Another day, another 12 hours in the office. Well, all except the 70 minutes I spent riding the shoreline between Dry Creek and City Creek at lunch. Work has been super busy which is why I'm doing lunch rides in the brown foothills while everybody else is up high enjoying the fall colors. Oh well, if it ends up that I miss the spectacle completely at least I can take comfort in the fact that ski season is fast approaching! That and the knowledge that the colors of Moab are always in season.
It's been a little more than 48 hours since my last ride in Moab and I'm still on a high. My worry that the whole Moab experience would fall short of expectations was completely unfounded. I had an absolutely fantastic time. Even now, thinking back on the 2 days, I can't help but smile. And laugh, as I watch Kris' slow motion endo over and over and over again.
Slickrock was a complete mind trip. I still can't figure out how it's possible to ride a bike up what look to be near vertical faces. Basically I just turned off my brain and followed Kris and Paul wherever the white dashes led us. Tons of fun.
After putting a foot down on my first attempt at climbing Cogs to Spare I cranked the volume on my iPhone, queued up Eye of the Tiger, and fought my way to the top. Survivor, it's not just for boxers anymore!
Sovereign was awesome too. I wasn't able to ride everything we encountered on the trail but couldn't get enough of the mixed terrain that was both technical and flowing at the same time. The huge slickrock field at the top was incredible. Riding without boundaries was another first. Picking our way up the slope without painted dashes or a defined trail to follow was a unique experience. What made Sovereign even more enjoyable was the fact that it rode like a completely new trail on the way back. Much respect to whoever designed and built that trail. Well done!
Klondike Bluffs and Baby Steps, while not as impressive as Slickrock or Sovereign, were still awesome rides. I really enjoyed the change of pace the short hike into Arches National Park provided as mentally I was getting a bit tired from all of the technical riding.
Watching the sun set over the Slickrock Trail while lightening flashed in a distant thunderstorm was a dramatic way to end the trip. We only had time for the practice loop and an out-and-back to the Wooly Gully but those 30 minutes ended up being some of my favorite moments of the trip. My brother Paul had tried to ride the Gully crossing the day before without success and predicted that if we returned he'd be able to do it. Well, it took him 4 attempts but he was able to make good on his promise to ride it without dabbing. It doesn't look as impressive on film, but trust me when I say this was some of the most impressive riding of the trip. The approach is intimidating and the ledge on the far side is tricky as it angles away from your rear tire. For a dentist who doesn't get out on his bike very often he sure knows how to ride!
After a quick baby wipe "shower" in the parking lot we were on our way home but not without one last first for me: A bacon cheeseburger at Ray's Tavern in Green River.
After nearly 4 years of mountain biking it looks like I'm finally going to make it to Moab with my bike. Given the fact that I've been subjected to a seemingly endless chorus of hype about how amazing Moab is over that same period of time, I'll admit to being a bit fearful that it won't live up to the hype. Is it really that good? The mecca of mountain biking? I guess I'll soon find out. So to make sure I ride the best trails during my short 2 days in town, let me know which trails you love and any other information I'll need to know in order to get the most out of my trip.
Ouch! That hurt. I haven't been up Little Cottonwood on the road bike since I did it with Kris in 2007. I rode Butterfield Canyon a couple of times earlier this year and justified not doing Little C because I thought the former was a tougher climb. Well, I'm here to tell you that, in my opinion, Little Cottonwood is the hardest climb in the valley.
I haven't ridden with a heart rate monitor all year and my Suunto T6 recently died so I don't have any ride data other than mileage (which you already know) and time (which shall remain anonymous). Perceived exertion wasn't too bad except for the S Curves (killer headwind) and Tanners Flat (which always kicks my butt). There were a TON of cars on the road which kept the smell of burned rubber in the air all the way up. That smell is what Little Cottonwood is all about. The fact that cars struggle to make it up just proves how steep it is.
The wind kept changing - headwind, tailwind, cross wind. As the road turned so did the wind. This made for a more exciting than usual descent. 40+ mph and gusty wind don't mix well. Luckily I made it down safely (the new pavement on the top half is the sweetness!) and basically coasted all the way home. This was much appreciated as my legs were pretty toasty because, even though I wasn't pushing the pace, I didn't eat enough and ran out of gas between Snowbird and Alta.
Looking back I should have filled both bottles with Carborocket and brought my last Mung Bean Cake for fuel. Oh well, I limped in to the upper lot, ate a bar, drank some water and then headed down. At the 7-Eleven on the corner of 10000 S and 700 East I bought a Mexi Coke and banana which got me home without any further difficulty.
Work has been super stressful this week. How bad can it be you ask? Well, to give you an idea my boss called my cell phone this morning at 7:14 AM to make sure I'd seen the email from our London office detailing an issue a key customer was experiencing. Luckily I'd been awake since 7:11 and, in the previous 3 minutes, being the dedicated company man that I am, had just read the email to which he referred. You see, I sleep with my iPhone on the floor, just under the bed, so when I wake up I can easily check email (and Facebook and the local blogs).
So anyway, work has been stressful. There's a lot going on and I'm feeling a fair amount of pressure. All things considered, this is a good thing. It's great to be employed, even better to be in a position to contribute, and I really enjoy my coworkers. Let's just say it's an awesome place to work. But stress, well, nobody likes that. And you know what makes it 100 times harder to deal with? Not being able to ride. Monday and Tuesday I couldn't get out and let's just say that I wasn't a joy to be around when I got home in the evening.
But today was different. Why? I was able to ride. Given how the day started I had my doubts that I'd be able to pull it off, but thankfully things went well and I was able to leave at a reasonable hour. Kris met me at the Draper Equestrian Center a little after 6 and we headed out for what turned out to be 1 hour and 39 minutes of much needed therapy.
We rode a bunch of trails, some old, others brand new (that's what's so cool about Corner Canyon - there seems to always be something new or improved to ride). All were fun, with the out-and-back we did on the BST through the scrub oak charred by the fire of 2007 my favorite of the night. Hopefully Kris' pictures turned out 'cause I want to steal one for this post. There are a ton of bright yellow sunflowers blooming up on the hillside which contrast dramatically against the bare, black branches of the burned scrub oak. We also had a tailwind - seemingly in both directions, how does that happen? - which made it fast and fun.
Other trails we rode included Gas Line, Lower Ghost Falls, Steps, Clarks and Canyon Hollow (also referred to as Brocks Point). We also rode the new, machined section of what I'm guessing is Jamie's trail as well as the new connector from the top of Clarks to Canyon Hollow.
Clarks is in great shape for a time trial. As smooth as I've seen it this season and hard, hard packed. If you haven't done the tt yet now's the time to do it!