The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

Back to Biking

View of Casper Mountain from the Platte River Parkway.

View of Casper Mountain from the Platte River Parkway.

Some women will curse me for this, but I’ve never carried extra weight. Sure, I’ve been more toned at times than other, but I’ve mostly been the same size since high school. Then I had a healthy, full-term baby and like the great majority of women, have a little extra baby padding that needs to come off.  There is only one way to accomplish this: healthy whole foods diet (check) and now that my body is healed, exercise.

Exercise is harder when you have extra weight. I’m just now fully appreciating this. Go jog a city block. Come home and strap on a 20 lb backpack and go run again. That sucked, right? According to the film Fork Over Knives, the average American carries 23 extra pounds. I have no doubt that people would enjoy exercise more if they were to shed their proverbial backpack. But there’s only one way (outlined above) to do it, and I’m right there with you.

My quest started in my neighborhood, which is fortuitously the start of the Platte River Parkway, an 11 mile bike path that weaves through most of Casper. I was huffing and puffing on a few hills into Mills, Wyoming but the awesome thing about being “out of shape” is that the massive endorphine dump (also known as an exercise high) comes much, much sooner. I was flying! I was amazing! Why hadn’t I done this sooner? When the endorphins allowed me to get more blood to my brain, I remembered that the bike path was snowy and I was terrified of a bike seat in months prior, which gave me my answer. But the moral of the story is the same: lose weight and feel great. And be careful if you ride with the wind at your back…

Healthy-recipe-of-the-day: Curried French Lentils

Worst. Bike. Ride. Ever.

Not even close to the highway I was on. But the question of what about 'highway' associates with 'recreation' remains.

I thought of this title on the mentioned bike ride, but then realized I was being a bit melodramatic. After all, wouldn’t the “worst bike ride ever” involve major bodily harm to your person or someone around you? So maybe it wasn’t the worse ever, but a couple of items led to my extreme dissatisfaction. The first of which was that fact that I was not on single track.

I know that the term ‘road biking’ implies, well, a road, but I failed to really absorb how BORING a road can be. You’re either sucking exhaust (mmm), pedaling uphill (groan), hoping the 3500 diesel doesn’t hit you or speeding downhill while praying no surprise potholes exfoliate off your face or any other body part that goes skidding along the surface. Surpisingly, none of the aforementioned items are listed as ‘fun’ in my book. And in Casper, there’s one extra little tidbit of joy- hurricane speed winds. I could actually feel alternate surfaces of my tire interfacing with the pavement as the wind gusted me heavily to one side. When I commented that I felt like I was going to get blown over, the reply was, “you’ll know when it happens”. You don’t say. And lest you think the downhill sections are a bright spot, my only thought nuking down a two-lane highway is “great, that’s another hill I’m going to have to pedal back up.”

Which brings me back to the title. On single track, my mind is in the moment. If I’m not paying attention, a crash is very likely. On a road bike, I just pedal and my thoughts wander to subjects like, how MUCH bodily harm is okay for a little bit of fun. As in, would I rather take a 95% safe road bike ride* with little probability of crashing and little probability of a good time OR would a rather incur small amounts of bodily harm like minor scrapes and stiff hips from my topple-over and have a super-sweet fun mountain bike ride? The answer of course, is ‘bring on the pain’. This is how I know I’m not getting old. This is also why I’ll use my road bike for exercise but my mountain bike is where my heart lives. Casper is going to need some more single track to hold me down.

*all statistics are purely speculation and subject to the daily mood changing of Michelle.

Invention of the Day: A bicycle airbag helmet. Yes, I’m serious. Watch the video- it’s rad.