Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Moab - Hikes, Bikes and Bruises

Tomorrow we check out of Moab and move on to the second leg of our western adventure. I must admit that this trip did not go according to plan!

Day 1
We arrived late on Saturday, so Sunday was our first day in Moab, UT. We woke up to dark clouds and drizzle. Our plan was to meet Haley of Climb Run Lift Mom and her family and go for a morning hike, then grab some lunch and Marc and I were going to grab our Mt. bikes and hit the trails. Well, the rain canceled the hike and we met Haley and her family for breakfast. It took us so long to get our food (well over an hour) that it ended up being lunch. It gave us plenty of time to chat and get to know each other. Haley and I started a great friendship only to be rivaled by new BFF, her daughter! You can read about Haley's weekend in Moab on her blog, HERE. After Marc and I went to Arches National Park, the rain subsided enough for us to get in 2 great hikes. First, we hiked Double O, a "primitive" hike, which is now my new favorite type of hike. I have always found hiking kind of boring, it was just like walking. But on the primitive trails, you need to climb over big rocks and scramble. So much fun! After that we hiked Windows which is beautiful and breathtaking.
Arches Visitors Center
I have pictures from the hike, but my SLR camera is giving me trouble, so those will be for another time.

Day 2
We started the day off with a Mt Bike ride on a trail called Klondike Bluffs. It is rated a blue square (just like skiing) so Marc thought it would be a good way to get my feet wet. I asked if there were any green trails we could ride. Marc's answer, "yeah, in town" meaning the sidewalk. Let me put it this way, I spent about 20% of the 9 mile trail on the ground. My first fall was a the trail head (it should have been a sign), where I was caught in about 4 inches of sand. I don't have a lot of practice riding in sand and was in WAY too big of a gear. So at least it was in sand and I was still in good spirits. Falls 2 & 3 are a blur, but I have 2 nice bruises on either knee and huge one on my left calf. Fall 4 was the worst! Riding out on to a rock I missed the "step" and bashed my front tire into the rock. I guess I was hoping that if I smashed the tire into the rock hard enough I would go over it. Instead, it tossed me off the bike and I landed in the only puddle in Moab. NO KIDDING, we are in the middle of the freaking desert and my tush lands smack dab in the middle of a puddle. Fall 5 was on my left and I have a nice bruise on my palm, thank goodness it wasn't my right hand (I broke mt right arm last year). Fall 6 was on nothing, I think at this point I was so frustrated I was just doing stupid stuff. BUT there were glimmers of hope. I made some great technical descents, I just need a lot of practice. To my credit, I have not spent any considerable amount of time on the mt bike in about 2 years. It was decided right then and there that I was done with mt biking for this trip. Marc's exact quote "You should stop riding (mt bike) before you REALLY hurt yourself." After the ride we had lunch and then switched our shoes and helmets and grabbed the road bikes. Moab has a cool bike trail out of town that goes over the Colorado River and in and out of the mountains. It was a 22 mile out and back with just under 1000 ft of climbing. Nice, fun ride.

Day 3
Marc has commandeered the Yeti, to be honest I gave it to him. The bike is too big for me. The top tube it too long and I wasn't able to get over the handlebars. I would like to blame all of my tumbles on the size of the bike, but it was only half of the problem. So Marc took the Yeti (now known as Bumble - the Yeti on The Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer cartoon) out to the infamous Slick Rock trail and I grabbed Pinky for a road ride. My plan was to do the same out and back I did the day prior, but this time do it twice giving me over 40 miles. This was the hardest ride of my life. The way out I was in a head wind that had gusts over 50 mph. I have never experienced such a strong and consistent head wind. It sucked. The tail wind on the way back was awesome, but not fun enough to make up for the brutal out, so I stopped at one round. I met Marc back at the hotel and we got cleaned up and went to lunch. Over lunch I heard the tales of Slick Rock and it was not for me! Very glad I stuck to the road. We were going to hike after lunch, but the winds were still so strong we decided to play tourist. We visited one of the most highly regarded attractions in Moab, Hole N" the Rock. Yes, a 5,000 sq.ft. home built into a rock. It was so strange and cheesy!
If you look close you can see the front door and a sculpture of FDR. No photography was aloud inside (because they sell it) so you are going to have to use your imagination. Let's just say it included 2 stuffed horses and a stuffed donkey.

This is a Jeep outside the general store across the parking lot. It is made of license plates and has a giant bone on top. I dunno.

After that we shopped in town and picked up a few souvenirs. Overall it was a great trip and I can't wait to come back. But next time I am going to have a lot more time in the mt bike saddle before I attempt a trail in Moab. Tomorrow is the Escalante Plateau, Capital Reef and Dixie National Forest!

Friday, April 22, 2011


I am so overwhelmed! This always happens to me when I prepare for a trip. I am leaving tomorrow morning for a few awesome days of Mt biking with the hubs in Moab, UT. I am hoping my trip and Haley's @ Climb Run Lift Mom will cross, we are planning a hike on Sunday AM and I am really looking forward to meeting her!

After a few days in Moab we venture over to Vegas for the Iron Girl Tri Expo in Lake Las Vegas on Thursday and Friday and then to Prescott, AZ for The Whiskey Off-Road Expo. So not only am I packing for a trip, but I am packing for mt. biking and road riding, hiking and all my Tough Chik stuff. I have lists with sub lists and I am still forgetting something.

I am fortunate to have a good friend watch Cosmo (my mutt) but he needs to be bathed and packed. Then Trainer Ali's daughter is watching the kitties, but I need to clean the house so no one knows how I really live. AHHH. I need a maid, assistant and stunt double!

So I will be MIA for the next week, but I am hoping to have some great stories and photos when I get back. Happy Easter and have a super duper weekend!

Don't forget to send your Tough Chik pictures to info@toughchik.com to win $20 of Tough Bucks!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

MIA (where have I been?)

I have been MIA from blogging, tweeting, face booking and working out. I feel a little out of sorts, so let me tell you what I have been up to.

The past week I was in beautiful Monterey, CA for The Sea Otter Classic. With over 8,500 participants and 50,000 spectators, it is one, if not the, largest cycling event in the country. I was there with my company, Tough Chik, along with 350 other exhibitors. The event was 4 days and consisted of every possible race for a bike. Gravity Mountain Bike Races, Elite Road stage races, grand fondos for the road and the dirt, plus kid bike races and nearly 200 classes of road and mountain bike races for amateurs.

Me and Skipper the Sea Otter

I met so many Tough Chiks and Tough Guys over the past week and their stories truly inspired me.

I met a man who placed 2nd in Cross Country Mt. Bike in the age group 65-69! He along with a few fellow racers wrecked and he showed up with a black eye and 2 bandaged knees. He was buying a jersey and t-shirt for his wife, I bet she is pretty tough too!

We met a lovely gal who was a hard core cyclist, growing up along the central coast, it was a way of life. Her husband and her were avid racers and toured the country racing on the road and in the dirt. On a typical group ride along the Oregon coast, she was descending along a 10% grade at a pretty high speed, 46 mph. As a well seasoned cyclist, this was not unusual but she felt her back tire lifting from the road. As a mountain biker she had great bike handling skills, so she got back behind her seat to get more of her weight on that back wheel. But it was not enough and she wrecked. She separated her shoulder very badly, broke her collar bone and every bone in her right hand. She had surgery on her hand and something went wrong resulting in a paralyzed right hand. So what did she do? Moved all of the gearing and breaking to her left handle bar and she is still riding! She doesn't have the ability to mountain bike, but she can still ride the road and is now working to qualify for the Paralympics! BIG TIME TOUGH CHIK!

I met so many women who are in their 50s, 60s and 70s who could kick my butt on the bike! That is one of the great aspect of the sport, you can do it forever! I also met little girls who were already passionate about cycling, I really wished I had started at that age! They even had a little bellas event for the little girl cyclists.

It was a great time and I was motivated and inspired by so many women. Below are some of the photos from the event.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My weekend of BIKES and a new addition!

Over the weekend I was either on a bike, in a bike shop or watching cycling on TV. Pretty perfect weekend for a bike freak like me.

ON A BIKE - We had planned on doing the 65 mile group ride with Team OC, but we woke up and it was 39 degrees. The hubs pulled the covers over his head and said "you can go if you want"...ummm okay back to bed. It was very cold and windy, so we did a 35 mile canyon ride, which felt more like 70 miles. The wind was pushing me all over the road and, I don't know how it is possible, but we had either a head wind or a cross wind the whole ride. Never once did we benefit from a tail wind! Sunday was much warmer and less windy! I had wanted to do at least 60 miles, but our route only ended up a 53 miles. A little disappointed that I didn't get to my goal of 60 but my legs felt really good and that has been an issue with me, so I was pleased. Weekend total - 88 miles, 5613 ft of climbing. Week total - 113 miles, 7137 ft of climbing. Yeah I FINALLY made double digits!

WATCHING BIKES - Did you see Paris Roubiax? Wow, it was a pretty hard race to watch if you were one of the cyclist mothers. These guys were crashing right and left. If you don't know much about the race, it is known for its cobblestones. These guys race these rigid bikes over 160 miles of cobbles (it isn't ALL cobblestone...but you get my drift). My arm just ached watching it (see Jan 29th blog to see why)! I have ridden some crappy roads and that sucked, this looked terrible.

And now for the most exciting part of my weekend. My new addition why I spent so much time at my fav bike shop, Out-Spoke-N.

But first, I would like to introduce you to my "family".

If you have been following my blog, you know Pinky.
Say what you want about Specialized, I love Pinky!

Her partner in crime...
Why Elvis? Ummm look at it - those are red spokes my friends! (note: not Hound Dog Elvis, Slurred Speech Elvis)

And for the dirt:

My first FS bike. This poor bike has been through A LOT and still keeps trucking.

My hubs first FS bike, now just hangin'. He built this bike from the frame up.

My hubs current mt. bike, he built this one from the frame up as well and is way too built up from our terrain. This should really be a chair lift bike, but he rides is cross country hence the name Soul Crusher. Every time he takes it out, it crushes his soul and he wonders "why did I build this bike like this?"

AND NOW, drum roll please....

My new bike! Yeah, I can not wait to take her out. We are going to Moab for Easter weekend, where I am sure she will earn a great name there. Hopefully nothing with crush or death or break in it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tough Chik Photo Contest


Are you a Tough Chik? Do you like free swag?

We are excited to introduce our new monthly Tough Chik drawing. Here is how the drawing will work:
-Take a photo of you in your Tough Chik gear, doing what you do (competing, training, playing, etc.)
-Submit the photo with your name and location via email (info@toughchik.com), facebook (www.facebook.com/toughchik) or twitter (http://twitter.com/tough_chik).
*Make sure there is a way I can contact you back!
-Drawing will take place on first Monday of each month.
-Winner will receive $20 to use on any Tough Chik product!
-All photos may be used on the website or in marketing materials, so you might be famous!

(photos submitted in the month of April will be good for the May 2nd drawing, a new set of entries will start on May 1)

Please send any questions to info@toughchik.com and start snapping those photos!

Good Luck!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Carlsbad 5000 Race Recap - Vendor Style

This past weekend Tough Chik participated in the Carlsbad 5000 Expo in Carlsbad, CA (just North of San Diego). We also participated in the event last year, so we knew what to expect. This is an outdoor expo and packet pick up located in a parking lot in downtown Carlsbad. I was a little concerned that turn out would be lower since the Oceanside Ironman was only a few miles away.

I love outdoor expos for one reason alone, you can drive right up to your spot to unload! Woo Hoo! I travel with a lot of product and six 8ft tall grid walls, so this is huge! We set up on Saturday morning which means I was up at 4:30! Ouch! My husband was along to assist, although he get very antsy and leaves every 10 minutes or so. But he is great help with set up and tear down.

We had amazing weather both days. The kids race was Saturday and the adults on Sunday. This is a very flat course so a lot of folks enter in hopes of PRing. (is that a word?) Kids are great fun to watch and my hubs decided he runs like a 5 yr old. Hauls butt off the line, then stops gasping for air, then takes off again! Ha, might be my next shirt, "I run like a 5 yr old".

Sales were great, a lot of repeat customers which is always nice but the highlight of my weekend was Saturday when a little girl and her mom walked into the tent. This girl was probably 4 or 5 and went straight for the pink toddler Tough Chik shirt hanging on the wall. She didn't speak, just pointed with a huge smile on her face. This girl was wearing a pink shirt with a pink and black plaid skirt and argyle knee socks. She loved pink and was definitely into clothes. Her mom asked about the sizing and I explained that the shirt was available in 2T, 3T and 4T. She told me that her daughter was a five (I don't have kids and don't understand this weird sizing system because my girls shirts are 6-8, like a range??? i dunno). As the mother explained to her daughter that the shirt wasn't in her size, the little girl's bottom lip started to stick out and arms went folded across her chest, she was not happy. So mom said, "Let's try the 4T". I pulled the shirt out and the mom took off the little girls shirt (she was acting embarrassed, but I don't really think she was) and we swapped it for the TC pink T and it was a great fit, if anything a little big. Mom asked the girl, "Are you going to wear it, really wear it" and the girl shaked her head frantically and she stared at the image on her shirt. Her mom said, "That says Tough Chik, do you know what that means?" and the girl said "Hi Ya" and made a big karate chop! Yep, she was already a Tough Chik!

I didn't have my camera, but this is the shirt.

Competitive much??

I never considered myself to be a competitive person. I was never involved in team sports as a kid, never chased a trophy or a medal. I wanted to be one of the better dancers in my classes, but never really lost sleep over my turn out or height of my grand jete.

I wasn't until after college and I started cycling that I realized I might just be a little competitive. I started riding with my husband (who was my boy friend at the time) and I knew he was an accomplished and skilled cyclist so I wasn't competitive with him, it was much worse than that. I was competitive with myself or more specifically this perfect image in my head of myself. This Shannon vs Shannon has grown to a full out ugly competitive streak. When you are always trying to beat yourself, you never win!

Over the weekend I was working an Expo at a 5K where I met a lot of new runners. During our chats, most of them would tell me what their goal time was followed by "but I am not trying to win, just finish". That sounds a lot like me. Most of the events I enter, I am not trying to win but that doesn't mean I am not there to compete.

I personally fell that anyone involved in some form of endurance sport has a small twinge of competitive nature. You might not re-work your whole life to shave seconds off your pace, but you find a fellow racer and think "I should be able to beat her/him."

Are you competitive? Do you think it helps or hurts you?