I think Charles Dickens said it best, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” That seemed to be the theme for Moab. At least it was the worst until I realized I was being a giant brat.
On Tuesday, Sully and I figured out we had the same days off that week, last minute schedule change on my part. I told him he could go skiing one day and then we could go riding together on the other day. He paused, “I could….or we could go to Moab!” The seed was planted. I told him I’d have to think about it but I knew we would end up going. We set out Wednesday night after work and made it to Fruita, we debated pushing on to Moab, but figured we’d be zombies the next day if we did. We were up and off for coffee before 9, which put us into Moab around 11, plenty of time to ride. We got a hold of a friend who had already been riding for a few days to see if he wanted to meet up. Ohhh this is perfect! We can shuttle Porcupine Rim and not have to ride our bikes up that atrocious road. Porcupine Rim is part of the Whole Enchilada ride, a 27 mile trail with 7,000 feet of descending landing on many top places to ride lists. Copious amounts of fun, especially if you don’t have to ride up it. It was really the only trail I wanted to ride. Partly because when I rode it with Wayne last year it was my 3rd time on a full suspension (one which I had rented) and wanted to see what my progress was (don’t worry Wayne, I’m sure I still wouldn’t have cleared as much as you did on your 29er hardtail…). Sully talked our friend into riding it with us so we could shuttle it.
We met our friend at a bike shop (he had melted his riding shoes by the fire the night before and clearly didn’t realize Sully would be bringing 3 pairs). I would drive my car up with all the bikes and gear. They loaded it up with his gear while I bought some food to eat while riding. Sully said he was going to go put air in my car tires, because one was looking low. I didn’t really think much of it, and then we took off.
We drove up the janky road that I prayed no one would come down on because it was a nice little drop of to the side and my fear of heights wasn’t exactly helping. We parked off on a side road that was a camp area, as close as to the top as we could get. We started unloading gear when our friend mentioned that he thought my tire was leaking air (NOOO!). The ground we had parked on was pretty muddy, but maybe if we moved it to drier ground it will be easier to change a flat after riding. That was a really nice thought, but then we played it out logistically and letting it go flat on the top of this god-forsaken-area was not the best plan, even if I do have AAA. Sully offered to drive it down, but told him I would. He offered to come with but I told him it was silly for both of us to miss the trail. I loaded my gear back up and drove down to find a tire place.
I found one, parked and went in. The guy behind the counter told me to pull into the garage, which was a large door, but I was apprehensive that I would be able to leave my bike on the top of the car, but the guy said it would be okay. I start driving in and looking up at the bike through the sun roof and then looking at him waving me in, when not a moment too soon he throws up his hand in a stop sign and gets a sour look on his face. I jump out and not an inch to spare! I asked him if he wanted to take my bike off but he said he would push the door up. Oh man that’s just what I need.
It took all of about 5 minutes to get the car fixed an back on my way. By then it was far too late to try and play catch up to the boys. I drove back up to Slickrock, as it was the closest trail that I knew of and would put me at the same time finishing as the guys. To say that it sucked not getting to ride with them is an understatement. Sully sent me a text as I was just getting to ride, “stay relaxed and don’t worry about not making all the climbs. It is a very different trail than any other trails we ride.” Oh great this is just what I need to get into today. He was right though, the trail was unlike anything else I’ve ever ridden. It’s all rock, with nothing else. The first couple of corners and descents were pretty sketchy as I kept thinking my tires were going to slide out underneath me and I’d skid into my own rendition of 127 hours. On one of the first climbs I realized I wasn’t going to make it up and bailed, unfortunately, if I’ve learned anything in Moab it is that mountain bike shoes have no business trying to get traction on rock. It was a pretty quick remembrance, before I could even react my shoes slid out and I landed with a “thwack” on the rock. It was enough force to splice my elbow and wrist open. I started crying (sorry, not sorry). I seem to have an artistry for not whimper crying but more immediate with all the breath in my body escaping that turns into my dog just died, sobbing. (Don’t worry, this type happens for all crying events-like watching Chasing Mavericks.)
|Oh look, just in time for me to get over it.|
It didn’t take my long to realize just how much of a brat I was being. “Oh I didn’t get to ride my favorite trail in Moab, because my car needed fixing. So now I have to ride this other highly rated trail” “Oh, I drove 7 hours to ride by myself.” Yeah, those are first world problems if I’ve ever heard one. I got up, picked up my bike and clamored up the rest of the hill. It was almost in that moment of how selfish I was being I was able to “cry a river, build a bridge and get over it.” Literally.
The rest of the ride was fine, it was a pretty different trail, but mostly for how much you stuck to the rock. The views didn’t hurt either. I ended up going the opposite of the recommended way for riding the loop but I could never quiet figure out why that was. There was only one steep rock that I had to climb up,
but I probably would have walked down it going the other way as well. I still wasn’t fully confident I wouldn’t fall off.
I finished shortly after the guys and met them back at the shop. We talked quickly about the rides and then the other guy headed out. Sully felt really bad about riding without me but it’s not like I let him come with me, and it’s not like I was going to let him head down by himself. I told him that it was probably for the best as the guy he was riding with is more on par with Sully’s level of riding and I figured I would have pushed to keep up and wound up getting hurt. Sully made it up to me later when he let me buy the variety pack of Fruit Gushers, Fruit Roll-ups, and Fruit-by-the-foot!!
|Perfect mid-ride snack!|
The next morning we drove to trails north of town, The Sovereign Trails, which Sully was wanting to ride. I wasn’t sure what to expect but he told me he thought I would like them.
The trail had a good sampling of everything, fast singletack, technical sections, stiff climbs, sand pits, and steep drops, and of course plenty of insanely captivating views. It was enough to push me to my comfort level, I was able to clear most of it without too much trouble and told Sully that trail helped me feel more confident in my riding abilities. It was the perfect ride to counteract the warped day before.