Monthly Archives: June 2015

Matt Janson singlespeed ride Robertson's pasture abajo mountains monticello, utah

The 3-hour (NO! 4-Hour) Tour of the Abajo Mountains

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 
― Lao Tzu

So I had ridden Robertson’s before- a couple years ago when I raced in Monticello. I have a pretty darn good memory for trails, distances, features, etc… but, hey, it had been awhile.

I knew the 15 or so miles would take us a little bit longer than I had planned. I was thinking 2 hours. But I hadn’t done Spring Creek- the trail we were going to climb up and connect to Robertson’s. We parked at our end-point, and rode a stretch of pavement to a Jeep road. The Jeep road climbed us up. And up. And up and up and up and up!

Did I mention we were on singlespeeds? Oh, and at a starting elevation of 8k+? Right away we were  both suffering. There was too little oxygen in the area, and too few gears on our bikes. We could pedal for a bit, then hike. Then pedal. Then hike. Hike a little more. Bike 50 yards. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike.

The trail was not at all what I expected. The Jeep approach road was steep and way way longer. The singletrack was excellent. For awhile. It, too, got quite steep. And rocky. If I had been on my full-suspension geared bike, it would have been a whole other experience.

By the time we got to Robertson’s we had been out for a couple of hours. We were about 1/2 way. Choices were limited, though, and we talked about abandoning. But we- Matt and I- are adventurers! We pressed on!

Up, over the saddle, where we could look down onto the Needles District of Canyonlands. Down, down, through the pines, the scent of them filling me with inexpressible glee. Every now and then I would wait for Matt to catch up. He was pretty done with the ride early on, but he stayed with me.

I was happy and cheerful nearly the entire ride. I was even starting to think that I might do the Abajo Enduro. But about 3.45 hours into the ride we hit the last few climbs. Climb. Climb. Climb.

By the last 1/4 mile we both were done and hot and sunburned and exhausted. I was anxious about the kiddos, hanging out at Grandpa’s house, wanting to go swimming. I just wanted an icy cold beverage and a lay down.

We finished the ride quoting lyrics from “Hasa Diga Ebowai“. It was excellent. Matt is so much fun to be with. I couldn’t imagine a better companion for every type of journey.

[If you like satire, I recommend watching another selection from “The Book of Mormon: The Musical”

Matt riding through the trees
Matt riding through the trees

 

Matt at the viewpoint at Spring Creek
Matt at the viewpoint at Spring Creek

 

Matt walking his bike on a tricky water crossing.
Matt walking his bike on a tricky water crossing.

.]

Matt Janson singlespeed ride Robertson's pasture abajo mountains monticello, utah

The Best Laid Plans…

“Single is no longer a lack of options – but a choice. A choice to refuse to let your life be defined by your relationship status but to live every day Happily and let your Ever After work itself out.” 
― Mandy HaleThe Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

We had to get out of the house. Matt is a good influence on me and said we needed to go ride these bikes before we did a photo shoot. So we rode from my house and cruised around the SS.

The plan for today was revolving around a photo shoot for the magazine- Matt doing the pictures and I writing the article. We picked me up a bike from the local shop (since mine was in the shop). So we did our little morning ride, then headed to the Lunch Loop for the shoot.

The kids were super good- riding their bikes around and playing together while we got the shots. Afterward we hung out in the parking lot and visited with friends, getting sound bites for the article and generally having a good time.

I considered it the first time I’ve been able to hang out with a bunch of friends since my divorce was final- so I partied a little too hard and Sarah ended up driving me home. It was pretty funny to me, actually!

By the way, Matt is awesome. I’ll be excited to be able to share with everyone when he has another photo on the cover of the Grand Valley Magazine. I’m so proud of him.

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Elisa Jones mountain biking

Crossroads

“I guess it’s going to have to hurt, I guess I’m going to have to cry, And let go of some things I’ve loved to get to the other side
I guess it’s going to break me down, Like fallin when you try to fly, 
Sad but sometimes moving on with the rest of your life starts with goodbye” 
― Carrie Underwood

“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!” 
― C. JoyBell C.

WARNING: LOTS OF PERSONAL STUFF! IF YOU are looking for a reason to love me, or hate me, or whatever- you’ll probably find it. If you would like to maintain a cautious indifference to me, you may not care to read on.

I cried the whole way home from court this morning. It was loss, 15 years in the making- a dark pit of sorrow. And yet, a relief- like when the clouds break and the sunlight dances into your eyes, sparkling. The storm always passes. This was today.

6.5 months ago I thought I was done with this blog. But what I discovered was that the experiences I had on the trails were now a part of me. Not just each one, separate from the others, but the entirety of that year. I long every day to feel my feet on the dirt. The trail is a part of me. The breath of the earth flows in my lungs, is metabolized into my being.

And I realized: yes, it had been an experiment, to see how I would change over the course of that year. But the truth is this, that the change was permanent. So while I was out running the other day, I made a decision: I may not do a trail every day now, but I still experience them year-round. Trails 365.

So here I embrace this little web-log again. And it feels like an old friend. I’ve missed writing, and the reflection that necessarily accompanies it. I longed for it, and I didn’t know how much until now. Today, it is healing me.

What is it about now? Well I’ll tell you…

But first- a reminding disclaimer:

If you have known me from my youth, you will see running through my experiences the same energy, enthusiasm, temperament,  and yes, even core standards, that I have always have. At my center, I am the same as ever.

“Take her or leave her, she will still be the same.” -Nickel Creek 

But I have seen my life circumstances drastically change in the last year. This is not a bad thing, by any means, though many of you may judge them to be so. Believe this only: I know my own mind, heart, and spirit, and I am more true to them now than ever before. I am outright blissful! Generally speaking.

I say some personal stuff in this here blog thang. I have never had a very opaque filter, and less so now.  If you don’t want to have a very intimate look at me- keep in mind I don’t write this stuff for you, but for my own personal growth and refinement- then please don’t read on. Forget this website, clear your browser history, and forget all about it.

No doubt some of you will be intrigued, read on, and become so offended that my Facebook friend list will be 200 fewer by the end of this post alone. I hope that’s not the case, but so be it. I cannot pretend any longer to be something I’m not.

So here’s the short list of things that have changed in the last year or so:

1. I have left the religion of my birth. No, I’m not “inactive”. If you have to label me, use the right title: “apostate“. I no longer believe in it- or any religion. If you want to, that’s awesome for you- I am grateful beyond words for how I was raised and the traditions that accompany the belief system, they have made me who I am. I have a deep appreciation for those who do believe! But I don’t have that testimony anymore and I can’t imagine it ever being rekindled in the future.

(if you would like to un-friend me, you’re welcome to do so now, then come back and read on if you like….no doubt you’ll find more stones to cast! Woo hoo!)

2. Dennis and I filed for divorce back in February. This was more than a month after I had officially asked him for a separation. Our divorce was finalized in court today (bet you were wondering why I picked today of all days to restart my writing, right?!?!) We are still companions in parenthood- the kids are really doing great- and friends. I don’t see this as the end of our relationship, just the beginning of a different one. He’s a good dad, friend, and a person. (Just not a good husband for me. Take of it what you will.)

3. The kids and I moved out of our house in GJ and are living in a cute little duplex in a manicured neighborhood right next to my eldest’s school. I am working three jobs (part-time at Roper Music, teaching music lessons, and doing business consulting/coaching/services). I feel like the real-life Dolly Levi. “If you have to live them hand-to-mouth, you better be ambidextrous!” It’s frequently 12-hour days, when you add in my kid-dedicated time, but I’m loving it.

4. Not long after our separation, I started hanging out a lot with Matt– the photographer I met last fall at one of the MAD Racing events. We are incredibly compatible and I am thrilled with how it is going. Now that the divorce is “official” I would like to “officially” call him what he is and has been for me over these past few very-challenging months: my best friend, boy friend, partner in many adventures, and my personal comedian.

5. I feel happier than I have been in a long time. Things are so so challenging right now, but I feel like I am starting to thrive like I haven’t in years. My kids are amazing, I’m doing everything I can to be a good mom and provider for them, and I’m doing things that I love with people that I like.

See, I told you it was a short list!

As for the format of this blog- it will still be trail-focused, with a little bit of life-considerations and insights just for kicks. It won’t be every day, just a chronicle of my trail experience, which I plan to have year-round!

♥ Elisa ♥

Now check out some pics of my trail adventures these last few months:

IMG_4083 IMG_4098 IMG_4103 IMG_4105 photo 1 (1) photo 3 (1) IMG_4107 IMG_4158 IMG_4159 IMG_4168 1654753_10155362128300171_76980551_n 11015263_10155362129930171_2046477112_n 11022931_10155362127515171_1512509795_n 11029751_10155362060005171_179046849_o

Credit: Matt Janson Photography11051139_10155362128100171_764356668_n IMG_3378 IMG_3386 IMG_3397 IMG_3402 IMG_3419 IMG_3435 IMG_3440 IMG_3442 IMG_3766 IMG_3789 IMG_3792 IMG_3800 IMG_3801 IMG_3803 IMG_3821 IMG_3825 IMG_3827 IMG_3828 IMG_3829 IMG_3831 IMG_3832 IMG_3833 IMG_3834 IMG_3835 IMG_3837