What? No Suspension?

If the world does not know, they will now: Kevin recently got a new mountain bike. I’ve shared how amazing he is on a mountain bike, not to mention amazingly patient when going on rides with me. And I never realized until the other day, that I have not given him nearly enough credit for his ability to handle a bike on rocks, over roots, through mud, especially since he’s been riding a bike with no suspension.

Having multiple bikes within eyesight, or new bikes I should say, cast some sort of strange spell on me, and, for reasons unknown to me, I thought it would be interesting to try out a non-suspended mountain bike. To be more precise, Kevins mountain bike.

And, before I continue, I must apologize to him for what I am about to share, since he doesn’t know what happened until he reads this

Dean

Dean

I think it was fatigue from long, tough hours at work that caused me to think riding a rigid mountain bike would be a good idea. Why not? Nice day for a ride…All I had to do was change the seat height, and change the pedals. (The bike was still too big for me to ride with the seat post lowered…But that did not stop me.) As I went to take his pedals off so I could use mine, I was met with resistance that a giant with the strength of a thousand giants—those suckers were stuck on! (Excuse my lame analogy of giants and strength…) Did Kevin not grease his threads?!?  Kevin, the man who told me the importance of greasing any threads on a bike when he taught me how to assemble a bike? I was aghast. After what seemed like eternity trying to take off his pedals I was able to do so with success. For you readers out there, please, grease the pedal threads before installing them onto your bike. It makes it much easier for the person who wants to secretly ride your bike to take them off.

I began my ride along a road, and the bike felt like riding any other bike on pavement, hence leading me to believe it was easy. It only dawned on me, suddenly, upon entering Ferncliff forest that perhaps this “great idea” I had was not such a “great idea.” All you have to do is let your legs and arms be the suspension, Mol, legs and arms was my mantra. For the first few dips and turns, all was well in the world. Yes, the bike was big, and yes, my arms and legs felt like they were disconnected from my body, but I was riding.

Then I came up to trees lying across the path. Ohh crap, trees…Yes, Molly, those are the same trees that have been lying across the path for the past two years you’ve been riding those trails. With my full suspension bike, I just let the bike do the work for me. And so I prepared to go over the trees like I would on normally. Alas as I started to get ready to raise the handle bars, I realized there is no front suspension fork. Panicking, I forced the bike over the tree only to to be startled by lack of suspension and fell. Ka-Boom!

First thing I thought of, “is his bike okay?” (don’t you worry, I researched the value of the bike before I rode it…Man, are Dean Bikes pricey) not if I had any broken bones, which I had not, thank goodness. Part of me thought I should just turn around, and that nothing positive could come out of riding a rigid bike. Not to mention, a bike that wasn’t mine.

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Did I listen to the little voice in my head telling me to turn around? Pshh, me? No way. I continued through the forest on the bike attempting to stay on the bike and not off it, and low and behold there have been some changes done to the forest paths…Which are pretty awesome, if I must admit. However, those changes must wait until I have my full suspension bike back…Heaven knows what bones or frames would be broken if I were to attempt them on a rigid. The powers within me decided that it was probably most practical to stop the ride and head back while my Kevins bike was in one piece.  Every rock caused my brain to rattle within my skull and arms feel like putty from my death grip on the bars. I think that encounter will fulfill my “longing” to ride a bike without suspension for….meh…the rest of my life.

On a different note, on my run today on pavement, a car stopped and thanked me for wearing such brightly colored, reflective outerwear. I was completely surprised, but it is hard to miss a girl running in bright blinding neon colored jacket, head band, and bright pink running shoes…So, dearest driver, my pleasure for blinding you with my assortment of awesome 3M reflective attire. I will continue to do so with you in mind.

Note: since this has been written, the pedals have been placed back on the Dean with lubricant.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

What’s been happening this holiday season?

My man ran his second Turkey Trot, and is a Speedy Gonzales. I decided he will start training for a marathon after the first run we did together…He just doesn’t know it yet.

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I think my taste in shoes rubbed off on him.

No one can miss two people running in these shoes.

He has been a true sport, indulging in my (perhaps sometimes excessive) love for this season; from dragging him around Rhinebeck to look at store displays and holiday decorations to  watching a Muppet Christmas Carol with me…Okay, he fell asleep five minutes into the movie, but he started watching it with me, and put up with me singing along with the muppets to what might be the best Christmas soundtrack out there. Last weekend, we were able to have a “late” night out on the town, giving me the opportunity to snap a zillion photos, and force Kevin to take photos in front of the Rhinebeck Christmas tree.

All dressed up ready for dessert

All dressed up, ready for dessert

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He gives “digging in” a new meaning

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It’s his, “What did I get myself into with this crazy girl?” look.

Sinterklaas came!

Sinterklaas came!

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Kevin was a little jealous of Santa…

I was able to decorate trees that Martha Stewart would be proud of. From this:

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The tree was a little heavier than I thought…And a little larger…

To this:

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The best gifts ever, homemade chainring ornaments with spoke hanger-things, had to come out from their hiding place, and hang on Molly crafted garlands.

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Even Kevin got in the spirit when decorating his tree with the five ornaments he owns…He was warned of how excited I get in the winter last year when he was greeted at his front door with a strange girl holding a bag of Christmas tree ornaments in one hand, and four foot tree–already put together–in the other. Yes, that girl was me. To be fair, I waited until after Thanksgiving this year to decorate his house for Christmas. All I need is for Silk soymilk to come out with their Chocolate mint milk, and I’ll be all set for the season.

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Nurses rock, even snow-woman nurses

Nurses rock, even snowman nurses

My bike is very happy that the weather in December has been amazing as of late. Yes, I miss the time when I didn’t have to worry about losing feeling in my digits, but I could get used to having no snow, even as much as I love white winters.

So long, warm autumns...

So long, warm weather…See you in a couple months

I seem to find new trails–or make my own trails thinking they are actual trails– and come across crazy bike obstacles going down hills. I thought about trying out my skillz on said obstacles, but then decided my arms and legs are much more useful to me when not broken.

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Mountain bikes seem to be accumulating in the barn. Watching Kevin play on his new full suspension bike was like watching a little child receiving the toy truck he asked Santa for…So long, rigid Dean…

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My man’s got skillz

…Kevin will be found on a bike with a suspension fork from now on.

Kevins full suspension bike

And I leave you with a song straight from a Muppet Christmas Carol.

Happy Holidays!

"Wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas"

“Wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas”

Riding High and Riding Low

Working as a nurse, or in any profession where you are scheduled to work every other weekend, one tends to savor the weekends they do have off. Of course, being the person I am, I decided to go to work on Saturday (they were short staffed) missing what might have been one of the most gorgeous autumn days we have had to date. I recall seeing a fellow colleague who rides and having a short conversation about how devestating it was being inside with the perfect riding conditions just outside.

Yes, the weekend was cut short, but I was able to bring X on my northern Dutchess County/ Southern Columbia County folliage tour (or as I call it “foilage”) the next day as we had planned on doing the day before when I chose to go to work instead (smacking my forehead). Ok, I promise, these are the last photos of trees for this season. The weather was not as amazing as the day before, but it was still enjoyable. And, I need to give my riding companion credit for taking some of the photos. Obviously, the tour guide cannot do everything. 

Sheep

Nourishment is key on long rides. One whole serving of fruit in this.*Note: the caps are a hazard to children under three.

Sometimes the tour guide gets a little lost….

…And you cannot forget the mountain biking, which I definitely feel I am improving at. I (for the second or third time since “the incident”) made it over bridges that I have a fear of biking over. I was on cloud nine at the fact my tires moved swiftly over the bridges, effortlessly. I was so excited at the fact that afterwards, continuing on my route, I ran straight into a tree and fell. I guess with the “biking highs” come the “biking lows.”

I’m pretty sure another key point of mountain biking is actually trusting the bike. Like when you rock climb, to trust your feet. For heavens sake Mols, your mountain bike has FULL suspension! I realized that having a death grip on the bars makes it harder for the bike to move the way it wants to move. And the less control you attempt to have over the bike, the easier it is to actually move over obstacles.

My ultimate riding motivator at Jockey Hill

Someone created something new at Ferncliff

Mountain Biking Bliss

Part Two: Baking/Cooking

In an attempt to continue on my “Fall baking challenge” I have succeeded in creating a couple more fall-themed baked items, they are not, however, on the list I mentioned in one of my posts.

Yesterday after the realization I had forgotten my muffin tin that I needed in order to bake the maple cupcakes I had planned on, and frantically searching X’s cupboards for a baking dish of any kind, I decided to bake a maple cake with maple frosting instead. This cake recipe has real maple syrup in both the cake mix and frosting versus other recipes I found which used maple flavoring.

During the kitchen raid, I proceeded to find a handheld mixer which, I swear, is some sort of psychotic mixer whose slowest speed caused a hurricane of butter and sugar to splatter the walls of X’s kitchen.

As some of you may know, I dislike cakes and cupcakes. But if you like pancakes, this is the cake for you (thank you to The Baker’s Daughter website for the recipe). The aroma of maple pancakes filled the kitchen after I took the finished product out of the oven. I was caught in the act of frosting the cake–the part of cake decorating I am still working on.

Yup, frosting the cake.

Maple Cake, with Maple Buttercream drizzled with maple syrup

The finished product was, if I may say so myself, pretty incredible. And, if one of X’s co-workers shows up with some of the cake in his mouth saying, “Your girlfriend is a keeper,” than I guess it really was a good recipe.

Lastly, I need to tell the world that there are a couple food items my man can make which are drool-worthy (the pita chips for one, that I mentioned in a previous post). The other is guac (which I might have mentioned, but actually have a photo), home made pizza, and his grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty hard to beat. But, I did manage to make my first quesadilla ever, and think it turned out well (okay okay, make-shift quesadilla…more like a grilled cheese in-between two tortillas).

Perfect post-47mile ride snack for X

And now, X’s creations….

PS. For the record, let it be known to the world that for the first time in months, I got dressed up in something other than scrubs or athletic attire for a “night out on the town.” At 6:30pm after dinner, exhausted, I kept asking X how long we had to wait until it was “socially acceptable” to go out on a Saturday night–knowing that usually I’m in bed by 9pm now a days (complete opposite of years in the past, huh?) anything later than 8pm causes me internal stress…Okay, slight exaggeration. Anywho, going out, blow drying my hair, and “dressing up” is such a rarity, not only X is surprised, but, apparently, family members are as well: “So, I guess Mol cleans up pretty nicely, doesn’t she?”

In The Summer Time, When the Weather Is Hot

I know, I know, it has been ages since I’ve written a post. It’s a little thing called “l-i-f-e” which seems to be able to get in the way of things easily. My aspirations of competing in this years TimberMan have been demolished due to a tiny little tick organism–yup, I have Lymes disease which really hit me like a fast speed train. From going on sixty-plus mile bike rides to being winded, and not even able to finish a 20 mile ride on a flat surface is killing me.  So, I’m doing my best to actually listen to my body and be sensible about swimming/running/biking (for those of you who know me, NOT an easy task to do).

So, what has been happening this summer? Other than working (day shifts!) and trying to beat the record-high temperatures we have had?

I took my first trip to Millerton, New York, which is a small town east of where I live. Ever heard of Harvey and Sons™ teas? That town is where it all started. In Millerton, there is the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, a paved rail trail where you can walk, bike ride, rollerblade, you name it from Millerton all the way to (for you NYC dwellers) the end of the Metro North’s trains (to be more specific, the Wassaic station). There are plans to extend the rail trail all the way up to Chatham, which from the station to Chatham would be an over 80 mile ride (if returning to the station, that is).

Takin’ it slow

Photo break mid- trail

There is also the Harvey and Sons Tea room, where you can try more teas than I have ever seen.

Harvey and Sons

I finished my bike (actually, a month ago) and now ride it into town on market days!

So pretty!

I scoped out the Rosendale Street Festival and attempted to beat the heat by having some yummy crushed Lemonade.

Mmmm freshly squeezed

(Before the Lymes) I discovered new watering holes in the area….Well, to be more exact, 30mile away watering holes.

Copake Lake–found while lost

I’ve been spending time in the much appreciated shade…As well as my feline friends

I’ve watched K fish in our back pond.

Hello there, Mr. Sunny

Early morning

We’ve had ourselves some BBQ

And, I went my first mountain bike ride in two months–only falling twice!

woohoo

And, just a link to some information about Lyme Disease–prevention, treatment, etc., just FYI (taken from the CDC).

 

Going Green

I like to consider myself an environmentally friendly person– I recycle or reuse when I can, buy locally grown produce when possible, use natural cleaning supplies that are not too caustic on the environment….Ask me the year I spent living without a car. It was only a matter of time before I used my green thumb and started sewing seeds for new vegetables in our garden. *Note: I’ve only ever really picked the veggies that had already grew in the garden, never have I actually tilled the soil and planted seeds, except back from when I was a youngster.

Gardening is hard work. The digging, the planting…That, or I still have not recovered fully from the bad virus I had last week. But, it is. I was exhausted, and only planted the carrots, sugar snap peas, and “decorative gourds” (which will be non-edible). The lettuce, zucchini, and eggplant will have to wait until this week.

Seeds, seeds, seeds

Plus, a garden needs your attention. It needs to be watered, if you don’t have frequent rain. Weeds need to be pulled. You need to tend to it frequently, make sure that the garden (if you are growing edible plants) is secured from predators that might nibble the fruits of your labor.

I think this “gardening thing” started a couple of weeks ago when I planted my first little flower garden pots. I have plans to plant wild flowers and sun flowers shortly. I have no idea how any of it will turn out, but it is something I thought I’d give a shot. What harm could come out of it?

My first ever little garden

Not only am I planting, but attempting to eat healthier–greener–foods, literally. The other night I made a Kale, Spinach, and Pear smoothie for my friend. It also had almond milk, Agave Nectar, and a frozen banana in it. I previously gave the recipe to another friend of mine who loved it. I don’t think it was a hit on K’s end, but he did try it.

Thumbs up for the green

I thought it was so good, the next day I made more for myself, this time adding soy milk for more protein, which adds its own sweetness to the smoothie. And, I must admit, it took awhile to get used to the consistency of it, (but that is because I did not follow the recipe regarding the amounts of kale and spinach–I just threw lots in the blender), but it is super healthy for you.

Lastly, I end this note with photos I took on a recent, incredibly peaceful, mountain bike ride.

Peace amongst the trees

How can you not feel refreshed with a new sense of energy after riding though, and seeing this?

Cycling Mishaps, The Brick Yards, and the Eggs Nest

You know, there are some days when you are just not meant to go for that 46 mile road ride to show a friend the sites of Dutchess county. And, Saturday was that day.

Start of road ride

We started off at 8:30 and made it almost to Turkey Hill when I realized I had a flat. I did have a patch kit, but no spare tube with me (when will I learn to always bring a spare tube?). We manage to get 6 miles into the ride before this happened  on a beautiful day. So, I used my patch kit to patch up the hole in the tube, my friend pumped it up, and we were off for another two minutes when the tube went flat. Again. More patch kit used. And that is when we realized I slashed my tyre and would need a new one (how I slashed it, I have no idea. Bummer, because I just bought a new tyre about a month ago). So, I road down to route 199 if you are familiar with the area of Milan, and waited for my friend to sprint the 5miles back to my house so he could pick me up. Well, there went that idea of a fun long road ride.

Two flats within 5 minutes

But, we did get another mountain bike ride–my “Urban Mountain Bike” experience later in the day down by the old cement and brick factories along the Hudson River close to Kingston point. I must admit, it was much trickier than the riding I’ve been doing as of late– the terrain is very slippery due to dust and tiny fragments of old cement, and it is quite rocky. I’ve been riding in the forests, so this was a whole new world to me. It was interesting, and we were not run over by motocross fools, but it did leave my nice clean Scott covered in dust pasted to the bike frame by mud. Ohh well.

Brick yards

Checking out the Urban Jungle---old cement and brick factories

Perfect riding partner.

bikes in the background...Not sure what Kevin was upto....

Due to our ravenous appetites, we decided to go to The Egg’s Nest, in High Falls, NY. I’ve been here a couple of times, and the atmosphere of the place is like one of no other restaurant. It is eclectic on the inside and out–painted different colors inside, with chandeliers decorated with decorated eggs….The was even a branch hanging from the ceiling with a small white tiger (toy) walking along the branch. Ofcourse, there were eggs hanging from those too.

The Eggs Nest in High Falls, NY

The menu was great, and food delicious. They have very good options for both vegetarians and vegans alike, and can do gluten free.

Tomorrow I’ll continue with my triathlon training and update you on that!

Falling Head Over Wheels

It’s funny to think that last year yesterday (well, the day of the Tour of Battenkill for those of you who are roadies) is when I took my very first mountain bike ride. I fell head over wheels for the sport–literally.

This past weekend, awaiting Easter to arrive, I was lucky to be blessed being able to spend three days in a row mountain biking. It’s amazing how (1) time flies and (2) how much you improve at something. I’m far from being a mountain bike pro, and falls happen more than I’d like to admit….And I cannot wear the Easter dress I was going to wear today due to all the scars, bruises, scratches, and scrapes that cover my lower limbs. But, those bruises were worth the short amount of pain during the crash. You continue to ride, and if at first you don’t get over a log, just try it out again. You’ll be surprised at what you can do, and how you can overcome your fears so easily!

Here is the original post of my first ever mountain bike ride just a year ago: Me? On a Mountain bike?

And, some photos from a ride through Jockey Hill (the Fats in the Cats have GREAT group rides, and since I’m still learning, go with them,) and then some from Ferncliff Forest which we did today.

Jockey Hill

My Leader

Oops

Love riding!!!

Kevin, of Fats in the Cats, loves biking!

Kinda dicey

You know, taking photos at 0730 in the morning.....

Comin' through!

Photo op

I can be gansta when I wanna be.

Ferncliff Forest

Easter morning, 0715. First ones there!

Waiting for me...I probably fell or something

Looking out at the Catskills

It goes down very steepily (is that a word?)

Peddle peddle peddle

Riding through pretty flowers

Showing off his skillz

Nice singletrack

Break time.

Taking more photos. What's more fashionable than being in skin-tight lycra biking gear?

Duck pond

Artsy head shot

Whomever says you can't be stylish in bike gear is lying to you.

Happy Easter!

And, I pray you have a blessed Easter, and a spring that is full of new exciting adventures, happiness, love, a renewed spirit, and take time to thinking about what the holiday is really about. 

Easter creations and decorations

Yes, I got lazy and made an Easter cake instead of Cake pops....

I Made It!

Yes, you pro/expert mountain bikers out there will scoff at this, thinking it is nothing…Anyone could go over those logs. Piece of cake.

For some reason, they’ve been one of my greatest fears…And I’ve attempted (and fallen) over logs three times the size. But I’ve never even tried to go over these.

But, today I did it. Well, I kind of moved a rock to act as a little ramp. But still.

I did it. Clipped in. And, didn’t fall.

Mini ramp (above)

And, just some photos because I take way too many pictures.

Spring is here

Bring it on, you branches, logs, rocks, roots, and hills. I will conquer you.

And We Now Return to Triathlon Training

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written about my training–did you know how many blogs out there are by triathletes following their training and racing? Reading them makes me feel lazy. But, my “real” tri training for Timberman started this week. And, after last year, I think with proper nutrition, enough sleep, not working night shifts, and simply being smart about it all will help in my favor to finish it. Not only that, but now I can actually swim…Outside…Which I actually prefer to do than in a pool.

Monday was a run day–running without my Garmin, nor a HR monitor has somewhat bothered me… ohh well. The weather made up for it.

View from Burger Hill, Rhinebeck, NY

But, running, which was something I’ve been okay at and have done for years, I mean, I’ve done marathons, half marathons, trail races….Has not been going so great lately. Last week I went for a longer than usual run (you know, instead of 4 miles you run 13–who does that?) and did something to my hip. I let it rest, stretched, and did what I’ve been told to do, but my run Monday was a killer and ended up being a walk–so painful I couldn’t walk up the stairs in my house. So, that is somewhat concerning, especially since I have a half marathon to run in less than 4 days. :-/

To give my hip a rest, yesterday I went for a great road ride which ended up being an easy 25miles–I’m saving my longer one for friday. And, to think I was riding in almost 70 degree weather in March is unheard of. It’s hotter in NY than in Austin, TX! Spring is here!

Catskills in the background, taken from the road ride

Today, since I went for a mountain bike ride last night as well, I’m taking a rest day…Maybe go to the pool later…We’ll see. (I actually do have a training plan that I follow–I really do!).

However, my race schedule this year, which really depends on work schedule, includes some different, and I’d say more challenging in certain aspects,  races: mountain bike races. I ended up going for a short spin last night before the sun really set and realized (1) I love going fast and (2) I love mountain biking, even if it really hurts, and (3) it’s simply fun, technical, difficult, challenging, and a blast. So, why not give this type of racing a try?

Trying to race the setting sun in the woods

This....

Caused this...Amongst the other bruises and scrapes all over my body.

Last car in the parking lot with my bike...Gotta love it

Soon, I’ll be racing with these guys…Well, women. And, maybe not the World Cup right away….

WinterBike and Kingdom Trails in the Winter

They say the first time you attempt something and don’t succeed, try, try again.

And that’s what I do–whether it be mountain biking, swimming, or xc skiing.

Months ago, a friend and I decided to head up to Kingdom Trails in East Burke, VT for a mid-winter gettaway. I’ve shared my first (solo, mind you) mountain biking trip there this summer here . And, in the summer, it is amazing. Miles and miles of single or double track for mountain biking, technical trails and downhill for  those adrenalen junkies, to leisurely groomed paths.

co. of Winterbike

Ofcourse, I didn’t go up to go mountain biking in March. Well, that is a lie, because technically, the reason for the trip was to go to WinterBike, an event that started this year where mountain bikers from all over are invited to come and ride together on groomed cross country paths. A sweet idea. They had rides for riders of every level– fatbike rides, studded tyre rides, inntermediate, and “leisurly” paced rides. Towards the end, they even served Vermont cheese (yumm!) and a variety of local brews. After the main event, there was a race for those hardcore mountain bikers who really have no fear at all…I’m pretty sure they were stoked about the ability to race in the winter. I’m definitely going again next year.

As with the rest of the Northeast, East Burke did not get a huge amount of snow. As I recall, driving into Lyndonville looking over at my driver saying, “Umm, where is the snow?” thinking that there would be feet and feet of snow everywhere you looked. Nope. Fortunetly, at higher altitutes, there was more snow…Super for WinterBike! I did notice there was snow on Burke Mountain, so entering the town of East Burke observing visitors bundled up in ski gear gave me hope there would be enough snow to ski on. But, with the weather we’ve had, I think we managed to embrace the last of the snow of their winter snow season. **Meaning, next time I go, it’ll be for pure mountain bike pleasure!**

Kingdom Trails is amazing and has so much to offer for every season. In the winter, it has has special Nordic Trails only for cross country ski and snowshoe use. There is Darling Hill, which has about 20 km of trails which can be used for skiing, as well as Dashney Farm, with about 50km of trails–this is where the WinterBike event was held.

Some Winterbike Photos

Most courtesy of K.Young

Fatbikes!

Mountain bikers are simply hardcore. Shorts? Wicked awesome.

Vermont cheese, bread, PB, water, local beer, local vodka...What else do you need?

Cross Country Skiing

Okay, it’s actually a lie that I’ve never been cross-country skiing before. I have. Years ago. Furthermore, once upon a time, we owned a “Nordic Track” which I used religiously before we gave it away. During winters as a child my family would travel to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (in Bavaria) so my siblings and I could downhill ski, or snowboard. But that was years ago. Truth be told, with the winter we had last year in the Hudson Valley, I thought I’d be getting much more use out of my cx skis than I did this year. But, the Molly philosophy on learning how to do something is to go full speed ahead and simply, do it. Thankfully, I had an amazing person with me who actually does ski (and worked at a ski shop) and could teach me the correct way to cross-country ski.

Oh, and if you were wondering, exercising on a Nordic Track™ is nothing compared to actually cross-country skiing. For one, you don’t have hills; two, you don’t have ice, and three, with a Nordic Track you have something to rest your abdomen against. 

We were fortunate to stay at the Wildflower Inn, a Bed and Breakfast on Darling Hill, right from which you could clip in the skis and ski (or ride in the summer). It’s an amazing place, and has activities for the whole family–if you have a family that is. Plus, they have the best pancakes with REAL maple syrup and their breakfasts are phenomenal. Not only that, they are accommodating to vegetarians and those who must eat gluten-free. Their restaurant, Juniper’s, has incredible food too. I highly recommend it. Plus, I must admit, having a weekend with no phone, computer, television (not that I ever actually watch TV) was amazing. I may be old-fashioned, but I do miss the days when society was not so dependant on technology as we are now.

Fun at Wildflower

Courtesy of K.Trails...Darling Hill Nordic trails

Mountain bikes and skis in one car...And missing my bike

The Inn

Sledding at night behind the Carriage House where we stayed

He is an extreme sledder

The Inn has hot cider, tea, crackers, Vermont Cheddar Cheese, and homemade cookies every afternoon

View from Heaven's Bench in the winter

Where we stayed

Besides the point, after a five-hour drive to get to the Inn, it was time to learn how to ski. The person I was with had no problem whatsoever photographing my dread, terror, and fear.

With the lack of snow, most of the trails of Darling Hill were fields and tracks of ice. Not the best conditions for learning how to ski. (I’m pretty sure downhill skiing, from what I remember, is much easier than cross-country skiing). After some side-step instructions, learning how to snow plow, learning how to get in and out of the skis, we were off on the Bemis Trail. It took some time to get used to the movement, especially since I’m not used to the use of the poles and upper body, but I managed with only a few “Craaaaaaaps,”  “I can’t do this,” and, “I’m coming!!!Slowly.” Thank goodness for my skiing partner. He could not have been more patient with me.

Preparing for skiing

Mentally preparing myself

Coming along slowly…

Best teacher ever

The Nordic Center

Courtesy of Kingdom Trails

Before heading back south to NY, we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and do some more skiing at Dashney Hill Farm. It had been nicely groomed from the WinterBike event the day before, but with the 40° weather, the snow was melting fast, and making trails turn into trails of ice. Going up was fine. Going down, however, was a different story. But, we were able to spend a couple of wonderful hours skiing, only passing a few snowshoe-ers along the way.

 We tend to wear matching colored hats and same-brand sunglasses.

All in all, it was a fantastic, fun, sometimes terrifying weekend BUT with no broken bones or hospital visits. If you are into mountain biking on the east coast, Kingdom Trails is the place to go. And now we know you can cross-country ski there, as well as downhill!

Thank you, to the volunteers at the Kingdom, the organizers of WinterBike (my t-shirt is the bomb), and the friendly, welcoming staff at the Wildflower Inn.

Ohh, and one last thing. If you decide to travel to East Burke, it is vital to stop at the Country Store, located right across from the Burke Sports store and gas station. They have the most appetizing homemade maple-oat or maple-wheat bread, and delicious sandwiches. 🙂

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