Friday, September 25, 2009

Guess What Snuck Up Again?


It's here... hey there Fall. How are you doing? Ah me? Well I'm alright. Not too happy about the shorter days that come along with you, but happy to accept the cooler evenings.

What's that? Has it slowed down my biking, hiking, and general outdoor getting? No of course not. Well, I do have to plan things more than I had to in the summer. Like put all my layers out before I go to sleep at night so that I am not rummaging around and swearing when I can't find my socks and gloves for the early morning ride.

Misty in the Fall

Nice of you to ask about Nuggets. She likes Fall too. In fact, she goes bonkers over you. Much more energetic now that the muggy, humidity is gone. Ah yes, that's right she is also a big time hunting dog, even if we don't really hunt.

What does she hunt? Well it's her mission to find every last squirrel and chipmunk and make sure they never come down from the trees.

So far so good. Now to just get her to come back after she finishes her chase....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Video Review from Betty Mountain Girl

You may remember my three part review of the LL Bean Women's Calypso Kayak a few months back. Well, I really lucked out with this great opportunity to discuss my likes and dislikes (mainly likes!) of the Calypso for this recent video on LL Bean's website.

One Girl's Ride

Does the video location look familiar? You may recognize it from some of my previous posts. It's Pillsbury State Park in NH. Lovely. Quiet. Loads of trails to bike and hike on, not to mention the kayaking.

Anyway, please do check out the video! I'm very excited about it. Cheers.

Paddle on the water

Choose a single speed or a single speed will choose you

I’ve been starting to wonder lately. I’ve been wondering- if you don’t get on the bandwagon and choose a single speed will a single speed just choose you?

This is when I said frig it

Single speeding. You didn’t buy in did you? I didn’t either. The theory seems good. Darn good right? Stronger legs, fiercer climbs, the nods from all your riding buds- well, she’s doing it all on a single speed.

But… I didn’t buy or make a single speed. Mainly because I’m not that handy and I didn’t have the cash to fork over for a pre-made model. Instead, I just continued riding my riding the trails and roads on my trusty two wheel, multi geared rigs. Turns out that the bikes must have been talking and they decided to plant one of them with me.

That’s right. A single speed. My road bike decided it would be wicked cool to just stay in one gear even though I was only 18.8 miles from home with only a few dozen killer steep hills to go.

“Okay,” I thought up the first hill. “I can do this. It will be just like riding a single speed. Just like I keep saying that I want to try."

Well near the top of the third or fourth hill, when I still hadn’t really recovered from the first hill in the heavy gears, I was starting to think, “f…..f….forget about single speeding. Give me my darned gears back!”

Ah well, looks like I’ll be mainly mountain biking for a while now.

Monday, September 21, 2009

We're Still Here

Walking Misty Fall

Sorry for the unexpected break. We'll be back posting our adventures this week!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Floating Away

Oh, yes summer, and the little glimpses of sunlight that we saw this summer are on their way out.

Floating Away

We've managed to continue getting out even though we've had big schedule changes. Once things have carried on for a few weeks I am hoping to have it all ironed out. It looks like that for the fall at least I will be getting out of work early enough to squeeze a daylight bike ride in.

Sorry for the sporadic posts the past week. We should be back to regular scheduled programming shortly.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Daily Mile

Even though I've seen similar online workout trackers online- none of them have really bitten me the way the Daily Mile has. Thanks to Bike Carson - who also nicely included me in his most recent Friday Link Love post (thanks!) I've started a Daily Mile for me and Misty.

I know, sort of cheesy to have one for my dog, but it really makes Adam crack up laughing when I post to it. I mean really laugh. Really. Hard. There really must be something wrong with that guy. It's actually inspired him to take the dog on a walk without me- so this Daily Mile thing must have sort of Kharma thingy jingy.

You'll even be able to note my not so thrilling mileage, which honestly this time of year, I am just psyched to be out riding still. Typically once fall rolls around I just get way too busy with boring old regular life to keep up with my real interests.

Monday, September 7, 2009

How to Shave Your Legs Outside

I'm not a very high maintenance girl. In fact, I really pride myself in being low maintenance and down to earth. But, on long cycling trips, backpacking, or regular old camping trips I eventually get down right embarrassed enough of the Sasquatch legs to bring along a razor.

Here is the skinny on staying smooth:

Ultra Light Method

I'm all about cutting weight where ever possible, but I now bring along the shaving supplies. It's just one of those sanity things for me now. Most people I run into decide to forgo the shaving while on trips. Since my trips aren't up Everest- I bring a razor.

Regular Old Razor

If you've ever been really out in the wilderness you may have tried this simple option. I find it annoying and cumbersome though. First off is the water- find a little bucket, plastic bag, or bottle to drag with you into the woods. Next off is the positioning. Leg on a stump? Okie dokie. What to do for shaving cream since I may be crazy enough to bring a razor, but I ain't carrying a can of cream- go with Mountain Suds. Not perfect, but they'll work.

The Modern Shaving Solution

I find the shaving option that works the best, hands down, is Shick Intuition. It's a little bulky and certainly adds some extra weight, but it's easy to use in a pinch- whether it be the woods, the campsite, or the type of shower where you are afraid to put anything down.

Basically it has the soap already on the razor, so you get to skip the extra step and weight.

My other solution is to make sure I am good and exhausted. If the day involves fourteen miles backpacking or maybe a 75 mile cycling day, I'm good no matter how my legs look.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Women's Outdoor Clothing

We've got a great thread about women's clothing design going over on over here at Mountain Hardwear's fun site. But I thought I'd elaborate more on women's clothing design gone really bad...or really well.

The story I was telling on that thread involved a outerwear shell being too short (an unnamed brand). While my torso is pretty normal sized I still find that women's jackets are sometimes too short. Mainly because the trend the past few years has been to show "butt cleavage" and unfortunately many outdoor companies started designing their tops shorter and their pants with a lower rise.

Ugg, I mean really who wants to think about their undies while playing outside?

Anyway, we were doing a winter hike up Mt Lafayette in New Hampshire. Pretty popular, semi tame mountain. Every year people get stuck or lost out there.

Betty Mountain Girl

Winter Hiking not on Lafayette

When we got above treeline the wind was sustained around 40 mph (we checked when we got home) with gusts of over 60 mph. I like to call winds at 25-35 annoying, 35-45 difficult, and above that I have significant trouble standing up right.

Misty on Piper Mountain

Misty having absolutely no trouble given she has four legs

Given those winds and the temp already in the single digits, we were dealing with some significant cold. Wearing full winter gear that I've used successfully in many challenging weather conditions- I was all covered up- except for my new jacket. Face protected, ski goggles, layers of hand protection. The few bits of skin my fellow climbers had exposed turned white instantly.

Piper Mountain

The whole time we were above treeline I was constantly having to pull my jacket down. The short size combined with the wind was making it fly around everywhere. When we got below treeline, I realized how itchy the line was between my jacket and pants. Further investigation led me to realize that I had a nice thin band of frost nip around my stomach from exposure to the temps.

Piper Mountain
I think that sign says something like- bring your mittens

Stinkin jacket. By the way- it wasn't Mt Hardwear. In case you were wondering.

So what about you? Features you like or don't like? I'm afraid I have quite a list. Like elastic around cuffs- yucky. Give me straps that are sturdy any day.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reasons to Not Unzip Your Tent

Take it from me. If you have the following happen to you- DO NOT UNZIP YOUR TENT. Instead try to go back to sleep.

Hanging Food from Bears

It sounds like it is pouring outside, but you are not sure.

You hear rustling outside and realize that you've left your food bag out.

You can actually hear the swarm of mosquitoes outside the tent.

You hear lots of footsteps outside in an area known to have Sasquatch sightings.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I recently read Outside Magazine’s article about the fittest real athletes and was completely inspired. I love that they sought out us everyday regular peeps. Regular folks carving out the time to become exceptional athletes and placing pretty darned well in their sports.

While reading, I started to notice a trend among each of these athletes. They all seem to recognize the obstacles in their lives and realize that they have plenty of excuses, but somehow they manage to squeeze out what they need.

Mountain Bike Panda

Now I am not about to race some fantastic endurance race. In fact, I may not be racing again this season due to pure monetary expense of it, but I felt like culling together a list of my excuses. If I lay them all out and take a good look- they look pretty darned ridiculous.

My excuses:

Long commute
Rigorous graduate program
Hard to bring two meals a day (what!?)
Need to do more homework
Need to be perfect
Too dark
Too windy or cold
Too far from safe roads to ride on (what!?)

So what are your excuses? Feel like sharing? I’m already working on ways to knock these excuses over.

Jamis Women’s Satellite Road Bike (Satellite Femme) Product Review- On the Road Report

As I mentioned in my initial Jamis Women’s Satellite Review, I went with Jamis because I’ve ridden their mountain bikes before and they make decent trail bikes. The real question was could I find speed and comfort from one road bike and would the Jamis Satellite be the one? Here are some more thoughts from recent road rides.

Jamis Women’s Satellite Road Bike

Jamis Women’s Satellite Road Bike Speed

Coming from primarily mountain biking, it’s no surprise that the Jamis Women’s Satellite feels pretty darned fast to me.

The Satellite comes in at under 22 pounds. Sure it isn’t carbon fiber light, but that’s because this bike is steel. Steel essentially absorbs more of the road so that your body doesn’t have to. My little aluminum Miyata road bike really made me realize how important comfort can be while riding. (More on comfort to come) I think if you aren’t planning on racing road, speed wise the Satellite works.

Jamis Women’s Satellite Road Bike Women’s Specific Details

Okay, I still have a lot to tell you about this bike. How it rides for touring (I took this on my 300 mile recent trip), comfort, and overall thoughts. But….I’m not really sure I am sold on how women’s specific this bike is.

The easiest, most basic way to weasel your way to a women road biker’s heart is to work on the handlebars. These handlebars are the same for men (Ritchey BioMax II Road 31.8mm) which sort of makes me think they didn’t really do research on women. Ideally you want a handlebar with smaller overall diameter for easier holding, a little bit narrower overall, and with drops that are adjusted with this all of this into account. The handlebars are fine though. Let me state that. But you know what? I’ve been riding bikes made specifically for men my whole life, so it is sort of hard to get picky now.

Also the brakes and the shifters are very far away and are impossible to reach while in the drops. This can likely be fixed if you go to the right shop and see if they can help it fit you better.

Jamis Women’s Satellite Road Bike

Please Read More

Don’t take my women’s specific vent to heart quite yet if you are thinking about this bike. I’m actually really liking it so far. It’s just that, well, you’ve heard me say it before. Many companies create a smaller version of their most popular men’s bikes and sell them as women’s specific, femme, what-have-you when really these bikes were never specifically designed for women in mind. This bike would be a perfect example of that.

I think this bike rates pretty high for speed and comfort even if it doesn’t have female specific geometry. I’ll be summing all this up with a list of pros and cons as well. Please check back in for the final review.

Jamis Women’s Satellite Road Bike

Disclaimer: Product Reviews are based on opinion only and are not intended to condone, encourage, or promote a product. Some products are sent to me by the manufacturer or affiliates and are mine to keep. I mention this specifically on products sent to me. Compensation and/or product and/or services never interfere with the review of the product. Otherwise, products and services are purchased by me for personal use. Bike was purchased by me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why should Betty Mountain Girl Get to be Part of Specialized Trail Crew?

Spinning two wheels, kicking up mud, riding through a rock garden followed by a wet bridge followed by an awkwardly placed root, slightly slanted to the side. Having to put my foot down. For. Like. A. Second. I’ll admit it.

I’m not the super fastest. But I race. Last year I came in second in the women’s novice category for the season. We’re surprisingly friendly to each other while riding.

I’m not the president of my local NEMBA branch (New England Mountain Bike Association). But I’ve led the occasional ride and I never miss my group rides or big festivals.

What I do is ride. A lot. What I like to ride is technical cross country, but I am game for whatever I find. My favorite rides are where we are all stopped to catch our breath and I kick us off again with, “watch this.”

It can be pretty muddy, pretty sketchy, pretty rough, very not pretty. Sometimes I even swear when I ride (just a little). Oh yes, and I ride it all in a skirt.

Snapping shots. Blogging. Twittering. Betty Mountain Girl

I love biking

View from Above

Mountain Biking Plank Bridge
I ride, I bike, I Conquer

Still Happy

What's this all about? Click here for deets.

Whole Body Fitness

Early Morning Hiking

Lately, my chronically tight hips have been really bothering me. That and my little knee issue. I damaged my knee on a bad mountain bike spill ten years ago. I somehow manage to keep it from flaring up by avoiding. I avoid anything with impact. This means I can't run and that hiking has to be done carefully and in small doses.

At the same time, I am really seeing that I can't keep avoiding sports that I love. I need to really find a way to continue doing these things. That has led my thinking to a lot about whole body fitness.

One winter I worked with a personal trainer every month. And she was damn good. She had me doing lots of functional strength training and doing movements I typically wouldn't dare do for fear of knee injury flare up. But doing carefully controlled movements like these helped strengthen my knee and hip- and that wasn't even the point of all the training.

The point is, I felt better than I had ever felt. My hips didn't bother me, my knee didn't bother me, and I was able to run. I ran all winter without any problems.

Now I live in a different area so I can't use the same personal trainer, but these injury flare ups are really inspiring me to start a functional strength training routine. I recently read this article in Men's Journal, which discusses how athletes over train some muscle groups while ignoring others. Being primarily a cyclist I am completely guilty of this. All I do is ride. Maybe a walk here and there, but mainly just ride. And my core? Forget about it. It doesn't exist.

So finding great strength training routines is a new goal for me. Currently, I am trying a routine from Women's Running that focuses on building knee strength to prevent injury. Basically it strengthens all the major muscle groups. Women's Health and Fitness magazine has many routines available online so I will share those with you when I move onto a new one in about three weeks.

Here's to a stronger body.