Take the Poudre River Bike Path west until it ends at a gravel road in Bellevue. Take that gravel road north. Take your first right turn. Just around the bend, notice a wide trail to your right. The trail is wide enough for a bike trailer. There is a neat bridge and the trail follows close to a stream. As you approach the red cliffs, look up for the Golden Eagle nest (bring binoculars). A paved bike path continues around the north portion of the lake, but this is an out-and-back trail.
Want to explore more? Along the way, there are a few cool place to take the kiddos.
Me Oh My! Coffee and Pie Best pecan rolls and pies at Me Oh My. They also have a play area with toys for the kids. Inside, they have a mercantile where you can pick up fresh organic local produce from Native Hill Farm. Just as the Poudre River Trail turns sharply west (just after Cache Le Poudre School), turn east onto 287B instead. Me Oh My is on your left.
Vern’s Place. A restaurant in LaPorte with outdoor seating. Country fare.
The Hatchery. Just before you get to Watson Lake, on your right, you’ll find the Hatchery. When it’s open, there is a little dispenser where you can buy fish food for 25cents. You can walk/ride around the hatchery and see all the trout in different phases of life.
“Isn’t it crazy to think how different your world was a year and a half ago, and yet now you can’t imagine your world without her?“
This was a message a friend sent me via Facebook Messenger.
I didn’t respond to the message right away. Honestly, I wasn’t sure exactly how to answer. She didn’t notice my failure to answer her question. I started talking about diaper rash or baby drool or something else instead.
But, I thought about this question a lot. Somehow, I felt a bit guilty because I don’t feel like having a baby has totally changed who I am or how I have decided to live my life. Birthing a baby didn’t suddenly enlighten me to a deeper purpose or provide some meaning to my life that it didn’t previously have. Am I a bad mom for this?
Life is different because we have a little girl we get to share our lives with now. But, it isn’t really different at all because we still do all the things we would normally do.
We still ride bikes. A lot. After Addy was born we used my maternity leave as a vacation. We drove to California to introduce Addy to some of our family who live in LA and Palm Springs. Along the way, we stopped in Eagle and Grand Junction to ride bikes. Then got to ride some cool trail and jeep roads while we were out visiting family. Then, on the way home, we stopped for some trail riding in Gooseberry Mesa (woot-woot!), Fruita and Breckenridge. Each place we stopped, Tyson and I would take turns trading off watching Addy and riding.
We have also made 3 weekend trips to Pueblo/Canon City this winter to ride dry trail. We bring Addy with us every time. While one of us rides trail, the other can ride bike path with Addy. Or, we can hang with Addy and play with her
We also traveled to Texas to do my first bike race since getting knocked up (got 3rd in Cat 1 19-39 and missed 1st by about 1 minute) and brought Addy with us for that. Grandma Laurel babysat for us that time.
My point is… we still do all the things we always do. The only difference is that now, we do these things with Addy. This means that when we ride up and down the Horsetooth dams, we are pulling Addy along behind us in her Chariot. It’s an extra 50 pounds to drag up those hills, so it takes more time than usual. But we still do it. We have to make several stops feed her, change her diaper or entertain her. But we still do it.
We still ride our bikes and still love every second of it. It is super cool being able to experience this biking that I love so much with this new little person I love so much.
So, I’m still not sure exactly how to respond to my friend’s message. Yeah. Life is different, but not really. But could I ever imagine my life without here. Well, oddly enough, I can imagine my world without her. Without Adalynn, I would ride my bike more, possibly faster, at higher elevations and in remote locations. I would also sleep more. But, the experience of becoming a mom and being a mom has been such a unique and exciting experience. I got to experience amazing changes in my body as I carried Adalynn for 9 months. I had the awesome experience of birthing Adalynn and the excitement of finally seeing her face for the first time. Being here to care for her, and to watch her grow and change every day. Every day, discovering a bit more about the person she is becoming. I enjoy the uncertainty and adventure about what the future will be. She adds so much to my world.
She deepens how I feel about Tyson. He is an amazing person. I knew this before Adalynn was even conceived. But, watching how he interacts with her, how careful and thoughtful he is with her and with his actions around her. I love seeing his enthusiasm and excitement each time she does something new! Its been hard going back to work, but knowing she’s home with him makes it so much easier. Now that I’m working close to home (less than 3 miles by bike path), Tyson and Addy come visit at lunch.
The Bump… is gone.
My belly looks about the same as it did before I got preggers. But it didn’t happen overnight. Took about 6 months. Sorry. No more baby bump pictures :o(.
Today, we are officially 38 weeks. A lot has changed in the 9 weeks since my last blog.
I’ve gained about 24 pounds so far and my poor belly button! It feels like baby Adalynn is going to come exploding right out of my belly button at any moment. I can imagine sharing my birth story with other women, “Oh. I didn’t have a vaginal delivery or a C-section. I sneezed and had an unexpected belly button delivery”.
Surprise Baby Shower
Everyone at work decided to put together a SURPRISE BABY SHOWER!! Got me all misty-eyed and emotional. They heard I had wanted to avoid too much pink, so they went with a honeybee theme! They also knew that I had wanted as many hand-me-downs/recycled items as possible. So, they included a clothesline full of hand-me-down items from their own children.
Also received boxes of gifts from my sister Sarah (and my nieces Taysha and Gabby), Laurel and Bill (grandma and grandpa), and Aunt Katie. My sister Heather and her family came to visit and brought tons of gifts too (with a diaper wreath). And Mattie and her family sent a thoughtful gift too!!! The generosity is overwhelming. I think we have everything we need!!
Woah! Biking still feels really good for my body, but I’m having to change a lot of things about my riding. First of all, I had to get a stem with major rise just so I can ride more upright. When I’m hunched over, it feels like I’m crunching Lil’ Grom. Also, any steep climbing… fairly impossible. So, I’ve had to adjust my riding a bit. Less climbing, more gravel road adventure/exploring. And I have to ride very slow. If I push too hard, I start having Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Didn’t get to Race the 40 in the Fort. Did get to be a Bacon Angel with Georgia Gould.
“Donuts? Bacon? Coke? Whiskey?”
So far this year: 354 hours of riding, 3045 miles, 250 PRs, and 112 total activities.
This time last year: 366 hours of riding, 3097 miles, 498 PRs, and 107 total activities.
I’m at 38 weeks and it seems the bump is growing more than any other time during the pregnancy. …and she dropped at 37 weeks. Getting closer!!!
Today, we are officially 29 weeks. Passed the glucose test (which means I don’t have diabetes…. Yay!!!!). Guess that means the Corndoggies have really helped with my nutrition!!!
Starting to get a little cramped up in my little body. I’ve gained about 15 pounds so far and supposed to gain another 10 more, but I honestly don’t know think there is room for anything more. Maybe I’ll get taller… that would help.
Most Comfortable Place: My Bike
As everything is getting bigger, bigger, BIGGER, I’m starting to feel it affecting my back and pelvis. I’ve been so lucky that I’m still able to keep biking. Being on the bike is the one place where my body feels so relaxed and comfortable… relief!!!! It’s literally more pleasant for me to ride my bike to work than to be crunched up behind the wheel driving to work. I can’t breathe well when I’m sitting at a desk or while driving, but I can breathe quite comfortable still while riding. Wish I could just be on my bike all day!!!
Been able to do a couple trips to Fruita, Grand Junction, and Pueblo. Also got to do an overnight bike ride with Teresa. ..and I even did a 61 mile single speed RACE!!!!! and I finished last place. The sweep van was following right behind me the whole time. I asked the van to please pass me (mostly because I really needed to pee), but the van wouldn’t pass (so I had to pee in front of the van… 5 times…).
Chopa and Michelle’s Wedding in Sedona
Even flew to Sedona for the weekend to celebrate with Chopa and Michelle. Got to do a few cool hikes and take in some beautiful scenery while celebrating Chopa and Michelle with friends!!
So far this year: 249 hours of riding, 2164 miles, 213 PRs, and 83 total activities.
This time last year: 218 hours of riding, 2171 miles, 395 PRs, and 91 total activities.
I’m at 29 weeks and just started showing enough that it’s pretty obvious to most people. People used to be afraid to ask me if I was pregnant because they didn’t want to be rude. But now, people ask pretty openly.
Tyson and I discovered a mass growing in my uterus. Our doctor says that there’s not much we can do about it now, except monitor it as it continues to grow bigger and bigger each day. So far, I’ve gained 8 pounds from its growth. Good news is that, apparently, my body will expel this mass all on its own in another 4 months (you won’t believe how it gets expelled).
Making the Decision
Most people seem to have children because it is something they always knew they wanted their whole lives. Or, perhaps, something they feel they need to do to feel that their life experience has been whole, or complete. It’s not like that for me. In fact, I’ve felt very fulfilled in my life up to now. Tyson happened to mention it one day, “What do you think about kids?” I hadn’t thought much about it really. At my age, and with my adventurous lifestyle, I had sorta written it off.
I’ve had the fortune of many amazing experiences in my life. Medical school, Residency, running marathons, mountain bike adventures, rock climbing, traveling… it’s been an amazing ride so far. I must however admit that I had started feeling restless, wondering what my next big adventure should be. I know I could be content by simply continuing to explore more opportunities on my mountain bike. But some part of me was longing for a completely different experience altogether.
Tyson’s question made me start wondering about what kind of mom I would be. What kind of experiences did I have to offer a little human, what could I teach them? How would I handle the challenge of meeting the needs of a child while still finding a way to meet my own needs for adventure? I envisioned the challenge of traveling with a child. Packing a trailer and exploring on bike with a child in tow. Wondering how many diapers you might need to bring, how much food to pack. Calculating the logistics of bikepacking overnight with a child. How do you fit in your workouts? How do you find time to make healthy food? Then it occurred to me. This might actually be the next big experience I was looking for.
I’ ve been very fortunate that I’ve felt very good so far. No morning sickness and no pains or anything. I do have to pee a lot. And I’m super hungry all the time. It is also a little weird having the feeling that something is constantly wiggling inside your uterus all the time. But, every new sensation, each new change in my body, is an exciting new experience. It’s been super cool to see what my body is still capable of doing. I can still comfortably ride long distances, and hike and run. I’ve had to learn to adjust my riding position a bit so I don’t squish the baby (or rather squish my guts). I decided to stop doing things that seem even a little risky like riding fast downhill and taking big drops. I also had to stop hammering uphill so much (my joints are too loose and its pulls my back and hips out). But, my Strava data suggests I haven’t really slowed down much at all.
So far this year: 151hours of riding, 1260miles, 145 PRs, and 52 total activities.
This time last year: 146 hours of riding, 1232 miles, 272 PRs, and 45 total activities.
For those of you who want to see the bump… its not much yet, but here it is:
The climb up Princeton was uneventful. I crossed paths with a family that was out hiking. The father (presumably) commented, “Impressive work”. “You have no idea”, I thought to myself. I had not ridden the segment of trail from CR 343 to CR 306 (aka Cottonwood Creek) and found that I had to push my bike for most of this 3-mile section of trail. The reward for my toil? Trail Magic!! Beautiful, amazing, Trail Magic. A cooler with Coke and Snickers out in the middle of nowhere!!! Magical!!!
As I rolled into Buena Vista, I had the sense that things were going to be ok. I was going to make it to the finish. I had a good night’s sleep, had a good meal, my bike was going to get fixed, was going to resupply food. “I’ve got this.” I had ridden all the rest of the Colorado Trail between here and Waterton (except 10 Mile) and I knew I could finish.
Resupply at Buena Vista
As I got to Buena Vista, I arrived to find that Boneshaker’s bike shop was open earlier than expected. The guy at the desk was super friendly and asked me how he could help. “There are 3 things I need.”, I said. Except, it took me a good 5 minutes or so to remember even one of those 3 things. Eventually, I did remember. The mechanic could find no fault with my brake pads or shifter. No replacement parts for the CamelBak either, but that’s ok, I was making due with my Platypus bladder. They didn’t know anything about the dynamo hub and couldn’t really help with that. I thanked them for their help anyway and headed off to the supermarket to resupply (and made sure to stock extra batteries now that I would be relying solely on my backup light).
As I headed out of town, I saw Felipe at K’s. I pedaled ahead again, knowing he would catch up.
As I pedaled along 371 to Clear Creek Reservoir and the start of Segment 11, it got pretty hot. I stopped a couple times to jump into the Arkansas River. Then, as I started up Hwy 24, the shifter became increasingly harder to shift, and then, it just stopped shifting. The chain stayed in the hardest gear and wouldn’t shift out. Just that moment, as I was single-speeding it up Hwy 24 and about to turn onto CR 390 (to Clear Creek), Felipe catches up to me. We pedal to the Clear Creek Reservoir and I contemplate making the bike a singlespeed as the shifter is completely blown. I tried to imagine what it would be like using a single gear to get through segment 11 and Halfmoon Creek to Leadville (and perhaps stop at Cycles of Life bike shop for a replacement shifter). But thats not what I wanted to do.
A Dramatic Revolution
Something happened. Something changed for me. Prior to this point, I rallied to meet every challenge with gusto. But when I tried to rally to meet this challenge, I simply didn’t want to. Having made it this far, I knew I was capable of finishing. I no longer had anything to prove to myself. There was nothing left to motivate me to keep moving. I was satisfied. I had experienced an amazing journey and felt content to end it right there.
Felipe didn’t want me to quit. In fact, he looked pretty disappointed. But, this race wasn’t about him. It was about me. In fact, my primary motivation for doing this race was to have the opportunity to escape from other people’s demands and expectations of me.
You see, for the last 4 years, I’ve worked as a doctor at a Community Health Center (and I have been a physician now for over 7 years). Most of my time and energy is spent in caring for the problems and concerns of other people. The majority of the people I see have advanced diseases, complex psychosocial issues, financial issues, mental health issues, substance abuse issues etc. I care tremendously for my patients, and because of this, my heart is broken almost every day. I see about 100 patients in my clinic every week. There are moments of joy, but these moments seem so few and far between. This work has taken a tremendous toll on me emotionally.
This race was supposed to be my chance to escape from all these responsibilities and obligations. The thing I desired the most was isolation. I just wanted a purely self-centered experience. CTR seemed like a great opportunity for this. But, on CTR, I found that I was not released from expectations. People were watching my dot, expecting me to finish. Other racers around me were urging me on, expecting me to finish as well.
Sitting there by the reservoir, contemplating these things, something brilliant occurred to me. At this point, the most self-centered thing I could do was quit. I thought about my friends and teammates back home who would see this as a failure. I worried about not meeting their expectations or letting them down. Then I thought, “Fuck everyone else’s expectations”. I had just had one of my most amazing and profound experiences on a mountain bike EVER. I didn’t need anything else from this race. I’m not breaking a record and I don’t need to finish this race to prove anything to myself.
I found a shady spot under a tree with a cool breeze, made a phone call to my boyfriend to come get me, and started eating away at my fresh supply of fruit gummies and Hot Tamales (mmmm… one of my favorites). I napped so hard that I awoke in a puddle of my own drool.
1- Make sure you, your bike and you’re body are 100% before embarking on a demanding race like this. My lungs were not 100% and it was risky (and perhaps arrogant/ignorant) to be pushing myself so hard at altitude with my lungs in this condition.
2- If you are prone to altitude induced edema, avoid high sodium foods. Train more at altitude to acclimate.
3- Live in the moment. Fully. Always.
4- Manna is only delicious for 2 days. After 2 days, any food becomes intolerable.
5- Sometimes, real moments of solitude are needed to balance how much of ourselves we give away.
I awoke around 4am and noticed that my lips and eyelids were very swollen. In fact, my lips were so swollen that they felt kinda numb. As I got moving, the swelling improved some, but my lips stayed kinda numb and the skin was overstretched feeling. Considering that my breathing seemed normal (no sign of HAPE), and I was peeing normally (no sign of kidney failure) I wasn’t too concerned about this. Edema of altitude is pretty common. I probably made it worse by eating a ton of jerky sticks (with sodium) the night before.
“Get in My Belly”
At this point, I’m running low on food. About 2,000 calories to get me to Princeton Hot Springs. I had concocted this amazing food, which I named, “Marie’s Energy Balls”, a perfect balance of good fats, protein and electrolytes. Very calorie dense, about 400 calories each bite. However, at this point, I started calling it “manna”. Although it was perfect nutrition, I could no longer stomach the stuff. Every bite was a negotiation with my digestive system. This was really frustrating because, although I couldn’t get the manna down my throat, I was SO HUNGRY!!! Every little chipmunk or squirrel I saw, I would audibly yell, “Get in my belly”. I started eyeballing a cow at Tank Seven (he wouldn’t notice if I started nibbling on his hind flank, would he?). I found a chunk of Slim Jim on the ground, covered in ants. I ate it. Ants and all (ants are extra protein). It was the only trail magic I would experience until Buena Vista.
Sargents is Major Payne
This was my low point. I was hungry. Nauseated. Stupid squirrels ran away from me when I tried to eat them (and it was too much work to chase after them). And now I had to, literally, drag my bike up the boulder field that is Sargents.
I would look uptrail, visually identify what looked like a potential resting place ~10-20 meters ahead. Wait. Count down from 3, 2, 1… then give a quick anaerobic burst to carry my bike up to that spot. Then, repeat this process at least 20 times. Felipe was behind me. I think I probably knocked rocks loose on top of him. If I did, he didn’t complain. I think he found my antics mildly amusing.
My Fooses Cooked
After Sargent’s, we made our way to Marshall Pass. It was disappointing to see that, what should’ve been an enjoyable descent, was now a rutted out mess due to ATV usage. We had to walk our bikes off-trail through the trees.
The ride from Marshall Pass to Fooses was spectacular. If you’ve never ridden from Marshall Pass to Hwy 50, put it on your bucket list right now. I finished off the remainder of my manna as we neared the summit of Fooses. 200 calories of GU’s left to get me to BV.
Fooses is an amazing descent, as you go from 11,900 feet elevation to 8,800 feet elevation in 9 miles. My reputation as an amazing descender is well-known throughout the cycling community. I’ll let this photo speak for itself:
I Wept Over a Hamburger
Felipe stayed at Hwy 50 to make a phone call to his girlfriend. I went ahead without him. He was about to throw away his excess tortillas and cheese (he had 2 bags of tortillas and almost a whole 16 ounces of cheese slices in his saddle bag!!! I can’t even have a saddlebag on my bike because its too small!!!) and he begged me to take some food before he discarded it. I’m not sure how the “Do It Yourself” rules apply in this situation, but I did eat 1 tortilla with 2 cheese slices. “He was going to throw it away anyway”, I rationalized.
As I made my way across Hwy 50 and up the switchbacks, I ate my last bit of food. 0 calories left. I would need to resupply at the Princeton Convenience store that closed at 8pm. I had 2 hours to ride 20 miles. No problem. Except that I had forgotten about the hike-a-bike to Angel of Shavano. Problem. I was so hungry. I cried at the thought of having to go to bed without eating a meal.
As darkness fell, I noticed that my dynamo powered light stopped working. I rechecked my connectors and cables. Everything appeared solid. It must be a loose connection somewhere because the light would flash on briefly when I hit a big bump. No time to figure it out now. Maybe the Boneshakers Bike shop in Buena Vista can help me figure it out tomorrow. I now had a list of 3 things I needed their help with 1) check the shifter, 2) check my dynamo hub light, 3) check my brake pads, 4) replace CamelBak Hydrolock. Ok. I guess that’s 4 things. Whatever.
When I arrived in Princeton Hot Springs, 5-6 hours later (maybe around 9 or 10pm), I cruised around the resort hoping to find discarded food. As I headed over to the convenience store dumpster, I noticed a restaurant in the hotel. Timidly, I asked the bartender if they were still serving food. When he explained that they would serve a full menu until 10pm and only burger and fries after 10pm, I could hardly keep my composure. When he fed me soup and a burger, I literally wept tears of joy. When I could not fit the entire burger in my belly… I wept yet again. The bartender and waitresses must have thought I was a lunatic. One of the waitresses gave me a bag with bread, apples, oranges and a homemade granola bar. She also offered to put my bike in her truck and let me stay in her home where I could have a proper shower and rest. Of course, I declined (although it was tempting).
I found a place to camp just above the springs. The air was cool and calm and lightening in the distance. No rain. Just a peaceful calm breeze. My belly was uncomfortably full. I slept like a baby from around 11pm until 6am.