19 February, 2007
the drive out to moab began super early. woke up at three so that i could be at hez-billy's place at 5 in the a.m. when i warmed up the car there was at least three inches of new snow that fell the night before. i checked my cell phone to see if there was a message from hez-billy saying that he wanted to cancel the trip. but no such luck so i take my tired, cold self down the hill...
once we pick up kevin and get rolling there's some avalanche preventative shizzle going on on i-70 that shuts it down just west of the eisenhower tunnel for at least an hour. that sucked. was not a good sign and we were all tired from getting up so early. 7 hours later, we arrive. the sun's shining and it's close to sixty degrees. ah yeauh.
hez-billy has a mountain biking book from moab mike or something or another and from perusing it, he suggests a trail called top of the world. it's a 22 miler but we drive in 5 and a half to cheat a bit. it's a 2.5k feet climb with spectacular views. it was at such dizzying heights, i had to crawl just to peer over the edge. with about two miles left to summit, snow was our biggest obstacle and we said that the downhill's going to be sloppy yet technical. basically we were just shooting in-between the snow melt so that our tires can grab wet rock underneath. scary. billy and kevin are climbing real clean (clean or cleaning is a mt biking term used to describe people who can pedal up or coast down technical spots on the trail) and steady while i'm dabbing like crazy trying to get my rear, bald-assed (i didn't change it out for slickrock) tire to hook up on the lifts (shelf-like rock ledges). at the summit, it's surreal. the funny thing about this picture is that everybody looks so non-plussed but it's easily a 3k foot drop to the valley floor. kevin noticed that billy's sidewall had a cut therefore he patched it a la vulcanization. look at the background, horizon action. unreal. that's me standing over the ledge where billy and kevin's having a relaxed conversation 3K feet above groundlevel.
on the way down, it's friendly downhill competition. i have a hardtail whereas hez-billy and kev have a dual boinger. so, i have to pick my lines carefully and dem bastidges pretty much point and shoot. kevin takes the lead because billy and i can't go that fast down. kevin takes off like a rocket and takes some pretty tough lines that i can't follow because i like, like my spinal chord? anyhoo he waits for us to catch up and we go again. once we're out of the snowline, i shorten the gap through some technical spots (baby heads, tree roots and nutty valleys formed by the congregations of huge, slabby, irregularly-sized pieces of rock). every now and again on the trail there's these nutty moonrock sections that i can't control my bike because it's bucking like a bronco and i don't want to ehf myself or my bike (up!). these parts is where kevin pedals in the middle ring and i'm hanging on for dear life. i catch up again, he pedals harder and there's this lefty, switchback coming up. i wanna hit it like a roady (outside-inside-outside), apex turning and he crushes a huge gear right through the middle. once i hit the inside, my tire gets sucked in by that crazy wet, red, silty fruita/moab dirt/clay and i have to throw my feet over my handlebars to jump off my crashing yeti. it was awesome fun and kevin hits some of this same mud near our car (billy's sweet, honda ridgeline actually) at the bottom. i thought he was resting on the ground, he said, "the mud grabbed my front tire too." it was a sweet ride: the top o' the world. at the bottom is a nationally registered historical site for the world's whatever suspension bridge built in 1916. the dewey (suspension) bridge it's called. history and a good ride, this moab is great!
unbeknownst to us, president's day is a pretty busy time for moab. as well as the four-wheelers, there was also a cowboy poetry convention going on too. we had a hard time finding lodging, until betty hooked us up. betty owns the westwood guest house on 81 E. 100 South. $55. what we got was a three bed, suite with lots of hot running water. it was the dealio. i think billy best said it when he said the theme this time is off the beaten path. we then went to city market to eat like no other and grab a starbucks.
the next day we try and find the sovereign trail but we're trying to find our original path from last time. where we were, we couldn't hit it and billy said, "well, here's part of the sovereign trail we didn't do. we can either try and find the original one, or, here's the map..." we do it and it turns out to be amazing. the trail's nice and hardpacked, the climbs doable (billy was again a cleaning machine) and the downhill switchbacks remotely safe. the sun was again shining brightly and in the sixties. that's kevin, sandwiched between a rock and a hard place. we see some nutty rock formations and check out this singletrack climb...this part of the sovereign's like a saddle. once we get to the end we can either trace back our path or head back on the road. since a cold front's coming in, we head back on the road. billy, did a superman crash at the end of the trail. notice the scrapes on his forearms. i don't think we've ever had a bad day in moab. i am currently sick as a dog writing this. hopefully kev and billy aren't experiencing what i have. check out the rest of the pictures on my photosite url.
addendum: the life of pi gets a b-. ever watch a wim wenders movie (pronounced Vim Venders)? well, it has such an ambitious, promising start then it goes tangentially ill. still, very clever, very creative but i thought i could head it off at the pass. i was remotely and pleasantly surprised by the ending though...won't spoil it for you. it's still worth reading.