I’d Rather

29 04 2011

Wear jeans.
Ride shotgun in a pick-up.
Eat food cooked on a camp stove.
Have Dunkin’ Donuts instead of Starbucks.
Rip through the woods.
Drink a can of PBR.
Dig my own dirt.
Wrench on my bike.
Be called a hick over a hipster.
Shower later.
Play first.
Appreciate the haves.
Live in the present.


What is mountain biking?

26 04 2011

Awesome video posted on the Sacred Rides site:

Bits of Winter – Part 2

17 04 2011

Many a snowy hike were had this winter, all without snowshoes (although, I wish I had a pair). I actually perfected the art of not slipping through the snow crust by the aid of my trusty Keen boots.

You see, they are so wide that they actually distribute my weight across a wider platform, preventing me from sinking through – so long as I’m making my own tracks (that goes without saying, if you know me). I play a game with myself to see how long I can go without stepping in someone else’s footprint. Hey, when you hike as much as I do, your mind begins to wander.

Aside from enjoying the glimmering snow among dormant deciduous trees, snapping way too many photos of my dog romping through the winter wonderland,

It's a hard life

and dreaming of riding the trails under the white blanket, my winter hikes allowed me to scout out some hidden climbing spots for the coming season. What I found:

  • A perfect bouldering area buried 2 miles in, with a luxurious carpet of puffy moss at its base.
  • A short, but technically challenging top roping wall that could have about 4-5 nice routes. Some bushwacking required.
  • Another wall of quartzite that looks fun to climb, but seems to have a sketchy base area.

All that dreaming of climbing got me back into the rock gym after a several-month hiatus. My regular climbing partner has had some scheduling issues, so I was so happy to have a couple of sessions bouldering with Aleya of Rock and Sky. We had a great time at Earth Treks, with me learning tons just observing Aleya and others climbing much harder routes than me. I enjoy climbing with new people, and got over my anxiety of venturing into the bouldering cave instead of hanging out in my usual top rope area. I haven’t gotten any of these while hanging from a rope:

Nice flapper

Sucky photo (it’s hard to take a pic of your right hand when you’re right-handed), but it was a pretty nasty flapper. Although, I’d willingly suffer more of these to have a climbing gym closer to my house. I despise the 50+ minute 0ne-way trip to the gym.

In all, this winter was awesome – filled with all the things I love to do to stay off the couch when it’s cold: snowboarding, hiking, traveling, hanging out with friends new and old.

From Whence We Came

1 04 2011

The Road Home

“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.” – John F. Kennedy, 1962

I copied this quote directly from one of my new favorite blogs to read, Cold Splinters. I’ve never heard this Kennedy quote before, but almost the same words have spilled from my mouth many times.

Man, am I ready for summer.

Bits of Winter – Part 1

21 03 2011

The robins came back last weekend. We also set our clocks ahead and the ski hill had its last hurrah. I wore my capri hiking pants and went for a cruiser ride. I would say Spring is about to make an appearance.

I’ve been on a journey of awareness lately, and so began to reflect on the bits of winter 10/11 worth remembering. Here’s part 1.

I started doing some new circuit workouts in the fall in preparation for the snowboarding season. It was a little experiment. At that point I didn’t know that I would also become the proud owner of a new board. I deserved one after 7 seasons on the old one, no? I definitely noticed a difference in the time it took me to get my legs back. Jump squats galore and stationary cycling kept me from getting jell-o legs for my first few days on the slopes. That was a plus. The negative? Thicker adductor muscles…which means tighter jeans. Whatever. A means to an end, right? Gretchen Bleiler and Hannah Teter are doin’ alright in their typical snowboarder bods.

I’m sure the new board and overall great conditions for the season had something to do with my performance. And, I should give my skills a little more credit, too. I’m not a freestyle rider, though. I tend to stay out of the park, only going in to pop over some kickers here and there. I’d rather coast down a hill, absorbed in my thoughts, carving deep turns. The most style I gave this winter was ollie-ing before stopping at the base and getting back on the lift.

Riding “eastern powder” and glade runs in WV was my overall highlight for the season. I scorpioned halfway through a run between some trees, and came up belly laughing like a kid, my husband shaking his head at me.

I’m keeping that in mind for next season as a reminder that pushing myself past my comfort zone can be fun and exhilarating. Until then, squats are off the menu.

Gear Review: Bacon Betty on Camp the Summit

16 03 2011

GSI JavaPress

Patrick at Camp the Summit asked me to write up a review of our beloved GSI JavaPress. No sense repeating anything – go to their site and read the review!

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…