simplicitee

Reading, thinking, biking, sharing…

TOWM October 10, 2008

Filed under: arizona,life,mountain biking,Nature,Uncategorized — onarete @ 7:04 pm

 

This years TOWM was sort of a disaster for me, but also alot of fun.  After finding out that the 60 miler was actually 67.2 miles the evening before, I headed to bed.  We were camped in a lava field with all sorts of rocks and painful items stabbing me in the back, when Blair got really sick (the 6 hour flu?).  Needless to say, I was awake almost the entire night.  I still felt pretty good when the alarm went off, and I was looking forward to a day on the bike. 

The first 20 miles or so, I was just suffering.  For some reason, my bike wasn’t shifting and it was still really cold, so my asthma was acting up a little.  After the second aid station, I hit a fast and beautiful dirt road, and from there I had a wonderful day.  It was a little bit cold and breezy, and all the trees were turning.  So  many times during the race, I found myself saying a little prayer thankful for the beauty, for the fresh air, for the blood pumping through my muscles.  I am so lucky to have a life like this.

I ate really well and paced myself and just had a really good time throughout.  I never crashed and felt like I rode the downhills and technical sections really well.  Right before the final aid station it started to rain.  I stopped to put on my jacket and looked at the time.  It was 3 o’clock.  This was a serious bummer because I knew that the cutoff time for the aid station was at 3.  About 5 minutes later I rolled in, the rain pouring, and was pulled.  Part of me was really upset with myself and dissapointed, but a bigger part of me was smiling and happy and thankful for having so much fun and feeling so good.

I hightailed it back to the venue where the road was already turning to a gooey mess.  Blair and I threw all of our wet gear in the car, and decided to leave.  Judging by the numbere of other cars leaving, I think it must have been a pretty small crowd that stuck around for the night.  After a pitstop at Dairy Queen, Blair drove me home and unpacked.  I definately owe him one now.

The good thing about this race is that I felt really good and have obviously built up my endurance.  On the other hand, I am slooow.  Which I knew, but it was good to be reminded of it.  Now I know where I have my work cut out for me. 

Overall, I’d have to say it was a lot of FUN!

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Worth a thousand words October 6, 2008

Filed under: adventure,arizona,happiness,life,love,mountain biking,Nature — onarete @ 3:10 pm

I will write up a report on TOWM soon, but first I want to share some pictures from the last several weekends of biking.

This is a picture of the McDowell’s on a hot summer morning.

 

Sweaty but still smiling.

 

 BB at a beautiful lookout in Prescott before we started descending.

 

Lovely little pool that we ran into late in the afternoon.  I stopped for a snack.

 

 

Going through a tunnel blasted through the rock.  This was in Flagstaff. 

 

Riding through the aspens; moments of joy.

 

Flagstaff September 23, 2008

Filed under: arizona,Camping,Flagstaff,happiness,life,love,mountain biking,Nature — onarete @ 8:11 pm

Photo Credit

We escaped to Flagstaff for the weekend.  These little trips become so easy when you do lots of them, things are organized, you know exactly what you need for 2 days camping and biking.  Flagstaff was cold and windy when we arrived early Saturday morning.  It felt like fall!  We set up camp quickly and headed out on the bikes.  

What a ride.  We rode singletrack for 5 1/2 hours, sweeping through all kinds of scenery: meadows, aspen forest, pine trees, red rock.  I was so giddy, I was flying.  After 2 1/2 hours, Blair finally made me stop to eat something.  I didn’t even feel like I was working.  “This is mountain biking,” Blair said.

Sunday we rode from camp, climbing several miles before we started “the climb.”  We rode waterline road to Abineau Canyon.  The road is surrounded by Wilderness area and offers spectacular views.  Every time I went around a corner my heart jumped in awe.  Right before the cabins, the road winded through the most amazing forest of aspens.  I had never seen anything like it!  Fat aspens as far as the eye could see.  (I will post some pictures once I get them uploaded).  After the cabins, the road became more primitive.  There were areas where the whole road was covered by rock slides.  The wind also picked up and was blowing me around like crazy.  Just as my legs were starting to give in, we made it to the end of the road, Abineau canyon.  This was at 10,500′.  I think that is a record on my mountain bike.   From there, we were able to see the Grand Canyon!  What a view!

From there, we had close to 20 miles of downhill.  Both Blair and I were riding slow to enjoy the scenery and also to keep from getting too cold (we were freezing by the bottom).  This was a fabulous ride.  Lots of climbing, but never too steep and jaw-dropping beautiful.

I feel so blessed to have a weekend like that.  In so many ways I am blessed.

 

Grand Canyon September 8, 2008

Filed under: arizona,Grand Canyon,Nature — onarete @ 9:08 pm

 

In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world…. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American….should see.”

Theodore Roosevelt
 

Desert storm August 15, 2008

Filed under: arizona,desert,happiness,Nature,road biking,Uncategorized — onarete @ 6:17 pm

The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

I suprised myself yesterday when I went for a road ride and realized that it had been over 3 weeks!  Part of this is that it has been just too hot to hang out on the blacktop in the 105+ degree heat.  It is much easier to wait until the sun goes down and ride dirt.  As I left work though, it was a cool 97 degrees, so I jumped at the opportunity.  It was hot and sunny but not overwhelmingly so.

I did the Home -> Bush Highway -> Usery Pass -> Home loop.  Once I passed the Walgreens, not a soul was out.  Even the traffic was abnormally light.  It was just me and the desert, and I was flying.  Every so often I would look around and be hit by another wave of awe at the beauty of the mountains and the river and the saguaro cactus saluting as I went by.

As I approached the turnoff for Usery Pass, the sky was turning ominous.  Half way up the climb, dirt and sand started blowing across the road (and yes, at one point, a tumbleweed).  At the top, it had gone from a sunny day to black, lightening, and windy.  On the descent, the wind gusts were threatening to knock me over.  As hard as I tried, I couldnt keep my front wheel in a straight line.  Every time I nearly crashed and kept it together, I felt a surge of adrenaline cursing through my body.  Wild and smiling, I turned toward home, the wind to my back, spinning furiously to outrun the storm.  I was flying.

I pulled into the apartment complex just as the storm instensified and the sky went totally dark.  Blair had dinner on the stove.  I was salty and windblown.  Inside, it was safe.  I was totally, totally happy.

 

Back to Arizona July 9, 2008

Filed under: arizona,life — onarete @ 5:00 pm

Sometimes he caught himself listening to the sound of his own voice. He thought that in her eyes he would ascent to an angelical stature; and, as he attached the fervent nature of his companion more and more closely to him, he heard the strange impersonal voice which he recognised as his own, insisting on the soul’s incurable lonliness. We cannot give ourselves, it said: we are our own.  -James Joyce

Tommorrow is my last day at work here in Washington.  I will do the Seattle to Portland ride this weekend, then I’m off to my parents house in Idaho for a while, and then back to Arizona. 

I’ve grown pretty fond of Arizona.  I feel like it is where I really found myself.  When I moved there, I had no family (at least not that I’m close to), no friends, no idea what I was getting myself into.  Needless to say, I’ve gone through some pretty low moments there.  Extreme lonliness, fear of responsibility, moments of deep depression and anxiety.  But I also became an adult in Arizona.  I figured out what is important to me, and also how capable I am of making my life a good one.  I became strong, both mentally and physically.  Stripped of those things that defined me, my home, my family, my boyfriend, school, I was able to be me.  I learned how to forge a career for myself, pay the bills, do things that scare me.

When I left Arizona, I wasn’t sure I was going back.  But I am.  All I can figure is that I still have some more lessons left to learn there.  And this time is going to be so much better than last time.  Because this time I know who I am.   

Photo credit

 

New adventures March 12, 2008

Filed under: adventure,arizona,desert,friends,life,mountain biking — onarete @ 5:36 pm

cliff.jpg 

Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us. -John N. Mitchell

This is my last post from Arizona, at least for a while.  I’m headed to the land of water, trees, and rain.  Quite a difference, I’d say…..

It’s been fun saying goodbye to everybody.  I realize what good friends I’ve made here and how successful I’ve been at building a good life for myself.  The world is full of beautiful people and beautiful places.  I know where I’m going to be for the next four months; beyond that an open road awaits.

I’m going to take one last ride out at Hawes this afternoon.  And then adieu.  For a while at least.