Article

Rider skill level definitions

NEW RIDER: This is your first time riding a bike off road ever or at least first time riding in a while. You may not know how to shift, use brake effectively or know anything about good body position. Mountain biking is completely new to you. 
Trails you may like: You don’t know yet.

BEGINNER: 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 small obstacles in the trail like rocks, logs, low angle switchbacks. You can ride for 1-2 hour comfortably with only a few stops. You are comfortable on green and easy blue trails.
Trails you may like: Most of Round Valley, Lower Shoreline, Anne’s Trail (CC)

INTERMEDIATE: You can easily ride for over 2 hours at a good pace without much stopping, you
are comfortable on fast and flowy trails without stopping. You can get over most bigger obstacles in the trails climbing or descending such as rock gardens, large roots, most switchbacks, etc., and are exploring drops and jumps. You ride about 1-2 times/week and understand the basics of how your bike works. You are comfortable on all blue trails and many black trails. You may have done a race or two.
Trails you may like: Flying Dog, Wasatch Crest, Bobsled, John's and Sweeny's Switchbacks, Bike Parks, Rush and Levitate (CC)

ADVANCED: You ride regularly, 2-3 times per week and are comfortable on 3+ hour long rides.
You understand good body position, bike and body separation and can manage most any obstacle without stopping. You are comfortable with air time, wheel lifts, technical terrain up and down. You may be doing big drop, jumps, manuals and riding black and double black trails. You may be racing in the expert or pro category. 
Trails you may like: Bike Parks, Resorts, Bobsled, Jacob’s Ladder, Maple Hollow

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.

Exercise:

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. 

Nutrition:

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?

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.