Mountain Mama Mountain Bikes DuPont

first_img“We sat down with a blank piece of paper and drew out our ideal life,” Eva Surls says as she turns her Sprinter van loaded with our mountain bikes into Dupont State Forest.I like her already. That combination of dreamer and take charge attitude in order to create a life conjured from one’s imagination is exactly the type of person I strive to be, it’s a characteristic I admire most in friends.The sun warms my elbow sticking out of the passenger seat window and the first blue sky in a week makes even a non-singer like me want to belt out a few Jack Johnson lyrics.I’ve just met Eva and don’t want to scare her off so instead I ask her more about how the Bike Farm, the base camp she owns with her husband, Cashion Smith, that caters to bikers wanting to explore the area.“We knew we wanted a piece of property big enough for friends and family to stay, and the concept evolved from there.”Eva parks at the trailhead for – and checks my fit on the bike. Before we start riding, she quizzes me on the front and rear brake and demonstrates the ready stance.We coast down a gravel road and she looks over her shoulder, her long braid off to one side, and says, “Elbows pointed out and heels down.”Eva stops before in front of the trail and talks a little about how to find the right gear for climbing and explains about shifting from the front to back of my seat depending on the steepness of the terrain.I follow her over some roots and then we turn back around and try it again to find a different line.After our second climb she reminds me to look ahead where I want to go instead of fixating on my front tire.Midway up she says, “Remember to look ahead at where you want to go.”I pick up my glance, which has been fixated on my front tire for the past few minutes, amazed at her to know where I’m looking given that she’s riding in front.We happily chat about trail running, dogs (her), and kids (me), as we ride by the river flowing below.Eva lets me know that the trail becomes more technical ahead. We climb over some more roots and negotiate some turns before the trail dips and we ride over the biggest root yet.Scared, I put my foot down right on top of the gigantic root, seemingly guarding the top of the hill.Eva stops her bike and says, “Good job getting this far. This root is bigger than the rest. Given what I’ve seen you ride so far, I know you can do it. Let’s session it for a bit.”I watch her ride it a few times and studying the way she stops pedaling a few feet in front of it, how she eases her grip from the handlebars as she approaches the root and how she presses her peddle a slight turn forward to keep her momentum once she’s crested it.Then it’s my turn. Eva is smaller in stature than me and she makes it look effortless so I figure I’ll be able to do it too.My first go I hit the root square on, my pelvis throbbing from the impact.The second time I stand there, hesitant with the realization that indecision could lead to physical pain. Eva tells me to take a minute to collect myself and take a deep breath.I think of my four-year-old son.Right now he would say, “Mama, be brave at this root.”He has this thing of misusing prepositions in a way I find adorable so I don’t correct it. Besides, it lends a certain insight that I often miss. He realizes that we don’t have to be brave globally, in all situations, that it’s enough to pick one very specific thing and direct all the courage we can muster toward that.I tell myself I will be brave at the root as I ride and shift my weight in time so that my front wheel climbs over the wheel but then hit my pedal on the side of the root. The same thing happens the next dozen tries.I keep focusing on my line, on where I’m looking, on where my feet are, and my body weight.On my last go it all comes together. I approach the root at the right angle and unweight my front tire, while still keeping my gaze ahead. Once I’m over it, I pedal forward.“I did it!” I say at the same time that Eva shouts, “you did it!”I can tell from her tone that she’s as proud as I am. We high five and ride the rest of the trail.Eva echoes my son’s wisdom. “Every ride, pick one thing to work on and session it. Spend ten or fifteen minutes trying the same move.”The rest of the week I try rolling over things on my bike. It’s such a small thing, getting my tires across a rock or a root. Even so, I swell with pride ever time.As the week goes on I notice that I’m feeling more focused as I tackle a negotiation or difficult discussion in my business life, too. By keeping focused and asking myself to meet a discrete task with a courageous attitude, I’m becoming brave at life.last_img read more

Strong start for USC with weekend win

first_imgThe goal for the USC women’s swimming team is simple.“We want to win every dual meet,” senior co-captain Lyndsay DePaul said.Big push · Senior captain Lyndsay DePaul was part of a USC relay team that finished with the lowest time in the 200-yard medley. – Tim Tran | Daily Trojan The Women of Troy took the first step to accomplishing that goal Friday, defeating Oregon State 141-112 at McDonald’s Swim Stadium.A USC swimmer or team relay posted the lowest time in every event of the afternoon.“The competition today really came more from ourselves than it did from Oregon State,” USC coach Dave Salo said.The Women of Troy got off to a fast start in the day’s first event, the 200-yard medley relay. USC’s top team featured three returning All-Americans — DePaul, senior Presley Bard and junior Katinka Hosszu — and freshman Kasey Carlson. They finished in 1:40.68, nearly five seconds faster than the runners up.The same team ended the meet with the lowest time in the 400-yard freestyle relay, finishing in 3:22.63.“Our relays did great,” DePaul said.Hosszu went on to win the 200-yard butterfly in 1:56.78 and the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:14.85, while Bard finished first in the 100-yard backstroke in 54.32.DePaul posted the fastest time in the 100-yard butterfly at 53.22.The day’s biggest star, however, was sophomore Haley Anderson, who won the 200-yard (1:49.54) and 500-yard (4:48.79) freestyle events in convincing fashion.“Haley Anderson did an outstanding job,” Salo said. “She showed some real sprint speed that we didn’t think we had out of her, so she’s going to be a player.”Salo also left the meet impressed with the performances of some of his top freshmen.Freshman Meghan Hawthorne captured victories in the 200-yard individual medley (2:03.45) and the 200-yard backstroke (2:01.88), and Carlson won the 50-yard freestyle in 23.21.“It’s tough for freshmen to understand what the whole dual meet environment is like because it’s very, very quick and they’re not used to that,” Salo said. “So for freshmen to come in and win events, I think is pretty good. So we’re real happy with it.”Senior Ellie Doran won the 1,000-yard freestyle in 10:07.85, sophomore Jessica Schmitt placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:03.63, and sophomore Christel Simms won the 100-yard freestyle in 51.49.“We wanted to put up some times that anyone across the nation would look at this early in the season and know that our program is serious and is focused on being a top-five program at NCAAs this year,” Salo said. “I think we did that.”The Women of Troy will next compete at their own USC Invitational on Friday at McDonald’s Swim Stadium. Salo, however, is already looking forward to the team’s first big challenge.“Our next big push is toward Arizona, and they’ve always been one of the top three or four teams in the country the last few years,” Salo said about the Nov. 12 meet. “We want to see if we can’t mix it up with them come the beginning of November.”last_img read more