Hello, I'm glad you're here, and hope you enjoy your visit. It has been said that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This blog is about me, my adventures, silly moments, and keeping in touch with you. Life is exciting and so full of possibilities, so let's enjoy the journey together.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

A New Journey in Life

This year has been a bit rough for me, as I’ve been introduced to the reality of aging

(it’s hard to think that I will be 54 this winter!) 

who would have guessed age would catch up to me so quickly and things in my body ceased to function the way that they have in the past, making life difficult. 

Everything takes a hit when health challenges come, they arrive unexpectedly and stick around like an unwanted house guest.

While I feel (and Hope)  I’ve found the top of the mountain, it has not come without a price.

yeah. . . I’ve gained a ton of weight!

Here's the rundown on this picture. . . It's a history of me

The first picture (the orange and red one) is after my first century in 2007. . . I had been in an auto accident 5 years previous which left me pretty messed up with some back injuries that left me basically immobile for close to 5 years.. . . the reality was, I was unable to bend over to put shoes or socks on

. . . yes, all footwear was in the form of slip-on type shoes and jumpers skirts anything that didn't require me to bend over.  

and to answer the question I'm certain you have in your mind

. . . yes, it was awful and I got to my biggest size ever

I was pushing into size 18

After much searching I found a Dr. that helped me get back together again and I re-discovered bikes.  This is where I found road cycling. . . I look miserable in this picture, because I was.  Sunburned and exhausted. 

This first Century took me over 9 hours to complete and I didn't think about sunscreen. . . 

I was absolutely miserable!

as I finished that ride I had determined that I NEVER wanted to ride a bike again!

. . . Obviously, I changed my mind

the Center picture (the pink one) was in 2012.

 I was fitter, happier, and stronger than I have ever been.  

This ride is after LOTOJA . . . . comparing with my first century (100 miles) to now at 206 miles, in just under 11.5 hours with 3X the climbing.  I'm not tired, I could have gone further and was happy and excited.

Then finally today (the green and yellow).  Still happy, not as over weight as I was in 2007, but right in the middle with a quest to get my health and fitness back on track.

So there you have it. . . I have some work to do!

okay I may not have a ton to shed:  28 lbs to be precise, and that means to be where I need and want to be to achieve my goals for next year I have a lofty goal of reducing my size by 3 dress sizes and a total of 33 lbs.

. . . which feels like a ton

The other reality as a side effect of being big and my clothes don’t fit, seriously, I only have like 3 pairs of pants that fit on my bulging body. . .

the other reality is . .

I’ve gotten SLOW! 

Superman and I went for a ride up Big Cottonwood Canyon and I thought I was going to die!  He made it to Brighton Ski Resort and I was barely to Solitude. . . I had 2 miles ahead of me and at the pace I was going it would have taken me another 30 minutes and we were quickly running out of daylight.

That’s my reality, two miles short of what I set out to do and it was necessary to turn around and get back down the canyon.

The last time I did this same ride I made it to this same point 26 minutes faster

. . . that says all that needs to be said.

We weren’t racing, just going up with as much speed as physically possible.  This was a “Base” ride. . . we wanted to see exactly where we are at or rather, how much fitness we have lost in this past year

                                                      Honestly. . .


and now it’s time to correct the problem.


For starters, we have joined up with “myfitnesspal” a free app and web based program for helping people like me. . .


and we are logging every morsel of food that pops into our mouths
As you can see, Thursday wasn’t a stellar day, but we were just beginning and so this was an eye opening experience.


We record how much water we drink in a single day. . .

from experience, I KNOW that water is absolutely vital to successful weight maintenance/loss

I walked on Thursday morning and “earned” a whopping 110 calories toward my daily goals.  As you can see I need to stop sneaking into the pop tarts. . . those things are deadly

. . . yeah, it was only a snack and I ONLY ate 1 of the 2 in the package


Superman and I are friends inside of “myfitnesspal” which allows him to see what I’ve done throughout the day and I him, we will log our weight once a week and keep an eye on each other. 

It’s humbling.

It makes me feel vulnerable to know that people can see exactly where I’m at, but on the flip side hopefully it will help someone else be brave too.  I love helping others find happiness and contentment within themselves

. . . so it’s worth the risk of letting go of a little pride

Do you realize that a single little Hershey Kiss is valued at 22 calories? 

think about how easy it is to pop 1, then 2, then 5 or 9 of those little demons into your mouth and down the hatch. . . and without even realizing it, you have eaten an entire meal of calories.  Then dinner comes and you eat “real food” this time but it all adds up, and it adds up fast!

Someone brought Hershey kisses to church and dutifully I gobbled one up

. . . not anymore!


I need more days like Tuesday!

1127 calories in the bank toward where I want to be. . . that's what I need!

So with the help of Strava, Myfitnesspal, Planet Fitness, my bike, Superman, and a few good friends helping to keep my motivation and spirits up

myself along with Superman we are tackling the beast within and have big plans to get back to that happy place that I have been previous to the past couple of years.

in Short, I don’t appreciate being fat, I don’t like being slow

                                            . . . it takes the fun out of riding a bike

                                                                                                       or going on a hike 

when I’m packing around and extra bag of dog food

. . . in fact, it right down stinks!
So now as I reflect back on my successes of the past and step forward into the future with a “brightness of hope” I invite you to join me in my journey of self improvement and new successes.


This is where I am after Breakfast this morning

We have opted to do our best to reach our goal by New Years so our New Year goals will be met with momentum and joy as we will not need to put “get in shape” on that list along with 1/2 of the rest of the world. . .

In other words, we are going to beat the post holiday rush. . .

have you ever been to a gym in the month of January?  I think at least 1/2 of society in general  tries to set the record straight and sets out to create new images of themselves, but usually by mid February everything settles back to normal.

I’ll wager a bet that fitness centers across the country love the whole idea of “new years resolutions”
As it appears they make bank!

 Maybe I'll go shopping for new pants instead
now that sounds more fun to me!

So for now mingled between events of the past I am including various posts about this journey I've decided to embark on.
We had a fantastic summer that includes a trip to the Redwoods, Crater Lake, the Oregon Coast, Backpacking in Yellowstone, I still haven't reported on Last Year's LOTOJA. . . I've hesitated on this for multiple reasons, but for the sake of "tradition" I've concluded that I still need to put it on here so family and close friends can have the stories that go along with it.
. . . it's for posterity

and anyone else who would like to come along.

The bottom line. . . I've Lost it once, I'll do it again

. . . that's the good news
now, it's time to get'er done

oh, and we had a fun trip to Dinosaur Land last year that will be fun to write about too.
I have some new recipes that I would like to post on and need to. . . requests from friends for recipes and such . . .

Life truly is great!


Friday, September 16, 2016

LOTOJA 2016–Volunteering & 1000 miles!


I began as support crew for my brother in 2005,


then in 2009 I attempted my first LOTOJA race and now . . . 

now here it is 2016.


Due to some minor health challenges I have been struggling with and to Superman’s surgery and recovery length we concluded it was best to take the year off so
For the first time in 7 years I opted not to ride this year,


but volunteered instead. . .
What an amazing experience!

(This is from LOTOJA 2011)

Friday, we assisted with packet pick up getting swag bags with t-shirts, water bottle, cow bell, the famous Great Harvest Bread Coupon, along with all the other coupons, advertisements and of course the Race Bible . . . as cyclists came to check in.

. . . we had fun!

Then for Saturday, we were assigned to help with the Relay transition in Montpelier, ID

DSC06338 DSC06343

Superman recorded manually, along with another volunteer, every relay cyclist that came crossed through the transition . . .

he said it was a busy job and it was pretty intense when they all came in together

and my job? > > >

It started out COLD!  it was a whopping 34°f at 8:00 am in Montpelier,
it eventually warmed up later and I shed all this winter gear.
I was assigned directing cyclists and traffic!  

Right in the middle of the intersection coming into Montpelier

I initially had plans for tons of pictures, but it was a busy spot. . . there was no time for leisurely photo shoots while holding a flag, a camera, all while pointing and hollering directions and encouragement to cyclists and support crews as they rounded the corner less than two blocks from support.

the whole scenario proved fatal for picture taking


Every single cyclist participating in the race went right past where I was standing. . .

I could not have been happier

nor could I have had a better time

I felt the power, the energy, the focus and drive, the triumph, and fatigue,

of each rider that passed by. . .

As I cheered and encouraged each and every group

being there was flat out spectacular, amazing, awesome, incredible, inspiring, educational
the experience in and of itself was one all of it’s own caliber and one I will never forget

Honestly, as soon as they said we would provide traffic/cyclist control I was all over that job, and I did something quite out of character for me, I was quite assertive.  In fact, I snagged a vest, picked up the flag and quite effectively picked my spot on the course. . .

no regrets here. . . period
except perhaps the sunburned face. . .
yup, I didn't even consider sunscreen. . . oops!


This is a picture from Ultimate Challenge 2015, and is clearly not my hand

. . . mine is old and wrinkly. . . but, the cowbell

. . . well, I think you get the idea

Then we made our way to Jackson and cheered cyclists as they rode,  as I cheered with my cowbell ringing as we drove along the route . . . where support vehicles are not permitted

In Short

. . . It was a spectacular day!

It was fun to see LOTOJA from a completely different perspective, and I have grown to love this event even more.


. . . But, I would still rather ride my bike

Have I ever told you that I LOVE riding my bike? 

If you didn’t know this before, now you do.

I truly LOVE riding my bike!

Superman put in this observation:
"You get to see the amazing differences in the riders; those who've trained versus those who thought, 'ya! I can do that!  I've ridden my bike around Bear Lake . . . 50 miles . . . so 200 miles . . . ah . . . no sweat!'  ARGGHHHHH . . . then reality hits.  We saw all levels of riders at we went up to Jackson."

It's true, as we drew closer to the front where the stronger riders were approaching Alpine and Hoback Junction the differences were noticeable HUGE between the front and those several miles behind.  As we observed the differences in pedaling consistency and the energy of the cyclists riding, with speed and apparent effort being applied to the bike.  The stronger riders further ahead by 50- 75+ miles in the race were still faster, stronger, and smoother than those 1-3 hours behind them.  We found it interesting and educational.


On Sunday we attended the awards ceremony. 

I was excited to be there even though I didn’t feel a cyclist or remotely look like a cyclist, 
which I surprisingly felt awkward about.

I’m grateful that my volunteer experience was stellar as it was, because I had imagined since I began this quest. . .

which was: I would ride across the finish line with a big ol smile on my face, loving the feeling of completing this ride 8 consecutive times

. . . that was the way it was going to be the year I was awarded my sprocket,

but it’s obvious that sometimes the visions we make for ourselves don’t necessarily work out the way our hopes and dreams see them. 

However, having the opportunity to volunteer and then be placed where I was helped buffer this disappointment.

. . . next year we will ride,
this year, well my purpose was completely different,
and the logic made sense,
the decision was the right one.


There they were. . .
and mine was in there somewhere
Aren’t they gorgeous?

I have admired these sprockets for 12 years, and finally one of them had my name on it


Finally, my LOTOJA 1000 mile sprocket.


It took seven years to get this baby. . .
I was caught off guard at the emotion that came over me as they handed me my 1000 mile sprocket.

Over the course of the 7 years I logged 20,079 miles in 770.44 hours

. . . that's a Lot of miles on a bike.
That's a lot of time!

. . . last time I checked, I think they either call that crazy, or committed,
I'll let you decide which category it fits into

What's sad is this is comparatively low for the serious cyclists!
the trip to Jackson to pick this up at the award ceremony was worth the trip

Me, feeling awkward and fat, while simultaneously not looking like or feeling like a cyclist :(

. . . but, I am excited, honest!

. . . it was an amazing moment

with this moment, the memory of every ride including both those completed and the 2 DNF's all came flooding to me with perfect clarity.

. . . Memories that in that moment I recognized as those which are unforgettable and irreplaceable

Memories that I'll cherish and are mine forever.

Recalling of all of the support and encouragement from

family . . . especially my kids . . . friends, and fellow cyclists 

managers, supervisors, co-workers and staff

and without doubt, my Coach

All played an valuable role in my quest

all are all a tender and integral part of the success of this day and efforts that went into receiving this token of accomplishment.

Thank you All!

What next?

Well, Superman suggested the 2000 mile sprocket. . .

so there you have it, he will go for his 1000 while I ride another 1000 miles in the Logan to Jackson bike race known as . . .


oh yeah, gotta love life!