After just returning from a race outside of Mexico City near Valle de Bravo I was reminded of the importance of hydration. Dehydration is amplified when you go to high elevation, like this weekend where I was sleeping at 6,000 feet and racing above 9,000 feet. Many people confuse dehydration with altitude sickness. There are a few keys ways to ward off dehydration as you head into the mountains to race and train.Read More
It's 92 degrees in the blistering sun. The Northeast did nothing to prepare us for this. Sweat dripping from every inch of our bodies, we assemble during halftime in the shade. Panting, slumped on the ground, begging for water and Gatorade, no one says a word.Read More
It’s May here in Vermont, which means that the sun is shining, the trees are breaking from their buds, and the Green Mountains are turning green again. But best of all, mud season is almost over. The roads no longer resemble pig slop more than dirt. And the woods have lost their snow and the biking trails are almost completely clear.
As I think about getting back on my Cannondale mountain bike (thanks Crested Butte Sports) this spring, I’ve been thinking about my twenty-two years on a mountain bike, which has led me to thinking about my favorite bike areas in America. And I’ve been lucky. I started biking in the early 90s (yup, I’m old) in Colorado and Utah. But I’ve gotten to ride in Idaho and Washington, New Mexico, Montana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and now Vermont. Maybe some other states as well. I also write about sports for (part of) my living. I’m the creative editor for Backcountry Magazine (okay, this link might be more interesting). So I get paid to play in the backcountry and to write about it.
Here at the Garuka blog, I'll be writing over the next five months about some of my favorite bike areas across America. Then I'll move on to my favorite backcountry ski areas once the weather turns cold. But we'll leave those chilly thoughts for later.
This month I’ll share two honorable mentions. One you’ve probably never heard of. The other you probably know well even if you’ve never visited it.
Honorable Mention 1: Moscow Mountain, Moscow, Idaho:
In 2002, I moved to Moscow, Idaho for graduate school. I brought along my mountain bike, but soon realized that if I wanted to bike, I had to drive to Coeur d’Alene or Sandpoint for any decent riding. Back then, Moscow Mounain, a small ridgeline mountain just outside of the town had plenty of logging roads but almost no trails.
But Moscow Area Mountain Bike Association was hard at work turning the thick duff of Moscow Mountain to trails. And each year they developed more and more trails on privately owned Moscow Mountain. Not only did they build trails upon trails, but they also convinced private landowners to let us dirty mountain bikers use their trails. Some of my favorite days were spent biking with former pro biker, Anna Fortner.
the time I left Moscow, MAMBA had built thirty or forty miles of trails across
Moscow Mountains. Enough to keep me busy for weeks and weeks. And the trails
were smooth and windy and fast and sometimes you’d see lilies and other times you’d see
moose and you could bike from April through October.
Honorable Mention 2: Moab, Utah:
Could Moab be #1 on any mountain biking list? Sure. It might be the best mountain biking in the country. Then why isn’t it that high on this list? Because it’s on so many other lists that I thought it would be fun to explore some new territory and because Moab is getting crazier and crazier with tourists and with bikers. I first bike Moab out in the early 90s when there were almost no bikers. Now it’s bike heaven, but when I went back two summers ago I found it pretty overrun.
But what is there to love about Moab? It’s got great and varied biking. A stunning desert landscape. Grippy slickrock that lets you climb almost up any rock wall. Beginners terrain and expert terrain. Rides that go along huge cliff walls and rides that cross arches and iconic slickrock rides.
For after-biking, it also has one of the grand daddies of breweries: Eddie McStiff’s, which opened up my first year of riding Moab, 1991. That's amazingly old for any brewery, and shocking for a Utah brewery. And there’s always the two national parks (Arches and Canyonlands), the Colorado River for hot days, the great rock climbing just outside of town, and Woody’s Famous Tavern, if you need a cheap beer on a hot day like I do.
Next month, we'll head to a place near Moab for a dream bike adventure, but to find out where that is, you'll have to return in June...
Section 504 states: If a US school offers a sports program, then it has to be open to all abilities.
Now that is cool! This will allow individuals with disabilities equal access to sports and recreational opportunities previously not available. There will be less discrimination based on ability levels and more inclusion. Parents with children who have a disability will no longer have to hire a lawyer to get their kids onto the track team. Empowerment will happen for kids at a younger age.
“My family never told me that I couldn’t do or what was off-limits. They just sat back and found out what was possible. Growing up with a disability doesn’t bring with it a sense of shame or self-doubt; it’s only when we learn to interpret the faces of the people around us, or when our environment offers no chance of interacting on an ordinary level, that we learn such things.” -Australian Paralympian Kurt Fearnley’s Australian Day Address
So now what? Will schools go out and buy a fleet of wheelchair basketball chairs? Will amputees be allowed on the soccer team? Well, sort of.
What needs to happen next:
Adaptive Sports Programs: The adaptive sports community has a job to do to educate school districts on just how adaptable different sports are and how with such small changes a larger number of individuals will become active. Check out what one school district in Minnesota has been doing since 1992.
General Public: There has to be education for the
general public (check out my site, Mpower Sports and Recreation) so it's made clear that providing equal access
for all to sport isn’t going to cost tax payers huge sums of money or be a
liability. Two former US Paralympians put it best here.
Individuals with Disabilities: People need to get active and into the game! If you are a parent with a child with a disability, talk with them about what sport they really want to get involved in, then go talk with your school's administrators and get them signed up. If they have questions about how to adapt sports direct them to Mpower Sports and Recreation and have them contact me directly.
Can’t wait to see you all on the (level) playing field!
Rob Mueller is a Chapter Services Manager for Disabled Sports USA, the founder of Mpower Sports and Recreation, and a lifelong advocate of adaptive sports.
The pre-workout meal is probably one of the most important parts of your workout routine and the most commonly ignored. Even if you are hitting the gym, trail, box, or road in order to lose a few extra pounds, your pre-workout meal is key to your overall performance and health. Why, you ask?Read More
Every year we donate 1% of our revenues to the International Gorilla Conservation Programme. Now, we're a small company, and our contributions aren't millions of dollars, but thanks to all of you, they are growing. And also thanks to all of you, so is the mountain gorilla population! While still considered critically endangered, the population has grown from 786 in 2010 to 880 in 2012. We're proud to have been part of this success and you should be too!Read More
A recent trip into Volcanoes National Park by the Gorilla Doctors, an interntaional non-profit focused on providing healthcare to the critically endangered mountain gorilla population, provided us with this extraordinary profile photo of Garuka himself. Mountain gorillas like Garuka live deep in the cloud forests of politically unstable regions of western Africa, so we are very fortunate to be able to share such an up-close photo with you via our friends at the International Gorilla Conservation Program and the Gorilla Doctors.Read More
I was so proud to find out that the first Spartan Race event was held in our home State of Vermont in 2010 at the Catamount Outdoor Center in Williston, Vermont, and that the Spartan Race company is also based out of Vermont. Today Spartan Races take place all over the U.S, Canada, England, and are now even expanding to other countries as well.Read More
On August 25, 2012, after about 4 hours of labor, Yuan Yuan pulled off her second healthy, naturally conceived birth. The animal science community was awed in 2010 when she had her first naturally conceived twins, and given pandas' difficult reproduction record, they were absolutely ecstatic when she had another baby last week. The blind, toothless, newborn's gender will be unknown for about 2 more months as it begins to develop.Read More
It seems like competition is everywhere these days. The Olympics are (still) getting more coverage than ever, our own home state was recently host to US Triathlon Nationals, and every other Facebook update is about who did what ridiculously difficult obstacle race or incredibly high altitude long distance run. Our innate drive to test ourselves has led us to new and certainly more elaborate types of competition, but it still all boils down to one thing: who can exert the most control over their body and mind in the face of challenge.Read More
"Air Jaw Apocalypse" premiered on the Discovery Channel last Sunday (August 12, 2012) as part of a returned "Air Jaws" series featuring powerful shark attacks breaching waters in slow motion. This particular episode featured a great white shark called "Colossus" (what a perfect name) and some newer technologies that have come into play for researching ocean behavior - more specifically great white shark behavior. I'm not sure if I was more intrigued by Colossus or by the new technology and means they went through to get the footage.Read More
The Vermont Tourism Department is following Sweden's and the Netherland's examples of national Twitter accounts! The State of Vermont is going to be the first of our country to hand over a shared Twitter account to it's citizens. Each week a lucky Vermonter will be selected to be the author of @ThisIsVT on Twitter to personally boast all about why they love our little Green Mountain State.Read More
The caves we're talking about are nothing like Bruce Wayne's secret headquarters, filled with bat-mobiles and gadgets to fight enemies like The Joker. In this case we're talking about white fungus filled caves, a fungus that's a fatal enemy to North American bats and a known problem for Vermont, along with 15 other states and 4 Canadian provinces.Read More
After watching this TIME Magazine video, I couldn't help but feel as though I finally saw a glimpse of reality for my hope in the world's conservation efforts. To my surprise, I found out that the global population of mountain gorillas (a critically endangered species) is up 124 from roughly 660, which was the population at the last census count, nine years ago. An increase in their population like that shows that something positive is taking place.Read More
This summer, we can rejoice in welcoming yet another hometown brewery into the family – the Fiddlehead Brewing Company. In the upcoming months, owner and veteran brewer Matt Cohen (most recently of Magic Hat Brewing) hopes to revive a Vermont tradition of brewing sap beer out of his small Shelburne brewery.Read More
The eastern Amazon is home to the 300 surviving members of the Awa tribe, a people so ancient and remote that one-third of their ranks have never been in contact with the outside world. Like so many other inhabitants of the Amazon Basin before them, the Awa are facing extinction. Although they do not occupy a nation-state on their own, they are a one of a kind ethnocultural group at the cusp of being wiped off the planet – is this not genocide?Read More
The first nuclear power plant in the United States was built in 1968 – the average lifespan of plant is 40 years. That means a lot of nuclear reactors across the country are nearing their decommission dates, and the nation should watch closely, because what happens in Vermont may set a precedent for other states’ expiring nuclear plants.Read More
Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park, and its almost 2 million acres inarguably contain the most biodiverse regions of the continent. Even though the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named it a World Heritage Site of outstanding universal value, the harsh reality is that its high alpine snowfields, lush rain forests, dense swamps, and vast savannas are facing constant dangers on multiple fronts.Read More
In the coming weeks, Vermont lawmakers need to decide whether or not they will allow Genetically Engineered (GE/GMO) foods to be labeled and sold in Vermont as “All Natural.” Or as some people are stating it, Vermont needs to decide if it’s ready to be sued by Monsanto for standing up for Vermont values. This isn’t the first time Vermont politics have played a part on a national level, and Vermont’s decision here will likely set a precedent for agricultural legislation nationwide as they are poised to be the first state to pass a law on this issue.Read More
Imagine running a 150 mile, self-supported (that means no help) race, all the while being at a minimum elevation of 1.4 miles above sea level. And oh yeah, day time highs can easily surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while it’s not uncommon to see the night time temps dip well below zero. Welcome to the Atacama Crossing.Read More