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Day 11 – The beautiful and friendly town of Golden – British Columbia

Day 11 – The beautiful and friendly town of Golden – British Columbia

We’re lucky enough to have a group of amazing friends back east. Our one friend Amy introduced us to her brother, Andy, and his girlfriend, Miranda, a few weeks back when they were visiting Ithaca. They mentioned if happened to wander out to Golden to touch base, and so we did!
We rolled in Golden later than expected. Jay and I didn’t anticipate such a gnarly, curvy, steep mountain pass once we crossed the continental divide.  Andy lives on the end of a quiet, dead end street in town. Perfect spot for a giant shiny Airstream to park.
The locals are nice, they love being there.  Andy works for Golden Tourism, but despite the fact that he sells the town for a living, you can tell he loves living and working Golden. He’s very proud of the town and after being here we definitely could see why.
Our first morning, Andy and Miranda made us a delicious breakfast and gave us a tour of one of the mountain bike trail systems closest to Cedar Lake. The forest there is beautiful.
I’m a big fan of smells. And I’m telling you… this trail smelled good. Tall pines and undulating singletrack make for some really fun, fast and flowy cross country trails. We covered around 5-6 miles with ease.
After our quick warm up loop, we shuttled up a pretty wicked dirt road to the top of Little Sir Donald (LSD). Having experienced the trail ratings in Moose Mt., I knew that this black diamond trail would be no joke either.
Boy was this trail gnarly and technical. LSD starts pretty mellow and then quickly turns into a fast descent complete with wooden features, loose corners, and steep rooty areas with 3-4ft drops in some sections. The trail was conveniently marked with arrows and warning signs along the way for the Enduro race happening the next day. I was very thankful for the signage.
After LSD you pop out on the Canyon Trail with amazing views. We had to be extra careful around some corners because of complete DROP OFFs in some spots.
After the ride we drank some beer and went for a quick dip in Cedar Lake while Andy + Miranda went to grab the shuttle vehicle.
Back at Andy’s place we took the dogs for a walk on the trails adjacent to his place. They had been recently damaged from high winds and micro bursts the ripped through the area a few days before (scary stuff). Entire trees had been uprooted and strewn across the trail.
After our adventure hike up and over many down trees, we biked through town on the bike path over to Whitetooth Brewing and ordered a pizza from Red Tomato Pie. Nothing like ending a great day with good company, pizza and beer!
Day 8 – Mountain Biking at Moose Mountain in Alberta

Day 8 – Mountain Biking at Moose Mountain in Alberta

After our long wedding day adventure, we decided we’d sleep in the next day ( of course ).
I made pancakes and we sipped on some coffee. Lounged around in the hammock and got ready for our first day of riding in Canada. As you can see we brought a little bit of the east coast with us on this trip (ie. vermont maple syrup and our Gimme coffee mugs).
We knew we wanted to get a ride in – but not quite sure where. We read about Moose Mt. on the Trail Forks app. It’s about an hour from the campground back towards Calgary near the town of Bragg Creek. After reading some trail reviews we decided to check it out.
Pneuma was the trail we decided to climb in order to get to some of the fun stuff up top. Not a bad climb. Steep and rooty in sections and gets rockier as you get closer to the top. We saw some smoke in the distance. After running into another rider who had mentioned there were forest fires in the next mountain range over. Scary stuff.
Once we finished the climb we noticed a sign that listed a few trail closures due to maintenance. Of , ourse all of the trails we wanted to ride (ie. Shaft) was on the “no go” list. BUTTTT….we decided to ride it anyway, figuring we may be able to go around the maintenance area. When in Rome right?
Man, was it fun. Bermy, fast FUN.  Cooper seemed to enjoy it quite a bit.
THEN we heard voices further down the trail. UH OH. Caught red-handed going down a trail we shouldn’t be.
So we turned back and hiked our bikes straight back up the trail. Probably the WORST hike-a-bike I’ve ever experienced. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the top. The best part was as we approached the top, some other dude came ripping down the trail. We should have just asked for forgiveness rather than climbing all the way back up. But that’s the price you pay for breaking the rules! Lesson-learned.
We headed back down Pneuma and turned onto a super fun, flowy, jumpy, machine-built trail called 7-47. Definitely worth it though we noticed Cooper was getting pretty tired so decided to call it a day. When we had arrived, the parking lot had  1-2 other vehicles but upon returning it was now filled with at least 20!  We spoke to a few locals who mentioned you’ll find a lot of people from Calgary ride here after work and on weekends since it’s only 30 minutes away.
Overall Moose Mt. is a neat little trail system that we’d love to explore some more one day. The nearest town, Bragg Creek, looked really cute as well. Though not many things are open during the week. We did, however, find a nice little family restaurant called, Bragg’s Corner Kitchen, for food/drinks before heading back towards Canmore.
4 Things Women Should Expect When Learning to Mountain Bike

4 Things Women Should Expect When Learning to Mountain Bike

1. Expect imperfection

women learning to mountain bike what to expect

One of my early falls, which really **wasn’t** from riding. I call this my “at a stand still – back tire on slippery root – couldn’t unclip fast enough – handlebar to face” Fall. Photo courtesy of my friend, Pam Gueldner.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m here to tell you you’re going to fall (a lot), you’ll have scrapes and bruises. Wear them proudly!

You’re going to be slow, you’re going to dismount when you see a scary log or rock garden. You’re going to experience a very real fear. But you need to get right back up, keep chugging along and bring on the sweat.

When I started riding, I could NOT keep up with Jay. I’d arrive at an intersection, out of breath and exhausted. Jay would be patiently waiting for me, not out of breath at all.

It wasn’t until I started riding with other people, of all levels, when I realized that Jay was just on another level and I didn’t have to be on his level. I could have so much fun on my level.

Over time, my skills improved, I got better and I realized it wasn’t about being perfect at all. I could have fun. That’s what mountain biking is for me ; so damn fun!

2. Expect to sweat so hard that your chamois will be wishing it never existed.

Mountain biking is a great workout. It’s not easy for me to replicate the kind of workout I get from mountain biking. You’re going to be sweating out of places you didn’t know could sweat. Riding on trails is an exercise that can be explosive, steadying and balancing – and most of all, fun and the views can be spectacular.

Sweatin’ hard with friends at Kingdom Trails, VT

3. Expect to spend some money initially

Good mountain bikes can be pretty pricey. Especially if you’re totally new to the industry. You might think spending $1,000 on a bike is outrageous but truthfully they can be upwards of $5,000 +.  I can see how that may deter anyone from getting into mountain biking.

However, finding the right bike for you, both in your price range and fit, are extremely important.  Your local bike shop can help get you squared away. If you know your size, I’d recommend asking around and seeing if someone might be willing to sell you their old bike because it’ll save you some bucks!

In addition to a well-tuned, properly-fitted bike you also need some gear. I’ll write another more detailed post about bikes and gear in the near future.


Bike #2 – Once you get bitten by the bike buying bug watch out!


4. Expect to meet all sorts of amazing people

When I moved to Ithaca, I only knew a handful of people, mostly co-workers.

Ithaca is a college town, there are certainly a lot of folks we would casually meet at bars but it was hard to just walk up to a stranger and say, “hey, you seem cool… wanna hang out?”

It wasn’t until Jay and I started attending the local group rides with Cycle-CNY, that we started to meet people we wanted to hang with. From those friends, we met more friends and created a network that really has flourished.

what women should expect from mountain biking friends

Photo clockwise from top-left: Friends on a summer in-town ride to Ithaca Falls. My friend Gretchen and I at the Liv Ladies All Ride Clinic in Grand Targhee Wyoming. My friends and I at Kingdom Trails, VT, last summer.

I love these people! They’re my people – and without mountain biking, I wouldn’t have met them. They daring, courageous.. just a gnarly bunch of men and women that I’m glad to call my friends.

RECAP > Don’t give up, expect imperfection, sweat hard, and let the good times roll!

If you’re just getting into mountain biking, I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know in the comments below!

jess jumping specialized stump jumper women mountain bikers mountain biking


Minimize Spending – Building Tools

Minimize Spending – Building Tools

It’s been a while since we rode our bikes, far too long. We got a text from some friends letting us know they were taking advantage of the decent weather (28 and cloudy) to go for a little spin around town. We eagerly decided to join them.

While I was airing up the tires I remembered the crank arm came loose the last time I rode the bike (over a month ago). I had to wedge a rock in the 16mm hex bolt to tighten it so I could finish the ride.  In the time since then, it did not happen to “heal” on its own. It was still loose and needed to be tightened….our ride was in jeopardy.

A 16mm hex or “allen” key is not a common thing. I called all the local bike shops, no luck. Their tone seemed to be suspicious of my need for such a tool, as if there is no way to fit a bolt this size on a bicycle. So then I reached out to local garages, surprisingly no one had one. How about an auto parts store? No.

We ended up heading to a “box” home improvement store. The largest hex key they had was 12mm. Feeling pretty bummed out, we headed over to the hardware section to find things to cobble together. After a lot of trial and error, and eventually needing to take the bolt into the store, we were able to fit the head of another large bolt into the 16mm space. By threading a nut onto this new bolt, and using a crescent wrench, we could easily torque the crank arm back on. Not bad for $2.22.

Money was spent, but it wasn’t very much…and now we have a tool to fix this if it happens again. More importantly, we got out and did a great ride with friends on a fair winter day.