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Lost Blog: Great Outdoors Part 1 - Moderately Fit

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Lost Blog(s) Introduction

During the five years that I have been on SparkPeople, I have composed several blogs, that for one reason or another, I never posted. I have decided to post a few of these "Lost Blogs".

The original “Great Outdoors” blog was almost a miniature book. When I attempted to post the Great Outdoors blog on Friday, December 26th, 2014, less than half of entire blog was actually posted. Evidently, SparkPeople has a size limit on Blogs. I decided to break the Great Outdoors into three parts. These are:

Great Outdoors Part 1: Moderately Fit
Great Outdoors Part 2: Disaster Strikes
Great Outdoors Part 3: Are You Trying to Kill Me!

I wrote this "Great Outdoors" blog on June 19th 2013, as an attempt to tell the story of my one-and-only group mountain bike ride. This multi-day mountain bike adventure was a fully guided and catered affair in Utah that started on June 10th 2013 and ended on June 14th 2013.

This "Great Outdoor" mountain bike tour started a mere 18 days after I was seriously injured in an car/bike accident. On Wednesday, May 22nd 2013 a careless driver turned directly in front of me as I was riding my road bike on the Cherry Creek bike path in Denver.

For more information about this ghastly accident, here is a link to the blog a wrote shortly after I got clobbered.

www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=5368254


At the time I blogged about this accident on May 26th 2013, did not know how badly I was hurt. Here is a quote from the blog:

"I have over a dozen bruises. The injuries to my right ankle, neck and right shoulder are deep tissue injuries, which hurt more than the bruises, cuts and abrasions."

At the time of the accident, I just thought I was just dinged-up a bit. I have been active all my life and have had my share of bumps, bruises, abrasions, cuts, sprains, torn muscles, concussions and broken bones!

I always bounced back!

During the three days of mountain biking in the mountains and deserts of Utah during June 2013, I discovered I was a lot more injured than I first thought. Shortly after returning from Utah, I sought a medical diagnosis that determined to full extent of my injuries.

(1) My right ankle was ruined. All the ligaments and tendons on the outside of my right foot and ankle were torn completely to pieces! The surgery In January 2014 to repair the massive ankle damage took over 4 hours.

(2) My right shoulder rotator cuff was severely torn. I haven't got the shoulder fixed yet. My shoulder doesn't hurt too badly and, besides some popping, and a rather strange "squishing" noise when I move my right arm, my shoulder doesn't really bother me.

(3) The retina in my right eye was detached due to the force of the impact. Laser and needle surgery stopped the bleeding and reattached the retina. The little poem, "Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye!" is a lot more serious oath than most people can imagine!

(4) My neck disks and facets joints were severely damaged. I can still opt to have some my neck vertebrae surgically fused. But I decided to go with neck injections to control inflammation; and physical therapy to strengthen the neck. A year and half later, I am still undergoing this treatment, which seems to working.

(5) My lower back took a tremendous blow during the accident. Disks and facet joints were severely damaged. I am getting injections in my lower back. This back damage was actually cause by being catapulted off the bike; up and over the Toyota Forerunner; then falling 7 feet to the concrete and landing on my back.

(6) I also suffered two consecutive multiple concussions. The impact with the side of the car caused my brain to smack the front of my skull. Falling off the top of the Forerunner and hitting the back of my head on the concrete caused my brain to bounce off the back of my skull. I am not kidding when I say my bike helmet saved my life!

As you read this lost blog, keep in mind I had no idea how badly I was hurt as I rode my mountain bike through the "Great Outdoors"

-----------------------Start of Lost Blog ------------------


Part 1: Talk the Talk - Walk the Walk

I work for a great healthcare company that not only preaches a healthy lifestyle, they live it! The company cafeteria employs chefs that create tasty and healthy dishes. I generally get the "Vitality" selection, which is a 500 calorie lunch for $4.99. The Vitality special is not bland. Last Friday, the Vitality menu was roast beef tenderloin, saffron rice plus a tasty vegetable combo of kale and leeks.

This company is a great place to work. I have worked for other companies that will give you a coffee cup with a company logo if you perform some minor miracle; or give you some cheap gift like a pen and pencil set.

My current company sends employees to the "Great Outdoors" as a reward for doing a good job. The "Great Outdoors" could be a fully guided and catered raft trip through the Grand Canyon; a stay at a remote lodge with guided hikes in the wilderness; or a guided and catered mountain bike ride in epic locations.

I was fortunate to be nominated for "The Trail of the Ancients" mountain bike adventure in Utah. Here is the link:

westernspirit.com/WSC_TA
.php


As luck would have it, I was very familiar with this area. I had paid my way through college by working in underground mines located in Utah and Colorado. As a fit-and-trim 21 year-old athlete, I had run on the very trails we would be biking in Utah.


Part 2: Lies, Damn Lies and Websites

I noticed on the Western Spirit website that the description of the Trail of The Ancients included: "This trip is not technical and is great for those with moderate fitness who are ready to try the dirt."

This innocuous "ready to try the dirt" comment should have been a tip-off. I wish I would have caught this little tidbit. An understanding of the general biking experience of my fellow Utah adventurers would have saved me a really nasty experience during the ride.

I knew where we were going. I knew this place is not like anywhere else in the world. I assumed anyone that signed-up for a Utah mountain biking adventure had a clue about the topography, climate and riding conditions:

This is easy.


This is hard.


This is dangerous.


This is Utah.

Where we were going to be riding is hot, dry, dusty, deserted and fun!


Part 3: Moderately Fit

In the world of mountain biking “Moderate Fitness” and “Not Technical” are pretty loose terms. I thought that I was moderately fit. I can run a high-altitude 10k mountain trail race in well under 60 minutes. I can climb steep hills on my mountain bike at 10 to 12 miles per hour without working too hard. My all-time fastest 5k is 23:12.

My daughter told me that someone is considered "Moderately Fit" that can briskly walk a couple of miles. By some definitions, a person that walks at a pace of 100 steps per minute is moderately fit. 100 steps per minute translates into about 2.84 miles per hour, or a pace of 21 minutes per mile.

Crazy-gonzo mountain bikers may have a definition of "Moderately Fit" that is slightly different than 100 steps per minute. I am just saying.


Part 4: Logistic and Schedule

My good riding buddy and co-worker, Jason, was also tapped to go on the Trail of the Ancients bike trip. Our company contracted with Western Spirit, which is one of the best mountain bike guides outfits in the West, for a custom 5 day excursion with 3 days of riding from June 10th to June 14th.

A few weeks prior to the trip, there was an organizational conference call with Western Spirit and participants. Western Spirit gave us a list of things we should bring, including clothes, footwear and personal items. We also had to fill out an online form regarding height and inseam so Western Spirit could get the correct sized bikes for each individual. Western Spirit would provide participants with Specialized Camber 29ers.


These are nice bikes and would have been my choice for an affordable trail bike.

I had a question, "Can we bring my own bikes?" Fortunately, the answer was "Yes". I wanted to bring my Specialized Stumpjumper full-suspension mountain bike (Ultra Stumpy). My Buddy Jason wanted to bring his Yeti 575. To my surprise, the Western Spirit lady said, "No problem! Bring your bikes."


This is my Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Carbon Expert. To prepare the bike for Utah, I put on bigger brake rotors. I increased the front rotor from 180 to 203mm. I increased the rear rotor from 160 to 180mm. Stopping power increased dramatically.

Jason and I are seasoned mountain bikers. Jason asked, "Can we bring some beer?" The Western Spirit lady said, "Sure thing, bring as much as you want. We have some very big ice coolers just for beer. We recommend you bring cans, but bottles are okay."



Jason and I bought a three of cases of Wynkoop beer, which worked out to 3 or 4 medicinal beers a night for both of us.


Part 5: Getting to Utah

Most participants in the Great Outdoors were flying into the Grand Junction, Colorado. The Western Spirit van would depart from the Grand Junction airport and travel south through Moab. Our destination was Manti-La Sal National Forest in southeastern Utah.

Jason and I were close enough to drive to Grand Junction. We attached our bikes to the rooftop bike carrier on Jason's Subaru Tribeca. We drove to the Grand Junction airport to meet the rest of our party at 2:00pm. The timing couldn't have workout better.

There were a total of 12 of us. Western Spirit provided two guides and a chef. They had a huge 4x4 F350 truck that carried all the supplies, food and fresh water. The big truck also served as a mobile kitchen.


During the 5 days that we were in Utah, this truck was pretty much the center of activity when we were not riding bikes. The red bags on the top of this truck carried our personal belongings, clothes, sleeping bags, and tents.

Each of us was provided with a two person tent, warm sleeping bag and therm-a-rest mattress. I had presence of mind to bring my camp pillow.


The company gave us a big water bottle, small bag with lip balm, sun block, toothpaste, toothbrush and bug repellent. They also gave us a really cool headlamp.



In the evening, we had to unpack the big bags, pitch the tents, inflate the therm-a-rest and layout the sleeping bags. Next morning we then had to tear everything down, eat breakfast, hop on the bikes and start pedaling to the next campsite.

The only things that happened on June 10th, was travel, setting camp, eating dinner, and sitting around a campfire in comfortable folding chairs and making introductions.

I found out that besides Jason and me, Jeremy and Jon were from Colorado. Everyone else was from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Jon was the "facilitator" from human resources, which was the first time we discovered we had "adult" supervision. I was easily the oldest person in this group by at least 10 years. I had mixed emotions about being the senior citizen. As luck would have it, the next day was June 11th, which was my 56th birthday.


Part 6: June 11th, Morning has broken

I woke up the next morning to the smell of coffee. Olive, the chef, was making breakfast. The morning air was brisk and invigorating. I grabbed a cup of coffee and dumped some cream in the cup. The coffee was to die for! The food consisted of an amazing Apple Coffee Cake baked in a Dutch oven, ham, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, hash brown potatoes, fresh fruit, orange juice, hot chocolate and gallons of coffee!

Here are some of my companions on the mountain bike extravaganza.


This is my good friend and riding buddy Jason. The person in the background is a lady named Kimberly. IT turns out that Poor Kimberly was not moderately fit.


Here is another group of riders. You may note that some people in this group are looking at cell phones. There was general disbelief among the group that there was no cell phone coverage!

"Where are we? We must be at the ends of the earth! I can't even text!" I am sympathetic - NOT. I just said, "You are well beyond the ends of the earth. You are in Utah!" I almost said, "Sorry kiddies, you are going to have to interact with real people now."

I am old and crotchety! I know a lot of the millennial generation that are never present in the moment. These folks are standing in paradise and worried about cell phone reception!


Part 7: We Ride!

Our guides for this trip were Josh and Ashley. For the first day, our guide was Josh. Prior to starting our ride, the big Ford F-350 service truck took off down the road.


This truck would setup down the road in a nice shady place to serve lunch.

We left the camp area on our bikes with our guide. The shuttle van would follow at safe distance. As a matter of fact, the van was far enough behind our group of mountain bikers that we didn't really notice it.


I nicknamed the shuttle van, "meat wagon"! Any biker that needed a rest could wait for the meat wagon. The driver would toss the rider's bike on top of the van. The biker could then ride in air conditioned splendor, listen to music, take in the scenery, rest, and hopefully regain their mojo!

After about a mile, the narrow road started to climb. I was feeling pretty good. The climb was very steep. The ascent was from 6,500 feet to 8,600 feet in abut 4 miles. I was riding beside the guide. We churned up the deserted road at an easy pace of 8 to 10 mph.


We had left the lower elevation forest behind. The temperature was about 95 degrees F. There was zero humidity. The sun was baking everything. I am feeling fine. I had my hydration pack full of cool water. I had a couple of bottles of Gatorade. The guides gave us our pick of energy foods, I chose some fruit, a couple of Cliff bars and some high-energy gels.

The guide says to me as we are cruising up the hill, “Hey Bruce, when you get to the top, stop and wait. I need to go back and find the rest of the group." I just assumed that everyone was right behind us. I look back and I see nobody! I responded, "Uh, Okay. How will I know when I get to the top?" Josh shrugs his shoulders, "When ya get there, you'll know!" I answer, "Ok man, I'll wait." Josh burns a quick U-turn and disappears down the hill.

The Utah sun is beating down mercilessly. I downed a bottle of Gatorade and took a deep swig of cold water from my hydration pack. I looked around at the breathtaking scenery.


I swear I had this feeling that I was the only person for a million miles. When I got to the top of the climb, I laid my trusty bike down and found some shade. I propped my head on my hydration pack and dozed-off.

I woke up feeling pretty good. Most of my fellow mountain adventures had made it to the top. Some of these people looked terrible! Josh the guide said, "Let's rest here a bit." A couple of people were missing. I asked Josh," Where are Kimberly and Lisa?" He answered, "They are riding in the van."

Jon the HR guy was not a happy camper and looked like he had taken a sweat shower. Jeremy, Jason and Alan were raring to go. Jeremy is from Colorado and commutes to work on his bike. Alan is from Virginia and is a mountain biker. Alan just needed to get adjusted to the altitude. My buddy Jason was having some problems with his bike. These breakdowns are called "mechanicals". Jason needed to do some repairs. His fork kept leaking air. Fortunately, I had my shock pump in my hydration pack. Jason pumped up his fork and was good to go.

Everybody else looked like they needed to get well to die! Kimberly was still riding in the meat wagon, Uh, I mean Kimberly was still riding in the van. She had made it about two miles, before she conked-out. Kimberly would ride in the van the rest of the trip. So much for "moderate fitness." Lisa was also riding in the shuttle van. Lisa had made it quite a ways before she bonked. However, after a short rest, Lisa would ride the bike for the rest of the 26 miles.

Another guy was dressed as a lycra death sausage. He was a nice guy. He was a road cyclist and having a bit of trouble adapting to the dirt, dust and rocks, extreme elevation, blazing white hot sun, lack of humidity, and no guard rail on a narrow road perched 600 feet above the canyon floor. He seemed as nervous as a mouse at a cat convention!


Part 8: Downhill Free-Fall to Lunch

The guide told everyone that we had a nice descent coming up. He told us that at the bottom of the descent to keep our eyes open for the service truck near the side of the road. Once at the service truck, we could rest and eat lunch. I had been sacked-out for a couple of hours, I felt nice and rested.

The descent was a lot of fun. My Stumpjumper was in its element. I let Ultra-Stumpy loose! We plummeted like a meteor! There were a few short climbs and some flat ground. But we were flying! I saw the service truck as I rounded a curve. The truck was about a 1/4 mile off the main road and was parked in a nice wooded area.

I flicked Ultra-Stumpy off the main road and zipped down a rough two-rut road to the service truck. Olive gave me a great sandwich with hand carved roast beef. I grabbed some homemade chips, and slice of chocolate cake. I selected a big ice cold cola to drink. I picked-up a folding lounge chair and found some shade.


The Western Spirit guides had picked a great area that was a mix of Aspen and Pine trees. The grass was thick and the trees were tall. A gentle breeze caused the aspen leaves to dance and shimmer. Utah is nothing if not a land of contrasting scenery.

I bit into the sandwich. Oh my, that was a great sandwich.

The food on this trip was nothing short of fantastic!

Slowly, the rest of the group started to straggle-in. Finally, the shuttle van arrived with Kimberly. The group ate and talked about the humidity, or lack there of, the heat, and how everybody was amazed that we rode through barren desert - then up into a lush green forest. A few comments were like, "This is not what Maryland is like!"

I lived rural Maryland for a year. All I could think was: “Yes Dorothy, we are not in Maryland anymore.” The surrounding Utah Basin and Range topography seemed pretty normal to me. For a native Marylander, this place must look like the surface of the moon!


This topography is unique. The original sedimentary strata was laid down by a the ebb-and-flow of an inland sea. The entire strata layers were faulted tilted and pulled apart. Over many years, the soft sandy layers eroded causing semi-flat basins. The harder layers eroded slower and formed steep and jagged mountains.


This topography is common in Western Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Eastern California. These are very arid areas and the majority of the erosion is cause by wind.


Wind erosion causes very sharp features, such as vertical cliffs. All that sand has to go someplace. Sand and vertical cliffs are critical parts of this story.



Part 9: Sand Riding Lessons

After lunch we started climbing again. We ran into deep red sugar sand covering the road surface. This sand is, well uh, really darn hard to pedal through.


When we hit this very soft sand, one-by-one all my riding companions conked out! This stuff is tricky! Miners call this sand "bug dust" because a big truck going through this sand will raise a huge cloud a dust.

I started giving my stranded companions lessons. The first rule about riding in bottomless sugar sand is get light on your hands. The second rule is use low-low gear. The third rule is keep pedaling.


This sand is burning hot in two ways: (1) radiant heat can blister your skin, and (2) your thighs burn from pedaling effort.

I showed the group a few tricks. If you can find a shoulder on the roadside, you may be able to get your bike rolling by riding down little berm. You start pedaling and turn to go uphill.
You
You can get started with your bike pointing uphill but it is a little trickier. You set your pedals at 45 to 60 degrees from horizontal. You put your weakest foot on the top pedal. As you push down on the pedal, you hop onto the seat. You are really using the push of the pedal as a platform to get your butt on the saddle. You have to be in the saddle to get traction.

As the low pedal rotates to the top, you catch the peal with your strong foot, and push down with force. Big surprise - you are pedaling again! When you are stopped on hills that are loose, loose-over-hard, rocky or bottomless sand - getting going again takes perfect timing.

I think I am a nice and helpful guy. I got all my companions that were moderately fit pedaling up the hill.

While there riders struggled to pedal, or push their bikes through the terrible sand, I cruised ahead and caught-up with the Josh the guide. We rode along chatting. Soon we were out of the sand and on a rocky surface.

Josh and I stopped by a barbed-wire fence.

He said, "I have to go back and find the rest of the group. Go on ahead if you want. You will come to a fork in the road in about five miles. Wait there. Okay?" I answered, "Yup, I got it. Any shade there?" He says, "Yeah, it's pretty nice. It is also close to where we are going to camp for the night!" I tell him, "I will see you there. Wake me up when you go by!" He jumps on his bike, "Yup, will do!"


Part 10: Sleeping Beauty

I ride down the road at a brisk pace. The road becomes less rocky but more rutted, which is fun. The terrain is rolling like a giant pump track. I am zipping along and playing at hopping my bike between the ruts.

I get to the fork in the road and find a small grove of trees. I ride my bike to a shady spot about 20 feet off the road. Drop my bike down. Make pillow of my hydration pack and lay down face up. I look through the branches of the trees and see a clear cobalt blue sky with high wispy white clouds. Almost immediately, I drop-off to sleep.

I can sleep anywhere at any time. It is a gift. My wife is less than happy about my gift of instant deep sleep at the drop of hat. I think she is just jealous!

I am out for a good long time. I hear some noise and wake up. I figure it can't be a bear or mountain lion. This place is lousy with deer that taste better than me. I am pretty safe.

I open my eyes and see Jason, Jeremy and Alan. Alan asks, "You okay?" I reply, "I am fine, just trying to catch up on my beauty sleep." My good buddy Jason says, "Sorry to wake you, man. You're just as ugly as ever!" I nod, "Thanks a lot, buddy! Where is everybody?" Alan points down the road, "Back there somewhere. Kimberly is still riding in the van." I ask, "She break a leg, or something?" Alan shrugs, "I don't think so. I guess she's tired." I comment, "Poor kid. She comes all this way and is missing all the fun." Jeremy snorts, "You call this fun?" I nod, "I sure do. I’ve been able to get plenty of sleep waiting for you slow guys to catch up!" With mock severity, Jeremy says, "Oh, you suck!" I quip, "Hey I didn't come to Utah to get insulted! I can get plenty of that at home!" He retorts, "I doubt that not at all!"

A few more riders show up looking the worse for the wear. One guy says "Geez Louise, you guys have taken all the shade!" Jason points, "There is another tree over there." The complainer retorts, "Yeah, that tree is 50 feet away. I am too tired to make it!"

This friendly banter is called, "Bonding under shared adversity!" I left out of this story a little dialog that started with, "Kiss my ____", or "Go ____ yourself". I leave it to the reader to fill in the blanks.

We have to clean-up our act when Lisa and Lisa show up. There were three women in the group, two named Lisa, and one named Kimberly. One Lisa was way better than moderately fit and biked every inch of the way. The other Lisa had to ride in the van for just a little ways. She biked about 90% of the route. Poor Kimberly never biked a single foot after the first couple of miles.

Considering most of these people had never been on a mountain bike before, were riding at over 9,000 feet of elevation, in blistering heat, up and down steep hills, I thought the group did pretty well.

I was a ringer because I live at high elevation, and I ride mountain bikes a lot. Not to mention, that in caparison with the Cambers the others were riding, my Stumpjumper was way lighter, more responsive, rolled better, was easier to pedal, had better tires, shifted nicer, stopped better, and was way more comfortable.


Part 11: Fastest Human Being on a Bike - Say What?

Finally, Josh shows up with the stragglers. We ride the last few miles to the camping area. The Human Resources facilitator Jon comes over to me. He gushes, "You are the fastest human being I have ever seen on a bike, ever!"

I really didn't know what to say. My Garmin 910XT told me I had barely topped 40mph.


This is a map from the first day's ride from my Garmin. Distance was 26.7 miles.

My actual moving time was 2 hours and 3 minutes. My average speed was 13.4 mph. Total vertical climb was 5,759 feet. I spent 5 hours and 49 minutes sleeping while waiting for the other riders. The total elapsed time was 7 hours and 52 minutes! The average speed of other riders was 3.4 mph.

My speed was almost 4 times that of the other riders! So I guess, from a limited point-of-view, I was fast.


Part 12: Campfire Talk

After a great supper of pulled pork, roasted corn and seasoned potatoes, we all gathered around a roaring campfire.


Jason and I are drinking beer and kicking back. All of a sudden the Western Spirit Crew, Josh, Ashley, and Olive come into the fire circle holding a big carrot cake and singing, "Happy Birthday to...ME!" There is a candle on the cake. Josh holds the cake in front of me and a blow out the candle. Just when I think my popularity has hit an all time low, Josh says, "You rode strong today, brother!" I smile and nod. Not only had I been catching Z's most of the day. I now get a birthday cake and a big compliment.

After washing the cake down with a few beers, and getting fist-bumps from Jason, Alan and Jeremy, I was feeling no pain. But wait, we have an HR facilitator in our midst. Jon says. "Hey everybody, what were you thinking about today during the ride?" The nice fellow that wore the lycra death suit speaks up, "I am thinking about how beautiful the scenery is. I am just amazed at how much variation there is here."

Other people give their take on the day's ride. Alan talked about riding in the Virginia Mountains. He said, "I had heard how great the riding was in the West. It was better than I expected. I will be back."

Kimberly chimed-in, "I just don't feel like I am a part of the group. You are all having such good experiences. I see you all having so much fun. I really want to be part of it!"

Jason looks over at me and gives me a "what-the-heck look". He silently mouths behind his beer, "Then ride the f---king bike!"

One of the Lisas says, "Well Kim, maybe you can ride a little tomorrow. The ride is supposed to be a lot easier and much shorter."

I thought this was a nice girl way to say, "Ride the f---king bike!"

Kimberly is not going down without a fight. She gushes, "Oh, but my legs hurt so bad!" I am thinking, "You are digging a pretty deep hole there kiddo." Kimberly is asking for sympathy from a group of people that just rode 26 miles over hot and dusty roads. I know that most riders legs are stiff and sore. Their hands, feet and butts are burning with pain. Kimberly rode in an air-conditioned van, listing to music, and probably bored Ashley to tears. Kimberly folds her arms and scowls The poor woman was shopping for sympathy in the wrong shop.

Jon tries to bring the group into focus. He turns to me, "Bruce, what are you thinking about while you ride." I answer, "I am thinking about the curve that is coming-up. Do I want to come in high and outside, then cut low through the apex, or come in low and take a tight line. It just depends on how I read the bank profile of the curve…..” I stop a little short. I am talking Greek to this group. Jon says, "Oh, you mean you are into the ride?" I nod, "Yeah, that's it."

After quite a while of chit-chat and a few more medicinal beers, Jon decides he needs to preach. He says, "Well folks, this is a team event. We need to ride together and get to know each other better." The little sucker was looking right at me!

I killed-off my beer and shuffled to my tent.

--------------End of Lost Blog - Great Outdoors Part I: Moderately Fit ------------

Prior to posting this lost blog, I removed a lot of the original text. At first, this blog resembled a travel journal about mountain biking in the Manti-La Sal National Forest in Southeastern Utah.

I also cut out things such as my beer-induced reflection that I celebrated my 21st birthday a stone’s throw from where, 35 years later, I celebrated my 56th birthday.

SparkPeople is essentially a diet, fitness and healthy-lifestyle social media website. When I write a blog, I attempt to stay on-topic. I also realize I tend to write odd and convoluted blogs that may not be easy for some of my SparkFriends to relate.

Although not obvious, I do try to make my blogs entertaining and informative. I realize that most of you have never taken a mountain bike ride through a remote wilderness. I want to take you there with me. Even if you don’t want to go!

Thanks for reading my (lost) blog.

Please see the next exciting installment of the Great Outdoors trilogy: “Disaster Strikes”!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • BOILHAM
    I see Richard, my friend OnMyMeds.posted about this blog, which prompted me to go read it.
    You have such an amazing writing style and talent! Love the line - These folks are standing in paradise and worried about cell phone reception! The curmudgeon in me agrees.
    I was surprised to read that you guys all indulged in a few beers after the ride. I pretty much abstain from alcohol long before any big events. I can't imagine drinking during. Please, I'm no tea totaller, I am Irish after all, and I did 4 years in the Navy, as well.
    May I tell my DW that you guys were drinking beer DURING your massive endeavor? She might refrain from holding up one finger for every beer I consume if she thinks it's not so unhealthy. Yeah, retired nurses are like that.
    So, that's what I took away from you blog, it was hard, the scenery was spectacular and you get to drink beer. Vic
    1261 days ago
  • ROXYZMOM
    Very cool trip! That is a great company you work for - they mustn't have any turnover!

    I remember when you were injured - so glad you are ok now.
    1263 days ago
  • KAYOTIC
    Great blog! I'm glad you resurrected your lost blogs, very entertaining and instructive! We've had a few remote Mtn bike rides that were advertised as high quality and ended up in a bunch of deep sand, maybe some folks like that kind of terrain?

    Looking forward to the rest of the story!
    1264 days ago
  • KENDRACARROLL
    Hey, great blog! Thanks for taking us on your biking adventure.
    Looking forward to part 2 - which is already posted... gotta find some time to read it :)
    1266 days ago
  • LMB-ESQ
    Your blogs are wonderfully entertaining! Even if they tell a story of disaster....

    Question: How did Kimberly get tapped for that trip? That would probably be me in that meat wagon.... errr, van.... because while I might be in moderately fit condition for a spin around the block or a good long swim, I am downright unfit by Colorado/Utah mountain biker standards.

    The food? Oh my.... you guys ate better on that trip than I eat around here in expensive restaurants!

    Oh, and for the record, I want to slap your HR guy
    1267 days ago
  • GHK1962
    1) The accident - sheeshh dude. I did not know the extent. I have had many of your inuries ...just NOT ALL AT THE SAME FRIGGIN TIME!!!

    1a) Shots - steroids? I've gotten 2 in the back before having to go the freakin surgery route.

    1b) Yeah ... mine are fused in the neck ... blech on loss of mobiiity

    1c) I will compare the crushing of my right hand and head thru a windshield with your ankle and double concussion.

    1d) You got me beat with the rotator cuff and eye injurty. Then again, this really ain't a contest we want to win right?

    1e) You take care of those injuries dude ... seriously.

    2) Your adventure (Part 1) - Totally awesome way to bring us along. That was excellent story telling. I liked the way you broke this up in chapters. No more referring to yourself a pedantic.

    3) I loved your photo description of what is easy, hard, dangerous ... and Utah haha. That was awesome. I am going to equate Moderately FIt = "Hard" in Mtn Bike World by the way.

    4) While I did not see an IPA there, I guess you get points for the Imperial Red. (And damn, some beers in the can nowadays are getting pretty damn good.)

    5) The scenery look spectacular throughout this first day's ride. Though I'm not sure I would have freakin cared about it going thru bug dust. I mean, how nice is scenery when you are thinking up new curse words as you try to pedal thru that stuff. Sounds like one of those damn nightmares where you are running as fast as you can but going slower than molasses.

    6) I wonder if I would be the Kimberley of the group. And in case I am ... then I say to you, give the girl a break! Hahaha

    7) I suspect that one of the next parts will be one where your med issues show? Anyway ... ride and ... write on dude.
    1267 days ago
  • JOYCRN
    I have been to Lake Tahoe and done very little mountain biking but enough to share in your experience ( and I am your age!). Thanks for sharing your experience. I am looking forward to " the rest of the story"
    1268 days ago
  • NATPLUMMER
    Wow!
    1268 days ago
  • ONMYMEDS
    I know nothing about mountain bikes and most likely will never ride one and will probably not see another mountain until the next time I visit my mom in Tennessee. But I find your bike blogs completely fascinating and entertaining and surprisingly, I CAN relate to them. Fitness and healthy lifestyles come in many forms, but I believe the mindset is pretty much the same for us all.

    Nice blogging.

    emoticon
    1268 days ago
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