Zen On Dirt


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White Rim: One more time!

When we first rolled into Moab, I’d made bold declarations of wanting to explore new places that I hadn’t seen before. Needes! The Maze! Lockhart Basin! I had grand intentions of exploration. But intentions are funny.

When I found myself invited on an other White Rim trip with some friends who were either new or I hadn’t seen or ridden with in forever, I had zero hesitation in saying, ‘I’m in!’ This three day, self-supported, water-hauling trip would bring my number of days on White Rim this spring up to 7. In a two-week time span.

No, it wasn’t new country. It wasn’t new terrain. But by this time, I’d realized that the significance of this trip to Moab had little to do with seeing new places, it was much more centered around having new experiences with the people who I hold near and dear to my heart.

I’ve long ago abandoned bike riding as a form of fitness, instead embracing it as a way to see new places. This evolution seems to be continuing, as I’ve found myself embracing bikes as a way to spend time with people. I’ve gone from the bike racer who rode solo most of the time so that I could go the right pace and do the right intervals to someone who hasn’t been on a solo ride for longer than I can remember.

It’s pretty cool. The human experience is a neat one.

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We had a great little crew for this traversal of the WR. Rachel, who is a member of the list of riding buddies I had in AZ who moved, had been my link in. Also coming along were Beth, who I’d met at the start of the AZTR and told her that it was a very good idea that she’d brought her full-squish bike for the race, and Sean. All three residents in the Gunnison/Crested Butte area, which was fun because we knew all of the same people from my time there.

We loaded packs and bikes with 6-9L of water (I went with 8.5L), parked the car, and started towards Mineral Bottom road. 6L of water in the pack is heavy, and I’m pretty sure that I had the most water weight on my back starting out. I was a little jealous of the big frame bags the other three were toting with their hardtails. I was less jealous of their single-gear choice. I love single-speeds…but I’m not sure if you could convince me to take one around WR.

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We made short work of the 30-some odd miles of the day. We even had time to stop for a swim break in the flooding Green River which had backed up into a wash and onto the road.

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I also made short work of 3L of water…which was a bummer because I was really hoping to drink less than 2 on the starting day. But…the first day was forecasted to be the hottest, so I was hoping that water needs would go down the next two days.

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Rachel showed off her Jefe-donated sleeping pad. Moral of the story: Don’t take all the bikepacking advice that an ultra-lightweight racer bikepacker gives you.

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We lucked out waking up to cloudy skies.  With less than 40 miles to cover, we took a leisurely morning and had many snack breaks. The raven that was hanging out at Candlestick was still there. He waddled multiple circles around us looking for handouts.

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The temperatures made the pedaling downright pleasant and it was starting to look like our water supplies would hold out. Still, we decided, if we had a group supported by a vehicle camping next to us, we’d make ourselves available to be offered water to. Thru-hikers call it yogi-ing, showing up to a trailhead or campground filled with cars and food, looking forlornly at your own supplies, and hoping that someone takes pity and offers you food. Asking for food or water is against the rules. It has to be offered. Some people are amazingly good at it, and we liked our chances when a fully supported tour group pulled into the site next to us. Generally, by that campground, any excess water is happily jettisoned by groups.

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We left Sean back at the campsite later that evening and wandered over to see what we could pull off. It was definitely more of a challenge than an actual need for water. We had enough that we could easily finish the next morning without too much thirst.

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We returned with nothing. Nada. I was actually a little surprised, but totally understanding as each of those clients had paid $875 to have the privilege of not having to carry and ration their water. Whiskey was drank instead.

It rained that night. Which was great since three of us were in bivys. Added adventure. Or something like that.

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The guides ended up being super-nice, and in the end, brought us some leftover french toast in the morning and offered to let us fill up any water that we needed. Turns out, their trucks have a 135 gallon capacity for water. That’s a shit-ton of water. We ended up taking less than three liters between the four of us, but each sip was definitely much appreciated after two days of serious water rationing.

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We rolled out of Shaffers (still not jealous of the single-speeds) and back to the car. The whole time, we talked of trips for the summer. Bikepacking. High country. Summer was coming. The snow was melting.

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As I start to fill in the calendar for the next few months, it’s fun to see it fill with trips based on seeing friends instead of trips based on massive adventure goals. Maybe, when people ask me what our plans for this summer are, I’ll just say, ‘We’re going to ride bikes and go adventuring with friends.’

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That should just about sum it up.

 

 

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The Family that Plays Together

Moab has been great. It’s been great in a lot of ways, but I think the best (and somewhat unexpected) part has been the constantly rotating set of friends and family that have graced us with their presence. As I write this on the eve of our departure, I think we’ve spent less than 5 nights here (in five weeks) where we haven’t had camping neighbors or friends to ride with.

But the super unique part has been having family visit. First, my dad for White Rim, and then on a Thursday afternoon, Scott’s dad and older brother, Brian, showed up. Ready to ride. Us? We were mostly ready. Ready enough. Good enough for government.

The Morris family has a history of Moab trips. And it seems, based on the stories that I’ve been told, that rarely did they escape a Moab trip without getting epic’d in some way, shape, or form. Lost in the dark, out of water, you know, typical Morris Boys Go On An Adventure stuff.

In typical Morris fashion, they showed up with a stack of printouts of ride descriptions they were considering doing. I had to laugh because I tend to give Scott grief about doing way too much research for a trip. Me? I’m more of a Big Idea for a Trip and Hope For the Best type of a gal.

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First up was Navajo Rocks.

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While the Morris clad did many trips to Moab in the past, they’d determined that they hadn’t been for 12 years. So it seemed fitting to take them on one of the newer trails.

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The trails have evolved so much in just the past couple of years.

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Plus, I really like Navajo Rocks.

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There was talk of a double ride the next day. I didn’t believe it would happen, as there’s always talks of double rides in Moab, and then they never happen once bums are firmly seated in camp chairs to watch the world go by. Maybe me and my friends are just lazy…

We started with the classic: Slickrock. Scott’s ridden the loop 20+ times in his lifetime. His dad and brother weren’t far behind. The slopes that they trusted their tires on blew my mind.

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Maybe another 15 loops and I’ll get somewhat close to their level…

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We made plans to ride Klondike that afternoon and retreated to air conditioning with computers to work for a few hours.

And the plans didn’t get broken. Much to my amazement. And as we headed out to the trailhead, I had to think to myself, ‘This is a terrible idea. I’m pooped.’

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But we rode. And it was beautiful. And I descended like I was half-drunk, so I’m pretty glad that I made it out alive.

This Moab living, it’s hard work! My adrenaline levels were shot. My legs were tired. My arms were sore. My hand callouses were solid. It was time for a break. A break that involved another three-day self-supported trip around the White Rim, because when someone has camping permits and invites you to come along, you just don’t say no.

I hear that there was another double-ride day for the Morris boys the next day, and a hike the day after that. That’s some serious motivation! I can only imagine their energy levels 20 years ago…It’s pretty cool to still see them ride together, especially in a place where all this mountain biking craziness firmly took hold of Scott’s imagination many years ago.


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A lesson in expectations

Both Scott and I were a little worked over after the White Rim trip, but neither of us are particularly good at sitting still. Plus, we knew we only had two days before Scott’s dad and brother were going to show up, so if we were going to ride some chunk, we should probably do it in the next 48 hours.

Lounging in the Scamp the day after White Rim, we scrolled through our mental list of options. Something that was fun. Something that didn’t require a whole lot of energy. Something with rocks. Hymasa/Captain Ahab? Sure. Why not.

Never mind that I really need to have my Big Girl pants and A-game on to really ride that loop well.

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I set my expectations appropriately low for the afternoon ride. (Pro tip: No one rides Hymasa/Ahab in the afternoons. Post 3-pm, you’ll get the trail to yourself.)

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And I surprised myself with my level of competence, riding not only the stuff comfortably within my skill level, but riding nearly everything that is right on the edge of my ‘that scares the shit out of me’ level, which is pretty good, because some moves are definitely touch and go for me.

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So to do it tired was pretty cool. I actually fancied myself a pretty good mountain biker as we coasted back to the car.

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We left satisfied and with the confidence to tackle the Gold Bar singletrack and Portal the next day. This ride has been on my bucket list for a while now, and we figured out a good way to loop it from the campo. Gold Bar just looked amazing, and I wanted to see how bad the exposure on Portal was. Stories of people falling off the 500 ft cliff and dying made me a little nervous, but I also figured that many people had ridden/hike-a-biked it without incident, so I’d probably be okay.

Scott failed to mention how technical Gold Bar was, so I went into the ride planning on riding lots of it.

We started up Gemini Bridges Road.

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And were soon into the meat of the climb.

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And then, when the climb topped out and the tricky riding started, the wheels started to fall off the bus for me.

The miles passed slowly with off-the-bike, hike, on-the-bike, ride 10 feet, off-the-bike. Repeat.

It was far harder than I had expected.

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But spectacular. It truly was as spectacular as I’d expected.

By the time we made it to Portal, my Adrenaline Points had long run out, so I went for a nice walk with my bike along the exposed cliff edge.

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I was pretty stoked to make it down to the highway in one piece, but completely shambalized by the day of rocks. I no longer felt like a good mountain biker, and probably, if we didn’t have mountain bike riding visitors coming the next day, I probably would have laced up the running shoes for a few days to get the head sorted out.

Expectations. Never a good idea. Checking off Bucket List rides. Always a good idea.

 


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A 60th birthday present: White Rim with my dad

I remember my family’s last camping trip. I was on the order of 14 years old and working real hard to be the biggest pain in the ass of a teenager I could be. We car camped up at Camp Dick near the Indian Peaks west of Boulder in a handicapped access campsite (Isn’t it amazing what pieces of information the brain holds on to?!) and I, single-handedly pretty much ruined the entire weekend with my piss poor attitude.

I remember for years my dad wanting to go backpacking with the family. Really walk somewhere wild, and camp. It never happened because just as my youngest brother got old enough to go on trips like that, I got old enough that I wanted nothing to do with my family.

And so years passed.

On my dad’s 50th birthday, he asked my boyfriend and I to take him across Rollins Pass, Nederland to Winter Park with my little brother. He’d seen pictures from my past traversals of the pass and wanted to link up his main home in Boulder with the condo in Winter Park. The trip was a resounding success with minimal fits, crying, meltdowns, and bike-pushing (most of which were performed by my 14 year old brother), all of which were forgotten the moment we got donuts at the 7-11 in Winter Park.

My dad turned 60 this past September and I sort of sucked it up big time as far as a thoughtful gift for a big birthday went. That is, until Scott and I did our one-day White Rim trip at the end of October a month later.

“My dad would love this!” I exclaimed at the end of the loop.

I called him up. “Dad, I have a birthday present for you. When do you have three days free in April or May?” We nailed down days that he could escape to Moab and I set up camping permits for a three day, two night trip around the White Rim.

I fretted semi-nervously in the days leading up to the trip. I was still firmly in the sick-ward, so I had to pass up rides with Elliot, who was in Moab for the week and camping with us. The issue with a constant rotation of fresh friends at camp is that I can’t keep up with them all! #scamplifeproblems

My dad arrived late Friday night and we put him up in our guest tent after drinking some of the fine whisky that he’d brought us.

Morning futzing went about as smoothly as it could. We loaded up the BOB trailer that I’d had from years past with 9 extra liter of water, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and tents for Scott to haul, my bike with enough food for three people for three days, and my dads bike with a framebag full of his clothes. We were on the road by mid afternoon. Ready for adventure.

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Watching my dad drop into the Shaffers switchbacks was a little terrifying. Watching Scott negotiate the steep hairpins with the BOB was equally scary. We all made it down safely.

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Luckily, the first 30 miles of our route to Camp 1 at Gooseberry was fairly to mostly flat. The bikes were heavy!

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The weather forecast was less than ideal, and clouds continued to threaten, but luckily, never turned into more than a few sprinkles.

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We stopped for a sandwich break overlooking the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. Our stop not only served to fill our bellies, but allowed us to miss a semi-substantial rain downpour that left puddles in the rocks.

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Camp One. We ate a dinner of mac and cheese mixed with a pile of veggies that Scott and I needed out of our fridge. The night was capped off with some whisky, and we heard snores from my dad’s tent soon after the zippers went up.

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Morning of Day 2. We started relatively early to start to knock out the 44 miles we had to go to our second camp. I knew it was going to be a big day, and we had a master plan of stopping frequently to rest and refuel.

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My dad crashed only three times the entire trip. All three times in deep sand. Not bad for someone who hasn’t really ridden a mountain bike much in past several years. He showed up to this trip with minimal miles on the bike over the winter and a bike that had been ridden exactly 30 minutes since last summer. Those Horanyi genes, stubbornness and a good bit of off-the-couch-fitness.

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The big obstacle of the day was Murphy’s Hogback. Scott had determined that it was easier to ride with the BOB than push it and was highly motivated to keep pedaling. He ended up clearing more of the climb than I did…and that was still with nearly 9L of water in the BOB. Big power he has.

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The views at the top weren’t bad and I introduced my dad to my steady diet of chewy candies during ride. Swedish fish, gummy bears, peachy-os. Yum.

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Every time the road went down, I got a little nervous, but once my dad figured out how to stand up and get his weight back, things started to be a little less scary. I was damn impressed with some of the things he made it down. Scott just bumped down everything, the BOB crashing over rocks, giving him the trail name of Country Thunder.

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We stopped at Candlestick to eat some more snacks. The resident Raven hung out with us, posing for pictures.

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“We’re going to stop for coffee 10 miles out of camp,” we decided. So that’s exactly what we did. We’ve learned the art of the afternoon cup of coffee from the Salsa crew, and it was delicious. It was also much needed for the climb ahead.

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The final push to the top of the steep hill. I could tell my dad was starting to get tired. We’d been out for nearly 10 hours, but we still had a few miles of traversing, a big descent, and then a few more miles until our camp. Getting permits for WR is a PITA, and these two campsites were the best I could do for spacing.

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Camp Two! We got tents set up just as it started to rain, so we hung out in the big tent eating ChexMix (our new favorite salty snack). We’d planned on filtering water out of the Green River, but I had to try our chances with our neighbors, who were in a truck. They ended up not only filling up my 3L of bladder, but also insisted that I drink a glass of wine with them before heading back to camp. Now that’s an offer a girl can’t refuse. And it definitely beat drinking Green River water.

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It rained for a chunk of the night and we worried about the mud on the road. Luckily, it never came down hard and we had smooth roads for our final 12 miles back to the van, which we had parked ahead of time at the top of the Horsethief switchbacks, cutting out the less exciting Mineral Bottom Road and highway miles from the route.

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When we’d woken up, my dad was sad that we were nearing the end of the trip. While he’s traveled all over the world for work, I’d like to think that the Canyonlands ranked somewhere high on the spectacular scale of things he’s seen. And while it wasn’t exactly remote backpacking, bikepacking is pretty cool too.

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At the bottom of the Horsethief switchbacks, Scott and I stopped to futz as my dad took off up the hill. I have to admit, pedaling up after him, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t catch him by the top to snap a “summit” picture. It would have counted as a solid interval, if I were into that sort of thing. Finally though, the steepness got to him, and he started walking and I was finally able to catch up and put myself in position for photo-geeking.

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The top! The van! We’d made it. I was one proud daughter.

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My dad had to drive back to Boulder that afternoon, but we still had time to finish the trip in style – with a trip to Eddie McStiffs for giant burgers and fries.

I had many goals for this trip. First and foremost, everyone needed to make it out alive and with no broken bones and minimal skin missing. But then there was wanting my dad to get a glimpse into my world lived centered around bikes and being outside, I wanted him to get outside of his comfort zone and do something he’d maybe not do on his own. I was hoping he’d get inspired to do some trips closer to home and to see places that he’s lived near but never visited. Maybe rent an RV and take my mom around to all of the beautiful National Parks within a 500 mile radius of Boulder one summer. And I really wanted him to bring us a bottle of good whisky since we’d been in Utah for far too long.

Based on the fact that he called it the best (late) birthday ever, I’d like to think I succeeded in some of those goals. It was definitely one of those trips that we’ll talk about for a long time. Thanks for coming, Dad. And huge thanks to Scott for hauling all that water! I’ll run a shuttle for you any day, any where.


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A Day on White Rim with Geologists

I think the conversation with Alexis went something like this this spring:

Me: What do you mean you and Denny have never been around the White Rim?! You’re bike riding geologists! We’re going this spring. When are you free in April or May? We’ll do it in a day!

Alexis: Umm. Never. The semester ends on May 1. Field camp starts May 6.

Me: Perfect. I’ll see you in Moab on May 3.

Alexis and Denny are both hardworking profs at Utah State University up in Logan, and while I got to see them both several times over the winter in Tucson, I was committed to making sure I got a few more days of Alexis and Denny time in the spring. And the 100-mile White Rim was the perfect excuse.

By the time I’d come back from the final ride of the Annual Girls’ Trip to the Desert, they were there, and defying all logic, I agreed to go on a second ride. Because, well, why not.

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It’s not like the White Rim is a long ride or anything.

We set the alarms for dark:30, hoping to get an early start to the day and avoid finishing in the dark like Scott and I had done back at the end of October.

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We made short work of Mineral Bottom road, finding ourselves dropping into the Horsethief switchbacks with cold toes and jackets still on. Cool mornings mean not-so-hot days, I wasn’t going to complain.

The colors were absolutely vibrant, the new spring growth coming up from every angle. It was such a contrast to the cloudy day fall trip we’d done before.

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Scott and I learned plenty about the geology of the area. We pointed to a tower of rock in the distance, “Denny, what’s that?”

“That? That’s a pile of rock.”

But all kidding aside, it was neat to learn about the different layers and how the intricate canyons of the area had formed. Geologic time seems impossible to think about.

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Through the Candlestick campground, snack break before the Murphy’s climb, lunch at the top. It felt like we had endless daylight, which, with an added three hours over the trip last fall, plus no mud to speak of (we’d gotten stuck in the quagmire of Potato Bottom last time, leading to plenty of bike carrying), we were making fantastic time.

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“It was getting late by the time we got here!” Scott and I kept exclaiming. It was still early afternoon when the La Sals came into view and the sun was high and bright, but not hot. The winds stayed favorable as we turned north, playing the game of giving each of the rock formations names.

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Life long and prosper was my favorite, even though I wasn’t a Star Trek watcher growing up. This led to a handful of miles discussing if it was easier to make the LLAP sigh with our right or left hands, and to why my family never got into the show even though all signs point to it being something that my parents would have watched.

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And then the wheels began to fall off the bus. For all of us, but especially for Denny who hadn’t done a long ride since Camp Tucson back in March. And of course, Schaffers switchbacks loomed.

As they came into sight, Denny’s reaction was, “There’s no way I’m getting up that!”

But since we’re all bike riders, and really, there’s no alternative to pedaling up the switchbacks, we all made it out.

Alexis blasted music on her phone and put her head down to hammer. It was all I could do to hold her wheel and keep the music audible. It was a fantastic way to gain altitude.

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And the final eight miles back to the car on the highway. What can I say, that’s always rough.

We finished with ample daylight. Enough daylight, in fact, to make it down to Milts, wait nearly an hour for food, and still have plenty of time to eat and make it back to camp before dark.

The more and more trips I do with my friends, the more and more impressed I am by the people who I get to surround myself with. Alexis and Denny may work harder than I ever want to, but the fact that they made the time to take several trips to Tucson this winter and to come down to Moab for two nights is pretty damn awesome. Work hard, play hard. Or something like that.


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Annual Girls’ Trip to the Desert

It was eight years ago that my new ski buddy, Megan, had invited me on my first Girls’ Trip to Fruita. It was their second annual trip, and I had no clue what to expect.

Eight years ago, I was in the Ph.D. program at CU in Boulder studying air quality. Since then, I’ve dropped out of the grad program with a Masters, I’ve moved to Crested Butte, I’ve gotten married, I’ve gotten un-married, I’ve left Crested Butte, I banged my head against a wall trying to be a freelance writer, I’ve worked as a lift-op, nordic center staff member, mountain bike camp kids counselor, collegiate mountain bike coach, physics teaching assistant, middle and high school tutor, and a copy writer. I’ve moved to Tucson in the winters with Scott and traveled the west with him in the summers, I’ve raced the Colorado Trail Race twice, Tour Divide, Arizona Trail Race, Iditarod, Stagecoach, Arrowhead 135, single-speed world championships, 24-hour national and world championships, and I’ve retired from racing and toured the Continental Divide Trail.

And through all this, every April or May, four of my favorite women and I meet up in the deserts of Fruita or Moab to ride bikes and drink mojitos, or margaritas, or wine, or beer. Or all of the above.

Nothing has had the longevity of this sacred weekend every spring.

This year wasn’t looking great for me. While I was already in Moab, I was sick. Real sick. And it had rained, and we couldn’t get the van out of Willow Springs Road so that I could get my camping gear to the Girls Only – No Boys Allowed campsite.

I bailed on Day 1 of riding, citing a head that ached and energy levels that ranked barely above empty, instead, moping in the Scamp feeling sorry for myself and telling my immune system to get it together and cursing the disaster of a road that we were camped on.

Scott and I had just walked out our side road to do a road assessment (fail, the van wasn’t going anywhere) when I got a text from Megan. “Want us to come get you? The truck should make it down the road.”

Yes, please! Sickness be damned, I just wouldn’t touch anything.

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And in 15 minutes, I was packed and ready to go. Still feeling not awesome, I figured I’d ride a day, just so that streak of Girls’ Trip wouldn’t be broken, and then retire back to the Scamp to work on health.

Yeah, right.

As it turns out, meals at Girls’ Trip are a notch above what I motivate to cook for Scott and I.

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In the past, we’ve done our best to hammer ourselves on at least one ride during the annual spring pilgrimage, often riding as much each day as we felt we could pull off.

Now, we’ve relaxed a little bit, placing much more of a focus on laughing, eating, and being than the actual act of riding bikes. But that doesn’t mean we don’t ride.

First was the classic Hymasa and Ahab.

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Megan and I, stuffed up heads, plugged up ears, and no sense of balance, hung out in the back watching the gals ride all sorts of scary stuff. We laughed as we brought up the rear, happy to have each other to wallow in sicky-ness.

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I vowed to call it good and head back, but after a magic burger and malt at Milts, I felt good enough to fight another day.

Klondike!

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For our first 6 years of desert trips, we’d planted ourselves firmly in Fruita, both because it was closer to the Front Range, and at the time, the trails were simply better than what Moab had to offer. Two years ago, we split our time between the two, last year, we’d planning on splitting our time but ended up staying in Moab, and this year, we set ourselves up a nice little campsite outside of Moab for the full five days of the trip.

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People change. Places change.

Our motivation to make the most of a long weekend doesn’t change. On the final morning, we packed up camp and set out for one last ride on Bar M.

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Every year, the last ride of the trip makes me sad. My legs tell me that it’s good to be done, but my heart is never ready for the weekend to be over.

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Its always a weekend full of laughing, book recommendations, talking bikes, inspiration, and feeling amazingly humbled and lucky to be able to ride with an amazing group of women. Never for a second do I take for granted that our trips are drama-free, easy, and damn, the food is good.

Next year will mark a decade of visits to the desert. I do believe something special should be done to commemorate that one. Never have I felt more appreciative for the friendships that have spanned time and space and continue to give me a trip to look forward to throughout the year.

 

 


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The Spaces Between the Plans

When we first got the Scamp back in December, one of the first Bucket List items was to spend as much time in Moab this spring as possible. Moab has always been one of those places where I never have enough time, where I show up for a 3-7 day stint, ride all of the classics because they’re, well, classics, and then have to leave before I get to branch out at all. I was determined to spend a solid chunk of time in the red-walled desert this time where I not only had time to ride the good stuff, but could really start to look more closely at maps of the area and visit places that I’d never seen.

With Megan in tow, we pointed north from the Grand Canyon, after the appropriate amount of touristing on the South Rim, and headed to the canyon country of Utah.

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We were sore. We were tired. But the draw of Moab was strong. It was hard to get to Moab and not be able to go out and play right away, at least not play to the level I wanted to. But there always has to be down time, thems the rules.

Megan, the master planner, had constructed our R2R2R trip to coincide with the Annual Girls Trip to the Desert. But we had a week between play dates, and she’d convinced Steve and her little boy with the reddest hair on the face of the earth, to come down from Bozeman in their new van to spend the week playing in the sand. Watching a 2-year old first see a spider, then examine it more closely, then run in fear screaming made me laugh until I nearly fell off my chair.

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48-hours post R2R2R, I was feeling okay enough to ride, so Scott and I took Steve out on Sovereign, just a short pedal from our Scamp-site. Surprisingly, while my motivation to try anything technician wasn’t really there, the legs were almost okay. I guess actually training for something has some recovery benefits…

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We came back to camp to Townes learning the fine art of riding bikes on dirt.

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And then a new bike showed up for me! Salsa had just released the Redpoint, their new trail bike, and after riding it on the Salsa pre-launch bikepack back in AZ, I knew I really wanted to get my hands on one. 27.5 wheels, 150mm of travel, this bike was begging to get ridden in Moab.

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The Klondike trails were not only close, but silly fun.

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I made it exactly one ride before I got sick again. Megan, also sick, compared symptoms with me. Based on our various sore throats, runny noses, feverishness, and general ickyness, we determined that we’d swapped the sicknesses that we’d both had before the run. Doh!

So much for riding. The poor new bike sat by the Scamp wondering what it had done wrong to be ridden exactly once and then put away.

And then it rained and the road got so muddy that we couldn’t get the van out to the highway, leaving us stuck. But really, we had food, we had water, we had power, shelter, and Internet. And the rainbows after each dousing of rain weren’t too bad either.

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But still, as we sat there, both Scott and I fighting some nasty bug, van covered in mud, neither of us having ridden for a few days, we had to wonder, ‘Are we screwing this up?’

And then we looked up. Nah. Downtime. Everyone needs downtime.

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