THE PASSION FOR LIFTING EMPOWERED APRIL TO PURSUE A PASSION FOR OFF-ROADING

By Sharon Braso Lewis

As a single mother of two active young boys and a full time career woman, April manages to juggle her life with her passion for competing in bodybuilding and in going “Jeeping". In fact, her passion for lifting was what empowered her to pursue her off-roading passion. Below she explains.

“I would have to say that Jeep Off-Roading is a very male-dominant activity… Of the eight Jeeps in my group yesterday I was the only female driver. So being able to step out of your comfort zone into a male-dominated world was no problem for me because of my experience as a bodybuilder. I’m also trying to learn some of the small maintenance things that need to be done on my own. So I would have to say being comfortable being yourself in a man’s world is something I learned through lifting and competing in the NPC. Also pushing your comfort zone. There are several obstacles, be it a giant rock climb or steep cliff on the side of a road that you really have to take yourself to a different mental place to navigate through without panicking. Very similar to making gains in the weight room, you have to get past that comfort zone to get to the place you really want to be. I love that when I’m driving and navigating through a trail, it’s something that’s just me. At home, I’m a mom, a daughter, sister and friend. And I do activities every day that revolve around those responsibilities and expectations. But when I get out on the trails, it is all me.

Oddly enough the people that got me into this Jeeping thing were gym friends. The Jeep Community has a rotary, a lot like lifting. You can go on a trail and have a breakdown and know that if you run into anybody else they will help you, give you connections, help with repairs or help get you down off the trail if needed. No questions asked. Everybody is just there for each other as an unspoken rule."

How does one get started in off roading?

"To get started you will need a Jeep or Truck with Off-Road capability. The list of upgrades is never ending but the basics is bigger tires and a lift so your undercarriage clears the rocks. There are also a lot of Jeep clubs out there like Colorado Jeep Girls and Stand Tall Colorado. You’ll have to search for ones in your area. They coordinate trips. For safety, always go in groups and have people in your group that are familiar with the trails to help plan and navigate the rides. Start researching trails online. www.traildamage.com "

APRIL’S FAVORITE TRAILS (WE ARE COLORADO BASED SO THESE ARE ALL IN CO)

Spring Creek - Just outside of Idaho Springs. Very difficult and technical trail. As a beginner I did not enjoy it as much because I was worried about beating my Jeep up on all the rocks. But the scenery was amazing.

Red Cone - In the Conifer and Bailey area. The trail itself was easy with just a couple technical parts. The scenery, once you get past the summit, is absolutely breathtaking. We also saw a couple of big moose cross right in front of us on this Trail.

Slaughterhouse - In the Conifer and Bailey area. This one was cool because it was challenging enough for the more advanced drivers but simple enough for beginners to navigate. Very scenic.

Waldorf Mine Trail - Just outside of Georgetown. The scenery here was amazing because of the fall colors.

My favorite thing about Jeeping is that these trails get you out into parts of Colorado that you will never ever see by foot or any other method. There is so much untouched territory right in my backyard that you only see doing these off-road trails. Being born in Colorado and living here my whole life I have taken a lot of this beauty for granted. It has really opened my eyes again to this beautiful state and it's surroundings.

Photos courtesy of April Bateman