Thursday, April 16, 2009

Moab - this one goes to 11

Okay, I have to admit it. I snuck out when nobody was looking last weekend and rode at Moab. I know, I feel like I'm Tom Cruise finally coming out of the closet to his fans or something, because I didn't go on the trip last weekend with the team, but I have to say, it was SWEET and we didn't get snowed on!

Patrick (also new to Blue Sky) and I were the only Coloradans in the group. The rest (Jason and Jonathan) were heathens from that hive of scum and villainy called California. I can call it a hive as I am a recent transplant and I know both hives and villainy when I see 'em! Entertaining it was, as we dealt with the cultural differences associated with these very different backgrounds. Riding the trails of Boulder seems to have toughened my hide to things such as flying off of rocks and sliding on loose gravel where the "hardpacked trails in redwood forests" snooty crowd from out west seemed to be overwhelmed with spandex diaper wetting fear at the sight of these. Alas, however, the Cali crowd did have a certain zen about them on the singletrack sections that were smooth that was quite awe inspiring.

Night 1 - Arrival and Fred Steaks

Of what I miss from California, this is one of the biggest. Oh ye who does not like the beef flesh, sorry for thine grossed-outed ness! To others, lo, the Fred Steak! Four lbs of meat for four people (my coach is probably cringing), Fred Steaks are black before they are cooked due to the secret marinate from Schaub's Meats in Stanford, CA. Cooked as giant roasts, these beasts fueled our trip for the rest of the weekend! My wife used to be a vegetarian until the time she smelled one of these things cookin' on the barbie. That's how good they are.

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, there were people there too! Sometimes, I can focus a bit too much on one thing. Our stash of Colorado (aka above 3.2%) beer was in good form as we "hydrated" for the big rides on the next day.

Day 2 - Slickrock

Patrick (of aforementioned "newbie just like me to the club fame") and Jonathan (of whom we most often referred to as "Nagy" (it's like "Nay ghee", not "naggy" like what I do to my poor wife when I'm being a bad husband) had never ridden slickrock, so we headed out to push our heartrates to previously unseen places excepting by a hyperactive kitten who just ate a cup of catnip laced with espresso. The conditions were perfect. Overcast, but warm and with a light breeze. We had such a great ride that we added on the practice loop to demonstrate our thorough domination of the course! While we were passed a couple of times, I assure you that the old fellow with the prosthetic leg only got by us because we were taking a break to catch scenery, not because I had to re-insert the barfed up lung that was a consequence of a particularly nasty climb. (I never knew that my HR monitor could show HR zone 6). Injuries for this ride: Jason - One skinned knee and several small road rashy areas when he decided that walking up a section was more prudent than riding. Patrick - one skinned elbow due to endo. Jonathon - healthy and happy. KBK- one barfed up lung (spent 41 minutes riding in HR zone 4)

Here is a profile with HR. Ouch!

After miles of endless roller coastering and getting our tired on something fierce, we decided for a quick shower and a hike at Arches. Here are some photos from the trip to Delicate Arch.

KBK, Jason and Patrick perched looking out at Delicate Arch.

Here is an alternate view of Delicate Arch. Kinda looking up her skirt.

Self-portrait with Delicate Arch

Day 3 - Amasa Back and Klondike Bluffs/Baby Steps

Jason and I, having been to Moab twice already in the last 12 months, wanted to try something new, so we headed out in the morning after the requisite trip to Cafe Eclectica for a morning cup of "wake up and get bad service". If you haven't ever done this ride, I highly recommend it for those who like a huge serving of "oh shit that's a long ways down" alongside a healthy helping of technical riding! Click on the map below for a bigger version. Basically, you start down in a creek and then climb up until you get to a great cliff edge, and according to Nagy, do pushups (see pic below) and then return. Injuries on this ride: Nagy - sprained thumb with nasty looking bruise due to SPD fail on endo. KBK - one bruised ego as 10 year old cruised technical cliff section that made him quiver with fear.

Nagy doing pushups on the cliff edge. Yes, he was really doing pushups. Then Patrick, a trained wildlife biologist, proceeded to ruin the digestive systems of some native chipmunks with power bar bits.

Klondike Bluffs was a cool afternoon fairly mellow ride. We opted for doing a good chunk of the Baby Steps singletrack section whilst we were galumphing about. Baby Steps is my favorite ride there. No, it's not epic. Yes, the name doesn't scream "you are a badass." But, it is silly fun to be riding swoopy singletrack. For the uninitiated, it's a great way to get in some fun turns without getting your coach angry at you for excessive riding that is hurting your recovery from overtraining (not that I have that problem. Oh no. Never me.)

Here is a small section of the Baby Steps trail we rode. The color-coding is my HR. See there coach, nice and easy. Only two little sections in HR zone 4. On the right is Klondike Bluffs (slickrock with striations of veggie) and on the left is the silliness that is known as Baby Steps. There were several more of these duodenums of fun throughout the trail that largely hung around Klondike like an overexcited little buddy.

Injuries this ride - Nagy nagged by continuing SPD fails (lousy pedals) and is saved from ugly ugly wipeout by landing ON Patrick. Jason pouts and endures verbal beating because he backed off ride due to general malaise and fatigue just before fun swoopy singletrack section.

Day Whatever it was - Downhill to doom 18 miles of Pure Porcupine Bliss

This was the third time I've done this ride in some variation, but this was the best I had ever felt. The bike was hooked up. 140mm of travel just made this grueling trail feel like a root canal instead of examining the underside of a rolling tractor. Getting dropped off late in the morning, we were heading down on the upper singletrack before noon and had hours of fun ahead. We got dropped off high enough to hit the bottom of Kokopeli trail and then the upper sections of singletrack on Porcupine. Kokopeli was very Batan Death March in nature. We hunkered down to hike through 4 inches of mud for the uphill and, I am fairly sure, plagued by dengue fever. Not long into the riding though, did the moisture of the previous weekend begin to pay off in a big fat happy way. The normally sandy upper singletrack was super plush and tacky and completely swoop-able.

Here is the profile from that ride. If you look closely, you can see that 25 ft section of uphill in the 23 mile total ride down into the Colorado River and back to town. The red line betrays that boys will be boys as testosterone pushed us into ever increasing paceline speeds on the highway in. Oh, no way are any of us competitive.

If you would like to see a video of the a good section of the lower singletrack of the ride with Patrick riding out in front, click here. You will find this particularly entertaining if you have a high tolerance for sea sickness and hard rock music. Also, sorry, but I had the camera on a bit sideways, so try tilting your head for optimal viewing experience.

Injuries this ride: surprisingly, none. Just a bit tired. Have to say though, felt like if there were 10 more miles of downhill, I'd have loved it even more!

Good times everyone! I only hope that we can all coordinate to ride together out there soon! I would love to learn some of the secret trails that you folks know!



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