Friday, January 20, 2012


I am going to get very controversial, but I feel this needs to be said.  I do have loads of hesitation, but I would not be genuine if I did not tell it like it is.  This is my opinion and I have an opinion just like everyone has an opinion like they have _____.  Keep an open mind when proceeding, and allow me to explain myself.  Please commit your opinion, if you are bold enough to do so.

I am not a fan of Slick Rock.  Sorry if I just pissed on your Alamo, but I love flowy-buttery-bermed single track.  Slick Rock is the antithesis of my style of riding.  Before you get all ranty and ravey, and call your congressperson.  Hear me out.  The actual geography of SR is super cool, there is nothing else like it anywhere.  I give it high marks for being original.  The original.  We did not ride a whole lot of SR because of the sheer other-worldly-ness of the place.  To say that we were weirded out by the place is an understatement.  I have to be honest and say that the exposure really jacked with my senses.  I was scared, and rode scared.  I felt like I was going to fall off, down, go over the bars, every little rise I crested.

It has been several weeks, and I still cannot come up with a better excuse than just plain old FEAR.  I cannot bag on the place, because it is rad.  I just don't have the round circular objects that bounce to ride a place like that.  If I had a week to get used to it I might be able to rock it, but I don't feel that I would enjoy it as much as a loamy tree covered rail-able trail.  The one face saving grace (my face) is that I totally dug being able to just go off "trail" and carve up what ever you could without falling to your death.  It is a rolling sandstone paved skate park, with banks, drops, whoops, and plenty of places to get some surf inspired turns.  This is the part that I love about SR, the ability to choose your own line.  I will go back.  I have unfinished business.  Side note: The Wife hated it.

We made our way to the nearest Mexican food joint and filled the tank.  Bummer no imports, just domestic beers, which means Mexican Beers (which I love, but I want local), I'll have a water.  The Boss had a fish-bowl margarita, it was tasty.  We did a little souvenir shopping and then stopped in at Poison Spider Bikes.  This is one of the premier shops in the country.  $$$$$$$.  Super cool and totally small shop feel.  Guys were actually cool and not a-hole shop types.  I chatted with him for a while and then dropped the "where do you ride?" question.  Told him what I was looking for and like a good dealer who uses, he pointed us in the direction of the Moab Brands trails.  Sounds good.

We went back to Moab Brewing after Smiths to get The Julie some root beer.  Travis said that I had to have a Derailleur Amber, I had two.  I tip my cap to Travis' discerning taste in the brewed beverage department.  Good show mate.  Back to the hotel, clean up, pack up, early wake up, tomorrow is going to be a long day.

At the Moab Brands trail head I checked the map one more time to get my mental picture, and we were off.  It was freaking cold, the sun was still fighting for elevation to make it over the La Sals in the East.  Hands and feet were starting to protest, but the blood was pumping trying to do its job.  First up, the EZ trail.  Flowy single track with some rocks and a little elevation change, but no climbing.  Heaven.  We hooked with the Bar-M to get to the Rocking A, this was just a double with some elevation change.  We arrived at the Rocking A, which was Navajo Slick Rock.  Cool.  Not so Cool Navajo SR is just like the sandstone, except it is rough with pock marks that make it ride rough.  Not a fan.

1.5miles of rough SR and we were done.  Circle O was out of the question, it was more of the same.  Scratch that.  Back to the Bar-M, and we headed back to the end of the EZ and we hit up the Lazy.  The Lazy is the sister trail of the EZ.  Super fun twisty single track with some elevation gain, but no climbing.  Up and down and up and down again.  We rounded a corner and the trail dropped down into a shallow slope that was twisty and BERMED.  I railed!  I was off-the-hook-out-of-control.  This produced a permigrin.  I might have let out a "Wheeeeeee" once or five times.

At the end of the Lazy we were back to the start, and the North 40 trail head was begging for me to come explore.  I asked The Boss?  She said OK.  We headed out and it started off a little tech, but it has promise, I kept asking if we should continue?  Yes.  YES!  Next little up put us into an awesome contour carve into some twisty down hills.  Sweet.  I'm sure my legs were a little tired, but I felt nothing but the pull of the trail begging for me to keep turning over the pedals.  I no longer felt the bike, I had melted into the man-machine.  A oneness that happens, and is unexplainable unless you have been there for yourself.  Stoke.  I was starting to become this trail, a trail that I had never ridden.  I couldn't stop, couldn't slow, just had to go.  This was Christmas morning and I just opened a present that I didn't ask for, but it was one that I have always wanted.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

M to the OAB

This is like when you get all into a series on TV and they get to the end of the season, you have to wait until it comes back on and they have new shows.  Yeah, kinda like that, except not as entertaining.  I really think the two or three of you that actually read this are just waiting for a break down or for me to go verbally insane and just write horrible things about people you know.  I'm not to that point....Yet.  But if it got more people to read......

So when we left our wayward travelers they were about to embark on a single track daytime assault mission at Dead Horse Point, UT.  It was cold, the air was crisp with the morning sun warming the red rocks.  The view, spectacular.  The man and his wife donned the frocks of mountain biking.  Words were spoken, helmets fastened, chains were aligned into the proper gear ratio.  A small wheelie of joy was held for the slightest of time dropping from pavement to high desert dirt. 

Time to rail some sick turns.

DHP is a trail system with two conjoined loops with an inner short/easy loop and a longer/easy loop.  Distance worked out to be a mile or so less than what was posted.  It was a very well thought out trail, and it did have a few intermediate sections, but all in all it was super fun.  All single track with flowing turns a few ups and down, but no climbs.  Fast, fast, and more fast.  There was quite a bit of snow on the trail in the shaded zones, but no mud to speak of.  The snow on the tires mixed with the powdery clay dirt an made some crazy sugar cookie tires that shed like fragmentation grenades.  This was a little annoying at times and fun at other times.  Perspective.  Remember this is the first time I had been on a bike in a few hundred hours, so I had it pinned.  The wife was not too amused with my childlike enthusiasm for speed, to her credit she was riding a broken bike.  Front fork seized, and rear brake was spongy as Mr. Squarepants.  She soldiered on like a trooper not wanting to rent a $45 bike.

At the end I was ready for another lap, but there was a pint and a burger waiting at Moab Brewery.  My wife asked for a sample of their Stout, and the waiter with limited English comprehension skills brought a pint.  She did not like this one.  I had an IPA, was elbow deep into my burger and then tried to finish off her Stout.  Yes, and we were still going to go to Slick Rock to check out the world famous trail.  I am ashamed to report that I could not finish the job and left beer on the table.  It was a sad sad day, I felt shame walking out with a half empty beer on the table.  -Optimist.

Hold on folks this is the part of the show they call the cliff-hanger.  They build up the action right at the 0:55:00 mark and then put up the to be continued...  We headed from Moab Brewery to Slick Rock and geared up for some more MTB action.  The parking lot was full of intimidation, it was the view, the feel, everything about rolling out of the lot onto the trail felt ominous.  We headed to the Practice Loop, and the first up section was a gear grinding 4mph short climb right into a roll-over screaming downhill turn into some snow and ice.  It gets better???