Monday, June 04, 2007

Through Hell...THEN we had to go back

View along the Colorado River in Southern Utah

Tim and I had been planning this trip for quite some time, then his sister Hollie decided to fly up last minute from Dallas to join us. Actually, we use the word "planning" loosely since nothing was planned except that we were driving across the rocky mountains, into southern Utah, and into the small town of Moab; the mountain biking/off road mecca of the U.S.

We went to bike.

We set up camp at 11pm, Hollie and I set up the tents, while Tim settled into his hammock. We were gonna need the rest, only we didn't realize it yet.

Morning came, we took our time, had breakfast, and wandered up to the slickrock trailhead. Bikes assembled, we road off into the harsh desert sun, ready to face the glorious 15 mile ride.

If you read any reviews of the slickrock trail, it mentions words such as "difficult", "dangerous," and "advanced." Actually, I'm going to paste the whole thing here. And this is one of the first things that popped up in google:

"This trail is VERY difficult and dangerous. Do not ride alone, but do not bring along you family, your girlfriend, or anyone that you love who is not an advanced rider. Despite the fact that the trail is shown on the Discovery Channel for kids to drool over, it is extremely dangerous and parents should exercise extreme caution with children under 18 (or over) who want to ride here. You could get them into serious trouble."

None of this did we know. We went into it blindly. I just thought it was a world-famous- awesome-everyone-need-to-do-it-trail.

The ride was fantastic. Well, we took a while to get started, since I was riding with "fiddling freaks." In that I mean that Tim and Hollie both have engineering minds, so they are always tinkering with their bikes. No offense to them, because they are problem solving wizards, but if it weren't for the kindness of experienced bike shop mechanics, we would have spent a whole heck of a lot more time out there.

Bikes working, we took off. It was amazing. I was having the time of my life. The trail would climb steep, then drop, almost vertically. We commented later that none of us knew that our bikes could go down something like that. We never thought it possible. But we did it.

Hollie riding down a steep grade...this is after she'd already fallen and slid down a few feet.

An hour into the ride, it was say hot was an understatement. It was scorching. We took one our many rests underneath a shady tree.

Back on the trail, we were refreshed and feeling good. We were riding over a ridgeline that overlooked Moab. It was stunning.

We come to a fork in the road. Tim, beginning to go down a steep hill, second guesses about which way to go. Next thing I know, he is flipping completely over his handlebars. He and I are both using toe clips, so as his feet go over his head, as does his bike. As he and the bike come to a stop, I see that he is moving (conscious), he's not screaming in pain (no broken bones) and I see that his face is not bleeding. So I know he's not going to die. But he DID crack his helmet. Without the helmet, we would have had to call a chopper.

Now we have to get Tim out of there.

We decide to forge ahead, figuring we are about 2 miles from halfway, and the hardest part behind us.

It was slow moving, since Tim couldn't climb, and was cautious going downhill (as were Hollie and I after seeing that accident.) The sun was scorching us, and we all became weary. It became a desperate search for the end. About a mile from the end, we stopped for before the one last push to the end.

As we arose from our break, Tim threw his bike down. He was nautious and couldn't continue. He'd been a beast getting this far, and now heat exhaustion was setting in. Luckily there was a few people hiking around, and we asked for the quickest way out. Turns out that way was a 4-wheel drive route. They graciously gave Tim a ride out (lucky, got a free 4x4 tour) while Hollie and I made the final push. It was excruciating. My body began to tingle towards the end, but we made it, and we drove to pick Tim up at the Ranger station.

After a well deserved steak dinner at the Broken Oar, we set up camp, spent 10 minutes around the fire, and turned in.

The next day, wanting nothing to do with a bicycle after the previous days ordeal, we spent the day wandering around Arches national park, only 3 miles down the road.

After arches, we began the drive home, all just happy for simply surviving. We are definitely going to return to Moab next summer for a second attempt at the slickrock trail.

As a post note, I'd like to report that after riding 15 miles in "extreme" terrain in my good ole' pedal clips, not once did I fall over. NOT ONCE.

Next up, Tim and I are considering the feasibility of canoing the Colorado from....wherever it starts all the way to Moab.


Griswold said...

Yeah...I'm jealous.

The Juice said...

no reason to be man. we almost died out there. hey, wanna go next year???

jch said...

Count me in for next year. Sounds like a...blast? Glad you guys were wearing helmets. Good for you!

laura g said...

you have the most exciting life ever, jj.

Lauren said...

I have to say... you're my hero. Pedal clips scare the bejeezus out of me.

The Juice said...

yeah, as they say, if you get pedal clips, you gotta do the time in them. which sometimes can hurt.

LoriLoo310 said...

It's really a shame that Brandon and I live in Utah and don't take advantage of any of the things this state offers. If only we were more adventurous like you.