You’ve come a long way, baby
September 5, 2012
It just hit me that I’m coming up on my 2 year anniversary of my first attempt at mountain biking. That visit to an Intro clinic and short, short ride on a beginner trail was really more of a putting my toe in the water, versus jumping right in. If someone was to ask me how long I’ve been mountain biking, I generally consider spring of 2011 to be the beginning, the point I actually started going out and riding trails…and dragging my family along for the ride so to speak. But it was at the Fall Colors Festival in September of 2010 when I first did a timid ride with dirt under my wheels. Even then I knew I was hooked.
Mountain biking is an all in kinda sport. Meaning your focus has to be all in, on the here and now. The rest of world gets tuned out. Not just by being in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of life. But by the very real need to keep a single minded focus on that single track ahead while at the same time giving into an almost mindless bike/body connection, constantly shifting weight and balance. That feeling of flowing with the bike, with the trail, coupled at times with an adrenaline rush due to speed or difficulty of the trail or drop offs or jumps is wonderful. Almost addicting, Brings me back time and again.
Now with two summers of riding under my belt, it’s great to realize how much progress we’ve made on our skills. As our skills grew, our interest in the sport also increased – as did our stable of bikes. Riding trails we know over again, allows us to benchmark our progress. It’s a great feeling to to clean a trail you couldn’t before. To make it all the way up a climb that you’ve had to get off and push in the past. To ride over a log as if it wasn’t there. Beaver tree, what beaver tree (a particular place on an otherwise easy trail that has vexed me in the past). These improvements all help our confidence grow. With confidence comes ability, a virtuous cycle that allows us to tackle new trails, try new things. Downhill riding in Colorado this past summer, Kiddo and my first “Super-D” race. And in a full circle, we plan on doing our first cross country races at this year’s Fall Colors Festival.
Learning right from the start…the right way
January 1, 2012
As an added benefit, because he learned to ride correctly at the time I was also just learning mountain biking, as a family we have been able to push each other. Kiddo doesn’t let me take the bail line around obstacles. Instead there’s a lot of “Mom, you can do that, you’ve been over bigger logs (or drop offs, or jumps or whatever)”. We now feel confident on all the local trails from intro to more advanced. Our weekends typically include getting in weekend rides at our in city trails (Hoyt, Oak Hill or Crystal Ridge), or at the more extensive Muir/Carlin trails in Kettle Moraine of southeastern WI.
Mountain biking has become part of our family travels. I was able to work in a couple of days of Brown County riding around a business trip in September, and over Thanksgiving, we tackled trails in the Nashville area. To keep active over the Wisconsin winter, the entire family are season members at Rays Indoor Mountain Bike Park (where kiddo is also taking up BMX and jumping). Next summer we’ll try our hand at riding Keystone in Summit County, Colorado, our first trip to a downhill/lift shuttled bike park.
Day with Kiddo…..1st ride of the Spring
April 13, 2011
Views ranged from golf courses to marsh to lake views. Though suspect once the trees leaf out, lake views will be limited.
Kiddo and I enjoyed our time out on the trail. Being the 1st ride of the season we realized we could use a bit of work on our endurance. Nonetheless this ride whetted our appetite for more. We’re both excited to hit other trails, make a family ride a weekly event.
A trip to paradise………
December 1, 2010
Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there’s a backwards old town that’s often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn.
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away
Ok, so maybe we weren’t in Muhlenberg county, but it was a trip back to Western Kentucky, a visit to Mammoth Cave along the Green River and a stop at Paradise along the way. Not the Paradise Mine referred to in John Prine’s song, but Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, in Louisville.
Last time we were at this fun and eclectic (not to mention yummy) restaurant was to celebrate Kiddo’s 1st birthday. He’s now 11. It’s been a while. First discovered when I was working for a wine & spirit distributor in Kentucky. Occasionally had lunches there with customers, or bites with co-workers when I was in town for a meeting. When we moved to Louisville, we discovered how great a place it is for brunch. Bobby Flay did a Throwdown with Lynn. (WTF, my second Bobby Flay mention in two days, and I’m seriously not *that* big of a fan)
Don’t let these pictures fool you. The place is usually packed. This was mid-morning on a Monday. Not exactly prime time. As we were leaving the lunch crowd was beginning to arrive. Love how every inch is decorated. Even the bathrooms! Fun touches (and puzzles on the tables). Kiddo and I enjoyed a nice game of Would you rather…
The tour is marked as moderately strenuous due to about 500 steps. Pace was leisurely, but we were always going up or down steps or ramps. Kiddo was suitably impressed. Which makes me glad.I love visiting caves. Kiddo and I want to go back and do one of the longer spelunking tours – a bit of crawling and climbing and exploring.
My kinda town…………
October 17, 2010
I started the summer with the intention to once again chronicle Chicago’s street planting. Knew I’d be in the city at least once a month. The plan started strong the first week of June, when I spent an enjoyable hour or two with MrBrownThumb wandering the Lurie Garden and the other public spaces between Michigan Avenue and Columbus drive. The salvia at the Lurie Garden was stunning, the annual/tropical beds along Michigan Avenue were recently planted as was the Art on the Farm potager garden.
I was back the first week of July. Took tons of pictures, but never got around to downloading the pictures from camera to computer. Back again the first weekend of August for the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon. The annual/tropical beds wre now well developed, the Lurie Garden had shifted to coneflowers, and the Art on the Farm garden was ready for harvest. However, the weekend turned into an electronics nightmare. Started with dropping my phone in, uh, water at the race expo, then lost my camera not once but twice. Unfortunately, only recovered it once. Gone were the July and August planting updates (and sadly, shots of cool “destruction” along Wacker at the Transformers 3 film set). It did give me an excuse to get one of those cool new waterproof cameras, a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5, but that’s another story.
There was one more trip to end the summer. My favorite trip of them all…Labor Day weekend in the city with the boys (hubby and son). The weather was perfect for exploring the city. We rode down from Milwaukee via Amtrak; dropped our bags off at the hotel, and began our city adventure with a river and lake cruise using the Wendella line. Someday I’ll do the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, but first wanted to introduce kiddo to Wendella. I remember doing this tour with my Girl Scout troop – at about the same age. Sill a great tour.
Kiddo has come to love walking around the city and on this trip we also introduced him to using public transportation, the el, the subway, city buses.
Spent our last afternoon at the Museum of Science and Industry. A childhood favorite of mine, and now my son’s. Spent quite a bit of time in the Smart House exhibit.
Hit the coal mine first to avoid the crowds – and ended up with a three person, personal tour, saw the Hubble movie at the Imax, found the Poop to Power exhibit amusing, the submarine tour well worth the extra charge, and the interactive screens are tons of fun.
All and all a great family weekend. Had a slight melancholy moment as we entered Union Station to take the Amtrak back to Milwaukee. My foursquare check-in said, “And with this summer comes to a close”.
Of course with every closed door, God opens a window……..so know we’ll have more adventures ahead.