31 Days of Mountain Biking in Pictures

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Palo Duro Canyon Texas

31 days. 4 states. 200+ miles.

In July I did the 30 day ride challenge hosted by Trailforks and Anthill Films. The challenge was simple: ride each day, including at least one full trail as mapped on Trailforks.

Tijeras, New Mexico trails

3 Bottles – Tijeras, NM

My month started off with lots of rides close to home. Luckily, I live close to some of the best mountain biking trails in New Mexico.

I tried to ride some different trails and extend my reach a bit, but there were also a lot of days when I just rode my favorite loop.

I can’t actually ride this section of trail, but I thought if I took a picture of my bike here, people would think I could ride it and that’s the important thing, right?
Here’s another picture of the same section, different day.

While I still can’t ride one difficult section of my fave trail, by the end of the month, I did get to where I could ride the entirety of the rest of the trail which felt like a huge accomplishment.

The section I can’t ride from the other side. I think I have a disproportionate number of pictures of this section because it’s where I always have to stop and get off my bike.
A section that I can ride, but didn’t used to be able to ride, which makes me happy. The rocks in the trail that look little from this perspective sort of freak me out every time even though I’ve gotten to where I can ride over them like a champ and it’s actually not that hard if I don’t think about it too much.
I hit this trail the day after a hard rain.

One thing I’ve noted before about New Mexico is that our roads and our waterways tend to be one and the same. This means it’s a really good thing it doesn’t rain that often.

Out in the desert, we just drive in the arroyos which are normally dry and our towns and cities generally lack good flood planning so when it rains, the streets just flood. Now, I have come to realize that this might also apply to bike trails.

A random picture I (probably accidentally) took of the forest floor. I feel like I can smell the fresh scent of pine trees just looking at it.
Tall trees. <3
Bicycle selfie isn’t the right term, but it’s the one that comes to mind. These are like a thing on social media. A weird thing that I now participate in.
This is a couple of miles from my house and when I see it, I think how fortunate I am to live where I do. (Granted, it didn’t happen by accident. We were very intentional about finding a house in the mountains.)
Just a trail in the woods.

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

I also made a trip to visit an old friend and some family. So I took my bike along and made some people babysit B for me each day so I could go ride. Priorities, right?

This trail was fun, and I wanted to explore the area more. Maybe next summer…
Colorado is my home state and this made me miss it. I felt fortunate to get to ride there for a few days.

Farmington, New Mexico

What is there to say?

Farmington is my other hometown. My mom lives there and I went to college there. But I didn’t mountain bike when I lived there, so the excellent mountain bike trails were something of a surprise. A pleasant one.

This made me homesick.

I was out to ride early on the two days I went on these trails and the sunrises were amazing. Also, sweeping views and bushes that smell like home. And crazy fun bike trails. Not the gnarly, rocky, hardcore trails I’m used to. Smooth, flowy, trails with little bitty hills that are just big enough to be a ton of fun but not a ton of work to pedal up.

One of the joys of this challenge was biking in places I wouldn’t have otherwise tried. Most of the time when I travel, I leave my bike at home, but I may rethink that.

Aztec, New Mexico

Just past sunrise.

I also went for one ride outside of Aztec, New Mexico: The Alien Run. It was a blast. I’m totally riding it again next time I’m in the area.

I like gnarly trees.
The sandstone parts of the trail had little green UFOs to mark the way.
I love all the sandstone features. So deserty feeling and a big change from what I normally ride.
I came across this dream catcher made from a bicycle tire.
The sandstone bits were fun, but a challenge for my brain to get used to.

After my trip, I returned home for a few days and then it was off on another adventure. This time for work, but with a bicycle stop thrown in on the journey.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

My last ride of the 30 day challenge was at Palo Duro Canyon, which has more pictures than it’s fair share for only one ride.

Hoppy enjoying the view.

I have a thing for State Parks with cabins because I wish I lived in an RV and traveled everywhere, but I don’t actually have an RV right now so I need alternative accommodations.

I’m all for tents under some circumstances, but July in Texas is not a circumstance where I’m all for living without an AC and a shower. Also, business trips and tents don’t really go that well together.

Anyway, on this trip, I was staying at the Lighthouse cabin on the rim of the canyon which made me feel a sort of obligation to make it out to my cabin’s namesake and the park icon: The Lighthouse Formation.

The Lighthouse formation
You can see the Lighthouse Formation in the background.

I was at the trailhead for this ride before the sun was up. But it was still by far the hottest ride of the month. By nine in the morning, I was totally miserable. Still, my ride through the canyon was worth it for the cool views and the neat rocks.

This rock caught my eye. I particularly like the plant growing on top.
The trail
The rock Hoppy is on looked perfect to sit on for a quick break, so I stopped. But I didn’t actually sit on the rock, I just took pictures of Hoppy sitting on it.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

So after doing the 30 day challenge, I figured I was only 1 day away from riding every day in July. So I went out for the 31st day in Tulsa.

Hoppy chilling on a rock.

I loved discovering the Turkey Mountain wilderness area because it is a great pocket of nature in the city. But I felt sad I hadn’t discovered it sooner since I’ve been traveling to Tulsa for work for the past 12 or so years.

The only downside was that it was just so humid. I am not at all used to the humidity and I suffered from it, feeling all wet and sweaty and gross and also missing the cooling effect that happens when sweat can actually evaporate.

A peak out from one of the bike trails looking at the sunrise over Tulsa.

Miscellaneous

First off, a few real selfies:

Visit outside where real stuff happens!
The Extended Bell Curve
Me, wearing another silly shirt, but since half of it is cut off, I’ll leave it out of the caption.

Fitting in a ride every day was tough. Sometimes I rode at sunrise, other times at sunset. A lot of my rides ended up being mid-day because afternoon thunderstorms ruled out the afternoons and left the trails too wet in the morning. Riding during the hottest part of the day was not my idea of ideal. But it happened and I’m so proud I rode every day.

A pic from one of my few sunset rides
Strava screenshot. The orange line shows July’s activity in comparison to the grey line below it which is June’s activity. And June, when it happened, was the most I’d ridden in a month.

This challenge was amazing. My strength and endurance improved. I lost weight. I saw some amazing places. I pushed through the days that it was tough. And I’m super pleased with myself. 🙂

My Trailforks badges awarded each day. These provided an incredible level of accountability.

15 Responses

  1. Congratulations on your challenge. Great pictures you posted! Had no idea Hoppy would be seeing so many different places.

  2. Love the bike trail photos, and of course, it is great to see Hoppy! Love you and so proud of your accomplishments. It won’t be long until B goes on easy trails with you. Good work!

  3. I love all the photos and seeing HOPPY too!!! Timber says a warm Hello, and if I ever car camp road trip again I want to stop by your neck of the woods and say hello!

  4. It was great to see you, and babysitting B was a blast! Congrats on completing the challenge. I’m proud of you. 🙂

  5. I am very impressed. This looks hard but fun. I have had cataract surgery in both eyes this month and am not very coordinated. The brain is amazed when vision changes. It is exciting to be old and have newish eyes though. You have inspired me to ride more. I pumped up my tires and did about a half mile loop last month.

    1. New eyes are amazing, but probably take some getting used to. I still remember when I got LASIK and could actually see without glasses or contacts.

      Biking is good. It’s a fun way to get out and see the world. And some of my favorite trails over this challenge were in your neck of the woods… or your slice of desert or whatever you want to call it.

      1. If I learn routes there is a way to get to the alien run from my home. I’m taking a class this fall in gps and maps, so maybe I will roam a bit farther.

        1. Next time I go ride out there I will have to stop by for a visit. I could show you the trail apps I use to find my way, too. Also, maps are fun. 🙂

          1. Very fun. I have a
            Pretty good bike (bottom of the line for real mountain bikes) and have
            Loved riding at times in my life. I’d love a visit!

        1. The fresh air and clarity really was amazing. Now I just need to figure out how to incorporate that into my ‘normal’ life. Maybe not as much of it as I got in July, but more than I was getting before that.

          I bet you’ll have so much fun exploring your new location on your bike. Maybe you’ll even get some good pictures to share!

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