Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Hike With the Family to the Top of the Mountain

Last weekend my family went on a hike.  We originally had bigger plans than just a hike.  We planned to sleep overnight on the top of our mountain with no sleeping bags, build our own shelter, family vs. wild type of thing.  But with the dry season and hot weather we are not allowed to have a fire and that ended that adventure.  Truthfully, I was not too disappointed.  I had to talk the boys into bringing food during the planning phases.  And before you think we're too weird...with my two oldest dressed the way they are...they are going on a Pioneer trek next month and wanted to try out their clothing to see how they worked. 

We started out at 6:30 in the morning.  It was going to be in the high 90's that day and we knew we needed to get an early start.  It felt hot at 6:30 already.  Luckily, there was a nice little breeze that kept cooling us off.  Each of my kids packed their own water and the 2 oldest packed their own trail mix and granola bar as well.

Abby, Justin, Logan, Caroline and Janzen

We live along the steepest mountain range in the world.  It is not easy hiking up to the top.

I think Logan's favorite place was this big field right before you head up a canyon where there were tons of grasshoppers.  We have hiked up there with our kids several times before as training and they always did great.

 He really didn't eat it although my husband pointed out that he could have if we were really in a survival situation.

 The kid has great style though.  Argyle socks with plaid shorts.  And his new barefoot Merrell's.  Now my 2 sons and I both have the barefoot Merrell shoes.  The girls have the Vivo Barefoot shoes and really like them.  I got the girl's shoes at a website called Zulily that has random sales and I just happened to spot them.  I paid full price for my son's Merrell's.  And I feel like it's worth it.  I have a shoe post planned soon.

My husband and son got us some cattail roots to eat along the way.  There are several springs along the mountain side that provide emergency water if necessary.

And my husband showed them what stinging nettle looks like as well as a good cure for it called Lamb's ear.

We made hiking sticks along the way and I was most surprised by the lack of complaining.  I had geared myself up for a lot of it.  It was interesting to see them go through periods of being tired and then after a drink and some trail mix practically run up the mountain.

There's one last really big hill before the top and the adrenaline must have kicked in because those kids ran up to the top.  The hubs and I hiked it.  They were so proud of themselves for making it to the top.  It's a little over 3 miles and a 3000 ft. elevation gain.  My youngest one said to me that he didn't think he could do it, but he did.  Isn't that the lesson we want our kids to learn?  We can do hard things.  We had life lessons along the way that I tried to point out like staying on the trail, perspective, rewards for hard work and the sacred nature of the mountain.  I love when parenting can be spur of the moment and you know it's sinking in.
My favorite comment from Logan along the trail was this little conversation:
Logan:  I wish that someone would carry me.
Mom:  Sorry, bud.  No one's going to carry you today.  Besides, you're so strong and look how far you've already come.  You can do it.  And we can take a break whenever you need it.
About 2 hours later...
Logan:  I wish...I wish that I had new legs.
I could tell that he really wanted to say again that he wanted someone to carry him.  But I was SO proud of that little 6 year old for doing what he did without complaint.  About 500 ft. from our house he said that his legs were really hurting.  I never heard another word about it though.  Not the rest of the day or the next day when everyone else was pretty sore.  Ah, to be a kid again!

After reaching the top we went down in the trees to get out of the wind.  It was REALLY windy at the top and was hard to even hear the person next to you talking.  But we were all really grateful for that wind because it was starting to get really hot!

We took a break and ate our granola bars and sat down.  I really was so proud of my little family.  We hiked around for a little bit and while traveling through the brush I made my husband and Justin go first to scare out any nasty critters.  We saw evidence of mountain lions and elk up there.  

Good thing I did because this huge 4 foot snake appeared and then slithered off into the sage brush.  Yuck.  My husband then pointed out that in a survival situation we would have killed that snake and ate it.  Double Yuck.

Coming down is just as hard as going up because of the steepness and all the loose rocks.  It was still work.  We traveled about 8 miles in all.  And we were all pretty tired when we got home.  I was especially glad we didn't try to spend the night after the snake experience.
Everyone showered and I started laundry and each of us took a nap of some sort.  It was a great day and one of those times you know each of them will remember hopefully forever.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tour de Cure 2012 Brigham City and Road Respect Tour

Saturday I completed my alternate goal for the spring, the Tour de Cure bicycling ride that benefits the American Diabetes Association.  I signed up for it early in the spring when it became apparent that I wouldn't have time to train for the marathon that I already had signed up for.  I thought it would give me something to work towards while I couldn't run.  But when I could run again, biking again took second place to my first love and training for the ride didn't go as planned.  I had signed up for the 60 mile ride but knew that I could drop down to the 25 the morning of if I wanted to.
The night before a storm was moving in.  While it gave a nice drop in temperature it also came with wind.  I was laying in bed listening to the wind violently churn.  It made my stomach sick.  I didn't sleep well.  I finally got up and shut the window but even with my earplugs in and the window shut, I could still hear it.  I dreamt I slept in and missed the whole event.  And when I finally did wake up enough to figure out I was still going to make it, I was sick with that wind sound again.  I can't remember the last time I had nerves like this.  Part of it was nerves that with my non road bike I wasn't going to be able to keep up and would be the last one crossing the finish line.  Part of it was the skin tight outfit that I was going to stuff myself in to match the rest of the team.  And I'm sure that part of it was that my training was lacking and my longest ride had been 35 miles over a month previous.  I did manage a 30 mile ride last week but it really wiped me out.  I was worried.
Golden Spike Cycling Club
After I got up and ate and filled up my tires and got my gear together, I rode down to the starting line. I'd never seen so many bikes in one place.  This was my first biking event and I was nervous.  The wind had died down a little and was not more than a breeze.  But the weather had predicted that it would only get worse again as the day went on.  After signing in and taking a picture with the group the 100 milers got set to take off.  A friend from spin class and the team was riding the same mileage that I was and we decided that with the wind coming in that we'd just start with them instead of waiting a hour and a half for our official start.  Since it wasn't technically a race just a ride, we figured it didn't matter.
Deb and me

We lined up at the back and took off.  I was shocked at how quickly the time and the miles went by.  We practiced drafting and she showed me some of the signs to use while in a line.  I was really working when it was my turn in front.  I didn't want to go slow and let her down.  It sure felt good to take a turn behind, but I was a little worried that I wasn't taking it easy by any means.  It wasn't long before we had hit 15 miles and the first rest stop.  This is where biking gets major points in comparison to running.  While riding you can eat pretty much whatever you want and your stomach doesn't get nauseous.  So they had peanut butter and bread to make sandwiches, rice crispy treats, fig newtons (I thought of you, Mike) and lots of other treats.  I brought my Nuun and filled my water bottle up and ate a fig newton.  We got right back on the road and headed out.  We rode through beautiful country.  The sky was gorgeous.  It was a cool morning.  My body was doing well.  And we were cruising right along.  Many silent prayers of thanks were said.  Before I knew it we were at the next stop.  30 miles.  The volunteers were awesome.  They were handing out leighs and it was decorated with surfboards and had fun music playing.  I filled up my water bottle again, took a quick bathroom break and we headed out knowing the lunch stop was in 10 miles.  

Sometime during those 10 miles I passed the point of my furthest ride ever and couldn't help but smile.  My quads were starting to feel it but every time we stopped, I stretched them out as well as everything else and getting back on the bike wasn't bad.  During this point in the ride the wind really started picking up again and it was starting to be a battle to find where the best drafting point would be.  We still took turns leading.  I was so glad she let me do it even though we were a little slower during my turns.  She is a great leader and really knows how to educate and encourage new riders.  We also hit the only real big hill in the ride.  It was by far the hardest hill I have ever done.  My bike didn't want to shift into the lowest gear and that was frustrating, but I did make it to the top even though I thought getting off and walking my bike to the top might have been faster.  The lunch stop was great except they didn't have plates or forks.  So we just ate a cliff bar and I ate a rice crispy treat.  It was so good.  I also had a slice of the best watermelon I'd ever tasted.  

We sat for a few minutes and then decided to head out.  We left about the same time as a group from Salt Lake that buzzed by us a bit earlier and after we caught up we decided to ride together.  We only had 20 miles left but I knew that it was going to be hard.  And it was.  We stayed with that group but I never took a turn in front.  I was working really hard just to keep up and the miles were starting to wear on my quads.  I was glad for the last stop at 51 miles for a chance to fill up my water again and head for the finish.  It seemed like my mountains were so far away.  It seemed like more than 9 miles back.  And the wind was getting worse.  I didn't to lose the group because I knew it was going to be easier with them, but it was SO hard keeping up.  Even when I knew there was 1 mile left it felt like forever.  Finally we turned a corner and the finish line was right there.  We finished in about 3 hours and 40 minutes with an average speed of 16.6 miles per hour. I was happy with that time.

Done at last!
I really couldn't believe it.  It was awesome.  I had a great feeling of accomplishment and such a sense of relief that it was over.  As soon as we stopped and got our picture taken I instantly felt sick.  Like I was going to loose my cookies sick.  The finish line area was getting hectic so we rode out and I rode home.  After I put my bike away and got in the house that nauseous feeling came back.  I knew I needed to eat something but nothing sounded good and I didn't know if I'd keep it down anyway.  So I showered and ate another couple of fig newtons.  I made me a glass of grape juice and vanilla protein powder and hoped that would stay down. 

After I got dressed and ready I headed back out because the day wasn't over.  The Road Respect Tour was coming through our city and because I am on the Biking Committee for our city I wanted to be there.  This group of riders had been riding all week across the state from St. George to Logan averaging anywhere from 80 miles to 120 miles each day.  Their message is for drivers to have respect for bikers and for bikers to have respect for drivers.  The really cool part is that they are led in their rides by a guy who is 67 years old.  It was great seeing them ride into town, having the mayor sign a proclamation, and chatting with a few of them before they continued their ride to Logan. 

It was a good day.  I ended up being nauseous for about an hour afterwards.  I think it was because I just pushed it so hard.  And though I'm not exactly sore my legs just feel exhausted.  I also ended up with a headache for the rest of the day no matter how much I drank and I was starving yesterday all day.  One really positive note for the ride:  my rear end was never sore and I didn't even really notice the saddle.  I attribute this completely to the shorts I was wearing.  Blackbottoms shorts with the premium shammy.  Worth every single penny.

Would I do it again?  Yes.  But I think I need a road bike.  :)