Monday, June 6, 2016

Touche Utah, Touche

Well I left Europe last week thinking that nothing could compare to the beauty and riding in Germany and France. I begged Brendan to let me stay forever, and I MAY have had a poopy attitude about coming home...

I arrived in Salt Lake city on Friday evening for a week with friends and training and bachelorette backpacking. On June 18 two of my all time favorite people in the world are getting married and I will be racing bikes in Missoula. Fortunately for me I get to spent some time with them before the wedding, and the first thing groom to be Bill did was take me on Coyote loop outside of Heber on Saturday morning.

And that's when I realized the flaw in my 'Europe is the only beautiful place' thinking. Holy smokes is Utah beautiful, like jaw dropping, make me smile 'till it hurts beautiful! And that was the revelation of the day, you don't have to travel across the world to be in incredible places, and even though one adventure is over, there will be many more incredible places near and far to look forward to and appreciate.
The Coyote Loop was a fast, fun 20 mile coyote shaped loop that climbed 2000ft up the side of a mountain through scrub and wildflowers, and then descended back down through rooty aspen glory dirt. There were vistas of snowcapped mountains, lakes and valleys in all directions, and a perfect ribbon of singletrack beneath me the entire time. It was also a nice change of pace to be on ripping fast, relatively smooth trails, and I worked on some skills/maintaining as much speed as possible because it felt rollercoaster fun to tear-ass down the backside (until I almost steamrolled two dudes in tank tops... sorry dudes!). So fun in fact that I did the loop twice, once in each direction :) You know, to see which way I liked it best! OH and one of my favorite parts of the ride was seeing SO MANY OTHER MOUNTAIN BIKERS!!! It makes me so happy to see other people enjoying the sport I love so so much!
The very start of the hike... already unbelievably pretty!
And then after a quick shower we headed out for the bachelorette backpacking trip (just one night, which was perfect for my first ever backpacking experience!). This basically means I spent the ENTIRE weekend with my jaw at my knees in awe of the beauty around me, and probably annoying the crap out of my backpacking companions with the number of times I commented on how pretty it was, or that they should look ahead or back at the view. Utah, if you haven't been there it is ABSOLUTELY a must visit state.

There were waterfalls, quaking aspens (that's what they call the shimmering leaves in the wind), giant evergreen trees nestled in with neon other trees, and snow... lots of snow!
This the the bride Taryn. She loves waterfalls. 
There was so much snow that we ended up sleeping on it! We hiked up to a lake to spend the night, and not only was the lake frozen, but about 95% of the ground was still very much under snow. It made for some more amazing sights, some fun hiking, and a pretty cold night for our toes.
I give backpacking an A+ for being hiking but harder, especially at altitude. I have no idea how high we were, BUT with this much snow, I would say we were pretty dang high. 
Not only were the views and the exercises amazing, I also VERY much appreciated spending time with some awesome women, and having some great deep life discussions. Let's be honest though, most of the trip was spent being silly and whatnot, but those talks where you realize things that you never would have thought of on your own, not really sure how to describe it, but it was great, and I feel like I am prepared to be a better wife and person because of the time we spent up in the snow :)
Frozen lake, just starting to think about becoming unfrozen. 
So, on and off the bike this weekend I learned an important lesson about gratitude. It doesn't just mean being thankful for incredible opportunities like trips to Europe, it also means taking the time to be in the moment, and to appreciate the places and people around you on a daily basis. AND that the real adventure is never really over, it's your life, it continues every time you wake up in the morning!


  1. I have a same experience as you with bike. I have more time to think about something simple around me. It's a good time, right? :)