Thursday, August 25, 2011

Downhill Mountain Biking!!!!

So on Sunday August 21st I finally got to try downhill mountain biking at Keystone! I have wanted to try this for years and years and I finally got enough courage up to try it and it was more fun then I could even imagine! I met my Uncle Dave at his condo and proceeded to get "geared" up, which basically meant strapping pads all over my body and hoping that would prevent anything to bad from happening. The chair life ride up the mountain was very strange since this was the first time I've rode one without skis on and once I reached the top a huge knot in my stomach developed and I thought I may throw up I was so nervous! We got on our bikes and Dave says, "Lets start of easy on a green run." All I have to say is WHAT A BLAST! We fly down the green run and about half way down the mountain we stop and Dave says "now its time for a blue!". I thought the green run was fun but the blue was even better! The speeds picked up more and more and the trail got smaller and smaller. I loved it! Just when I thought I was getting the hang of the blue, Dave thinks its about time for a black run. This is where it went from fun to borderline terrifying! I had no idea you could ride a bike down something that steep! There were a few parts I wasn't ready for, but for the most part I made it down everything and then I got cocky. Finishing up the run I spotted a nice easy looking wood box you could ride on. Nothing to bad so I went full speed at it! Before I knew it I had rode off the side of it, off the trail and desperately tried to hang on. Then came the large rock. My front tire smashed into the rock, wrenching my handle bars sideways and I proceeded to fly forward over them. I tucked and rolled and hoped nothing to solid got in my way and thankfully nothing did! We finished the run and I was completely exhausted, arms and legs shaking, so excited and ready to do it again! I couldn't stop smiling as we rode the chairlift to the top of the mountain again. I love downhilling! When we reach the top we head straight for another black run and unlike the first black, I was much more excited then scared! Dave took of down the mountain with myself following closely behind. I was really starting to get a hang of this! I watched Dave catch a little air of a small jump and followed him off of it! What a blast! We continued down the mountain where I spotted a much larger jump and thought, "what the hell" and went full speed at it. Needless to say, hitting huge jumps the first time downhilling might not be the best idea. After take-off, one of my feet promptly fell from the pedal as I careened through the air completely out of control. Somehow I managed to land mostly on the bike and ride it out! The adrenaline was really pumping at this point and I made the decision to not hit anymore jumps today. I was pushing my luck already. The rest of the run was excellent and we rode down what would become my favorite run on the mountain, Money. The rest of the ride was uneventful but still extremely fun but I was wiped. That would be the last run of the day. I wish my helmet cam had been working so I could post a video of the runs but I couldn't get it to work so I posted a link to a video below of the Keystone Bike Park. The guys in the video are so much better then I am but you can get the idea of what the downhill course looks like. I will be downhilling again in the near future so a video will be posted then! Has anyone else tried this yet? I would love to hear others stories about downhilling especially your reaction to your first runs!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More about Africa!

For those of you interested in my African trip I will be posting more soon! Still to come will be more about the Symposium in Eldoret, Kenya, meeting with Maureen Miruka, setting up a laboratory, and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! I look forward to hearing your comments and about any experiences you have had!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rockin' it Out!

So it took until August but I finally got out rock climbing! One of my favorite places to climb is up near keystone called Haus Rock. Now, I would've liked to start out on an easier climb but my girlfriend Jess had other plans and thought the 5.10 face climb would be a good idea. Let me tell you now, it wasn't! She went first and technically made it...with the aid of some bolts. I on the other hand wanted to climb it legit. This didn't work out so well. I made it through part of the crux but man was it thin! There was literally nothing to grab onto so I understood why Jess used the bolts to help her. After struggling awhile and popping of the rock a few time I decided that I should just traverse over and finish on the 5.8. That worked much better! I felt really good on my first few climbs so I thought it was time to do my first lead of the year and only my second ever. For those of you that aren't climbers, lead climbing is a bit more dangerous. Most of our climbs are usually top-roped which means the rope is fixed at the top of the climb and you can only fall the stretch of the rope. With a lead climb, I would be bringing the rope up with me and clipping into bolts along the way. Once I clip into a bolt, I climb above it until the next bolt. Once above a bolt if you fall, you fall the distance above your last bolt times TWO! Its a little nerve racking but fun. I started on the climb and about 15ft up was a significant bulge. After some maneuvering and thinking I was able to clear the bulge without any falls! I was so excited! The rest of the climb consisted of a large crack all the way to the bolts on top. I made it without any falls! I lead my first 5.8! The pictures to the right are of my lead climb and I cannot wait to do another one!