Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Desert Bliss Part One

Craig and I left Thursday evening for Rabbit Valley and our Desert riding/camping trip for our 15th wedding anniversary. It was just the two of us and Ringo on this trip, Craig and I were looking forward to a relaxed few days of being on our own schedule and out of touch.

Colorado River moving thru the Zion Curtain, the land between Utah and Colorado.

We pulled into Rabbit Valley late and got our bed ready in the back of the truck, we brought a thicker old futon this time with the hope that it would prove more comfortable, we're no spring chickens ya know. It worked perfectly, our hips and shoulders were happy each morning for the extra thickness. Friday dawned bright and sunny and we rolled out for a fun ride on the Western Rim trail before we drove on to Moab, an hour and half away.

Me heading out to the Western Rim Friday Morning.

Craig soaking in the wide open goodness.

Taking a break and enjoying the view. We had the whole place to ourselves that morning.

Craig goofing around on some slick rock off of Western Rim, there's a big drop of hundreds of feet just to the left, he was making really nervous!

We headed out after our ride for Moab, driving down the Beehive a long the Colorado River is one of my favorite roads anywhere. The views of Fisher Valley, Porcupine Rim and the Colorado River are awe inspiring even after almost 20 years of coming here. Saturday morning we had planned to be shuttled up to Burro Pass for the Whole Enchilada but snow earlier in the week put a kibosh on that plan and we were shuttled to Hazard instead. Burro Pass begins at 10,200' and climbs to 11,200' roughly, so you're up there and it is late October after all, maybe next year we'll get lucky with the weather. Hazard Down which includes UPS, LPS and Porcupine proper is one of my favorite top 5 rides anywhere. It has everything I love, fast and flowy DH, technical gnar and rocks, drops galore and short powerful bursts of climbing, in short it's awesome and it has incredible views.

Early morning shuttle. We were passed by all the others shuttles that morning, gotta love VW.

Craig and I forced ourselves to stop and take a break and enjoy the loveliness of Porcupine Rim with Fisher Valley below us.

Geared up and ready to rockin' rolla with Fisher Valley in the background.

It was such a lovely day and we had a great ride, once again not a lot of other people out. We even rode an alternate section that has been created in the last year called the Snotch, it's a alternate to the Notch which is a burly technical chute on LPS which I rode the top section of last year. The Snotch wasn't that hard to find to my surprise, it's actually very well worn in and someone had taken the Notch sign, yep there are wooden signs up there all over the place now that it's all legal, and placed it very professional like and securely by the Snotch entrance, even a few spray paint marks on the rock as well. Right now the Snotch is illegal but it seems like someone is trying to make it legal or at least visible, who knows what kind of monkey wrenching is a foot. At any rate it's a fun alternate, it has a technical and challenging switchback entrance that I nailed on my second attempt and then an impossible unless you're a trails rider or the kid at the bike shop, second switchy with a drop. I saw a bumper sticker in Moab on a local truck that said The Best Trails are Illegal, Ha!

Another view of Fisher Valley. If I only had wings!

Fun drop, about 3' with an awesome fast, blind entrance. Yahoo! There's are so many drops like this on Porci of varying heights, it's ridiculous.

If you've ever riddin Porci you know where this is. Craig (sorry I cut your head off) dropping 5' or so to flat. Harsh landing!

By the end of the ride are faces hurt from smiling big but I had noticed that the pivot point where my rear shock attaches to my frame was loose, noticeable movement, so I took my bike to Chili Pepper when we rode back into town to have them change the bearings. Unfortunately once they had the axle out they couldn't get it back in and they didn't have a new one, DOH! Oh no, what does this mean, no bike? Plan B, the friendly people at Chili Pepper gave me a Norco Fluid LT to demo for my Sunday ride, sweet! Thank you, thank you!

Sunset on the La Sals from Camp. We had started our ride on Hazard up there earlier in the day.

Ringo the Dingo loving the desert.

Sunday we headed over to Amasa Back TH to ride Amasa, Rock Stacker, Jackson back down to the river. We hadn't ridden this succession of trails before so it was a new adventure. I just knew from reading and word of mouth that Rock Stacker and Jackson offered up some technical rocky riding, I was excited to check it out, especially with the Norco.

Top of Amasa with the Norco. Great bike, a little sluggish of a climber but that could be helped with some modifications, a Fox fork to replace the Marrazochi to begin with and a DHX with a pro pedal in the back.

Phantasmagoric landscape from atop Amasa.

We didn't stop much on Rock Stacker and Jackson to take pictures, it was too fun and we were concentrating on our lines too much to stop. Craig took two videos of me which are in Desert Bliss Part Two. The Norco with its 6" of active suspension was a fantastic bike to ride on Rock Stacker and Jackson, it loved the technical gnar and sped a long effortlessly for the most part. I'm glad I had the chance to demo this bike and it's seriously in contention on my new bike frame list. It seemed durable and burly as well which for someone like me who is hard on their gear is necessary.

Craig finding his way down Jackson.

We had a great little holiday, perfect weather, relaxed, indulging ourselves a bit, staring up at the stars during the night, watching the sunset and rise with no concern for anything else, for schedules or appointments. We went at our own pace, rode hard and fast, tried new things, rode new lines, got dirty and a little banged up and blissed out with smiles all the way. BTW, best Chai latte ever and Breakfast Burritos in Moab are at the Love Muffin, YUM!

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