Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
This place needs an enema
Joined
·
16,916 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Several weeks of real winter and difficult (if any) riding conditions prompted Skippy and I to plot a brief escape to pseudo-spring. We pointed the car west and put this in the rearview.


Saw lotsa this along the way.


Fiveish hours of mellow, ice-free driving brought us into a valley shaped, at least in part, by the Virgin River. Knowing we had extremely limited daylight, and fueled by a severe shortage of recent on-dirt time, we headed straight to the most easily accessed trailhead. Stepping out of the car we found dry dirt under our feet, rock and desert veg all around us, and smiles on our faces.

Ahh.


We suited up in short minutes and were immediately wending our way through the creosote, cacti and chamisa. Destination? We didn't need one--we were here.




By any standard the illumination we had this evening was exceptional. Wispy low clouds diffused the warm, angular light, while the amber rock absorbed and amplified it. More than once I caught myself stopped, feet on the ground, arms draped, mouth agape, just gawking at the landscape spread before us. Sure it was good to see dirt and rock and color instead of shades of grey and white, but this, THIS went way beyond a change of scenery.

This was, as I said, exceptional.






A lack of consistent riding these past several weeks left our legs unsure of how to respond to all we asked of them. Crank then coast? Sure, fine. Perch and grind? Um, not for long. Due to the complaints of our legs and the sweetiousness of the too-brief evening, we kept it mellow and just enjoyed what came.






Zero wind, deliciously uncold air, and the warmth of the visible (visible I say!) low sun drew us out of winter mode faster than we expected. I didn't even know I'd been *in* winter mode--I needed the silly gaping grin pasted on my face to make me understand.

I zoomed in on Skippy's face while composing a shot and noticed that he, too, was grinning. Possible that it was a grimace, but I'd bet on the former.






We chose this trail merely for simplicity of access. We were rewarded with far more than we expected, or even hoped for.






Not wanting to push our luck, we wrapped it up before full dark.


Can't speak for Skippy but I felt like I could have gone home, satisfied already, from just these two hours out on the bike.

Fortunately, we had three more days to spend.

Stay tuned.

MC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Fantastic photos, whereabouts is that? We've had a bit of a cold snap here that has lasted all of 1 week and the media are making a really big deal out of it, it's melting fast now though so it will be back to muddy trails this week.
 

·
Bike Matron
Joined
·
245 Posts
by the river.....

big_slacker said:
Very nice! Although our summer riding is some of the best in the world I'm missing winter riding out in the desert. Virgin river, I take it Utah/AZ?
Hate to point this out, but if you were truly a full-time slacker, you'd be camped in your van by the river, doing this every day. Just sayin'. ;) :D

Beautiful pics and even more beautiful country. Thanks for sharing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,317 Posts
Markenduro said:
Fantastic photos, whereabouts is that?
Church Rocks trail in St George. You can actually see the trail and most of the scenery right from I-15 north of town. It really is tough to wake up to every morning.:thumbsup:

Can't wait to see what else you rode Mike. I am sorry that real life got in the way, I love seeing my usual scenery from someone else's perspective.
 

·
V-Shaped Rut
Joined
·
3,178 Posts
Haha! My normal day:

Wake up, sit down at the PC and browse the web.

Do some lab study and post on techie forums.

Record myself talking.

Take a long lunch and go to the beach, a ride, hike in the snow, motorcycle, depends on the season.

A little more recording.

Play video games, watch netflix with my wife, possibly go out and drink beer.

Even this amount of work seems dull and soul crushing sometimes and I've thought about the van by the river thing, believe me. But how else do you make money for carbon and light wheelsets? :thumbsup:

Team Pro Laps said:
Hate to point this out, but if you were truly a full-time slacker, you'd be camped in your van by the river, doing this every day. Just sayin'. ;) :D

Beautiful pics and even more beautiful country. Thanks for sharing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
The road to dirt and sun.



We stopped in Beaver for some Cache Valley Cheese Curds. This man definitely had the right idea.




We finally got to some dry dirt and rock. With enough light to get in a quick ride, we wasted no time in getting onto our bikes.




After four weeks of riding in more wear than I can stand, it was nice to just put on a short sleeve jersey and hit the trail. Mike didn't make the conversion so quickly.








We were treated to a warm sunset as we returned to the sleigh.



The lift to my spirits was evident as the sun sank below the horizon.
 

·
This place needs an enema
Joined
·
16,916 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
With chips, please?

The last quarter mile of dirt road up to the Guacamole trailhead is on the steeper side. More importantly, it's tucked up against a north-facing rock wall, and doesn't get any sun this time of year. While the rest of the road was pretty well dry and smooth, this last bit was a sheet of lumpy ice. On a hill. Next to a cliff.

I started this trip with a newfound confidence in my car's AWD and ABS capabilities. This confidence was the direct result of an abundance of snowpacked and icy roads (and parking lots...) at home, combined with my own keen interest in finding the limits of said AWD and ABS systems. For me, the week before leaving looked a lot like this:
(Not me, not my car, not my vid, etc...)

Our only attempt at driving up the road was aborted at the crux move, as all 4 tires spun and forward progress turned suddenly to sideways progress. I backed the car down (Skippy was all-too-happy to get out and walk, under the pretense of giving direction), parked, then we unloaded the bikes and rode easily up.


Up top we found clean, dry rock, staggering views, an occasional ice-filled pothole, and an otherwise empty trail.






Traction on the rock was outstanding, prompting us to attempt and execute several, um, interesting sequences that probably should have waited until MUCH later in the day--when we'd finally found our feet again.








We'd been told that the trail was short--a mere 8 miles comprised the entire loop. But we knew better: the 'entire loop' merely scratched the surface of an ocean of seemingly virgin and interconnected rock.






Sometimes our exploring was necessary--it's easy to lose the thread of the 'real' trail and once you've lost it you need to circle out until you stumble back onto it. But more often we'd see an interesting feature and head over (if possible) to check it out.






It was emphatically a slow-speed, rock-crawling, on-the-ground kind of day. That's the kind of riding I prefer, and although I felt rusty and a bit disconnected from the bike, I was at least within my comfort zone.






Skippy, on the other hand, was not in a happy place. It's not that he's bad at rock crawling--he's actually really good at it. It's just that he prefers speed, and air, and, if possible, more air. He never really found his groove on this day, stacking hard once on a committing gap move and spending the rest of the day delicately limping around.






As with the previous evening, there was no real rush to get anywhere, nor to cover ground just for the sake of it. We rode, we scoped, we gawked at the gawkables. And, at least one of us wondered how the trail came to be named as it is.








Sunset threatened a little earlier than we had hoped, prompting me to ask (rhetorically, of course) when I had last burned 6 hours on a mere "8 miles" of trail?




Rhetorical question notwithstanding, I answered myself aloud if only to underscore the obvious: Too damn long ago!


As the sun slid lower we grudgingly yet cheerfully turned tail and headed from whence we'd come.




Back at the motel we feasted on a disgustingly blissful combo of freeze-dried lasagna, tortilla chips, Oreos, dark chocolate gelato, jalapeno cheese curds, winter-harvest huckleberries, and Nuun.

Downright heavenly.

Two more days to go...

MC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,317 Posts
Guac was put together by the Wilson Clan and various hangers on. LOTS of unused territory up there but it is right up against the Park boundaries so I think they were trying to tread lightly. An easy connection could be made over to The Swamp making that another epic system.
As for the name, I think they just liked saying Guacamole.
Your photo skills are the truth. How are you carrying your camera?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Yes, I was glad to get out of the car as Mike backed it back down the snow packed road in. Not because I didn't trust his backing skills, but because staying in the car with Mike, after he had once again experimented with a freeze dried culinary concoction the night before, was much more dangerous. Oh snap!
Not 100 yards into the trail we were trying tech moves that were blowing our minds, and completing them. Yes, until Mike pulled off some stupid gap up move that set him on an even higher pedestal. My attempt ended when a patch of moss on the up spun my wheel and sent me a tumbling. Oh well, never fly too close to the sun with wax wings.





It is hard to imagine a better backdrop for a ride than Zion's. You just wanted it in every photo.

Just a plethora of boulders to play on and off.













I had to fain injury to avoid following Mike down this little series.









One last light show as the sun dipped beyond the horizon to kiss some biker on the other side of the world.

So we hitched up the wagon for a ride back to the bunkhouse and tried some freeze dried lasagna. Hope the car ride is short tomorrow.

Tomorrow we go-a-flying.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
triguy6 said:
Impressive pictures. I'd also like to know what type of camera you are using and how you are carrying it. Looks like an amazing place to ride!
I carry a Canon 40D and a couple of lenses in my ride pack with thick knit winter caps around them. I also carry a nice point and shoot. It's a bit hairy and heavy carrying around 2k+ in equipment while jumping off boulders and stuff. Mike was carrying his 70D with his new 70-200 "L" series lens. He also carries a Point and shoot. Again 2K+. Hopefully the results are worth it.
 

·
This place needs an enema
Joined
·
16,916 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Breakable said:
I carry a Canon 40D and a couple of lenses in my ride pack with thick knit winter caps around them. I also carry a nice point and shoot. It's a bit hairy and heavy carrying around 2k+ in equipment while jumping off boulders and stuff. Mike was carrying his 70D with his new 70-200 "L" series lens. He also carries a Point and shoot. Again 2K+. Hopefully the results are worth it.
Wow--you got me a 70D and didn't even tell me yet?!

You shouldn't have!

Actually, I have a lowly Canon T1i (Skippy tells me it's popular with the chicks--I'm not sure how to take that...) that I just carry in my pack. I made a crude padded holder for the body/lens out of some aluminized bubble wrap and duct tape. I'd rather not have to take the pack off/on/off all day long, but I (briefly) tried riding with a chest-mount harness for it and that was way worse. For me--YMMV.

I actually don't carry a second lens with me just yet. I'm still a raw noob to the whole pictography thing and having lens options when riding is just way too confusing/overwhelming. I make a choice pre-ride as to what 'set of eyes' I need to have on that day (corresponding to wide angle, or zoom, or macro) and then I go with it. You'll always pine for the lens you didn't bring, that just comes with the territory of being OCD I guess.

MC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
919 Posts
I was so waiting for that guy to wrap the Suby around one of those light poles.

Great shots, as always. Not sure I'll be able to find any dry riding here, this weekend.
 

·
This place needs an enema
Joined
·
16,916 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Go time.

There is such a tremendous variety of trails in SW Utah that a guy can easily find himself afflicted with analysis paralysis so severe that it becomes difficult to simply exit the lumpy motel room bed. Hundreds of miles of smoothish trails to cater to the just-cover-ground-NOW types, a similar amount of mini-chunk for those that like their flow a little less so, some of the world's best rock crawling on the Gooseberry and Little Creek twins, and even a modicum of shuttleable stuff. I don't know much about this last category--IMO if you wanna ride down you gotta ride up.

Skippy wasn't admitting as much, but before he even opened his eyes on this day he had a plan, and that plan involved only one thing: air. This unassuming family guy/business professional/churchmouse type has a beast living within, always hungry for more and more time spent flying while attached to his bike. I got my first glimpse of it in BC a few months ago, and if anything his chronic has increased exponentially since.

He humored me by bandying about other ideas, but in the end he made the call and the call was to head for the Barrels.

Barrels (properly 'Barrel Cactus trail') can be easily smoothed by a competent rider, but you need to be far better than competent to execute every alternate line along the way. Alternate lines? Gaps, drops, straight hucks, step-ups, hips, and step-downs. Skippy knows this about Barrels. He also knows that I am far from confident in my competence, or lack thereof.

What followed throughout the day was Skippy sending all but one move on Barrels, some of them twice and many thrice. I played the role of eager photog, mostly because if I didn't have a camera in-hand he'd have pushed me off of a house-sized rock.


No soundtrack on this one--all the better to hear the sound of tires on dirt and rock, chainslap, self-abusive commentary and, of course, cackling.

We also rode Zen trail, which for all of its fun and swoopiness and mini-chunk somehow ended up poorly represented in the vid. At sunset we were shown a small chunk of AMA, but (thankfully) the sun fell off a cliff before we were able to do the same. Based on what we did see I think that Barrels might become Skippy's second favorite SW Utah trail. Gah.

An enjoyable day in many ways. But also one that left me craving something... else.

One more day to go...

MC
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top