Zen On Dirt

10th Annual Girls’ Trip to the Desert

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10 years.

It’s been 10 years since Megan invited me on the Annual Girls’ Trip to Fruita.

That’s almost a third of my life I’ve spent looking forward to these long weekends in the desert filled with riding bikes, drinking cocktails, and spending time with some of the most amazing women I know.

It amazes me how much things have changed over that time, yet how much they’ve still stayed the same.

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In those first years, we always went to Fruita. Now it’s Moab every time.

We used to all sleep in tents, with Megan and I choosing to cowboy camp whenever possible. Now our campsite is littered with Sprinters, the Scamp, and the ever present Heidi truck that can haul all of us and our bikes.

We used to go on massive rides, pedaling until exhaustion each day. Now we’re pretty good after about three hours. We spend our energy points wisely.

Going on an all-girls camping and riding trip used to be a really big deal. Now it feels completely normal.

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But it’s the things that have stayed the same that make this trip so special.

The flurry of emails beforehand deciding on meals to cook and cocktails to drink. The riding of bikes in amazing places. The telling of stories. The peer pressure I feel after every ride to take a shower even when I’m fully convinced that it’s far too cold out (which is pretty much anything below 80 degrees and sunny). The sharing of good book recommendations, a list which sustains me for months afterwards.

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It’s all just so easy. Meals get cooked. Dishes get done. Snacks are shared. Bikes are ridden. No drama. No stress.

We started off this year by joining the Tokyo Joes’ girls on their Porcupine Rim shuttle for Heidi’s birthday. 16 women strong, there was so much bike riding experience and power in this group that it blew my mind. From racers to advocates to team managers who launched some amazing bike racing careers to all-around badasses, it was a privilege of the highest order to get to ride with this group.

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Of course, it was still Porcupine Rim with all of the requisite silliness, but it was the most fun that I’ve had on that trail.

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Traffic jam on the Notch

We got real motivated the next day to do a big loop on some new and old trail in the Mag 7 area. We were still feeling good when we ran into a group of packraft bikepackers who were doing an overnight on the Green River shuttled by trails on their fatbikes. Kay knew Rick, and Rick knew me, so I got my annual ‘You’re Eszter, you’re famous.’ I swear, this happens to me once per year, and it’s always during Girls’ Trip.

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And I always get a load of shit for it.

Anyhow. I need a packraft. And some packraft skills. Because their trip sounded amazing.

In the end, we ended up getting nearly epic’d by that much pedaling. We got real tired-like. We are soft, and we embrace it. And we got a good laugh at thinking back to the days where we’d ride for 9 hours and get back to camp sunburnt, dehydrated, and completely whooped.

But we still dream big! We schemed up a following day of Flat Head Pass in the morning, and an Ahab in the afternoon, with Megan and I going for a Hidden Canyon run instead of Ahab. Megan is in training for a June ultra run, and she was real motivated-like.

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But after Flat Pass and a dip in Ken Lake, I thought for sure she’d relent and vote for Milt’s instead of more activity. Everyone else had given up the idea of a second ride long ago.

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But not Megan, and I wasn’t about to bail on supporting her motivation. So we had the other girls drop us off at Barney Rubble, set up our shuttle on the other side at the bottom of Moab Rim, and took off climbing after shoveling some food into our bellies.

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It was beautiful…and I’m sure there’s a lesson in this. Something along the lines of ‘Always say yes to adventure with friends.’

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And really, as long as we walked the up-hills, it wasn’t entirely all that painful. Or something. That’s a lie. Running is never easy.

And since we got milkshakes and tots at Milt’s afterwards, all was right in the world.

We finished the trip off with a lap around Ahab in the morning. Because what’s a trip to Moab without Ahab? (a lot safer?) I kid. I like Ahab. Sorta. Once per year.

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Eventually, most everyone drove off in their separate directions. Front Range. Montana. Durango. A few of us sat around drinking a round of cocktails at camp waiting for our men to show up from their own long-weekend adventures.

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Satisfied. Happy. A little bit sad that we’d have to wait another year for next time.

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Here’s to hoping for another 10 years in the desert filled with as many memories as the past 10.

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