You know the drill. Ride. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
Day 6 of our trip and we've covered some ground. Let me bring you up to speed.
So RF and the Todds met up in Pueblo to do the Voodoo Fire race last Sat. It was a 1/2 marathon, 35 miles or a full marathon of 75 miles. We all did the half since we were going to be riding so much. It was an interesting area to ride. Wide open and fast. There was not a lot of coasting as the trail swurved up, down and around. Big ring was the standard, if that gives you an idea. We had a neutral roll out of about a 1/4 mile uphill paved road. Once we got on trail, it was on. With cactus and goat heads aplenty, there wasn't much room for passing but with a little patience and some polite asking, I managed to make up some places. My bike was performing great until about an hour into the race. I suddenly had a sick feeling that something was wrong with the frame as the rear end kept swaying back and forth. I was relieved to find out that it was just the tire. It had burped air and was super low. I jumped off and grabbed the inflator. I added a few pumps of air and was back in action. I had to put the pedal to the metal and make up some spots. Not long after it was low again so I jumped off and finished off the rest of cartrige. I told myself that if it was low at the s/f I would quit. I didnt have anymore cartridges and no pump so I didn't want to go back out and risk a total flat but as i came through, it was keeping air so I went back out. I had a great final lap and came back in to high fives from Eyeberg and some random couple giving me props for riding hard and setting a good pace. Made me feel good. Afterwards we stood around and ate a bunch of food the race gave out and waited for RF but he never came through. Patty said she got a tweet from him. Eyeberg and I found him in the parking lot, pants rolled up above his bloodied knees. In his attempt to hang with the likes of Jay Henry, he took a corner hot and had a spectactular crash, flatting a tire and removing a few derma layers. When the tire refused to re-inflate, he walked out. The terrain won some battles that day. I was pleasantly surprised to find out later that I won my class. So yes, I will shut up that I am only still in my build phase of training. Hmph, maybe running in my off season did more than I thought.
Once the race was done, we b-lined to a Chipotle and was back on the road by 2:30 for our long slog to Moab. We took HWY 50 through South Park, literally, and through Breck and Frisco to HWY 70, which from that point on, it rained. And rained. We made it to Moab late Saturday night and it was worth the effort. We wanted Sunday to be a ride day and boy howdy, was it ever!
Days 3, 4, 5 - Moab
RF and I have been coming here every year for 10 years and we've never seen this much rain or experienced such consistant cold temps. But neither deterred us. We were able to ride every day. Sunday was on a new trail Pipe Dream, that was literally a ride out of our door. It wasn't long but it was awesome. All slow power riding and nothing too technical. We did it backwards and turned around and went the correct way and it had much more flow. We got a little wet but nothing terrible. It was a good intro to the riding and we didn't have to drive to the TH. Score! I recommend this ride as a quick ride if you don't have much time or in combo with another ride. If you don't turn around and do it as an out and back, you can take a dirt road back to the TH.
Monday was a big day. We rode the Magnifcent 7 trail, which is actually a connector that hooks up 7 trail systems, starting at the Gemini Bridges trail head in Canyonlands. We stashed a car at the end of the trail and then stuffed all of us in the subi and drove to the put in. Unloading the car, RF's rear tire, again, was flat as a pancake. So he put in a tube and we were off. It was in the 40s and windy but dry. The combination of the day was epic. From slow power singletrack to bumpy jeep roads, we saw it all. RF was on form, riding almost everything in his path. It was fun to watch, well, for me it was fun to hear him whoop it up. As I was usually not near him. About mid ride, his rear tire starting loosing air around the valve so he put in another tube. Luckily for the rest of us, while he did that, a group of jeepers were coming up the trail and we got to watch them and a few motos, climb up and over crazy ledges that looked impossible. One of them had a little girl, maybe 8 years old, asleep in the front seat of a jeep that only had a roll cage. It was kinda unsettling. As we continued on, the sky began to look ominous and we were growing weary so we opted for lower terrain and jeep roads rather than techy stuff up on the ridges. With about 7 miles left, the rain started came down. We were on a section of slick rock where we relied on the surface of the terrain to help up climb. The moisture wasn't helping. Luckily by the time we were back on jeep roads, the sun popped back out and our attitudes shifted from tired and cold to tired and relieved. Amazing how the sun can adjust the attitude so quickly. We ended our ride coming down Poison Spider and then finally onto the road to the car. After 6 hours, it was nice to be done. We only covered 25 miles so that pretty much tells ya how crazy the terrain was. We worked for our dinner that night, which was a dive Mexican place on the south end of town. Seems the Wixens have a thing for dive Mexican restaurants and this one didn't disappoint. We had our authentic Mexican meal within in minutes and it was awesome! Ice cream followed and that a perfect way to end the day.
Day 5 was Porcupine Rim. We woke up to chilly temps and howling winds. Thanks to the awesome Patty Wixon we were able to shuttle up to Lower Porcupine Singletrack (LPS) and avoid the dreaded ride up to the top. I hadn't ridden it before. It wasn't too technical. It was a bit on the muddy side and I purposely coasted through the puddles so I wouldn't soak my shoes. It was cold up there! We were awarded with some new views of Castle Valley and I have to say if you can afford it or have the means to shuttle, it beats riding up! With the Todds, we made really good time. Probably the best time we've ever done. It was pretty chilly and windy so there wasn't a lot of incentive to putz around. Rain was off in the distance but luckily, it stayed that way. The ride went without incident (we won't mention how Eyeberg came too close to an edge) and we made it back to the house well in time for us to rest and then make the trek up to Delicate Arch. After the ride, I was feeling a cold coming on so I went on a Nyquil run and took a nap in hopes of ridding my head of the sinus pressure. No luck. But, that wasn't going to stop me from the trip to the arch. It's something I look forward to every year. Even the Wixon's daughter, Alicia, came along and did great, despite the wind and cool temps. We had a great sky for pictures and a killer sunset. And if that wasn't good enough, we had a great meal at the Moab Brewery to cap off the night. By the time we got back to the house, I went straight to bed.
So, despite the less than perfect weather, we managed to ride every day. I recommend that anyone traveling to Moab, use local knowledge to assist when weather isn't cooperating. Had we tried riding the usual trails, we would have been pretty unlucky.
On Wednesday, we woke to clear skies and no wind. (Go figure). We stopped into Over the Edge for a trail report and then went onto Grand Junction where we are renting a house. Just as we pulled up so did our friends from South Dakota. The second leg our trip had begun.
More to come...