Steamboat Biking

“Do you think you are up for another ride?” Rob asked me this, but I could tell from his eyes that he wasn’t up for another ride that day. I know I sure wasn’t. We had ridden all of the trails on the mountain, including the new trails on Pony Express Ridge and Creekside – some of the best rides that I have done all year- but all I wanted to do was lie down and eat everything in sight. We settled for elk burgers and ice cream, but were eager to get back to the trails the next day.   



It wasn’t like I hadn’t ridden in Steamboat before. Just last summer Rob and I rode a ton of trails, including the truly epic Divide Trail, where you get to end the trail at the base of the mountain for a cold beer. Before that, I had explored most of the in town trail network with my brother, ending each foray with a swim in in the Yampa River.


But Steamboat keeps upping the ante. There were miles of new trails on Howelsen and one more epic loop we wanted to check off the list. We managed the Howelsen lap the next day – the NPR (no pedaling required) downhill was fun and flowy with confidence inspiring tabletops and supportive berms, but saved the best for last.

Fish Creek falls is a special place. On river left, a bunch of epic winter sidecountry runs come down. For those powdery turns, you need to really know where you are going, else you end up at the top of a hundred foot cliff and a very expensive evacuation. The lower section of the falls itself is run at high water by only the most extreme kayakers. On river right is a hiking trail that happens to be open to bikers. I think that is the best way to describe it. In order to access the trail on a bike, Rob and I biked up the ski area, a serious endeavor, as the winding road had just had a new layer of soft gravel put down making most of the switchback impossible. Once at the top, we traversed along the Divide Trail, and took the turn towards the Falls Trail.

Note the hammock near the falls!

The trail started off innocently enough, if not a little overgrown, then a few technical sections started cropping up. Pretty soon the technical sections at the top seemed easy compared to the ones we were hitting now. Hikers started cropping up once we were in sight of the river, wondering how in the world bikers had managed to get up there. One exclaimed, “That takes balls!” as Rob rolled down another steep slab of chunder.

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Towards the falls the exposure got a bit much for me, and I spent a lot of that section hike-a-biking, but the views were wondrous and easier to look at when I wasn’t giving my handlebars the death grip. The ride ended with a spin from town back home, and even though we were ending another Steamboat visit, we hadn’t even touched the new Buff Pass Trails. Just another reason to keep coming back!

Secret Spot

This may not be a huge secret, but my family didn’t move out to Colorado until I was 8. Up until then, I was a bit of an oddball in NJ. I preferred toolboxes to purses and kickball to gossiping. After school I would swim in the lake behind our house or dig in the mud with my brother, leading to a tug-of-war between said mud pit and one of my brother’s shoes. (The mud pit won, and there will be a fossilized Nike running shoe in a century.)


In the NJ world where lawns are manicured and the houses are packed in tight, it is hard to find a peaceful outdoors space. I was really lucky. Long time Pines Lake residents, John and Dorothy Knippenberg owned a 30 acre lot a few houses down from us and made it into a beautiful arboretum originally known as Laurelwood Gardens. It was full of great wood chipped paths, beautiful exotic trees, and hideouts where I could just sit and daydream. It became my workout arena during the summers, and the best place to walk the dog.


Towards the end of her life Dorothy donated the land to the town, making it an official park. The arboretum had a large burl that they were saving for display. My parents suggested that they have a bowl turned for the education center, and they knew someone to take on the project; I instantly signed up. Luckily I was able to find a lathe to turn the bowl and finish it, but the best part was crashing one of their volunteer meetings and presenting  the bowl to Jojo, the lead arborist. Just look at the smiles all around.



I know this moment can’t even begin to give back all the magic that Laurelwood Arboretum has given to me, but hopefully it can inspire some magic for others.


Dad Board Part 1

Rob was off throwing his brother’s bachelor party, so I headed east in order to help my dad build a SUP. You may remember this story from a while ago – like 4 years ago. Freshman year of college I cut out the pieces for my dad to build a SUP. Each summer, my dad finished a step or two, but enough was enough – it was time to finish the project.

The other goal of the trip was to visit with my grandparents. Along with gluing the top of the board together late at night,


sup bldg w Hellen

I was able to sneak in some quality NYC time. We went to a Broadway show (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time), walked in the park; I got my butt kicked by my grandmother’s pilates class, and did some pajama yoga (the best king of yoga).





Back to the SUP, we recruited neighbors, friends, and even my grandfather for extra hands putting the thing together. It was a whirlwind blast of a trip, but you will be seeing DadBoard on the water soon!







The Great Move

Rob and I made some moves. We left behind the gorgeous Teton range, packed up and landed just 4.5 hours away in Park City, Utah. A big challenge was leaving behind the bike trails that wind their way through Cache Creek right out our old backyard. Another was saying goodbye to friends, biking and skiing buddies, at least until our next visit. 


We landed an incredible apartment, but quickly learned that there were still a few things that we needed. Pots? Pans? Tupperware? Food? Spices? Yeah, we had some work to do. Finally, we set up the kitchen, and we were able to cook everything! The first thing to come out of the oven? Cookies, of course!


Next up was the entryway. I wanted a table to store shoes, and a place to put things down – your basic entryway table. I couldn’t find anything suitable for under $80, so I figured I would just build it myself. I started off with a trip to the recycling center – you would be surprised with what you can find for sale if your recycling center has a resale store. The one in Steamboat is incredible. The one in Park City wasn’t bad either, and I found all the lumber I needed for about ten bucks.

Next, I cut all the pieces out on the porch with a circular saw (having pretty serious miter saw envy right now), then put it all together. Rob wanted drawers, so I compromised by building in a shelf for drawer boxes that I would build later. To get the finish I wanted, I painted the whole thing black.


Then sanded and put on brown stain.


I later made the drawers, finished with polyurethane and moved the table into place. I think it adds a nice Lorin Paley slightly improved look to the place? What do you think?


With the house all set up, we began organized our attached storage unit. Rob piggybacked power for more lights out of the single light bulb fixture, and I made a space saving bike hanger. With a few magnetic strips and shelves, the place was up to standard. Now we just need to explore the bike trail right out the back door.



Spring is a great time to get after trailwork. It is easy to see drainage issues, the ground hasn’t become summer cement and there aren’t any bugs! Last fall Rob and I did a bunch of work on the Skyline Trail in Jackson, and now that the snow has melted, it looks like we are going to have another go at it!

Axes, and Hoes Oh My!

How do you get involved in trailwork, you ask? A lot of trailwork, you can do without any tools. See a stick on the trail that is waiting to eat someone’s derailleur? Throw it out of the way! If there is a small tree across the trail and you happen to own a silky saw (the best things ever) and carry it with you (I do in the spring), you can make easy work of it. For drainage and larger trees, it is best to find the facebook group that covers that section of trail and make a trailwork party out of a section. Everyone loves cold beers and getting their hands dirty making the biking world a better place. Plus the next time you shralp that section of trail, you will just know. Trust me.

These guys know