18 February, 2008
The Annual Pilgrimage to Moab. Updated with Video (thanks Kev).
hey kids. just returned from moab with a close group of friends/cycling freaks. it was, again, spectacular. the southwestern part of the u.s. has just been getting pounded by incredible amounts of snow lately and it wasn't looking too good for cycling action when we left friday night. our plan b was to ride 4 more hours west (in addition to moab which is about six hours away) to ride at st. george because the weather's 10 degrees warmer. we decided to stay in moab instead.
the trip out wasn't the least bit promising because on either side of the highway snow was measurable either in feet or in inches. not good, because our goal was to mountain bike. mud and snow usually runs counter to base miles on singletrack. we got in late--or early--saturday and we reconnoitered sovereign trail in the dark. our roadtripped-induced dulled senses said the ground's dry. so it's off to sovereign 8 hours later...
at the sovereign trailhead, as we're gearing up, we talk to some people who just finished and we asked them if they heard anything about st. george. they said, "our friends said 'it's snowed in and they're expecting more rain'". yeah. good call to stay in moab. another rider returned and said at about 30 minutes out it's too muddy to continue the ride. off we go and it's pretty darn chilly. 42 fahrenheit, probably mid-30s with the wind, coupled with our self-induced windchill; but, the ground's mostly dry and the sun feels good on our faces. we're on a major learning curve because it's the first time this year we're riding mountain bikes-let alone on semi-technical terrain. kev leads billy follows and i'm riding tailgunner. kev's hitting it and billy and he exchange leads cleaning a bunch of technical sections. i, on the other hand, commit the first dab of the year. i don't like that...it was a nice introduction to our machines.
this the nutty moonrock at the beginning of sovereign that's not fun on a speeding hardtail (my friends both have dual boingers). sho 'nuff at around thirty minutes it's muddy, so we turn around and blast it back to the car. not exactly high mileage, so we do amasa back trail.
the high cliffs in my attempt to do something artsy in b/w are the cliffs towards amasa's trailhead.
this is amasa back
at amasa i like the technical uphill climb so my evil roady side surfaces. i try and bust a mountain goat move and billy matches me and it's off to the races. the rocks are still kind of wet so traction on technical portions is like a leap of faith for the rear tire to hook up. on a particularly nasty, off-cambered part of a sharp ledge we're clearing, my rear tire's sliding to the fall line but i keep pedaling smoothly and it hooks up. billy's drafting close but his tire slides and he has to dab. it's nutty when i'm in front-especially during mountain biking-i sometimes feel intimidated by the people drafting because i have this pressure to not dab and to keep the pace high (the roady in me). at a plateau we regroup with kev and rocket it on up.
at the top, i snap this with billy and i in the foreground and the la sals in the background, is amasa back. the wind's blowing inside my vest making me look cylindrical. instead of doing the pipeline descent, we race on down the same way we ascended. very gnarly descent.
on the descent, we saw some riders doing this stunt. this also shows you what i mean by a technical trail...
it's cold again and the folks at poison spider bike shop recommend slickrock because it's the only thing dry in town worth doing. slickrock is kinda bittersweet for us because we've done it many times and folks, it's technical and can be painful.
pictured is billy rolling up slickrock at a pitch of 60 or so degrees. the sandstone has a such a high coefficient of friction (as a hs teacher, i just finished teaching my freshman how to calculate mu using slope and algebra) against mountain bike tires, in a way, that whoever possesses testosterone'll (or is a adrenaline junky'll), attempt the nutty topography. this is what i mean by interval workouts. you jam it, until you crest the uphill. perspective and respect of slickrock occurs when you smack your mellon and the remaining leftside of your body doing a 180 degree unintentional wheelie-just ask billy. it's pretty much like doing intervals for three hours (when ridden with others outside of us three). this time 'round though, we attempt to ride it as fast as we can. halfway through, the smiles are returning as well as the clouds. it's cold again.
here's kevin underneath this ominous cloud...we finish slickrock in two hours. we guess that's good, the brochure says 3-4h. we're in pain and to add insult to injury-to completely destroy our legs-we do another ride in klondike bluffs that begins with a mellow uphill grade, coupled with slick, moonrock.
billy this time busts an uphill move and we're barely hanging on. my legs are in its lactic acid threshold the entire climb. i stand to try and disseminate the poison evenly throughout my legs. at the top it's muddy, and kev returns the favor by showing us his downhill skills. i'm on the rivet trying to hang on both directions. at the end our blood sugar's low and the endorphins are circulating in our blood. ah yeauh. oh, and the sun's now down and we're freezing! on the way home, i eat a whole, medium, cheese pizza. crust and all! it was a very ascetic weekend. very pure. no extraneous distractions. the plan: ride until the muscles fail, eat super healthy, sleep, and repeat until you bonk was generally fulfilled. my first criterium's in march. oh boy...