First, a bit of catch up from last week. I had an amazing week in Park City before I left for Mt. Hood. I visited babies and kids, participated in our first book club for young people meeting, challenged myself in Sufferfest, spent time with a friend and supporter from Pennsylvania who comes to town every summer for a vacation, got inspired by something some other friends did, and participated in a kids camp that I used to attend when I was a young alpine skier called, Eliteam. It was a great week. Then I headed to Mt. Hood to try and summit it with my brother, Andy, and his girlfriend, Brenna, as well as visited some good friends in Portland afterwards. Now I am in Alaska at our training camp for the next 2 weeks! I am living the life.
Baby 1: Hazel Luna Schiller. Cute as they come.
Kid 1: Josephine Dandelion Vordenberg
Baby 2: Eloise Huckleberry Vordenberg
Cute as they come and awesomely fun kids. Josie being a great sister.
Sufferfest is the USSA annual bike race up Sundance. It is a handicapped race and the first person to cross the line is the winner, rather than the person with the fastest time. It makes for a super fun race and is a really hard race. Troy, the winner, holding the trophy!
The event is followed by a DELICIOUS brunch at Sundance Resort. Here is just a small sampling of what's available. It does not suck.
Hans, one of the interns for the summer at USSA and I on the way down. Hans is a gamer and lifts with me every time I am in the gym, bikes to work every day and rocked it up this mountain too.
Jason and Hans (both in the internship program) and Bobby (men's alpine strength coach)
Jason rode the race on a mountain bike. Not the fastest or most enjoyable choice of transportation.
Matt (another intern from Florida) rode it too. It took Matt a long time and quite an effort to get up this mountain, but it was incredibly inspiring watching him never give up. You don't have to be good at everything or anything, but you HAVE to try your hardest. That's the key to life. Matt took the bull by the horns and never gave up. You rock, Matt.
Cork and his girlfriend, Jessie, were our timers and cheering squad for the day!
The crew at the top cheering people on.
Most of us went down and rode with Matt for the last couple miles of his ride to keep pushing him and encouraging him. He rocked this day and it was really cool to see the camaraderie of the USSA staff, athletes, and fellow interns come together.
It's a hard climb, that's for sure.
Agility with Eliteam. Eliteam is a kids camp that focuses on inspiring kids to be the best they can be, having fun with sport, pushing through what is challenging and learning to ask more from your body and mind than is easily accessible. It is run by Doug Lewis and his wife, Kelly, who were both Olympians and are both kids at heart. The amount of energy they bring to each session and day is unmatchable.
The kids getting into it
My good friend and supporter, Alan Hughes, was in town and it was great to catch up with him. Unfortunately our paths only crossed for a couple days, but we were able to catch up a bit and spend some time with a couple of our other friends from town who.....
....QUIT SMOKING AFTER WAY TOO MANY YEARS!!!! I am so proud of you, Chris and Liza.
Me, Alan and Liza
Me at the Rose Garden in Portland
Just one of the many beautiful blooming varieties
Andy and I walked on this trail which is a 50k trail through Forest Park, right in the center of the city. It's unreal!
The packing begins.
Brenna, Andy and I ready to head out on the adventure!
The beginning part of the hike to the base of Mt. Hood was through an old burned area with a constant view of the mountain ahead of us. I seemed to get more and more excited with each step, though I can't say that my shoulders were feeling the same excitement with the feeling of the unfamiliar, heavy pack on my back.
Andy and me
Our fearless guide!
Almost to the glacier!
First steps on snow!
Getting close to our campsite for the night.
Brenna and the Hood River Valley in the backround.
Our sleeping spot for the night! Andy had us dig a nice platform to sleep on with all the amenities needed, such as a cooking site for breakfast in bed in the morning/at midnight when we would wake up, a walking path and the most important part, a sun and wind block barrier as we would be going to bed at 7pm when the sun is very much still up.
These would be our first steps in the morning, but as it was pitch black when we began I took a picture of the route the night before.
Dinner! Chef Andy!
Our comfy bed
Andy and Brenna
Andy and I
We had an amazing trip. I had never done any sort of mountaineering before and so this was a big moment for me. I was with my brother who had become a very experienced and knowledgable guide and his girlfriend (who I also want to brag a bit about as she just finished her second year of residency in pediatrics and will be going into her third year as chief resident of her program!! Congrats Brenna!) and I was really in absolute heaven. Unfortunately it was not the reason I was worried about that we did not make it to the summit. I have a pretty real fear of heights, so I was expecting that would be the biggest challenge for me, but when we reached about 10,000 feet or so, I was hit with debilitating nausea and light headedness and we had to come down. I hated to stop Brenna and Andy from summiting, but when altitude sickness hits, the only thing to do is come down, so that's what we did. I cannot wait to try again for the summit, and they were both really cool about the whole situation, saying, "This mountain isn't going anywhere." which I really appreciated. Thanks Andy and Brenna for a life changing experience for me and the wonderful company. I cannot wait to try for the summit again with you both next year.