Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Upper Millcreek Canyon

Riding while the gate's closed is fantastic. Sure, you're forced to ride 4.5 miles on pavement but when you reach the trails you won't need to worry about any bikers, hikers or dogs. Kris and I rode up Big Water to Dog Lake, then dropped down Little Water to Great Western and rode that up to the Crest. We then cruised down GW and Big Water to the pavement, then finished up on Pipeline from Elbow Fork to Birch Hollow. Besides about 6 downed trees the trails were dry and in great shape. On the dirt I tried to stay in front of Kris so I could regulate the speed. However, on the initial climb up the paved road I made the mistake of letting Kris get ahead of me and from that point to the top it was all pain.

My goal is to get up at least one more time next week before the gate opens. I bought a pass yesterday so no more $3 cover charge for the next year!

Many of you know that I started riding a mountain bike last year. My first ride was in February '06 on the Green Valley Race Course in St. George. Second ride was Bear Claw Poppy and third was Gooseberry Mesa. Thinking back to my riding experiences last year the predominant emotion that comes to mind is fright or nervousness. It seemed that most trails I rode made me so nervous that I had a difficult time enjoying the ride. That's not to say I didn't have fun as forcing yourself to conquer fear and learn new skills carries with it a certain degree of enjoyment and satisfaction. However, most of my riding was nervous riding. The reason I mention this is that riding the Pipeline Trail today was an entirely different experience in '07 vs '06. Last year I rode it with a friend from work and remember being a little freaked out by the sidehill exposure, steep rocky section and switchbacks (as you descend to the intersection with Birch Hollow). In fact, I clipped out and put a foot down on every switchback. Flash forward a year and I rode it today with no fear, nerves or any cause to put a foot down. I will admit to unclipping my right foot as I navigated the final, right-hand switchback but I didn't put it on the ground! It's amazing the difference a year of riding makes on the dirt. I've had similar experiences on the BST, Dry Creek, Yellow Fork and many other trails I've ridden this year.

No comments: