Wednesday, December 1, 2010


In my heart, I will always be a little girl on a horse. I used to daydream while sitting in my desk at school about my horse Mac. The first thing I was going to do was run as fast as I could up the driveway to the barn after I got off the bus. I had forts and secret "gold" stashes all over the acres of hayfields I grew up riding. And in my third grade mind, these forts could possibly be breached and the gold stashes stolen. Mac was my trusty steed, and along with my other best friend, Sammie the Airedale, we would "patrol" the meadows and check the gold stashes (which really were old, broken, glass powerline insulators, but for purposes of this blog--they were GOLD).

My mom used to tell me that it wasn't good to run your horse all the time because that would be all they would want to do. So, like any normal kid, as soon as I could see mom not standing at the window, away we went, as fast as I could make old Mac go. I can't remember anything that felt as good as racing across the fields. I quickly became a jockey winnning the Kentucky Derby, a world champion barrel racer and when Mac would scale the ditches and creeks, we were winning the steeplechase in record time. I would always make sure I cooled Mac out (so it didn't look like I ran him the whole time). Ha, but my mom knew exactly what I had been doing because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Mac was no youngster after a few years and I got a horse named Page when I was in junior high. I had a burning desire and a dream to be a world champion barrel racer but lacked the suitcases full of cash to pursue this past high school rodeo. I loved the high intensity and speed (of course) of team roping, breakaway and barrel racing. God, I miss those days sometimes.

My other intense, hardcore fix was basketball. I lived for Friday night games. I pushed hard every second in every practice. I wanted to be the fastest when coach yelled "On the line!" I never let up on myself...push...go...move..faster. I knew how many points, rebounds and assists every person on the Portland Trailblazers had the night before. Big games made my adrenaline surge. I lived and breathed basketball in my teens...

Many, many nights I would wake up at 3AM in the corner of my room, crouched into position to shoot a free throw and have to get back in bed. Then about 15 minutes later, I was down in defensive position trying to take a charge...sound asleep until I would wake myself up by running into the wall. Um, yah, I would call that slightly intense :-P (I could coyly slip the word “epically” in, but I will spare you all—THIS TIME).
Now, after being in Colorado for 5 years, my intensity and passion has not lessened an ounce. In fact, I think it has increased (hehe..exponentially) with age. My 14er completion quest is in full swing and the number I have summitted almost triples the number I have left. I am completely in love with the San Juans and Ouray will be my home someday. Backcountry trips into the Canadian Rockies bring me to my knees in awe and cause random snow angels in the shape of a 31 year-old female to appear at the base of glaciers. Some of my New Zealand treks exceeded 20 miles in a day and the view from the Cascade Saddle on the Reese/Dart track brought tears to my eyes.
I have repeatedly heard “You are crazy” and “I like the mountains and hiking but just not to the level of intensity that you go.” I just smile and look to the west. How can I ever explain in English to someone what I feel when I am in the mountains? I can equate it to how I feel when I was riding Mac through the hayfields or hitting a clutch jump shot—I thrive on this feeling. I am vibrant, alive, alert and clarity prevails…On the flip, I feel that I perish and age while sitting in traffic or standing in line or watching people scream at each other on TV.
2010 brought me an additional delivery method for this intense fix I crave—mountain biking. I found a duo partner for 24 Hours of Old Pueblo in February a couple days ago. And, not surprisingly, I woke up last night (standing in the corner of my room) from a dream. Shooting a free throw? Nope. I was blazing down Chimney Gulch…on a bike.
The first half of my life centered on big games and fast horses. My twenties ushered in the transition to what I focus on now, barely into my thirties…big mountains and fast bikes.
In epic proportions...of course


  1. Jill that was great! I can identify with your horse story. I was the same. Racing home after school and running to the barn to go ride. I would ride bareback with no bridle, just a halter and lead rope and gallop at full speed down the roads and fields. Those were the days!

  2. I can relate to your intensity and passion. It reminds me of my college days the night before a big basketball game. I would almost always wake up from a dream about the pending game. I love riding horses too but my running across fields usuallly occured on foot. I was always trying to run faster, farther,and push harder. In college, it became an obsession and I would scheme about how I could run the 400M better/faster,etc. That intensity has been tamed a bit now that I am into my 40's but you can still see it occasionally when I am on my road bike going up a hill...I will not be passed...hehe. Thanks for the nostalgia Jill and putting it in writing. Fun to remember those days.