Sunday, September 28, 2008

Part Two: Moab - The 3/4 Enchilada

When the trip was proposed to me, Moab was mentioned as a midweek destination in between the I-Bike stuff. I was the only one of the four of us that had been there, so it kinda fell to me to choose the rides there. There is one ride I always do when I am in that town, Porcupine Rim. I know there are new options getting ridden now, like Sovereign, but I had a bigger idea. The Whole Enchilada. Named for the ride that begins at Burro Pass and ends on the Porc Rim at the river, it is a consummate Moab Sampler IMO. From the Aspens to the sand of the petrified dunes, you get it all in 25+ miles of riding.

We discussed the route and decided, based on riding experience of the group and the fact we wanted to have fun, not get into an epic, we decided to have our shuttle company drop us off at Hazzard Trailhead below Burro as a beginning point, thus the 3/4 Enchilada moniker. I was debating my decision all the way to the trail head since I am kinda the all or nothing kind of guy, but in the end, we made a good decision to shorten the ride.

So it begins with, like all good trips, smart packing. We 4 fit into Steve M.'s Honda Pilot-mobile with little room to spare. Steve is the consummate master packer. The pyramids at Giza got nothing on him.

Once in Moab, we rolled into our swank cabin and unloaded, got on our bikes, and rolled around town to spin out the cobwebs. We rode over to Chile Pepper bikes, where we were to pick up our shuttle tomorrow morning, and then rode over to Pasta Jays for dinner.

The next day, we met our driver for the trip the trail head. Say hi to Christie and John, the dog.

A group pic, and we were off, GPS, maps, and more clothes than we needed. The weather was fabulous and the oak trees were blazing red next to the yellow aspens. Say hi to Cliff, Francisco, Me, and Steve M. Cliff was riding a Gary Fisher Cake, Francisco a Blur LT, Steve a Speshy Enduro, and me on the Lev 3.0 29er.

The tiny uphill at the beginning of the ride was a clue-in to the elevation we were pedaling at. 10K' is no place to search for extra oxygen.

It did not take too long before we had our first mechanical. Francisco ended up with one screw missing from an SPD cleat. We found out that a water bottle cage bolt fits the cleat plate, but the head was kinda fat to allow the shoe to clip in. Finally, we swapped around until Steve could use the bigger screw with his Eggbeater pedals. If we had a button head screw for our bottles, it would have been better, but we were rolling once again.

One thing that surprised me was how Hazzard trail was pretty bumpy/rocky/techy. I guess I had imagined swooping down a Aspen laden trail on a smooth path. Not so. It set the tone for the day, that being bumpy/rocky/techy. Ah, Maob.

Soon we hit Kokopelli Trail, which was not what it used to be after a fire called for a bulldozer to improve the trail a bit. Still, it was all good and soon we spilled out onto Sand Flats Rd., turned right, and headed to Lower Porc singletrack (we had bypassed Upper Porc due to a signed closure). Here, Francisco drops onto the road in a blur (and ON a Blur LT as it so happens).

Riding over to the beginning of the rim edge trails, we stopped for a moment to hang our legs over the abyss. This called for lots of cameras and finger pointing at the Castle Valley below.

From here, LPS got pretty techy and fun, weaving through the Pinion Pine and such. Soon we hit the hike-a-bike through the chute that I hear some folks actually ride. Wow. Hard to believe.

This was a real beat-down on a XC bike for an old guy like me. I do not remember it being that rough, but time does that to ya, smooths out the rough spots of life. Porc Rim is a great but demanding ride. I would have LOVED to have 2 more inches of travel and bigger tires, not to go faster, but to reduce the abuse and add a comfort/security factor. Still, 29" wheels are nearly magic on the ledges and drops of the Porc Rim and the 3.0 Lev did just fine being a bit out of its element and all. A Lenz Behemoth would be the ultimate 29er for this with the beefy travel, light frame, and shorter stays for all the manuals and drops.....hundreds of them.

Soon, well if you call 5 hours soon, we were back in town with the heat up a notch or to, sitting under a table in the shade, eating double cheese burgers, home fries (real ones), and killer chocolate shakes from Milts, 300 W and 400 E. Highly suggested as a post ride grub spot.

We done the deal, us old guys. Only one and a half mechanicals, one and a half crashes, and 4 complete smiles on grimy faces with chocolate milkshake mustaches ended the day.

6600' of downhill, 29 miles of riding, 5 hours.

No comments: