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Mountain Biking-err crashing

Yesterday, I went for my second mountain biking voyage at China Camp. I’m fortunate enough to be borrowing what is apparently one of the best mountain bikes, ever. A women’s Specialized Stump Jumper. I’m not sure if its the 29er. I don’t think that it is. But I do know, that I’m a long way from being to afford such a bike. And I’ll be disappointed in any other mountain bike in the event that I decide to continue with this sport. And that’s a big if, especially after this weekend.

It’s funny, the first time you try something new sure its hard, but you push through it and are rewarded with endorphines and the satisfaction of good job well done. So why is the second time so much harder?

I’m not a great climber by any means. I huff and I puff and my quads burn. The week prior to mountain biking, I had spent road biking and running, crosstraining as I like to call it. So, why was my second trip so hard? The first part of the climb, I did really well, albeit all the while huffing and pufing. The second half of the climb was brutual. My legs became jell-o faster and I had to stop a few times on the trail in order to catch my breath and give my quivering my legs a break. Trying to stand to even make the tiniest of climbs was nearly impossible.

Then the rewardning part of the adventure began-the downhill. I should also make note that this is also the most dangerous part of the ride. The first go round I didn’t wear any protective gear other than my helmet. This time borrowing leg guards from boyfriend we began the descent. I can’t describe the feeling of ripping around corners and picking up gears as you shuffle on the rocks. The first time that I took on this adventure I had to get the feel of the bike and trust that the bike was going to be underneath me. I know that sounds weird, but sometimes after hitting loose rocks I could feel the bike shifting around under me. Not having the time to really think about it kept me calm. If I would’ve had time to think about the situation I probably would’ve freaked out and crashed. This time I was more confident. Probably going faster than I should have been going and taking a few more risks than was good for me.

My first crash was an easy one. I wasn’t going very fast at all, but my pedals clipped some rocks sending me off balance and down to the ground. I fell in a tangled heap on the side of the cliff. Ace was nice enough to disentangle me from the bike and readjust the seat which I had somehow landed on. I dusted myself off and continued downhill. I probably should’ve taken my cue to slow it down when I topped a hill a bit too fast and was faced with lots of treacherous trail. Sharp rocks, steep crevasses cut into the trail, and only a split second to choose my route. I somehow managed that one, but I was quickly about to meet my fate.

I knew the end of the hard techinical trail was coming to a close and I was getting excited. I don’t know what happened really. I was on an easy part of the trail, it was wide and nothing but dirt. I look ahead and see a tree. I knew that I needed to move to the right of the tree. But I was somehow unable to make this happen. I was breaking and trying to steer right, but nothing was happening. At the last moment, at least I think this is how it happened, I grabbed the left brake too hard and it sent me flying over the handle bars. Which scraped down the tops of my quads, which are now a lovely shade of purple. I also took a hard hit to my upper abdomen. I’ve never seen such a color before. It’s red with tinges of purple. But the worst is my shoulder. Immediately upon impact, I screamed out in the hopes of catching Ace’s attention. It didn’t work. I knew people were on the trail behind me and I couldn’t stay where I was. I somehow managed to pick myself up and move the bike out of the path. But there was no way that I would be able to finish the ride, which I was bummed about. I was doing so well. I kept apologizing for crashing because I didn’t want to be a disspointment.

I’ll get back on the bike, in a couple of weeks or more, because I can’t raise my arm past my waist at the moment. But next time, I’ll be a bit slower and go easier. Maybe, I’ll even go on a less physically demanding downhill course.

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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Adventure

 

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Woah.

After a briefly long hiatus, I’m back and what an adventure its been. Woah became my new word of the trip. There was also something impressive looming in the distance.

After 14 days, 8 cities, and more than 4,000 miles I arrived to my new home in the Bay area. The trip was amazing. America is such a beautiful place with every changing scenery. One moment you’re in the desert, next you’re in a green valley. In the blink of an eye stone monuments are front and center. It was definitely an unforgettable journey, although, I think I would like to forget the desert. After resisting the urge to drink lotion and applying chap stick every other minute, I realized that I need more than 4% humidity in my life.

A brief synopsis of the journey:

1) Home in Arkansas: Always good to see the fam. Mom made one of my favorite dishes from childhood her lasagna and homemade french bread. She also sent us on our way with a jar of spicy crackers.

2) Houston, TX: A stop in to see some of Ace’s long time friends. A visit to the Alabama Ice House was also in order. Once an actual ice house, now converted into the host of a perpetual block party complete with Mexican fare.

3) Austin, TX: A spur of the moment decision that was all about finding bbq. Which we did, in the most unassuming store fronts for a bbq joint. Blue Ribbon BBQ in downtown has some of the best lip smackin’ bbq even if it looks like a “city slicker” kinda place. Ace also discovered and acquaintance from ages ago behind the counter, who was kind to show us around. Also upon recommendation was a stop at the South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery. A community of mobile food vendors selling innovative food.

4) Carlsbad, NM: A visit to see stalactites and stalagmites. Impressive, but with so much of the cave destroyed, large paved walking paths, and with what once used to be a restaurant on the cave floor, it feels like an overdone tourist amusement park ride. Still glad that I went though.

5) Page, AZ: A stop of necessity. Loosing daylight and not wanting to continue our trip in the dark, we stumbled into this dusty little town that boasted no fewer than 10 different churches all within a 3 blocks or so. After setting up camp for night, we were off to do a little bit wondering about and discovered a forgotten fact that Page is home of the controversial Glen Canyon Dam.

6) Durango, Co: A trip down memory lane for Ace. An old mining town of the west that now plays host to those seeking recreation in her hills.

7) Mesa Verde: On the outskirts of Durango, is the former home of the Cliff Dwellers. Its mind-boggling that people would choose to live in what seems to be a completely inconvenient location. If you want to visit, I would recommend early spring before the summer masses begin to arrive.

8 ) Zion National Park: Probably the most impressive stop of the entire journey. Jaw dropping views. It didn’t take long for my neck to start hurting from looking up so much. The peaks that rise above to tower over everything in the valley are nothing short of stunning. This is also the part of the journey where I definitely had to push myself the hardest. We decided to do an overnight hiking trip into the back country and we chose Cable Mountain. I’m not how much of my stress was caused mentally and how much was physical. All I know is that at a certain point, I could no longer breathe. I had been hiking up at a moderate pace, taking time to catch my breath frequently, but then I almost collapsed. My lungs rattled and felt hollow and I struggled to take even a shallow breath. It took me some time to calm myself down and regain control of breathing. It’s what I imagine an asthma attack to feel like. It’s a terrible feeling. But I made it. Huzah!

9) Las Vegas: Another unplanned stop, but with our trip coinciding with National Parks week we were unable to stay in Zion another night due to the crowds. And since we were passing through, why not? We basically just strolled down the strip stopping when we needed another tasty beverage. In the morning all hilarity ensued. After traveling in a tiny car for 2 weeks, the thought of trying to cram ourselves back in the car for another day was all it took for us to crack. But at least we cracked with laughter and not anger.

And now I have been home for the past 23 days. Having plenty of adventures that have yet to be documented. Its my hope that I will start documenting my daily adventures, no matter how small. So stay tuned.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Adventure

 

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Last Day

Today is my last day as a 29 year old. Yes, that’s right, my birthday is April 1st and no its not a joke. This is the point where people ask or state rather, that I must be good at April Fool’s Day Jokes. Nope not really. I can’t even say that I’ve really tried. I don’t want to pull a prank unless it’s going to be really really good! Maybe next year.

I guess I should be reflective now. I’ve had a great year with a lot of unexpected surprises. Wonderful surprises I might add. As I momentarily reflect, I’m also reminded that I’m moving forward. It could be the boxes sitting in my room half packed and the continual debate about what I can truly bare to part ways with. There is nothing like moving across the country and knowing that the only things you’re taking with you are the things that will fit in your tiny car.
This is one chapter that I’m glad to be putting to bed, not because it was a terrible year, but because I’m excited and ready to start this new adventure. My newest adventure will start next week, after I bid adieu to friends and meet the parents. For some meeting the parents will invoke a knee jerk reaction of fight or flight, I actually like meeting parents. Parents love me! This time however, I am nervous maybe it has something to do with the seriousness of this relationship. I know Ace is nervous and not looking forward to meeting my parents. It’s a non-negotiable that he meet my parents before I move across the country with someone that they’ve never met. He could care less if I met his and would probably prefer that I didn’t. Family is important to me and so he’s willing to introduce me to his family as well as meet mine.
And speaking of family, my friend FINALLY had her baby! YAY! Weighing in at 7.3lbs and gorgeous. I’m glad that I’ll get to “meet” her, but also sad that I’m leaving and will miss so much of her life.

I won’t give the clichéd statement of “If you would have told me this a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.” I probably say “nah” while smiling and thinking to myself it’s quite possible. After all anything is possible, well almost anything.

P.S. I’ll report back on how meeting the parents went, from both sides.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Adventure

 

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More on the Open Road…

My road trip across America has just been extended to 2 weeks. The orginal plan was just a fairly straightforward trip across the Southwest, but now Ace is throwing States such as Colorado into the hat for conversation.

I for one just want to make sure that I get in my fill of kitsch on this trip. I would love to stop at the dinosaurs that appeared in Pew Wee Herman’s Big Adventure. FYI: They are located in Cabazon, CA. And anything that claims to be the “World’s Largest ________.” I found a book ages ago that detailed the best roadside attractions from Coast to Coast. I wish I would have bought it!

I also like the idea of getting in some outdoor adventure time as well. I would love to be able to take Ace kayaking along the Buffalo or Quchita rivers in Arkansas. (I am orginally from this state.) I know that everyone likes to poke fun at people that are from Arkansas, but I promise that we aren’t all barefoot, missing our teeth, or talk like hillbillies. Its a nature lovers dream.

I would love to know where you’ve great roadside attractions stretching from North Florida to San Francisco. Ready, Set, Go! And thanks for playing!

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Adventure

 

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The Big Easy Adventure

An intern in my office is headed to Nola, one of my favorite cities for spring break and I’ve agreed to come up with a list of places and things to do that she should at least attempt.

I’ve been several times and I’ve only done the Bourbon Street crawl once. It was a very memorable night, Halloween 2009, which coincided with Voodoo Fest. If you’ve never been to VF, I highly recommend it. Its 3 days of incredible music, in an amazing city and the weather is finally tolerable. We were a group of 5 women and had all decided to dress as sailor girls on Halloween night and enjoy the festivities on Bourbon.

We had agreed to meet in the French Quarter and once all 5 of us were assembled it became our first experience with “paparazzi.” It was dizzying at first. I don’t think that we moved for 20 minutes because of all the pictures that were being taken, which was unfair, we needed our “Big Ass Beers” or a Hurricane or some variety of a tasty adult beverage. After we had drinks firmly in hand, the paparazzi effect became easy to deal with. The street was jovial, everyone was there to have a great time and no one was flashing out of season (at least from what I remember.)

As the intern is going there next week she will get to experience Fat Tuesday. I’m kind of jealous, but I think that I will take my Voodoo Experience and call it a day. From the war stories of friends, it seems as though Halloween on Bourbon is Mardi Gras minus all the puking frat boys. Not to say there aren’t some aspects of Mardi Gras that I would love to experience such as the costume balls, parades as rider, and other festivities that Old Orleans society participates in. That would be how I want to experience it from the front of a grand home in the Garden District. But alas I’ll dream and make a list for the intern.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2011 in Adventure

 

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2 Weddings & a Baby

As I’ve been thinking about my Top 30 Before 30 adventure, I’ve come to realize that I’m partaking in adventures that aren’t mine, however, I’m still an active (and willing) participant . Most recently, I’ve been recruited to play in my best friend from college’s wedding, my friend’s pregnancy, and my little sister’s wedding.  

Admittedly, I am not a baby person. I don’t ooh and ahh at baby’s and start speaking in a ridiculously high voice like most women do at the sight of or sometimes just mention of the word baby. Nor do I feel any sort of maternal-whatever. I just don’t know what all the fuss is about, babies are not a new occurrence. This isn’t to say that I don’t like kids (or babies) as long as they don’t belong to me, I’m good.

 This go round, I’m excited for my friend. I’m happy to take part in her adventure as much as she wants me too. I’ve been looking at baby gear online and I gladly listen as she describes what’s going on with “baby” this week. I now know more about the first 10 weeks of pregnancy than I ever thought I would! And I’m happy to know and continue to learn as the weeks tick by.

 The past few times that I’ve heard any women discuss marriage they get that same high pitched voice used when the word baby is mentioned. Then they want to discuss any and all aspects of their impending wedding. I might care if I knew them, but since I don’t know them, I don’t really care. Perhaps it’s the rebel in me that makes me want to dislike things that most women seem to fall all over themselves about. Again, with the two weddings that I’m participating in, I magically don’t mind. But thinking about all of my friends who have recently married, no one really talked about or swooned over their wedding plans. They sort of skim the details and talk about the wedding as if it’s just another event. All in all, its almost as if they don’t expect me to care, which I do of course.

Either way, I’m happy to be taking part in all of my friends  life adventures.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2010 in Adventure

 

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