Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fourth Try's....the charm?

I took this picture with Whitney's panorama feature on her new camera. This is the meadow about half a mile up the ride. This is the first ride I did when I rented a bike, and tried again the after I bought the bike, and tried AGAIN when my buddy rented a bike and came with me. Every time I've been a little bit better.

This time was the best by far. I stopped about half as often, didn't fall off my bike (only on the one really steep hill), and really enjoyed the ride! I ran into a few fellow mountain bikers, one college student - we rode together for a few legs - and a whole group of bikers who were pretty good at giving me some examples (as I followed them) on how to do better riding down the trail. It was awesome!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Little Engine that Could

I didn't take this picture. I keep forgetting to grab Whitney's camera when I go places, partially because I don't want to ruin it (it is a pretty nice little handheld). I borrowed this from so you can kind of see what the trail is like. this would be one of the smoother portions..:)

I really wasn't sure I was ready to go back on this trail. I tried it last Thursday and had a really rough time. It was a lot of fun because there were lots of ups and downs, but I kept having to stop on the ups (at a certain point the bike starts to tip over and you have no choice but to put a foot down) and ride my brakes on the downs (they were pretty steep). I kept planning on going at it again, but I just freaked myself out and decided to do other rides or sleep (after all, the book does say I should rest every couple of days or so). I couldn't come up with any excuse, so I decided to try it again.

I've learned quite a bit since I last tried this, and I felt pretty good about myself. I think I handled the gear shifts a lot better; I would either find myself in too high or WAY too low of a gear every time I would try a climb last time. This time I found the right gear a lot more often and just kept on trucking away. It was a crazy feeling to just crouch forward and keep on pedaling (looking at the top of the climb was pretty intimidating) and then all of the sudden find yourself at the top!

I felt more comfortable on the downhills, too! Partially because I knew where the turns were so I could prep for them, but also because I trusted the bike a lot more, and it was a lot of fun!

There are so many times in my life (particularly when I was younger) where I would try something once. If I failed, I gave up on it, if I was successful I kept going with it. The same old habits started to kick in here. I didn't necessarily fail last time, but I wasn't all that good at it... I'm so glad I didn't give up! Our home teachers came over last night (bless their hearts, they called at 5:30 because one had realized he'd be out of town all weekend and asked to come over at 7) but the message was about how change in the gospel sense is the result of repeated good choices, not some dramatic moment. Whitney has been reading in her new favorite book that sudden changes in weight - fad diets, overexercise, etc. - are not lasting. The only way to have success - to achieve lasting change - is to keep going at what we know is right, even when the payoff seems so small, or even non-existent.

One of my favorite quotes that I put on the board in choir is by Anna Pavolova: "To tend unfailing, unflinchingly toward a goal; that is the secret of success." I think that sums it up pretty well!

This wasn't the most well crafted thought I've had, but its something that's been sticking with me today.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

And I was worried about moving to the midwest...

Before I bought a bike, I did some searching around to see if there was even mountain biking to be done in South-Central Wisconsin, or if I would be smarter to go for a road bike. I found a few trails about a half-hour away and decided that was close enough for some fun enough to justify some weekend rides.

Then this article shows up in the Janesville Gazette!

How awesome! The Park is delightfully close to campus, too!

In addition to that, there's this, and this. I think I'll be in good shape!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Just like in Scouts....

Thanks to Jill W. and Jessica B.'s explanation of how the Provo River Trail ACTUALLY works, I decided to go for a longer ride today, you know...see how long I lasted.

Turns out that I lasted for about 23 miles, all the way up to Vivian park (not quite a 25 miler-but close)! It was an awesome feeling, and an awesome ride. Since my front derailleur wasn't quite working right, I could never shift into my topmost gear (it would shoot the chain PAST the top gear if I tried). It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, though, because it forced me to keep my pedaling up and get myself in better shape.

Our forecast sad that we would get less than a quarter inch of rain today, so I was feeling confident, even in the face of these ominous clouds!

(Since blogger loaded my pictures backwards, you're gonna' get it from the top down)

I, however, didn't catch any rain until the very last mile or so, and then it was really a downpour. Of course, the downpour only lasted for a couple minutes, so the total rain probably wasn't more than 1/4 of an inch.

I took a nice little pause at Bridal Veil falls, and even took some time to look the OTHER way, to get this beautiful picture (above).

I know there are a MILLION pictures of this exact scene.
But this one was taken by ME, when I RODE my bike up there from MY HOUSE!

All up the trail, there were these BEAUTIFUL finches that flew along the path. I got lucky enough to whip out my camera and take one. In other news, I tried to edit this one a bit to get the bird to look a little bit more brilliant

What a fun afternoon! Thanks Jill W. and Jessica B. for teaching my how far the trail really goes!

I'm also experimenting with making my own Gatorade. I found a great website that teaches you several different possibilities of making it (most of which include using "lite Morton's salt" which has sodium AND potassium in it. Now I'm just trying to find a way to sweeten it without using straight sugar or artificial sweeteners....


So....we're watching some movie (can't remember what, Whitney could tell me, but she's asleep) where they are investigating the history of some guy.

They seemed quite impressed with his limit on his credit card, and say something like "he sure must pay his bills on time."

The credit limit??

$750 far we've come, which direction? I don't know.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Couple More Rides

I'm totally getting into the Mountain biking thing! (Still no pictures, working on getting that all sorted out still)

I've gone a couple times down the Provo River Trail. Once all the way down to the Utah Lake, and another time HOPING to head up towards the canyon, but the trail stops at the Motion Picture Studios. (lame)

Then yesterday I had some extra time in the morning, so I decided to try something a little more ambitious. My barber (apparently EVERYONE is a mountain biker) suggested I try a part of the Bonneville shoreline trail that starts in north Orem (by the cemetery) and heads up towards Pleasant Grove. I didn't do so bad, but the 4.5 miles took me a LOT longer than I expected! The thing that was great is that there were a lot more ups and downs (instead of one constant climb like the last offroad trail I tried) so I would get a good work out, then breath a little while I went downhill.

The interesting thing about the trail (which I found at is that it climbs 650 feet over the first three and half miles or so, and then goes back down nearly all 650 in the last mile. The whole time I'm going down (scared to death and riding my brakes half the time....) I'm thinking "I'm gonna' have to ride back up this!" Fortunately, the map provides an option for a city street return.

I must have missed my turn, because I ended up being WAY down in the middle of Pleasant Grove and having to wander my way back up towards the cemetery in Orem. I rode by Jill W.'s house, but decided against riding all the way up that hill to say hi, plus I had a lesson to teach soon and had to get home.

All in all, it was a fun ride! I think I'll try it again! AFTER looking at a map.

Monday, May 17, 2010


So, I discovered today that I didn't ACTUALLY make it up to the top of the trail. I was about a mile short....dangit.

Today I went with a buddy to the same trail and he gave me some good tips about successfully maintaining your energy while biking. He learned on a roadbike (did a Seattle to Portland trip a few years ago) but a lot of the stuff still applies.

This time I had my GPS with the coordinates for the top of the loop. When we stopped where I had before, we discovered that we were still about a mile off. But today I finished it! It had some pretty tough stuff, and I figured out where the picture that I posted a few times ago was (it was a pretty tough hill, I had a hard time keeping my front tire on the ground....) its a lot of fun though, we had a great time!

Of course, the ride was finished with a trip to Sonic - effectively canceling out all of the calories we burned on the ride....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I did it!!

So...I know its Sunday, and that we should've been sitting on our couch reading our scriptures (or something like that) Whitney and I decided to take a trip up the mountains, to take a walk and for her to take pictures.

I suggest the place where I started my bike ride, remembering that it had some beautiful pictures if only I had my camera. Of course, since we decide to go up there, I can't pass up the chance to tackle the ride one more time, so I load my bike into the car and we go for it.

Armed with some new information (the bike salesman told me to lock my front suspension when I was going uphill...genius!!) and with a little more humility. I took the ride easy at the beginning trying to conserve my energy as long as I could. Low and behold, I finished the ride!!!

I wasn't so sure I did at first, but I came home and read over the trail description several times and decided that I really did finish it! It was pretty awesome! Still no pictures, but I'm taking a friend up on it tomorrow (yeah...three days in a row, I'm crazy...) so maybe I'll get some pictures then!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mountain Biking!

Many of you know I've been on a trek in the past 12 months to find some hobbies that I really enjoy, there's a woodworking post from several months ago, and the nook post from just a few weeks ago (Really, I put these in because I think its funny to reference myself). I love them all, but i felt like I needed something more active. So, I've recently had a renewed interest in mountain biking. As Whitney can tell you, I have wanted a bike since we got married. Now that we've been good, diligent savers we decided its probably something we could afford by now. Of course, those of you who know me realize I spend money to try something new (watercolor is the most recent "experiment") and then I end up not really sticking with it.

For that reason whitney suggested that I rent one first to see how I like it. This morning I went down to BYU outdoors unlimited to rent a bike and try a ride. I spent all week researching trails in Utah trying to find one that I thought I could do (remember, I have been remotely physically active, but definitely not in tip top shape). I finally found one that looked great, they said it was for "intermediate" (surely I was an intermediate) and it looked beautiful, so I thought I could handle it.

How wrong I was.

This is one photograph on the page for the ride I decided to take:

1.) Note the physique of the guy in the picture. Much, MUCH better than mine. This is a guy who calls the ride "intermediate" and refers to the 750 feet rise over 1.75 miles as a "mild uphill." He didn't know much about me.

2.) Note the place from where the picture is taken. Realize the guy in the picture is going to arrive at the place where the picture is being taken - "mild uphill??" ha!

So...I had a great time. Really I did. I was exhausted, and I stopped several times, and I'm not sure I even made it to the top of the loop I was riding. But I saw some beautiful sights, and downhill was a blast!

So, after about 45 minutes of riding, I would feel quite sheepish taking back my four-hour I decided to ride it around the road that led to the trailhead. It wasn't so bad, I could handle endurance...just not the big pushes required for uphill. After a little bit of that, I took the bike home.

By the time I got into Provo, I still had an hour and a half left on the rental. So I drove to my house and told Whitney about my plight. She suggested I take a ride around town and see how I do. I took a ride down the Provo River Trail and LOVED IT! Downhill and uphill! Needless to say, I decided that I could easily do this, I just need to do some regular conditioning.

Whitney and I talked about the idea of renting the bike for a week, but when we realized how much it would cost, it made more sense to start shopping for an actual bike to own, provided that I will actually use it. (I have a feeling she'll guilt me if I don't make pretty regular use.) We did some shopping around (I had already been doing it for months) and finally settled on the same bike I had rented that morning. One that my father-in-law Craig said he absolutely loved.

So, I'm now I biker! This is gonna' be fun!