Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Part 3 - Thunder Mtn Trail, Red Cyn, Utah

On to part three. But first, the night after the Moab ride was kinda interesting. Back at camp after a fine Mexican food dinner in Moab, we settled in to our digs. I had long abandoned the silly bunk bed made for average sized people for the expanse and fresh air of the front porch of the cabin. From there I could see some stars and feel the night air on my face. Also, I could hear the drunk college age blond chicks from Europe. Yep. All blonde, all young, all one degree of drunk or another, all loudly playing some obscure drinking game in languages unknown to myself.

Add the obnoxiously smokey campfire they had and toss in the pretty tough day we had on the trail and I was in no mood for German/Scandinavian/Aussie beer games. So I sauntered over and spoke to a responsible looking older man and explained the rules of campground etiquette, that being, 10:00 is quiet time and 11:00 is about the limit of everyone's patience. It worked, cuz at 10:45, they were all quiet and loaded into a van to go clubbing in Moab, I guess. Maybe karaoke?

So, back to the next day.

I found out I could not walk very well. Did I mention I sorta' crashed the day before? Well, I did fall down in a non-graceful way. Silly really, considering how many times I had flaunted death on some last minute course decision and line change off of the uncountable ledges of that ride. I was JRA (Just Riding Along) down between a little pinch of rock, easy to thread both wheels through, but I decided to pop the front wheel off the outer lip and then drop it down into the sand, allowing the rear wheel to hit the middle of the notch. Almost, but not quite. I was kinda tired and only half committed to the move. As I touched the front wheel down and leaned my weight forward, the rear wheel hung on the outer ledge and flipped up behind me. I landed on both wrists with my bike clipped in one leg and trying to come all the way over my back. Racked out like a swayback mule, it was not the best thing for my lumbar area.

I was paying for it now as I hardly made it to the restroom with pain into my back and left buttock with every step. Nifty. Definitely some nerve issues going on there. Well, if I could not walk, hopefully I could ride. I popped some Aleve and sent up a prayer.

We had originally planned to do Gooseberry Mesa on the return trip, but we were pretty shelled from the rough trail and I suggested we hit a ride that was not more of the same. I had seen Thunder Mtn on many posts and it was on my short list of places to visit in that Southern Utah gold mine of rides.

So we checked the road map and off we went, leaving Moab for some other day.

Parking at the Red Cyn Visitor center, we got a map and headed up what must be one of the most scenic bike paths around. Red rock Hoo Doos all around, we climbed gradually under sunny and perfect weather.

Finally some dirt, and then the trailhead after a gentle fireroad climb.

It is hard to imagine how stoked we were to begin this trail and it never ceased to be anything but pure, sweet, and tasty.

The trail is not a breeze, like all downhill, but it is soooo sweet as it climbs and drops, swoops, beckons and rewards its way through the red dirt and wide vistas of Utah sweet Utah. I noticed we were riding at over 8000' so it is a bit of a breath taker some times but never for long.

And, after a big drop in elevation on some steep switchbacks, we hit canyon bottom level and rode the next 1.5 mile section of trail with our cheeks (no, not THOSE cheeks...our face cheeks!) hurting from the big grins on our faces. I swear, if there is a section of singletrack that is like flying in the dirt, this was it. Total stoke.

So, 2 hours of riding, 15 miles or so over some really good stuff. Francisco said that he "never would have imagined he would be here riding a trail like this". Made me feel good as I was the one making the decisions for ride choices. Made me feel especially good to hear a relative newcomer to mtn biking (but a pretty fast 'old guy')like Francisco see how great our sport can be. This guy who would be a great endurance racer. I think he has the quiet determination and vision for it if I can talk him out of those silly XC NORBA type races he keeps winning.

So, another great day on a bike (but I still could barely walk).


LyndaW said...

I love Thunder Mountain Trail

Guitar Ted said...

Hey! Next time I go to Interbike, I need to do it like you did. More riding, less gawking!

Nice blog posts here. Pictures are great!

It was fun to meet you at the Salsa booth. Hope to run into you again someday.