Doesn't my bib just say it all. What's up? What is up? All has been quiet on the blog front but not the western front. To celebrate my Dad's impending ortho graduation yes Grandma Cindy my Dad will graduate! Moms never cease to worry we went on a 11 day trip to Utah (use or lose thoses vacation days). I know what your thinking! Utah? What's in Utah? Don't worry I had no idea either. MInd youm I am only 8 1/2 months old. My Mom didn't know either. The answer is amazingness. Seriously.

That's my Mom at Gooseberry Mesa. St. George/Hurricaine was our first stop. We stayed 3 nights with friends in a VRBO. VRBO's with friends are the way to go. I practiced my crawling and did some backpacking while the others rode.  The terrain was comparable to that of Mars. I think it would hurt my knees to crawl there so I utilized the back pack.

They call it slick rock because horses metal shoes would slip. Turns out the rubber of bike tires sticks. They should change the name to sticky rock. The trails is marked cleverly by white paint on the rock.


Gooseberry Mesa is probably my favorite trail because there are a bunch of loops that come out from the mesa. This allowed my Dad and I to meet up with my Mom on several occassions.

Each time she rode by I waved my arms and yelled "Whoo Whoo" and attempted to bounce in my backpack. Think of what I could do on a bike with suspension.

This photo was taken near the Virgin Dam by a trail called Jem. Jem was a jewel of a ride with lots of loop de loos, up and downs, zig zags and of course amazing views. If you are from San Diego and want a  mountain biking field trip I strongly recommend the 7 hour drive to St. George. There is tons of great riding to be had. It's like going on a ski vacation with no lift ticket required and no waiting in line. I'd know too because I went on a ski vacation 6 months before I was even born!

Tha's my Dad at the South Rim overlook at Gooseberry Mesa. Now ...are you still wondering why anybody would vacation in Utah for 11 days? Yes, that is a goat in the street.

After 3 nights in our comfy VRBO we headed to the Canyon Lands. We spent 4 days/3 nights on the White Rim trail. The trail is basically the Rim between the Colorado and the Green River. It is 110 miles and does not require technical riding skills. It does however require technical driving skills, some serious 4 wheel drive, and a lot of water.

The scenery of the trail is amazing. This is an excursion I would recommend to all levels of riders provided you have support or people who like to ride in Jeeps. Water is the limiting factor of the ride. It does require some planning as once inside the park there is no water and weather can be extreme. For us it was extremely hot.  Some people do this ride in a day. If you were interested in doing that you'd be more efficient riding at night. That would rob you of the scenery though and unless you had seen the trail a dozen times I wouldn't recommend it.

Ok so the first night on the trail wasn't extremely hot and I had my chance to be a Patagonia ambassador. Some people dress there children up for pageants. My parents dress me up for expeditions. I'm hoping for a lifetime sponsorship.

We finished the White Rim Trail. After three dusty nights I certainly didn't complain about sleeeping in a real bed and showering with walls! Actually I did complain a little bit about going to bed. Moab has a reputation for being mountain bike mecca and it lived up to it's reputation. I'm not sure about the trails but I did enjoy the community pool. The temperature was just right. The Porcupine  trail was a group favorite. After 3 nights in Moab it was time to start heading home. To break of the drive we headed to Bryan Head. Stopping at Thunder Mountain for a quick ride. As usual it was epic. I alternated hiking with my parents. I didn't complain about the altitude one bit. The It was also cold. At 11,000 ft it was 33 degrees when we stopped at the Cedar National Monument.


What an incredible experience. There is so much to say about this trip but I must leave off here because I have to balance my time between blogging,  commando crawling, swinging and swimming....and don't forget story hour.

My Turn

After a lifetime of watching it's finally my turn to swim. I thought my Mom was forcing me into another game of dress up when she suited me up. But nope....it was the real deal. My application for swim academy was approved and I am enrolled.

In case you are worried about my classmates and I creating a cloudy pool. Don't worry... we are required to wear two cloth swim diapers and a disposable swim diaper to practice. My Mom says from what she hears, the water polo players should probably have the same requirement. Any hoo that rule scored my behind some ruffles and lady bugs. Who can complain?

 After class we took the long way home. The joys of living in San Diego and having a stroller and a Mom who thinks laundry can be folded not on my time. She almost convinced me to wear my hat.

Spring Challenge 2012

 The weekend after our big adventure in AZ we headed up to Idyllwild for some more mountain bike racing. For those who haven't been there Idyllwild is breath taking. Especially when riding/racing a bike. Since my Dad and I crewed the Whiskey 50 while my Mom climbed her heart and legs out this weekend my Dad would race. Idyllwild Spring Challenge is excellent venue. The riding is super fun and technical but there are fewer people to contend with and they stagger the start times. While my Dad raced I held down the a great picnic spot in the shade and concentrated on my reading and rolling.
 My Dad and I hit up the awards. We cleaned up big time. I made it up onto the second place podium. Sadly, there are no pictures because my Mom was out joy riding instead of photographing my moment in the limelight. Then they started calling out numbers and handing out prizes and my Dad won a bike frame and a set of tires. Can you beleive it? My Mom said Idyllwild does not dissapoint. She wasnt kidding!

In other news I'm still attending all of my classes. We really like the Baby Boot camp offered at Scripps. I think I am in a little bit better shape than my Mom though I never complain I am sore the next day but she does.

I have a couple more sessions of my school before we graduate and go on summer vacation but I'm thinking of enrolling in another school. Swim school! Woot woot!

 I want to go to this school too. This Friday at story hour a 2 year old girl showed up in her leotard. I thought she was playing dress up but nope. She was on her way to gymnastics and it is at Liberty Station just like story hour. After story hour, on our way to the swings, we swung by the gymnastic school and watched. It was so cool. I wanted to join but you have to be 18 months. How unfair is that? Isn't that age discrimination? Aren't there laws about that? I object.

Thanks to me my Mom finally found a good use for those gel flasks she had leftover from Ironman training. We like to make our own food vs buying prepackaged items. The containers that have the straw like openings are handy when on the go though. If I didn't like avocado I'd say be green don't eat green, but I like to be and eat green. Mmmm... strawberry.

Road Trip, Race Report, and a little R&R (Ride and Ride Some More)

Hello world. It's Annika Ruth reporting in on a great loooong weekend in the wild west. Yes, I know living in San Diego is living in the west. However, a trip to Prescott and Sedona, is a trip to the Wild West. Anyhoo my Mom, Dad, and of course me, along with a bunch of the their crazy mountain biking friends made the drive to Prescott, AZ for the Whiskey 50.  It's basically a cool weekend long festival of mountain bike racing that takes over the town of Prescott. Yee haw!
In case you are wondering the race is called "The Whiskey" because it starts and finishes on Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott, not because they serve Whiskey on the course. There are 11 old fashion saloons that mark the row.

Since I was born my Mom and Dad split up....to ride bikes that is ;) Context is everything. My Dad raced on Friday afternoon. He did the 15 proof fun race so he and I could provide neutral support for my Mom and Company on Saturday. This is what he looked like just before he got a flat tire and lost the 7 minute lead he had over the entire field.

 I guess sometimes that is just how it rolls. My Mom raced "The Whiskey 50" Saturday in the Single Speed division. The race course consisted of 48 miles (not really 50) 7,000 ft of climbing at 5,000-6,000 ft of elevation. For the gear heads out there she rolled a 32 x20. There were 1700 people in the race but only 20 girls racing single speed. Out of those 20 girls she placed number 12. Considering her skill level, the amount she rides or rather lack of it, and that she lives at sea level she had a good day and I do believe she executed to the best of her ability.  Talent and ability vary, but largely life is about the choices you make and my Mom didn't make the choices like living at 10,000ft that would have prepared her to go faster. The single track was  most excellent and really, really fun. In fact it went by too quickly as it was so fun. A big part of my Mom's day was spent on the fire road to and from Skull Valley. Fire Roads...meh! According to my Mom, they are just not delicious pee in your pants fun like the single track. My Dad and I greeted my Mom at the turn around in Skull Valley and I gave her a fresh hydration that's backwards from our norm. We also gave her the best slice of orange she ever did have. My Mom gave me a hug and probably would have dilly dallied longer but we told her she had to go. Hurry it's a race. She explained a little of her spirit for racing was lost  because there were more people than the course could really handle. It created quite a bottle neck getting on to the single track. A 20 minute LA style traffic jam to be exact. Usually in a mountain bike race when things back up tactical individuals would run around the congestion but in this race it was "not allowed" because there were simply too many people. Darn because my Mom is trained to run and push things on wheels. That is part of why she chose to race single speed. Any hoo they are changing the course next year due to this issue. Onward.

The highlight of my Mom's day was seeing me. OK and my Dad at mile 34. She was near the end of a long hot climb in full sunlight and starting to think why do I this? I am "returning" from endurance racing of any kind. This is comparable to giving birth, not as hard, but of course when you give birth you can have an Annika and an epidural, all I am going to get for this is a pint glass. and there we were.

 I was there with a cold bottle of water and a smile. We surprised her. She didn't think she would get to see us until the finish. We gave her a cold water bottle and she poured it on her head. She wasn't giving up or anything but it was no joke and all hard work. She wasn't confident she had a finish in the bag. Seeing us and getting the cold water were just what she needed and she churned out the last mile of the climb like butter. 

Once she finished the climb things where looking up because it was time to go down. The course was not only net downhill but also in the shade. Giddy with glee and thankful beyond belief is how one feels when it is time to descend technical single track after earning it on a fire road climb. By the time she got back to Whiskey Row she felt pretty refreshed.  The race she would recommend to the right person with the right attitude. Riding in the town of Prescott, she would recommend without any hesitation. 42 legal miles of trails in the city, now that is something to brag about.

The next day we headed down to Sedona via Jerome. Jerome deserves a drive by at the least as it is a western town built into the mountain side like a village in Switzerland. Fancy that! Once in Sedona we wasted no time heading out to explore. I had the experience of my lifetime at Slide Rock Park. I waded (with help) in the Sedona River. It was 55 degrees and I didn't cry. I shrieked with joy. It was awesome! More! More!

I really enjoyed exploring the town.

My Mom, Dad, and I enjoyed exploring the trails. According to my parents the Slim Shady Trail to Cathedral rock is the best of all time. Scenic, technical but not crazy dangerous, and most important SUPER FUN!
My Dad scoped the trail first with the group during the heat of the day. At sunset it was my Mom's turn to ride. My Dad and I snuck out to Cathedral Rock and when she came riding up amongst the tourists from all over the world, there we were. It was surreal. The perfect sunset, the perfect temperature, the perfect trail...and us. I'm a realist. Not everyday is a special day but boy was this one ever a special one.

Until the next adventure. Yours truly,  Annika Ruth