of sick of the place. This year, instead of waking up before the sun on Saturday mornings to stand behind a counter, I was waking up before the sun to make first tracks (and to beat all of the non-locals to the lifts).

Secondly, I bit the bullet and bought us season passes. Good on three mountains. Discounts on 20 others. Enough said.

I also planned ahead and got us a four-day stay at our favorite cabin getaway in West Virginia. Because it’s in a snow bowl, Canaan Valley gets more than 180″ of natural snow each year, and this year is no different at over 200″ so far. We had a blast riding glades and ungroomed trails for two solid days. Kick. Ass.

Last, but not least – I got a new board this year. After riding my Gnu Carbon Select for only 7 seasons, I retired it (to hang on the wall in my office) and got a 2011 Burton Feelgood. I must say, I never imagined that replacing my board would make such a difference. For our conditions in the East it can’t be beat for a freeride board.

So there you have it. I can honestly say that if my season ends tomorrow, I’d be perfectly happy with how it played out. Not that I’m ready…

Summertime Goals

5 06 2010

Seems like it was only a few months ago when I was posting about summer being off to a raging start. Well, it was, and it flew by. I didn’t get to the beach as much as I wanted, spent too much time on yard work, and made one too many business trips.

Not this year.

I’ve decided to set some (pretty ambitious) goals for this year in an attempt to get back to enjoying my summers to the fullest. Was that sentence oxymoronic? Planning ahead to be carefree. Yeah…so, back to the goals:

  • Spend at least 2 weekends per month at the beach
  • Attend outdoor music events: Reggae Wine Fest 7/17, Naukabout Music Festival 8/7
  • Join PATC and stay in Wineberry Cabin at Shenandoah National Park with Melissa & Bob, July or August
  • Attend the Trail House’s outdoor climbing clinic, July or August
  • Hike every Sunday (that I’m not at the beach) and at least one day during the week
  • Enter at least one 5K race
  • Rent a big house with a group of friends at Deep Creek or similar
  • Mountain bike more
  • Gather the gang again for a cookout and Patio Ping-Pong, July or August

We’ll see how this goes, but my experience has been that if I create a written list of goals, the simple act of writing it down and putting it into the universe makes them materialize.

I run a business and have so much going on each day. So, my true goal outside of work is to live the most unfettered and simple life as possible… Isn’t that what everyone wants?

Happy Summer!

Hills, on a Monday

11 06 2009

Last weekend was pretty uneventful, but surely relaxing. The Mr. and I got away to his mom’s place at the beach. A great thing about living in Maryland: mountains to the beach in less than 3 hours. Salt water runs in my veins, so this is my key requirement for any living situation.

We left Friday after work, and got up early Saturday for a ride around the seaside state park on the cruisers. We doubled up on the bike loop and found a few beach access spots that are walk-in/bike-in only. Sweet! We rounded out our morning with a nice lunch on the terrace at the Lewes Ferry terminal. Drinks were had by all. I was able to catch a few rays on the beach that afternoon before dinner, making mine a perfect day.

photo courtesy

photo courtesy

Making up for a weekend of no mountain biking, Em and I headed out to the watershed Monday after work to try some of that new singletrack we scoped last week. The trail is full of switchbacks and obstacles, and I had turned into a wuss. Of course, when you’re on foot and imagining what it will be like to ride something, it seems like a breeze. Not so! Add two wheels and 11mph to my speed, and I’m easily jacked. A few of the switchbacks were crazy and I couldn’t get myself over one of the little rock gardens, but I’m going to keep trying this one so I can improve my skills on windy-er trails.

The new trail does NOT look like this.

The new trail does NOT look like this.

The new piece of trail spat us out onto a section that I rode a lot last season, and the climbing began. I had my mind set that the rest of the ride was not going to kick my ass. Maybe I had conserved my energy from wimping it on the singletrack, but I was taking the hills in stride and with good pace. There’s something about climbing a hill. My husband hates them (although he conquers them with ease), but I relish the challenge. Stating the obvious, I’m not a fan of the rocky decent. Give me a hill to climb, and I’m all for it. I gauge my progress on certain hills throughout the riding season, noting how far I make it each time before taking a short breather, or how winded I am at the top compared to the last ride.

There are two long, steady, rocky climbs and one short, steep one that wrap up the loop we rode on Monday. Em and I tackled them with force, encouraging each other and giving praises along the way. I was mentally encouraging myself, too, since these are heart-pumping, leg-burning ascents. I get a little philosophical when I ride lately. I think of things like, “If you can run a business, you can handle a little hill on a bike.” “Think about how you’ll feel when you reach the top – keep going.”

Biking a hill as a metaphor for running a business? Sure, I take my little “victories” with me for back-up when I’m having a rough day in the office. Instead of compartmentalizing (wow! college vocab) these things I do to “feed” myself, they’re mixed together to make a stronger me. Can’t argue with that.