Zen On Dirt

When tired, keep riding


We’d never expected to stay in Moab for as long as we did. Generally, by mid-May, temperatures get too hot for our little Scamp to handle. We’d decided that we’d watch the weather forecast, and once it showed a week of 90+ degree temperatures, we were out. The Scamp would simply get too hot to work in for most of the day at those temperatures, and we aren’t huge fans of having to spend all day at the library or coffee shop in air conditioning. Plus, we don’t like having to get up early to ride. Yet every time we checked, it showed consistent mid-80s. The occasional 90 degree day, but nothing to write home about.

So we kept riding.

Plus, the rain the night after I got off the White Rim mudded out the road again so that we couldn’t have gotten the Scamp out if we tried. We took the day to rest, with only a minor field trip to the local gas station for snacks, a bathroom break, and people watching.


Really, it wasn’t a bad place to be stuck.


By the next day, the road was dry. Trails were dry. We opted to head up to the Amasa area with Pete, Scott to ride, me to run. I’d planned out a nice little loop to check the adaptation loss in my legs (running fitness is so fleeting…it’s stupid) that involved climbing up Hymasa and descending Jackson, a trail that I really had no desire to take a bike on due to rocks and exposure.


The first six and a half miles were glorious. I caught up to Pete and Scott on the climb, and then quickly got caught after the top as the trail headed down.


Things were going well until I got down to Kane Creek, just across from the parking lot that was a mere half mile from where the car was parked. The signs had said, ‘May be flooded’, but it didn’t occur to me that if the Colorado River 100 yards down was near flooding, it might back up into Kane Creek.


Ready to wade across, I went three steps in. Up to my chin. I decided that the risk of soaking my phone, losing my pack, and/or drowning wasn’t worth the risk, so I turned back around, soaked.


I hustled back up the trail, hoping to get into cell reception on the ridge before Scott lost reception back down by the car. His plan was to ride, and if I hadn’t made it back to the car when he finished, to drive down to the lower parking lot where I’d gotten turned around. I figured that if he got there and didn’t see me, he’d figure that I’d gotten eaten by the river monsters and call search and rescue (for what would be my 3rd lifetime S&R call for me, all of which were unneeded…I just run late sometimes, and once it was my mom’s fault when I was 10).

Luckily, I got up on the ridge, called Scott, explained my situation, confirmed that I had plenty of water, and made my jog of shame back down to the car. And in the end, I beat Scott and Pete back…so all that fretting was for nothing. But, a 7 mile run did turn into a 12-miler, and that hurt.

As a remedy, we agreed to ride a self-shuttled ride of UPS, LPS, and Porcupine Rim with Bec and Mike the next day. I think that if I’d actually stopped to realize that it was 4,000+ feet of climbing and 4000+ feet of rowdy descending, I might have been slightly less enthusiastic.


But when friends are in town, ride with friends. That’s the Moab rule.


I’d only ridden the trail twice before, both times getting rides to the top. Turns out, pedaling up there makes it all the more burly.


But it was totally worth it because we went to Milt’s for burgers and malts afterwards. And we wouldn’t have done the ride without the motivation offered by Bec and Mike. So that was a win.

Scott and I went birding the next day. I sort of felt like a truck had run over me.

The following day, Bec and Mike had one more day of riding before they had to go home, so we offered up a plan of starting at Navajo Rocks and heading up to the new Horsethief trails. Everyone had pretty toasted legs, so mellow was the name of the game.


The new trails were neat. It’s really nice to have trails in Moab that you don’t have to have your A-game on for. Maybe a B- to have fun. C for survival. No real cliffs to fall off of, so that was nice.


We rolled back to the parking lot to find a group of eight guys just finishing a ride.


“Want a beer?” they asked enthusiastically?


“Sure!” I never turn down an offered beer in the parking lot. They’d been in Moab for six days and they’d just finished their last ride. “What have you ridden?” I asked and listened to them list off the classic 6-8 rides that everyone rides when on a limited schedule in Moab.

For once, it felt like our time wasn’t limited, or at least it felt like we’d gotten all of the classics out of our systems. It was time to go exploring.



3 thoughts on “When tired, keep riding

  1. What is the best guidebook for trail info in the area? I really want to visit next spring. Thx

  2. http://discovermoab.com/biking.htm is a great resource. I think it’s better than any print guidebook right now. They’re building trails so quickly right now that I don’t think any paper guide can keep up.

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