True to Form

12 03 2012

With the temperature topping out at 69 degrees today – and in celebration of the first day of the year without socks – I had to break out the cruiser. I headed out for a quick ride around town to enjoy the sun granted to me by daylight saving time.

But not before I treated myself to this:

First of the year.

First of the year.

Advertisements




Bacon Betty Rides Again

30 05 2011

I feel like I’ve written that title before…

Maybe I have, but that’s how it feels every spring when I get the Genesister back out after a lonely winter in the garage. We’ve had so much rain and flooding this year that it’s taken me way too long to start my season.

I set out this morning with Natty Light and our pal Tabitha to kick off the summer with some singletrack, rock gardens and tons of mud.

For the first time ever, it felt so natural to be clipping in to my pedals and heading off into the woods. You see, I’m usually a little nervous and cautious on my first ride of the year, thinking silly thoughts I don’t need to mention here. I think today was different because I was leading the ride and feeling responsible for two less experienced riders who are unfamiliar with our trails.

I’m crediting this feeling with an experience I just had in Florida that changed my outlook on leadership.

When it comes to mountain biking and snowboarding, my husband is usually the one who leads, taking chances on new tricks and encouraging me to do the same. I watch and follow him because it makes me feel secure to see someone else do something that I can’t visualize or that makes me uncomfortable.

But, when it comes to any water sports, I’m the part of our duo that takes charge. Chris is generally, shall we say, not at home, on the water. It physically pains me that he doesn’t like the beach or boating as much as I do because salt water and a little bay muck course through my veins. So while we were visiting my Dad on the Gulf side of Florida the other week, you know I wanted to get Chris out on the water.

I couldn’t wait to take him on a paddle out to Shell Key and the private beach there, knowing that he would enjoy the adventure of it.

I said I was very comfortable being on the water… What I’m not familiar with is getting TO the water with all of the gear. The way I grew up didn’t require anything more than walking out the back door with your paddle or cooler and shoving off the dock. So when my dad entrusted ME (and Chris’ muscle) to get two kayaks securely on top of his SUV, drive across a very long suspension bridge to our drop-in spot 30 minutes away, get them off the truck without damaging anything, and do it all in reverse, I was very anxious. But having lunch in this spot was enough to assuage my fears in setting off:

20110530-111056.jpg

I very nearly wussed out of getting to that spot, partly because I could tell Chris was a bit wigged over the fact that I’d never been responsible for the technical details. A few things dawned on me as we were about to load up the last bits of gear for the day. 1) I couldn’t show that I was a bit weirded out because then Chris wouldn’t have confidence in me (or himself). 2) I recognized that I had to push past feeling uncomfortable if I wanted to get the most out of my day and grow my inner strength. And 3) the reason I believed everything would turn out great (read: no smashed kayaks laying on the highway or busted truck windows) was because my dad had complete faith in sending me on my novice way.

The moral of my story is this: when you believe that those around you trust in your ability to be successful, anxiousness falls away and you ARE successful.

Thinking of my ride today, I remember something my friend Chris M. says – “It’s not a successful mountain biking day unless you draw blood.” Check.

20110530-112655.jpg





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.





The Rainbow in My Pants

21 01 2011

If we’re friends on Facebook, you might recall the “there’s a rainbow in my pants” photo from several months ago. This is what happens when you do an endo on narrow singletrack, going downhill, and planting your quad – not once, but twice – into your handlebar. Two days rest with constant ice later:

I still have a visible dent in my muscle.

So, when Outdoor Divas launched their Damaged Diva photo contest yesterday, I was in. The other chicks have some pretty gnarly photos entered. Alas, I didn’t snap mine while I was still bloody and pissed off…

You can “like” my photo here in the contest’s photo album. Even if I don’t win, it makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one crashing.





Bacon for Breakfast

7 09 2009

The Mr. and I set out for a simple cruiser ride after breakfast on Saturday. We were ready for the 8-9 mile loop through back roads on such a beautiful morning. We explored some roads that I hadn’t even been on in my car for years — big houses, horse farms, mountain vistas. On our last mile home, we decided to take an extra piece of road to extend our ride a little. While I was speeding down a hill, I shifted gears and my chain popped off. Of course, I was pissed because I was going to have to stop and fix it before pedaling uphill to finish the ride. We were almost home!

Bent down, getting the chain back on the chain ring, I moved the pedal. With my finger still holding the chain. Not surprisingly, the chain ring sliced the top of my index finger open. Nose running and jumping around sucking on my greasy finger, I’m sure I was the picture of cool. I got over it and took off for home, but I couldn’t help but laugh to myself as the blood was streaming out of my hand and blowing in the wind.

Only Bacon Betty could draw blood on a cruiser ride.