Sunday, June 28, 2009

Notes from a quick trip to Utah –

I think Bryce is under the false impression that I have some inheritance money squirreled away. I know the financial demands of a young family – raising kids, buying a home, general expenses – can be tough at times. But is that enough of a reason to invite me to bike with him on Saturday morning along the “Devil’s Rock Pile” or “Slaughter House Run” or “Death to Older, Foolish, Bike Riders that Think They Know What They are Doing” run – whatever it’s called . I think he loves me and wouldn’t want to cause me any harm unless its for that inheritance money (which isn’t much).

Bryce isn’t in all that great of shape himself – he has a handicap sticker on his car, a splint on his arm from a broken wrist, and he is recovering from major neck surgery. He lured me into thinking that this would be a calm downhill coasting ride through the pleasantries and beauty of nature. He appealed to my idiot notion that I can do anything a 20 year old can do, and its wrong, wrong, wrong. I’m just glad I’m in one piece to write this testimony.

My estimate of Austin’s intelligence went up dramatically when he wisely declined to go with us and instead offered to drive the car. When we got to the top of Squaw Peak getting ready for our “dash of death” my helmet was mysteriously left in the other car – was that part of Bryce’s plot? He did give me his baseball cap to wear, was that a smirk he wore as well?

The trail actually started along a nice dirt road with very few rocks, but no sooner had we started on our journey when it started pouring rain. I started cursing under my breath and asking why am I doing this crazy thing? The wind was cold, the rain got us wet, I couldn’t see through the drops of water on my glasses, and I was left in the shivering dust as Bryce and Jake raced ahead. And this was suppose to be the easy part of the trail.

We finally got to the single track trail head and I starred in disbelief at this narrow little curvy path, going up and down, around trees, over roots and through the mud. OK Mark you can do this because there is no going back. Actually the first 10 feet was nice trail and then I would dodge a rock only to be face-to-face with a large tree. OK swerve left – no right – was that a big root? Dang my foot fell off the peddle! Oh my gosh, I can’t see a thing through these glasses. Ouch!!! That was a big rock. My butt hurts! Where are Bryce and Jake – is that them laughing up ahead? How long is this trail?

We were running along a nice sized stream on the left. Suddenly the trail wasn’t level anymore side to side. It was at about a 30 degree angle tilting towards a 20 ft drop down to the fast flowing creek on the left and a forest of trees rising sharply to the right. One or two inches of crooked driving and I’m in trouble – thank goodness I can’t see through the rain on my glasses or this would be really frightening. OK we made it past that bad spot surely the trail can’t get any worse. HA!

They didn’t name it “Rock Canyon” for nothing. We moved out of “quiet” part of the trail and started the death defying section of pointed, sharp, nasty, hard rocks. Sometimes loose gravel rocks, sometimes they were the kind of rocks that poke their sharp heads far enough above the ground to cause major bumping, or sometimes they were just big boulders scattered on the trail. The path is a steep decent and I was blazing along at a mind blowing 2 miles an hour because my hands were cramped tight around the brakes with that white knuckle fear of serious injury. It took a good half an hour after the ride to unknot the muscles and straighten out my fingers.

The rocks seemed to go on forever and then suddenly an oasis of a nice flat, smooth, wooden bridge. Oh thank goodness for that calm bridge, except as I peddled across the rain had caused the wood to be extremely slippery and I almost ended up in the drink. Is there no safe place on this trail? Well the next stream crossing was even worse – there was no bridge just a rocky crossing through the water. Bryce even had a hard time with this one and I figured if I went as fast as I could, I should make it through with dry feet. What a fool – half way across my front tire hit a large submerged rock and immediately stopped the bike, but I kept going into the water except a big boulder stopped my awkward tumble. Again I heard that funny laughter.

I survived to finish the trail with only minor bruising and cuts and Bryce’s chance at an early inheritance was thwarted. Just watch and be careful with any of his invitations to go on a fun and adventurous bike hike, he may have ulterior motives.

Other news of the trip: Austin is back at school in Provo and landed in a good apartment where his roommate had him delete WOW, got back on the boards, did some homework, scoped out his classes and ward for good looking girls, and filled his refrigerator with food. He seems very happy.

My 1031 court case made some progress this week as we completed the depositions and one witness really made our case very convincing. We had a great Father’s Day dinner at Bryce’s with Preston and Tiana.

We did suffer one casualty this weekend. After mom and I finished up a very pleasant and social bike ride along the Highline Canal the bike fell off the rack while on the freeway. We were lucky that the crashed bike didn’t cause an accident, but it is trashed and needs major repair before we can ride it again.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bend it Like Barrand

My back has been killing me for about 6 months now and it especially hurts in the temple when I have to stand still for long periods of time. You name it: feet, hips, back, and neck all ache and it diminishes the experience. I couldn’t take it any longer and went to a chiropractor to get untangled. He did his thing and told me to do two things to help – take lots of Ibuprofen and take up Yoga. Well I have done both and am feeling better, but I must say that the Yoga experience is a unique one.
I’ve only been twice but my body feels like it has been a dozen times. Barrands tend not to be too flexible (just ask Bryce or Austin about their pike dives), and it was blindingly obvious how inflexible I am. These old ladies next to me are popping their legs above their heads balanced on one foot, this rather overweight woman was easily folding in half, and even the other guys in the class were able to sit cross-legged with their knees resting comfortably on the floor. I sat cross legged in Samoa for two years and even after that my knees still point up around my ears….and hurt. I found I can easily bend in half as long as my knees are bent in half a well. The instructor asked three times if I was alright because the blood had drained from my head. Then I got mixed up my rights and left to the point the instructor moved her mat right next to mine so I could follow the pretzel moves with a semblance of accuracy. But my worse exercise was surprisingly the balancing work. Trying to stay stationary on one foot while doing all these circles with my arms and stretching out my free leg was down right comical. It was like trying to balance on one leg wearing high heels – not in my repertoire. Thank goodness I only fell over once and only hit one person on the descent. The instructor asked me to find a space away from the other participants next time.
Austin’s friend Rebecca told me about her “hot” Yoga class where the room is kept at 90 degrees and you sweat your way through the class. I had immediate respect for her. I think it will be safer for all if I contain my Yoga exercises to home based TV shows. Then my Yoga won’t get a reputation like my dancing.
I has finally started becoming summer around here and we celebrated Austin’s last weekend home before school with a hike to Devil’s Head with Rebecca. The weather was perfect and a great time was enjoyed by all.