I love fall: the crisp fiery leafs, the refreshingly cool air, the warm but not harsh sunshine, the scrumptious local peaches and apples. It’s easily my favorite season. However, in order to properly enjoy fall one must ignore the underlying, glaringly obvious, fact that its arrival means winter is quickly and unavoidably advancing. As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t much redeeming about the bleakness of winter, with snowboarding being one of the few exceptions. Being cloaked in a shroud of bitterly cold darkness for months doesn’t really appeal to me. But for now, as the days get shorter and the air gets brisker, I’ll do my best to overlook the eminent approach of winter and just savor the vibrant pageantry of fall.
We came across this viewpoint while we were riding. Spectacular!
There’s no better place to view the beauty of fall than up in our gorgeous mountains. I’ve never been a big fan of passive observation through the window of a vehicle but luckily most Americans seem to prefer surveying the wonders of their world this way. That’s why, when Jason and I decided on a pleasant afternoon that some fall biking up American Fork Canyon was in order, we weren’t too concerned by the hordes of cars littering the canyon roads as they meandered through the autumn scenery. As expected, the crowds on the roads did not impact trail traffic. The path we decided to ride, Ridge Trail 157, was nearly deserted and after we traveled a mile or so in we saw absolutely no one. So were able to appreciate the golden groves of aspens, gilded by the afternoon sunlight, in complete solitude.
Our trail winded through some lovely aspens. Incidentally, I decided to not use any pictures of Jason in this post because the wacky faces he was making in all of them just didn't fit the breathtaking scenery.
We hadn’t ridden this trail for a couple of years and my memory of it was slightly inaccurate. While I very vividly recall it being utterly exhausting I somehow had forgotten that it is also ridiculously technically difficult. It’s packed with crazily steep, rock infested, hills. But Jason and I laughed our way through it and had a great time hopping over tree roots and sliding through gravel. We even somehow managed to survive our adventure nearly injury-free. Delightful! I’d like to thank the people that were too lazy to get out of their cars for making our peaceful ride possible. Thanks for leaving the colorful peaks and sun-drenched glades all to us!
Posted by Rachel on September 22, 2009 at 10:06 pm
When I noticed the billboards by the freeway advertising a masquerade ball a month or so ago I was immediately intrigued. Maybe I’ve just been programmed by all the girly movies I’ve watched over the years, but I have long held the opinion that going to a masquerade ball would be awesome. When I looked up the advertised ball online and realized it was to benefit a charity, In Our Own Quiet Way, I was even more interested in attending. What can I say; I’m a sucker for a cause.
Me and Jason in appropriate ball attire.
Jason and I thought the best way to experience this ball would be with a posse of our friends. However, we were unable to convince anyone to attend with us, so for weeks we debated whether going by ourselves would be worth the effort. We finally decided, two days before the event, that we were definitely going even if none of our friends were as engrossed by the idea. I am very glad we came to that decision.
The location for the ball was perfect. The grounds were huge and came equipped with a castle. Girls never really grow out of that "I want to be a princess" phase.
Since I have made more costumes for me and Jason than you could shake a stick at, finding appropriate attire for the ball was relatively easy. We just had to dig through the far recesses of our closets and buy a couple masks.
I decided that I couldn't go to the ball without attempting to make my hair fit for the occasion. The making of this "do" took way too long and, after a few hours of partying, it started to fall out. But I was still proud of the results of my very limited hair skills.
We had a delightful evening! First we ate a tasty meal, which was donated by Carrabba’s, followed by plenty of entertainment. The night’s diversions included: belly dancers, jugglers, and a fencing demonstration. Of course that still left ample time for dancing under the stars.
Jason liked this armor dude so he paused for a goofy picture with him.
We learned much more about the charity, In Our Own Quiet Way, over the course of the evening. I am very impressed by what they are doing for the people of Kenya. I hope they will hold this event again next year. If they do, it would be great to have some of you, our excellent associates, don your masks and get jiggy with us.
I just hit another huge milestone in the life of my ankle. It has now been a year since my surgery and I celebrated properly by running in a relay marathon race. After I hurt my ankle over eight years ago I wasn’t able to run for more than about 25 minutes at a time; the pain would become too overwhelming. I love to run so that was a hard reality for me to accept. That’s why I was very excited to pick up running again, now that my tendon repair surgery has hopefully corrected the longstanding issues with my ankle.
The Geek Streak
I love this action shot even though it turned out a bit blurry. It was taken at the exact moment I handed off our team baton to Jeremy.
Originally I had wanted to run in the Red Rock Relay at the end of this summer but, since I couldn’t find enough willing participants for this 2 day running madness, I settled for getting a team together to run the Utah Marathon Relay. In this relay race each team, consisting of 5 members, runs the equivalent of a marathon. This means each runner is responsible for a 5.2 mile stretch.
Since these are the Sabin brothers, don't ask.
Jason and I started training for this event back in June. While 5.2 miles really isn’t an incredibly impressive distance, it’s longer than my ankle has allowed me to run in nearly a decade so I wanted to ease into it. I am extremely pleased with how my ankle handled training and the race. I generally experienced no pain during my training runs. Each time I increased the length of my run my ankle would be a little stiff and sore for a day or two, but nothing I couldn’t handle. This stiffness was such a mild inconvenience compared to the pain I had become used to over the years that I barely even noticed it.
This is Fran right after her 4th mile marker. She did her run in an awesome 47 minutes and 37 seconds. Way to go!
My relay team, the Geek Streak, was comprised of me, Jason, his brother Jeremy, my brother Drew, and my friend Fran. We ran the marathon in 4 hours, 13 minutes, and 13 seconds. Yeah us! I made a goal for myself of running each mile in ten minutes or less and I met that goal exactly on race day with a 52 minute run. Jason’s brother, Jeremy, had never really run ever before he started training for this race. He trained regularly though and did a fantastic job on race day with a run time of 52 minutes and 3 seconds. I’m really proud of his perseverance! My brother Drew, unlike Jeremy, didn’t think training for this race was necessary. So we weren’t too shocked when he seemed a lot more fatigued than the rest of us after his run. His exhaustion must have made him delirious because he went the wrong way twice during his leg, but he did eventually find the finish line. Congratulations Drew on finishing even though you are apparently completely out of shape! (Little brothers need to be given a hard time. It reminds them that they are loved…and that they should run more than a few times when training for a race.)
After my brother ran his section of the race he crashed on the grass. I thought I might have to resuscitate him.
The race was a great experience! I’m so glad I now have two ankles strong enough for running! I look forward to my next race and my next milestone.
This is Jason in his final sprint for the finish line. He was the fastest runner on our team even though he got the last, and hottest, leg of the race.
Jason and I went on a terrific bike ride in American Fork Canyon over the holiday weekend. It was beautiful, difficult, and exhilarating. Those descriptors may not seem to fit together well but let me assure you, they do.
This is me taking a break on a sunny hillside before beginning the grueling task of heading back up the mountain.
I received my first mountain bike as a birthday gift when I turned 16 and ever since then I have been a devoted biker. The intensity and technical difficulty of the trails I ride these days far surpasses what I navigated in my early years. Over time Jason and I have become more accustomed to the precarious nature of this sport and have slowly gravitated toward trickier paths. We now bike almost exclusively on singletrack trails, which are basically hiking trails, rather than on the standard car-friendly paths many ride. We like winding through trees, climbing over boulders, teetering along the edge of drop-offs…you know, all that good stuff.
Here's Jason reenacting his latest run-in. One of his bike's brake lines broke as we were coming down a steep hill. This was obviously not good. Since he had no way to stop or slow himself down, he devised an ingenious plan. He rode up a bush covered incline that was on the side of the trail hoping that that would decrease his speed enough for him to regain control of his bike. His plan was nearly flawless but Jason didn't factor in one thing: all the rocks and obstacles hidden amongst the bushes. Oops! He didn't make it far before he hit a buried rock and did a nosedive over his handlebars.
Mountain biking is not for the faint of heart. When you’re riding on a trail that’s only as wide as your handlebars and tree roots and rocks abound, the potential for mishaps is high. A slight error in judgment or a momentarily lapse in attention can result in a crash. I have been catapulted over my handlebars, flung down mountainsides, and launched into trees. My shins and knees are littered with the scars of past biking incidents. The most painful of these happened a few years ago when I was descending on a gravelly path and lost control of my bike. My bike fell abruptly sideways and I didn’t have time to make a quick exodus from its seat. Since I was moving along at a pretty decent speed when this toppling occurred, my bike continued to move forward, despite the fact that it’s wheels were no longer in contact with the ground, and I was dragged along the surface of the gravel for 10 or 12 feet. Needless to say, the wounds that resulted were rather large and gruesome. Ouch! It makes me cringe just thinking about it! But despite this accident, and all others like it, I love mountain biking and would never give it up.
I got this gouge last year while biking in Lambert's Park. A non-graceful attempt to keep my bike from tipping over after hitting a rather large rock made me catch my leg on the spikes of my gearshift. This was the result. And in case you are wondering, yes, that is dirt all over my leg.
There’s something intoxicating about speeding through the pines accompanied only by the crinkle of the breeze in the aspens and the steady sound of your tires circling through the dirt. Mountain biking is never boring thanks to the constantly fluctuating terrain you traverse. The stunning scenery and physical and mental demands of this sport make it a nearly irresistible pastime to me. The details of my latest collisions often elicit the “you’re crazy” response from friends and relatives. I just smile and nod. Besides the bruises, they have no idea what they are missing. But that’s alright, that just means more mountain for me.
Lack of concentration = crash. That's why I've got that silly focused look on my face.
For Jason’s birthday our friends, Cam and Fran, wanted to treat him to a boating excursion. Since Jason is always extremely eager for opportunities to strap on his wakeboard, he was more than willing to agree to this plan. A combination of bad weather and busy schedules resulted in his boating outing being delayed more than a month, but last week we finally made it out to Utah Lake. The afternoon we went was perfectly warm and sunny; it was sublime. Jason rode the wakes until his arms and back could take no more. He was able to make some pretty impressive jumps; I would estimate about 2 or 3 feet. Regrettably, I didn’t catch any of his sweet air on film, but here are some of the finer moments I did capture.
Jason plowing through those wakes.
Jason is ready to get in the water!
I'm not particularly good at wakeboarding but the kneeboard and I get along just fine.
Jas and Cam rode the tube together...not quite brokeback style, but close.
Jas was all about the manlove with Cameron.
Cam decided to try riding the tube in a rather odd fashion. He sat upright and dangled his legs in the water...this was the result.