"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." -Lao Tzu
After a wonderful dinner with the gang, a good nights rest, and a skookum breakfast, our fearless heroine, the five-foot-two-of-fury-ninja-princess-she-ra-soon-to-be-mountain-biker, (that would be me) was ready to take on another of Moabs biking trails! I was not going to be put off by Slickrock!
On this, the second day of biking, my buddy Dave and I chose to ride 'Souvereign'. I was told it would be less challenging than Slickrock. Considering Slickrock is one of the most difficult rides, something 'less challenging' could have meant many things!
After almost getting lost trying to find the trailhead, not to mention Dave getting caught in a wee sandstorm in the desert while asking for directions from a family camped in a Winnebago we came across (while I stayed ensconced in my car), we finally found the spot we needed to be.
Let the adventures begin!
This trail was definitely more my speed...and at the same time it had it's challenges. I loved that it was so free flowing, with some sharper climbs and descents, as well as the rolly stuff. The first part of the trail was the slickrock and had little ups and downs to get over.
I was amazed that I actually could get up and over a lot of this stuff and the more we did the more I trusted my bike. Of course there were some bits were I still got off my bike and walked, but today I was a bit more brave because Dave was with me and I took more chances.
It paid off. I felt much stronger and my confidence started to build. At one point I was doing some more technical downhill and was being hesitant so told myself, "Just let go of the dang brakes already!! You'll be fine". I'm pretty sure I emitted a wee squeal as I did so, but I did survive and it was a blast!
The biggest problem I seemed to have, on all the days I rode, was my lungs. I'm not sure if it was because I hadn't done a lot of aerobic work in the last bit since the end of training, just normal asthma stuff, or because some of the climbs were short but steep; however I was majorily sucking wind and had to stop after some climbs. It was a bit of a bummer, but hey, it is what it is and I was happy I was riding...and posing for photos!
We only made it to Link 5 when I realized I was zonked and couldn't go further. We had stopped for lunch, but it didn't give me enough gusto to carry on. I didn't want to bonk somewhere in the middle of nowhere so asked Dave if it would be cool to turn back.
I had a feeling the food I ate might kick in on the way back, and it pretty much did. Ah well, lesson learned. The way back to the car was AWESOME! My confidence was definitley higher so I was riding a lot faster on the downhil. It was like being on an amusement park ride...only better! We were out there for about 3.5 hours, so it was a good day!
The second time out to Souvreign, and the fourth day of riding, was even better than the first. Good thing as it turned out to be a bit of an epic 'wherethefugawi' adventure! It all started out well and fine... Having a great ride, checking out the flora and fauna and the scenery. Kicking a little slickrock butt...
We rode back to the same spot we went to last time. It took less time this go around because we stopped for less photos, but also because we knew the terrain a bit better.
This made it all the more fun because we could go faster. Well, at least we could after my lungs warmed up. The first little bit of climbing we would stop so I could either get a hit of my inhaler, or just let the lungs relax on their own. The time we'd have to wait got shorter and shorter, much to both of our relief!
After a few hours of riding we stopped on a ridge and had a wee snack in the shade. It was much hotter out this time, about 30 C. Not much shade along the way either. Actually. No shade, except when we got off our bikes and tucked in near a big rock! Our bikes took a well deserved rest too.
Yep, that's my bike with the streamers hanging off. Well, my cousins bike on which I put the streamers. Figured it would make me look like a real mountain biker... What do you think?!
I was excited to press on and check out the area that we didn't ride in last time. We didn't have a map this time so were going on what we remembered. Not always the best plan, but very good if you are looking for adventure.
We had some good riding then saw this awesome, super long downhill section.
The first part was steep with a lot of rocks and beyond my ability, so I got off my bike and scooched down it quickly. As soon as it turned to dirt only, I got on my bike. I'm pretty sure riding down it I let out a Speedy Gonzales cry 'Andale Andale!' It was a blast!
When we got down to the bottom we followed the trail a little ways until Dave stopped and said, 'If I recall correctly, this just goes to the northwest and doesn't loop'. Hmmm. Okay then, let's go back to where the downhill ended and the other trails branched off.
So we did.
We met up with a couple of other cyclists, who, lucky for us, had no idea where they were either. We borrowed their map, which was in less detail than the map we had used before, and decided to follow the ATV trail a bit to see if we could meet up with the bike trail again.
Granted, we could have gone back up the hill, but that was a super long up!
Here's the thing about the ATV trail...98.7% of it is sand. Have you ever tried to ride a bike in sand? I was spinning like mad to get going only to hit a deep part and come to a complete stop. The funny thing is the bike wouldn't fall over or anythign, because the sand was that deep! I'd just come to a halt and be in suspended animation.
If that wasn't happening then I'd be working on my bike handling skills and turning into whichever direction my front wheel would twist to without my help. It was insane. We had brief moments where we'd hit some hard pack and make time, but mostly it was just sand. Lots and lots of sand.
Did I mention we were in a desert and it was hot out?
At one point we came across a dude sitting on a huge flat rock with his lawn chair, iPod, a book and some water. We decided to ask him if he had a map. While Dave and he were conferring, and I was trying not to wonder why someone would come to this spot to sit and read and whether or not he was someone that America's Most Wanted was interested in, I noticed some vehicles way off in the distance.
After squinting to see more clearly, I noticed it was the highway. Quite a distance away because the big rigs looked like Tonka trucks. It was at this point I heard Dave saying, 'I think those dotted lines are a road?' I tried to get both their attention to point out the highway, but to no avail. Something about men and maps I guess?
I finally told Dave when we bid the desert dude a fond farewell and headed back onto the sand path.
Now, it's times like these when one can either a) decide 'Hey we are on an adventure!' and go with it or b) get pissy that you can't do the downhill portion you wanted to and blow a little girl hissy fit.
I'm proud to report that both Dave and I chose option 'a'. Granted it'd be pretty funny to see all of Dave's 6 foot 2-ness blow a little girl hissy fit.
Instead we embraced our adventure, the sand and sang songs as well as tried to figure out if we were indeed going in the correct direction.
See anything Dave??
Just rock and sand!
One good thing was we could tell, once we got out of the valley, that we were headed in the right direction because we recognized the mountains so could determine our east and west. Phew! At every corner we figured we'd hit the bike trail and zip back to the car. But it didn't happen.
At one point Dave mentioned he'd run out of water. We'd both taken 3 L with us. I knew I still had some and told him I'd share...but if we ran out then he'd have to sacrifice himself so I could forgo being vegetarian to turn cannibal and survive. Nothing like a little motivation to survive eh?
After about 4 miles of riding in sand I spotted the Winnebago that Dave had asked directions from days ago. My excitement level was starting to rise. Could it be we are somewhere near the parking lot???
Sure enough we hit the dirt road, took a left and within no time were back at the car. It was at this point I thanked every God I could think of and jumped up and down for joy. Then we high fived and hugged. Not that I thought we were going to be in trouble, but dang, riding through sand is hard and I was getting pooped! Total ride distance for that day was about 14 miles of up/down/up/down/up/down/sand.
It was a fantastic time and I'm so glad Dave was there to share it with me! When I go back to Moab, Souvereign will absolutely be the first ride I do!
Peace out my lovely friends!