You win some you lose some

A blog was a good idea right? Please tell me it was a good idea. Finding time to just sit down and write is quite the challenge. I have many ideas to share, we will see which ones make their way onto this page.

 No pictures of me skiing so you get to see my adorable 3 year old rippin it up.

No pictures of me skiing so you get to see my adorable 3 year old rippin it up.

I had a major let down last week. I messed up my left ankle and knee. Our diagnosis is a Syndesmotic Sprain or high ankle sprain.

How did this happen you might ask? Well, I decided it was a good idea to go skiing. That, in and of itself, is not so bad, but I thought I could hit the black diamond soft crud like I used too. Keep in mind that I only own telemark gear, this means that I am basically doing lunges with each turn. My body is as out of shape as it has ever been, my muscles don’t work the same, my core is shot, and I decide it’s a great idea to go gallivanting down the mountain without a care in the world.

The mountain bit back and decided I needed to care a little more. Dang! It hurt! I fell and the tip of my ski got stuck in the snow. I twisted my tibia and fibula in ways it’s not meant to be twisted.

When I asked my ER Dr. husband what he thought might be wrong, he said, “Well, worst case? It’s broken. Best case? You have a bad case of wussitis” I never thought I would be happy to say, I had a bad case of wussitis.

Even with the good news, I was pretty distraught. With all my energy around getting in shape, I injured myself enough to limit my ability to exercise. I cried a few times that night out of frustration. I have felt so down about my image, about my weight and to have another limiting factor, it got to me.

Fortunately, the leg has been healing quickly. This injury may be a blessing in disguise. In order to lose weight and be healthy, I will now have to focus more on the food I am taking in. I will still find a way to exercise, but it will be limited until I heal.

I have started recording what I eat, writing it down. I found a new app, Virtuagym Food. It helps me set a goal for caloric intake plus records my % consumed of carbs, proteins and fats.

 A sampling of recording my food. Laboriuos, but eye opening. 

A sampling of recording my food. Laboriuos, but eye opening. 

This is the hardest part for me, food. I love food. I use food to help me feel better if I’m down. I use food to reward myself for something or nothing at all. I am learning about my slightly unhealthy relationship with food. I don’t want to just brute force healthy eating. I want it to be part of my lifestyle. More to come on how to do this, because, I don’t yet know.

There has been so much happening in the past few weeks, but I will have to save that for another blog post. In the meantime, please share, what do you do to help yourself eat healthier?

Snow biking - WHAT DO I WEAR?

One of our WomenMTB lady riders shares what she does for her snow bike rides. Danita Ritter started snow biking in 2015, but has logged plenty of hours in all types of weather. We asked her what it is she uses for her rides to help you get ideas in staying warm, but not too warm, while riding in the snow.


These are going to be the first to get cold so the most important, as far as clothing goes. I like to have a pair of light liner gloves as well as a warm winter glove and I always keep hand and toe warmers in my pack in case I get cold. I also use barmitts on colder days so that I can just wear a liner glove and keep my hands warm.

As for my feet I wear a pair of thick wool socks and waterproof hiking boots or snowshoe boots. You can also use snow boots but sometimes those can be a bit big and bulky. If you choose to clip in I recommend   wearing shoe covers to protect your feet from getting wet. When riding the groomed trails this isn't as much of a concern as to riding single track.


Start with a light base layer , then a micro-fleece pullover, vest or light jacket then last a windproof/waterproof jacket.

I prefer riding in a light weight down jacket that can easily be stored in my pack. Layering is very important because once you start riding you will heat up quickly and may need to shed a layer. 


I prefer a pair of tights layered with cycling shorts and a pair of windproof/waterproof pants. You can use ski pants as well but they can tend to be bulky at the bottom. Your legs usually don't get too cold since they are working the most.


I use a thin skull cap or buff on chilly days or just a thin band to cover my ears. I also like to use a buff around my neck so that I can pull it up around my mouth and cheeks if needed.


On nice days I prefer my sunglasses because they are less bulky. If it is snowing out I like goggles because they don't fog up as much and easier to see through.


I tend to use a water bottle vs. bladder in the winter because the hose tends to freeze up easily on the bladders. I always take a pack to store extra clothing and snacks.

A rule of thumb that I use before I start my ride is that if I am warm at my car before I start riding I am dressed too warm. 

What CAN I do? (3 weeks postpartum)

What can you do for the first 3 weeks after pregnancy?

Before I was pregnant I was riding my mountain bike 3-4 times a week. I was in the best shape I have been for years. While I was pregnant I won the 35+ Expert class in an Enduro race and kept riding about 2 times a week. I was hiking and staying active. Then, 9 months later, my body is at zero. It’s amazing how fast fitness and tone go out the window.

The day after I had my baby, before the nurse would let me leave the hospital, she gave me the “be kind to your body and let it heal” speech. She told me to keep my physical activity to walking and to rest as much as possible. She also said my body would tell me when I was overdoing it physically and I should listen if I want to avoid any complications.

 Baby Autumn.

Baby Autumn.

My baby is now 3.5 weeks old. She’s absolutely beautiful by the way, not that I’m biased or anything.  And I have done what the nurse ordered, for the most part. I go on walks almost every day while carrying my little one on my chest.  I use the greatest carrier called an Ergobaby. It’s basically a backpack worn on your front. I have an infant insert which makes it fit her tiny little body just fine. She wears her pink super suit and stays nice and warm as she snuggles up against my chest. 

 My lime green Ergo is our favorite carrier.

My lime green Ergo is our favorite carrier.

 This is one stylin' baby.

This is one stylin' baby.


The walks started out being really hard. Imagine, walking maybe a half mile, no hills, at a snail’s pace. I’d get back to the house out of breath and hurting in my hips and back. But after about 2 weeks of this, walks around the neighborhood got pretty easy and pretty boring. So, my husband and I decided to go for a snowshoe in the mountains. After less than an hour, I was pooped. I was bleeding more and my full pelvic area was hurting, not to mention the stiffness I had the next few days. Mentally, this outdoor jaunt was awesome and well worth the pain. Physically, my body was telling me to go back to neighborhood laps.

A few days later, I got really sick. I had a fever; chills, sweats, aches and pains. Turns out a clogged duct can put you out like this for days. I am post fever about 4 days and finally feeling good enough to get out and about again.

Once week 4 hits, we are heading to the mountains again. I plan to walk daily, snowshoe a few times a week, if I can manage, and start very mellow pelvic strengthening exercises and stretching. The frequency of these “workouts” will depends on how my body handles the first one. I will let you know.

 Great day for a snowshoe. 

Great day for a snowshoe. 


It is amazing how much time a newborn consumes. Just writing this article, a page of loosely thrown together thoughts, has taken a week to conjure. I feed her, burp her, change her diaper and rock her while she cries or falls asleep. When she sleeps, I can spend a little time with my 3-year-old and finally brush my teeth and shower (so I smell slightly less like rotten milk and BO). I also try to sleep when she sleeps since I get only 5-6 hours of sleep in 2-3 segments each night, if I’m lucky.

This leaves no time for cooking nutritious meals or grocery shopping for healthy snacks. I eat what my husband is kind enough to bring home or leftovers from the awesome neighbor who brought a meal. I’m at the mercy of others and am so thankful for the help.  

I am not drinking caffeine and have stopped chocolate, also cutting way back on sweets. This is mostly to help my baby’s tummy, but also to jumpstart my healthy eating. I am drinking like a fish. To keep up my milk production I must consume copious amounts of water. I’m just grateful my bladder is no longer smashed up against a giant baby toting uterus.

If I haven’t said it yet, this baby body to biking body is going to be a very slow process. I am trying to by patient with myself and my body while enjoying this precious time with my newborn. This is the only time she will be tiny and cuddly and I’m trying to soak it up as much as possible.

 She is prescious, right?

She is prescious, right?

Every long journey begins with one step

Baby Body to Biking Body

In 2011 I did one of the most physically challenging things of my life, a double century, the Seattle to Portland (STP) road ride, 206 miles in one day. Despite the 11 long hours in the saddle, during and after I felt pretty great. This was all due to a successful training program that had me prepared and ready to rock.

A big part of this training program was a blog I wrote to aid in motivation. I think 2 members of my family read the blog just to be supportive. Even though I knew no one was really paying attention, the writing, and knowing it was out there to the world, held me accountable.

The hope is, what worked once, will work again. I am going to write about my fitness journey from overweight pregnancy #2 to mean, lean, Enduro racing machine. Along the way, I hope to share some helpful resources and my personal experiences that may or may not be motivating to others. 

Let's get started:


 My last ride at 8 months pregnant. Thanks to my mom for struggling along with me.

My last ride at 8 months pregnant. Thanks to my mom for struggling along with me.

The simple facts - My starting point:

I have gained a little over 50lbs with this pregnancy. With social and personal pressures to stay fit and in shape, this is hard to say to the world (or whoever may happen upon this post). For those who don't know, the doctors say you should gain between 25-30lbs during pregnancy. At the end of my pregnancy, I was the heaviest I have ever been (213lbs!). Only about 12lbs of that left with the baby. 

As with all goals, there are challenges to be aware of and positive resources to help.

My challenges include a strong willed 3-year-old boy and a beautiful newborn to love and raise while getting back in shape. I plan to breastfeed, which could be a road block when scheduling work outs. My husband works odd hours as an ER doctor, nothing consistent and 24 hour shifts to work around.

I struggle with motivation; I would venture to say most of us do. I struggle with eating too much, I love to eat and have a love/hate relationship with dark chocolate and mountain dew (let's be honest, more love then hate).

Resources in my favor include, a great community gym that is very affordable with spin classes and a pool. I have an indoor bike trainer at home and access to skiing and snowshoeing 15 minutes from my door step. My husband is behind my efforts and is willing to help me get to the gym and get out when needed. I also have great friends who will do babysitter trade days and help me get out. 


 I was pregnant here, you can see the belly if you look hard. About 7 months along. 

I was pregnant here, you can see the belly if you look hard. About 7 months along. 

The plan of action:

Nutrition - There will be much more to follow about nutrition with specific information, but the idea now is to just eat healthy, not diet. I do plan to count carbs to help me regulate my sugar intake. This has worked for me in the past. I will be eating many small meals a day including plenty of greens and avoiding sugar with a cheat day once a week so I don't lose my mind. 

Exercise - Also, more details on this to come. My general plan is to schedule workouts at the beginning of each week around my hubby's work, he will have to play mommy for at least a few hours a week. The workouts will start with light cardio and stretching so I don't injure myself as my muscles work their way back to the right places after pregnancy. When my body is ready, (no way to know how long this will take - hopefully only a few months) I will begin weight lifting along with the cardio. 

Mental motivation - Most importantly, I plan to blog about my progress, my failures and the information I find. I am not a trainer, a doctor or a physical therapist, I cannot recommend anything for you, but maybe you can learn from my experience. I hope to share what I liked, what worked and didn’t work for me.

My end goal is to complete at least 2 Enduro races this summer and podium in my category. It would be great to be back to my pre-baby weight of 160lbs, but I am not going to obsess over my weight. Feeling good and being strong on the bike are what is really important. 

Please share right along with me. If you have a great story and want to post to the blog, please let me know. I would love to hear more stories from all of you and how you got back to your biking self.

Every long journey begins with one step.

What are your biking or fitness goals for 2017? What first steps are you taking to accomplish those goals?

Bikes for Tykes

WomenMTB has partnered with The Bicycle Collective and other local bike community partners to raise money and give away bikes, helmets, water bottles and bike locks to over 100 elementary aged kids who are in need this holiday season.

DONATE now and/or VOLUNTEER to help.

I have been humbled by the kindness and generosity I have seen in our local bike community. I know that together we can achieve our goal of raising $10,000 by Dec. 10th to share our love of bikes with children around us. 

If you want to help, any amount from $5 to $500, makes a difference, please DONATE now by following this link to our Razoo crowdfunding page.  People who donate over $250 will receive a Bikes for Tykes t-shirt and water bottle as a thank you. 

If you want to help us give away the bikes, you can also VOLUNTEER for the giveaway event on Dec. 10th, to do so, fill out this form and someone will be in touch. 

Funds above and beyond what is needed for the Bikes for Tykes giveaway will be used to support a new Bicycle Collective youth program called “Bike School”. From start to finish this program aims to place young people from diverse backgrounds in real bike shop jobs along the Wasatch Front, teach life long job skills and continue to provide a way for youth to earn a bike through volunteerism. 

The Bicycle Collective has a proven record of helping in our community through the great love of the bicycle. We are excited to come together to help them help those around us who need it most. 

This would not have been possible without the help of Bingham Cyclery who has been on board from the beginning along with MTB Enthusiasts of Utah, The Bicycle Collective and Sandra Escareno from Ignite Artistry.


Bikes for Tykes - Specialized Rumor 650b drawing

Contest Rules:

  • Grand Prize is 2016 Specialized Rumor FSR 650b in size Small or Large
  • Other prizes could include event t-shirts, event water bottles, WomenMTB and MTB Enthusiasts of Utah merchandise. 
  • You must be 18 years or older to enter.
  • You must be a U.S. resident to enter.
  • You must complete the donation form on Razoo, including email address or send in a self addressed envelope to:
             Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective
             PO Box 2400
             Salt Lake City, UT 84110
  • Drawing ends Dec. 10th. Prizes, to be drawn at random from all entrants on Dec. 10th and announced via email to the lucky individuals. You are responsible to monitor your email. If we don’t hear from you within 7 days, we will choose another winner. 
  • Grand prize must be picked up by the winner at the SLC Bingham Cyclery store, ID required to pick up. Pick up during regular business hours only and no shipping available.
  • Other prizes must be picked up at any Bingham Cyclery store or at the Bikes for Tykes bike giveaway event on Dec. 10th. If these locations do not work, we can arrange shipping, but contest winner pays all handling and shipping costs. 
  • Grand Prize = Specialized Rumor 650b only offered in S or L size
  • If there are any technical difficulties along the way, we will announce the winner as soon as possible.
  • Employees of The Bicycle Collective and any organizing volunteers from Bingham Cyclery, WomenMTB, MTBEU and Ignite Artistry not eligible to win.
  • We hold the right to shut down or change the contest at any given time. We also hold the right to delay selection of winner if we suspect cheating or tampering. 
  • By participating you agree to allow all participating entities listed above to use your name, entry, likeness and comments for future fundraiser marketing purposes.
  • Any questions may be directed to

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: If I have already donated am I eligible to win?
A: Yes, all entries past, present and future are entered to win.

Q: If I donate $100 am I entered to win 4 times? 
A: Yes. Each $25 entry gets you a drawing ticket.

Q: Must I donate to enter the contest?
A: Donations are greatly appreciated, but you may also send a self addressed envelope to The Bicycle Collective to enter without donation:
              Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective
              PO Box 2400
              Salt Lake City, UT 84110

Facebook disclaimer: "This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this Facebook page and not to Facebook."

Pregnant and Still Riding

30 weeks into this adventure. This is my second baby and I'm thrilled to say, she's a girl. Despite my OB's recommendation, I want to ride until my legs no longer fit around my belly. I keep saying it's a month away, but the month comes and I feel great.

Some people have given me concerned, what does your doctor think, looks that show their judgement about my "reckless" behavior. The questions are, "but what if you fall?", "isn't that selfish to put your baby in harms way?" And "wow, you better be careful".

I don't want to harm my baby, I don't want to take unnecessary risks. What I do want is to stay healthy, exercise and ride my bike to the best of my current abilities.

What people don't realize is that I have been riding my bike for so long that it feels like an extension of my body. Falls still happen when I am pushing myself, but my experience has also taught me where my comfort zone begins and ends. 

Staying within my comfort zone, while pregnant, has allowed me to keep riding. There are people I run into that cheer me on. They say, "ride the whole time", "you are so amazing for still riding your bike". These are the voices I choose to hear.

I choose to listen to the small voice inside my head that helps me continue by telling me to slow down, take a break, don't hit that jump and don't accept that invitation to your favorite ride. I choose to keep riding and try to get exercise where I can. I choose to listen to those voices that cheer me on, not those that might fill my head with doubt.

So far, these choices have worked in my favor and the favor of the little life I carry inside. We are both a little healthier and I am much happier because I am still riding my bike. Now if I could just find a chamois and jersey that fit my belly.  

 27 weeks - Coyote Trail, Heber

27 weeks - Coyote Trail, Heber

 My mom will actually ride with me when I'm pregnant. 30 weeks along. Temple Quarry Trail, Sandy.

My mom will actually ride with me when I'm pregnant. 30 weeks along. Temple Quarry Trail, Sandy.

Rider skill level definitions

BEGINNER RIDER: You have ridden a mountain bike off road at least a few times and you know basics of how to use gears and brakes. You can get over a few small obstacles or have the desire to try or learn how. You can ride for at least 1 hour comfortably with a few stops. You are comfortable on green trails, starting to look at easy blue trails. You may be able to ride short steep hills up and down and be comfortable over small obstacles such as rocks and logs.

INTERMEDIATE RIDER: You ride on average 1-2 times a week. You can easily ride for 2 hours without much stopping. You can get over just about any small obstacle on flowey trails without stopping. You are comfortable on most switchbacks and smooth steeper ascents/descents. You are comfortable on all easy blues and working on harder blue and black trails. You may be working on steeps with obstacles, small drops and jumps or be ready to learn.

Free Coaching Contest!!


Do you want to improve your riding and do it for free?!

Here is your chance! Heidi McNaughton and I are newly certified mtb instructors and we are offering a 2.5-3 hour free mtb lesson to 8 beginner and/or intermediate riders.

Beginner riders are new to the sport or riders who are comfortable on greens and starting to think about blue trails. Intermediate riders are comfortable on blue trails and starting to play around on easy blacks.

If you win, you can pick one of two offered dates; Tuesday, July 26th at 6:30 and Monday, August 1st at 5:30. We will ride in Park City.

To enter, follow 1 - WomenMTB on Instagram if you don't already, 2 - Like the contest photo and 3 - tag a friend in the comments, one entry per person. 

Winners will be announced Saturday, July 23rd.

Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.

Also important to note: 

Admin and Event hosts are not responsible for a rider's safety on any ride.
It is the rider's own responsibility to decide if they are capable of any rides they join.
Rider's are welcome to dismount and walk any parts of ride they are uncertain of. 
Bikes must be in a safe working condition and helmets should always be worn on rides.
It is the rider's own choice to decide how much protection should be worn on rides. 
Spare tubes, bike pump and basic tools should be carried on all rides.
Sufficient water and food should be taken on all rides. 
A First Aid kit should be taken on rides.

WomenMTB, Rae Sutherland or Heidi McNaughton will not be liable in any way, or in any circumstances for any damage, injury or loss to you or to your party that may occur during, in connection with, or as a result of mountain biking. Users participate in the sport entirely at their own risk and must ride within their own capabilities.

Trail Review - Kalopa Trail, Hawaii

 Kalopa Trail

Kalopa Trail

Trail Title: Kalopa National Wildlife Preserve
Location: Hawaii Big Island. About 20mins east of Waimea and an hour north of Hilo.

Author/Rider: Rae Sutherland (David Sutherland was also party to this adventure)
Bike: Giant Trance 3 (rental)
Overall Rating: 4 (1-5, 1 being the worst ride ever. 5 being the best ride ever)
Trail Tech Rating: 4
Trail Aerobic Rating: 2.5
Trail Type: All Mountain
Trail usage: Low usage, we rode on a Saturday and saw no one on the trail hiking or biking. 
Local Shops: Kona Bike Works. This shop was great to work with. Everyone was polite, professional and helpful. The guys there gave us great trail beta, even gave us copies of a map for a locals trail not online. They took their time to make sure the bikes were working and fitting properly. The bikes performed great with no issue. Reserve your rentals ahead of time as they “sell out”. They offer a $5 insurance policy for the bike covering up to $100 of damage. I highly recommend you buy this, well worth the 5 bucks.
Other local tips: 
•    The Big Island Brewhaus was a delicious stop for lunch. From the outside it’s unassuming, you wouldn’t know there was a pearl hiding inside. The food was creative, ingredients were local and fresh and the food was done with care. 
•    If you are going to ride on the Big Island, join their mountain biking Facebook page. The people represent the feeling on the island: happy, kind and friendly. They are also very eager to show you around and be your personal tour guide. 

Trail Review: 

We were told by more than one person, the Kalopa Trail is the Island favorite. We were not disappointed. 

 Wet and rooted "Jeep Road" trail.

Wet and rooted "Jeep Road" trail.

After parking in a paved lot, we followed the park road about a third of a mile and the trail took off to the left. The map said “Jeep Road” so we expected something a bit more obvious than the overgrown single track before us. It wasn’t long before the trail opened up to become an obvious double track with a gradual climb. 

The west side of the island gets on average 130in of rain per year so it wasn’t surprising that the trail was muddy and slick. Between the patches of mud were tentacles of awesome roots that were very slippery making this wet climb much more challenging than it would have been on a dry day. 

Once at the top of the climb, we had the option to go left or right. Both trails lead back to the Jeep Road at some point. We decided to go right first on the trail called the Perimeter Trail; the guys at the shop said this was the more mellow and “flowy” of the two. 

 Top of the Jeep Road where the trail splits. Do we go left or do we go right?

Top of the Jeep Road where the trail splits. Do we go left or do we go right?

The trail was not what I would call “flowy”. It was peppered with challenging obstacles that made it very fun to ride. The longer loop by distance, the Perimeter Trail spits you out near the bottom of the Jeep Road. You can continue across the Jeep Road for a small loop that takes you back to the parking lot. We opted to ride this at the very end despite what Trail Forks said. I recommend it done this way so you can ride back to the car on trail.

 Second round of rooted goodness.

Second round of rooted goodness.

Climbing the Jeep Road a second time was a little easier because I was becoming a pro at riding in the slick clay mud. At the top again we went left on the Iron Wood Lane trail. For whatever reason, this trail was a bit drier which was a welcome sight. However, it is definitely the more technical trail.  Right away we had to be on our game. This trail demands your attention at every turn. Fall asleep at the wheel for even a minute and you're bound to fist bump a tree or endo over a root. 

The Iron Wood Lane trail was my favorite of the two. There were a few stream crossings through what looked like old open lava tube. The rocks were black, smooth, and speckled green with moss. At one point, after I cleared a particularly techy steep section on a little ridgeline, I was so proud of myself I forgot to keep riding. I slammed my right brake lever into a tree. The bike responded by bucking me to the left and down a small ravine. I caught myself, but not the bike. Luckily, only minor brake lever injury was sustained and the bike was still ride-able. 

There was a little trail searching. On the Big Island, so legend goes, riders like natural features and do not remove fallen trees or rocks. They keep things natural and ride around them or build obstacles over them. Iron Wood Trail was overgrown in spots and clear routes had not been established around fallen trees. Just keep looking and the trail will appear eventually. There were a few trail offshoots we didn’t see on the map. The trails looked well traveled and had wooden signs designating their name. Go explore and let us know where they go.

 Lava tube trail crossing.

Lava tube trail crossing.


This trail will forever remain in my mind as a small and amazing adventure. There is a reason this trail is deemed the “locals' favorite.” It is fun and delivers on everything you would expect from a wet jungle trail. 

Kalopa’s recipe for fun: Humid and warm weather. Roots, roots and roots. Plenty of mosquitos. Mud covering absolutely everything. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Photo Credit: David Sutherland and his Samsung Galaxy 6 phone