Monthly Archives: January 2014

It’s all business these days

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” 
― Sun TzuThe Art of War

Ugh. Busy day. All good! Once again the only way I was going to be able to get out on the trail was to make it a business meeting. So I did.

We woke in the morning to several inches of new snow. This doesn’t bode well for bike riding…or running…or even Jeeping. Okay, maybe Jeeping. But there wasn’t time for that and I needed a ride.

Lucky for me, Dave had a plan. And two fat bikes. And we had the Riverfront Trail. So we hit it.

Of course as fun as riding bikes through the snow and under beautiful trees with a good friend on a beautiful winter day in the Grand Valley while being healthy and having two excellent contacts that morning was, it was still all business. We disclosed to each other the content of our morning meetings, discussed future plans for our various organizations, picked each other’s brains about potential new projects…and even took some pictures for the bike shop that loaned us the bikes.

They looked something like this…

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Accumulation

“I believe we are more than the accumulation of our memories and experiences. Yet it’s these memories and experiences that are distinctive, unique to us, and influence who we truly are.” – Anonymous

I need to make this quick. Just as life ebbs and flows, so do my time commitments. Some days I am free to spend 2 hours on the trail and another writing about it, but my life right now is highly time-demanding. I can’t complain too much, though, since I love the things I put my time into. Just need to make this entry a quick one.

Had a lovely meeting this morning with Rob. Learned a lot. Got to share some knowledge as well. Insightful. Encouraging. Exciting.

Was left a short time for a trail before having to pick up Connor. Since I was already on this side of town, I drove up Little Park and hit that ped/equ trail that I can’t seem to find a legitimate name for. I’d taken the kids for a hike up there before, thought I would investigate further this time.

As I drove up the road what was a light snow at lower elevation became a thicker evidence of the same. I stopped at the TH, changed clothes, sang along to “Burn” by whatshernameIcan’trememberrightnowbecauseI’mtired.

Got out to an even thicker dusting coming from the skies,  but I was undeterred. Started jogging up the trail, with shades on to protect my eyes from the flakes that were now the size of garbanzo beans. The trail was fun, but challenging to follow- not a lot of tracks, nor markers.

Before long I was cold, wet, and the trail that had be indistinct at the onset was now becoming obscured entirely in the blanket of snow. Accumulation.

I humored myself with the simile to life, right? How quickly an onset of experiences can alter our perspective. I was powerless, completely, to stop the snow, or to better navigate through it. All I could do was head back the way I had come and remain hopeful my trail skills would guide my return journey. I relied, you see, on the accumulation of my own experiences. The training of my senses.

Did I get lost? No. Did I end up on a trail that I had neither seen before nor was able to immediately identify? Yes! Was I afraid? Absolutely not. I was excited. This could have been the fabled trail I’ve heard of….hm… but I don’t think I’ll talk about it here or now. Instead I explored it some, then retraced my steps until I was on my original route. Back to my Jeep. Back down the road. Back to life.

As the snow was just getting going...
As the snow was just getting going…
Less than 5 minutes later.
Less than 5 minutes later.
Obligatory Selfie.
Obligatory Selfie.
First starting out. Not much snow in the hair.
First starting out. Not much snow in the hair.
Within sight of the Jeep on my way back. Lots more snow in the hair.
Within sight of the Jeep on my way back. Lots more snow in the hair.

 

elisa jones and Sara Landis mountain biking

Unleashing Our Inner Awesomeness

“If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough.” Mario Andretti

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” Sheryl Sandberg

Today was so so so much fun. Sara picked me up at about 9:15 and we headed up to do something ambitious. We were going to ride Butterknife.

This was funny. Her husband, Eric, suggested it probably wasn’t a good idea. My husband, Dennis, said it might be questionable. My friend, Dave, said it was absolutely insane. Not necessarily all in those terms, but we got the point. They didn’t think we could do it. Or maybe that we shouldn’t do it. The two are not the same thing. I am so glad to have a kindred badass in Sara.

So we hit it. Twist n Shout was not bad- clearly had been ridden and packed-in. There was a tree down, but we were able to ride by it. I’m not saying it was easy by any means. We were putting a foot down here, hiking up a rise there…chasing the cows away around the next bend. A good warm-up.

Before we knew it we were at the Butterknife trail and it was obvious early on that the trail had not had any love for some time. I would say since before the snow. Weeks. We were laying first tracks.

This was exciting and terrifying and daunting. Butterknife is a challenging trail when it’s not endowed with ice and snow. It hikes baby heads and death cookies under sand and around corners. Now those same pitfalls-in-waiting lurked under the snow, attempting to slay us.

As long as the snow-entrenched trail had a downward tendency we could drop our seats, hang on loosely, and let it roll. Uphill was another matter entirely- it was unrideable. About 2 miles in I looked back at Sara and said something like, “Maybe we should reconsider here. It’s not too much farther back if we turn around now. This could be tricky as hell. Or trick as hell. What do you think?”

In good form she suggested that I was the one with a meeting to get to, that we could go back… but that she wanted to be able to say that we had done it, baring no conditions. I smiled, agreed. There’s just something about doing exactly what they said you couldn’t (or shouldn’t) do. You gotta do it. Especially when you know you can and should.

So we pressed on. It actually went by very quickly. There was plenty of long sections of ice and snow, some making the more technical obstacles more than challenging- something closer to impossible. But we didn’t mind. We walked, and it was okay. We talked and laughed, cheered each other on. It was a fantastic time. On the parts of the trail that were dirt they were completely dry and unmarked by human life. We relished those moments.

There were a couple of times as the trail wore on that we started to fatigue. Sara didn’t complain, but I’m certain I did. I get frustrated when I perform at less than my usual standard- and I feel quite sub-par these days. I fell off the trail a couple of times; once saving myself by performing some kind of miraculous splits, and another by stepping into a tree that left its mark on my wrist.

Eventually we made it to the last section of trail and started up the road. Before you ask, I know what you’re thinking. Of course the road was muddy. But it was a thin layer of mud on a far deeper layer of frozen earth, and the road was wide with plenty of riding options. We alternated between the dirt/dry and the ice/snow. Lots of options= minimal mud.

The highlights: watching Sara clean things that I had walked up, she’s so cool; talking about technique and riding growth, I really have to ride with engaging my core more; talking about our kids and favorite trips, and what goo flavors are the best; the sunshine; Sara saying, “I’m having a great time!”

Because, you know what, so was I.

Sara riding down Twist N Shout
Sara riding down Twist N Shout

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At the turnoff to Butterknife
At the turnoff to Butterknife

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My favorite shot of the day. The ramp was steeper than it looks from this angle. Also, it's much more rideable when it's not laced with ice and snow...
My favorite shot of the day. The ramp was steeper than it looks from this angle. Also, it’s much more rideable when it’s not laced with ice and snow…
Obligatory selfie. Can you see our bike tracks in the snow behind us?
Obligatory selfie. Can you see our bike tracks in the snow behind us?

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The tree bite. And I guess you can see the swollen scar on my wrist from December's surgery. Woot.
The tree bite. And I guess you can see the swollen scar on my wrist from December’s surgery. Woot.