Monday, March 19, 2012

Home Decor Choices

Someone asked me once when I was going to hit my domestic phase and stop "running all over and climbing mountains and riding bikes.." 

The domestic phase? Been there. Done that.

Home remodeling, improvement, decor. All were once a big thing in my mid twenties. I spent a lot of time caring what the walls of the big mortgage house looked like. I had beautiful hardwood floors, countertops, windows, yard and blah, blah, blah...zzzzzz.

The "perfect" and finished projects that I spent so much time and effort on meant absolutely nothing to me when I finally took off the paint apron and stepped back to look at my efforts. In fact, the very notion that these "things" were even taking up my time when I knew deep in my soul that I didn't really have any passion for them left me the most empty, frustrated and lost as I had ever been.

So, roughly 4 years (and a lot of simplifying and downsizing) later, I feel somewhat compelled to share my latest trend in home decor:

Half of April's journey is up...

More detailed view...

My surroundings are far more beautiful now....

35688 minutes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Never Gonna Grow Up, Never Gonna Slow Down.

Hand these to a couple of thirty-somethings with an abundance of ambition and energy, a burning passion for adventure and the daily need to play like children:

The Beauty: An ubersweet Fatty from Twenty2Cycles 

The (beloved) Beast: He so handsome...

And what happens on a Saturday afternoon in March?


They claim the first Cottonwood Pass fatbike summit:

But not without a little (expected) playtime about 500 feet shy:

The thrill of 37.9 mph down this was the reward:

For this:

After some "tandem descending", ripping through trees, cutting switchbacks on snowmobile trails and creating a good blooper reel of crashes, slips and slides the sun began to wane in the western sky and the full 20 mile summit and descent was complete. Lounging afterwards on the tailgate in the springtime sun brought talk of the next task at hand: Igloo constrution.

Hotels are overpriced and boring and tents suck in the wind...thus...igoo it!

FYI...the best room in Chaffee County exists on the Colorado Trail

Add fire:

And hammocks:

And a mesmerizing moonrise:

Cook some oatmeal for breakfast:

Pile in blankets and dogs:

And Eddie's stamp of approval is earned:

I sit here and reflect and ask myself:

Why "grow up" if this means I stop playing and laughing?

Why slow down?

I will take a couple falls and laugh at myself:

Kick my own ass:

And smile:

I choose to live now. Do it now. Move. Go big, then bigger.Get excited about things. Feel. Breathe deep. Savor. Encourage instead of criticize. Really listen. Love without expectations. Inspire....And by all means, laugh and play.

We all want to somewhere inside. Let it out....

You get one life. Find the courage to author it. NOW.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Superfly Transport Revamped

Taking a bit of a different packing approach on the lug-a-bike through the canyon.

The way my pack, gravity, frame shape and my desire for minimal breakdown all mesh, I played around with the idea of putting the front shock down:

Left pedal and both wheels off...the bike is secured well where a normal person would put a snowboard
From the front:

This actually feels pretty good on my back.  The pack is a bit large but will work. The shock sticks way out but the seat at its normal height actually provides a pretty good counterbalance of sorts.

If the trail is truly a wide double track as I have been told by a former Flagstaff native, then I am good with the wide load. If not, I have some repacking and probably more (NOOOOO!!!!!) breaking down of the bike to do.

Here are some pics with the wheels on. My concern is bending the rotors so I will mail this thermarest to Tusayan to keep the wheels offset and I secured them so there is no movement. The thermarest keeps the wheels from touching eachother and the frame, but I am still a little sketch about protecting the rotors....

Ideas? Thoughts? Help?

A recipe for a bent rotor at the north rim?
Lots of  head clearance
Front view with wheels on
This way feels far more comfortable to me that turning the bike the other way. I am going to hike the Animas Mt Trail with it tomorrow to test it out....

Too wide a load for the canyon? Rotors? Other issues? What am I overlooking/need to consider??

Saturday, March 3, 2012

All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

So I started a blog a few years after I moved to Colorado. It was just before I found a mountain bike. I was busy climbing mountains, running, road biking, hiking, riding my horse, working a couple of jobs, studying biochemistry and navigating through the sea of the first serious relationship after a short-lived mistake of a marriage. I had a road bike that I put zillions of miles on as an escape. I remember so many hours of pedaling on the network of roads that cut through Northern Colorado and the clarity it brought to my overloaded, sometimes stressed-out life.

One afternoon I came back from a long ride and wrote about how I wished I had all the time back that I wasted driving. With the subject of driving and cars taking up a great deal of my recent thoughts over the past two days, I decided to look back though a bunch of old posts and found it:

April 2...Wouldn't it be great to somehow get back all the time one spends driving? I have given this a lot of thought not only on my bike--but ironically--while driving. The monotonous stop and go and stop and go sends me into a sort of demotivated trance. By nature, I am a bit of an impatient person, so maybe this is why I find driving to be so annoying lately. In short, the very thought of fighting traffic on the way to the gym, store, school or work sometimes zaps all my energy and motivation to do what it was I had planned. So, when I finally locate that magic wand, I think that is one of the first things I will give back to myself--all the countless, mind-numbing hours spent in traffic...

A foreshadowing of where I am today? Hmmmm....

I grew up counting down the days until I was 16 and could get my license. It represented freedom to me. Yes, my parents restricted my driving privileges quite a bit at first, but I grew up in a time and place where the "coolest" thing on the highway was a tricked out 4WD pickup truck. Loud, black smoke- billowing, jacked up, big tires and the more mud the better. (It is probably safe to say that not much has changed, but that's another topic).

And so I always had a truck and the new shiny models always turned my head on the road. First, I had a big Dodge to pull my horses around, then a newer Dodge, then an F-150, then a newer F-150. Then I got tired of pouring money on gas, insurance and payments into the money toilet (right about the time I found a new, true freedom on a mountain bike) and downgraded seriously to a gas-sipping, older car that ran and was worth about 1/3 of what my bike was.

Being human (well, more accurately, American) I was a little embarrassed to pull up to the trailhead in a 1999 Mercury Cougar amongst all my friends and their Audis, Elements, VWs and nice trucks with super sweet rack systems.

Most of this video is ridiculously stupid, but the girl stuffing her bike into the car was me. Hilarious if you can relate. Not so if you can't....And I admit, driving somewhat of a clunker was a bit humbling and as I said before, somewhat embarrassing...

For all of about  two weeks....

Then I just quit caring or even noticing what others drove and what was shiny, new and fancy. Seriously. I used to be the girl infatuated with the newest truck on the market, but when my notion of real freedom was forever redefined by a set of knobby tires and a mountain trail, I just simply stopped giving a shit. All I cared  about was how little gas I had to use to get to the next trailhead.....

So when my car broke down in the middle of nowhere on New Years Day, I said a few choice words to it, wished I had a match and some kerosene as I walked away...(.Ok, I am just joking....well, kind of)...and sold it the next day.

And have not had the desire to replace it....yet.

I have done a ton of (sometimes very tough) adapting. I can no longer make a snap decision and jump in the car to run to the store. I find myself becoming the master of planning and arranging. I borrow a car from my very generous roommate or find a ride when the situation dictates a need for a car. I throw my  gas money in and give up my independence of going wherever I want to ride or hike whatever I want. For someone like me, that is the really difficult part of not having a car.

But I can honestly tell you I don't know the price of a gallon of gas, have not scraped a frozen windshield or dropped a dime towards car insurance for a while. I also love to not drive around in a trance of stop and go and stop and go. I love the extra effort I feel in my legs when I am carrying my groceries on my back up the hill to my house. I do not miss the white noise of the radio that I constantly flipped through to find a song I hadn't already heard six times that day. I am glad there is one less car spitting exhaust into the air.....and I do love to see the smile of disbelief and the double-take when I roll up on the Pugsley and lock it to the nearest tree.

The benefits of not having a car are numerous both physically and mentally and each of you who do or have commuted without using a car have your own list I am sure.Somedays, I feel that I am adapting well and could go carless for a long time.

Other days, (specifically yesterday) when I was so stoked, completely packed and ready to head out with my bike and my dog and travel plans completely fell through, I had absolutely zero other options to choose from on such short notice. And I was as bummed as Wheels when she realized we were going nowhere:

Now, I am beginning to forsee a "car-light" existence in my future. I love having all the time back I wished for in my old blog and a lifestyle that involves carpooling and biking everywhere. It is good for me and I genuinely cherish the simplicity of it.

But I will eventually find a good balance and buy something that will get me reliably from Adventure A to Adventure B to avoid being "all dressed up and nowhere to go" again.

I am not thrilled at the idea of car ownership right now, but it sure sucks that I  am blogging on a Saturday. One of which I should have not even had my laptop on....