Conclusions: My Body

Honestly, I wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to share this one.  I’m still not, I suppose, but here it is anyway.  It’s very nerve wracking to literally expose what stays neatly tucked away in black clothing.  I know a lot of co-workers and friends read this so if any of you have any particular issues with seeing me in basically what a bikini would cover then I suggest skipping this one and not looking at the picture below.

I wasn’t sure what would happen to my body during my 45 days of riding.  Is 6 weeks long enough to really make a difference?  I have been struggling with my weight for a while now (I went back to school a few years ago and all those burgers for lunch and sitting around really stacked up against me!) and since I’ve been so busy I haven’t made a priority of getting more fit.  This challenge was definitely the jumping off point to see how far I can push myself for my goals.  While I didn’t really measure and weigh out all my food and track macros and everything, I did make an effort to eat better than I have been and all of the time spent on the trails provided hours and hours every day which I couldn’t spend mindlessly eating on the couch which helped.

After all was said and done, I lost around 10 pounds and about 9 inches. 

I felt more fit.  Muscles were popping out all over the place (hello, triceps!)  My whole body felt more firm and that little pooch that used to hang over my belt went away.

The trick now is to find some balance while still maintaining the progress I’ve made and get even closer to my fitness goals.  If I’ve proved anything at all to myself in this journey it’s that I can do anything I put my mind to.  Getting even more fit to be better on my bike and in my skin is just another challenge I have in front of me.  Look forward to more updates with embarrassing pictures as I power through these new goals just like I did my 45 days.  Happy trails, everyone.

Conclusions: The Tan

We’ll start on a lighthearted note here. Out of all the unintended repercussions of this 45 day journey, this one is arguably the most ridiculous. It’s something I’ve teased others for in the past but got a whole heap of karma sent my way. That is: the tan.

I’ve never been one to be very sunscreen-minded. Especially living in the Pacific Northwest when we get way more rain than sun. But even when it’s cold and cloudy those UV rays are out there and ready to toast you up. This experienced has definitely made me rethink how often I’m putting sunscreen on.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking “oh, Sarah, you just got a bit of colour. What’s so bad about a tan?” Let me tell you! All of my time outside was spent with very specific equipment on. The result? The craziest tan lines ever! I have a lovely line from T-shirt sleeve to the top of my elbow pad. Then on my forearm from elbow down to glove. Did I mention my elbow pads are slanted on the forearm? Yeah, I didn’t notice that either.

The best part is yet another thing I didn’t notice which is the keyhole in my gloves near the thumb. That has resulted in a spectacular and symmetrical tan dot on each hand. When I first noticed them I thought I’d gotten a very strange bruise on both of my hands. Nope! Attack of the tan lines.

So when you’re headed out there, put on your sunscreen, even if it looks cloudy out. Not only will it protect you from ridiculous tan lines but, more importantly, it’ll protect you from the more serious consequences of sun exposure. Happy trails, folks!

45 Days Later…

It’s (just past) 45 days later and I’ve survived my challenge. Forgive me for not updating right away but I’ve been enjoying the sweet, sweet nothingness…. and going back to full-time work hours.

I won’t lie, some days it was extremely hard. It seemed impossible. Other days I was giddy just to get out on my bike. During the whole process I have been keeping some notes that I was planning on putting into one post at the end but it seems like it’d be a short novel if I combined it all into one. To that end, I’ll actually be splitting it up into little bite-sized posts over the next week or two.

I have some videos for you, pictures as always, and some fun and funny stories about my journey. I hope you all enjoy reading about it as much as I (mostly) enjoyed doing it.

Days 29-31 – Knowing the Dangers

There’s certain risks we accept in any sport. Hell, there are risks we accept just getting up in the morning and leaving the house. This doesn’t stop us from doing the things we love. What can increase your safety in anything is knowing the dangers and being prepared. I learned this, as with everything I do, the hard way.

For a little weekend getaway, Ryan and I headed up to Okanagan Falls to visit his parents. While we were there, and as it was still part of my 45 days, we took in some of the local trails in Penticton and Naramata. The first day there we headed out to a trail called Rock Oven. As you can tell by the name, there are lots of rocks and it’s in the sun. On this day it was particularly hot (around 40-45 degrees) and we were still covered in a haze of smoke from the BC wildfires. While I’m aware of general “ourdoorsy in BC” dangers like bears and cougars and poison ivy (not that I could identify it if my life depended on it) I didn’t take the time to research what new hazards to look out for in this new riding area. Luckily for us, Ryan’s parents (and a giant sign on the trail) gave us a warning to look out for snakes – including rattlesnakes. While I had my bear spray on me, it seemed a bit overkill for a thread from a snake. Either way, we headed out with eyes on the bushes and started our long, long, long climb up to the trail.

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After some terrified peeing in the bush (while calmly talking to the potential snakes: “I’m just going to walk right here. I don’t want to hurt you. I’m just going to do my thing and leave you alone”) we made it to the trail and lo and behold…. a snake.

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Now, I wish I’d taken the time to research snakes before leaving so I could figure out how terrified to be. Turns out this guy isn’t venomous but we weren’t taking any chances. We made plenty of noise from a distance until it slithered back into the bush. Having the confirmation that snakes were out and about definitely put a new spin on the day, but we headed forward.

Partway through the trail (a trail which I did not care for at all but I’ll reserve my rant on why I hated it so much) I didn’t feel so good. I was dizzy. Hot. Sweaty. I had my Camelbak on me with 3L of water in it and was drinking it like crazy and yet I couldn’t quite get it together. The dizziness was leading to a general lack of balance and I wound up crashing… a lot. Luckily I got away with just a bruised tailbone but there were more pressing matters at hand.

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I knew it was bad when Ryan took a look at me and said, “okay so let’s just keep going quickly and carefully and get down to the car.” After some pressing about why we were in a rush he admitted I didn’t look so good. With good reason! It would appear that no matter what I tried doing, my body was hell bent on getting heat stroke that day and we both knew it was only going to get worse.

The scariest part about the whole situation was just how out of my mind I was without realizing it. It was almost like being drunk but thinking you’re sober. I came up with a perfectly logical plan to close my eyes for a quick nap on a big rock slab in the sun. I couldn’t concentrate. I had a total meltdown for 15 minutes because I had to ride through a mud puddle with wasps swarming in it (for the record I consider freaking out about that quite reasonable). At any rate, I only thought I felt a little woozy and tired. Until I felt better when I realized just how far gone I had been. I am grateful that Ryan noticed early on, pressed me to keep drinking water, and encouraged me down the mountain. Between the snakes, the miserable trail, and the heat stroke it was not my best day.

What we can learn from this is to be prepared. I know everyone’s heard this a million times but it’s incredibly important and worth emphasizing. So much more could have gone wrong and if it did we could’ve both been in serious trouble.

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Research the dangers in the area you’re headed out in. If there’s animals you need to worry about, what are you supposed to do when you encounter them? Is there anything you can bring to keep yourself safer? Do people know where you are and when you’re coming back? Even a quick rip out on trails you’re very familiar with warrant at least texting one person where you’ll be.

Do you have some food and plenty of water? Not just to last you the ride but what if you get lost or stuck for a while? Do you know any first aid? Do you have any first aid supplies on you? I carry a small first aid kit that you can get at any outdoorsy store. It may not be perfect, but in an emergency it’s helpful to have anything you’ve got.

My lesson in preparedness was challenging but, luckily, had no lasting consequences. Hopefully after reading this you all will take a quick look in your pack to see what you could add and do some quick research on local dangers in order to keep yourself a little bit safer on the trails. Happy shredding, and be safe out there.