Now with bonus baby bunnies!
Happy Solstice!

Man, I can't believe it, but it's already the longest day of the year today.  After today, the days are going to start getting shorter.  We're heading towards winter again!  Aughhh!  Okay, done with cursing the dark and praising the light.  I'm sure I'll be ready for winter come August--it's going to be a long, hot summer.  Oof.

Speaking of hot, I'll be talking about flip-flops today.  We've also got the Tour Divide race, a link to some of my DIY homesteading articles for those who are interested, a new "Riddle Me This!" contest, and some gratuitous baby bunny pictures

Why?  'Cause that's the way we roll.

Pardon me while I start off with a little rant.

I'm just going to come right out and say it:  flip-flops are terrible for your feet.

What?  But why
Remember when you were a kid and would kinda-sorta deliberately fling them off your feet when you walked, annoying your mother to no end?  (Okay, for some of you, this may have been as recently as last week.)  That's what happens when you let your feet relax.  To keep the dratted things on, you constantly have to scrunch your feet and toes.

Okay.  So why is that bad?
When your feet are scrunched up like that all the time, it means the muscles in your feet and lower legs are constantly contracted. 

To start with, this isn't great for the muscles.  Remember, muscle tissue is meant to contract and relax; when muscles are constantly contracted, they kind of "forget" how long they're supposed to be.  This means that when the time does come for them to relax, they don't open up to their full length. 

Keeping your toes curled also changes the way you walk.  Notice how people walk when they're wearing flip-flops?  There's no real stride; the walk becomes a curled-toed shuffle.  In addition, your strides are shorter, so your body has to work harder to get to where it's going.

Flip-flops can lead to all sorts of issues, including heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and other foot, ankle, and lower leg problems.  Once your feet are off-kilter, it can impact your hips, back, and neck.

But they're so comfy!  What are my alternatives?
I know, I can hear you now.

My recommendation?  Sandals with straps.  They'll stay on without you having to constantly work to keep them there.

But if you must wear flip-flops, either a) wear them only for very short periods of time, or b) invest in ones with more structure, like heel cups and arch support.  If you can bend the flip-flop in half and touch toe to heel, ditch 'em.  The only good use for them at this point is to wear them in the shower at the gym or something like that.

You have been warned. 
If you show up for a massage in cruddy flip-flops, I will give you a hard time.

Okay, rant over.  Now on to the Tour Divide!

Before last year, I'd never heard of the Tour Divide.  Turns out that it is an entirely self-supported cycling race for UTTER BADASSES.

Seriously.  The race goes from Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, is 2745 miles long, and participants cross the Continental Divide some 30 times.  They gain nearly 200,000 feet, which is the equivalent of summiting Mt. Everest seven times from sea level.  It's the world's longest off-paving cycling route.  And they do it all out of their own pockets.

There is not enough bold text to encompass my respect for these people.

And y'know what else?  They come right through Steamboat.

More badass than Leroy Brown
Okay, most of you know that some of my friends can be a little on the . . . eclectic side.  (Heck, some of you reading this ARE those eclectic friends!)  So, last year, a friend-of-a-friend in Denver named Justin Simoni decided to enter the Tour Divide.  Remember how snowy it was last spring?  Well, due to the large masses of unmelted precipitation, the race organizers designed an alternate course.

Justin decided to take the original route.

Why?  Just because.

This was the first time he'd ever participated in the Tour Divide.  But hey!  Why not?  All he had to do was finish--and he'd automatically win, due to going the long route.  It was incredibly inspiring.

Unfortunately, a few hundred miles from the finish, he came over a hill, hit a bad divot in the road, and taco'd the front wheel of his bike.  The landing partially separated his shoulder, and Justin had to resign from the race.

The return of the Long Ranger
Guess he didn't learn the first time, because Justin's back in the race this year!  Biking under the nom d'plume Long Ranger, there's a good chance he'll be hitting Rawlins tonight and Steamboat tomorrow or the day after.  Did I mention he's on a single-speed?

The guys at Orange Peel were the bomb last year when they helped fix up his bike (of course!), and I expect they'll be the same this year.  We'll probably do food at Double Z, so if you want to meet a really awesome, crazy, amazing (not to mention presently stinky, sweaty, and filthy) athlete, drop me a line and I'll ping you when we go.

If you can't make it but want to keep up, you can follow his live feed here.  Justin also has a Twitter account, so show him some love!

I mean, really.  IMMENSE amounts of respect.

Speaking of self-sufficiency

Okay, that was a completely awful segue, but too late to do anything about it now.

Just a quick note to let you guys know that the two published articles I've written for the Valley Voice can be found here and here on the Deep Roots website.  The upcoming Valley Voice is due out next Wednesday, so I'll link my most recent one (food preservation via dehydration) there in another couple of weeks.

Riddle Me This!

I had a lot of fun with the last round of Riddle Me This! entries, so I decided to do it again! 

One entry per person per newsletter between now and December 1st, 2012; winner is drawn at random for a free half-hour massage upgrade.  No monetary value, can't be exchanged for cash, blah blah blah.  Yes, you can gift it to someone else (but why would you want to?).  Other restrictions may apply; if you have any questions, just ask.

Without further ado:

What do the letters TMJ stand for and where is it?
(Think anatomy, not just what sounds good.
Points will be awarded for creative-but-incorrect answers,
but only a correct answer gets you an entry in the contest.)
Have an answer?  Send me an email!

Gratuitous baby bunny pictures

 . . . Because who doesn't like baby bunnies?

Thanks for reading.  Have a safe Fourth of July.
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