Monday, 10 May 2010

Moab: The Last Ride...

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Okay, it's been a while since I was in Moab or have written about it. Forgive me, I've been busy moving. Again. This was the second stage of my move. The first stage was moving from Alberta to British Columbia. That was easy in the sense I had to unpack my worldly possessions into storage and leave it there. Until stage two, moving into an acutal home.

That took more energy and planning. It was more emotional too...but that's a story for another day. Suffice it to say that this move back home is taking a bit more adjustment then orginally thought and even though I LOVE LOVE LOVE being here, I really miss my buds back in AB.

Okay, enough of that. On to the good stuff. My last ride!

I say it was in Moab, but I lie. I actually had an adventure within an adventure and me and Shauna took a trip over the Utah border into Colorado!! Where you ask? Why the mecca for mountain biking in Colorado - Frutia. Funny name, I know.

Once we finally found the area we were going to bike in - Shauna had a book outlining all of them, and let me tell you, there are a TON of places to ride - we gleefully got out our bikes and attempted to find the trail head out of the parking lot.

Who knew that would be tricky. In our defense, it was kind of blocked by some vehicles.

Oh, before I go on further, check out my new biking shirt. It has purple and wings!!! All that means is, yes, it makes me go faster.

Okay, so off we went on our adventure after taking photos of my wonderful shirt and after finding the trailhead.

The first bit of trail 'Zippity Do Da' was your average single track trail. Nothing major. We had to go around this way though in order to get to Frontline, which ran east-west. So we rode on and I tried to catch my breath on the short uphills and get my legs going.

For a good portion of this part of the ride we had to ride on a dirt road. It just so happened that there must have been a significant amount of rain at some point and the roads must have been mud swamps because there were two deep ruts where trucks drove through and tons of indents from cattle hooves. This made this section exceptionally bumpy and I was truly wishing I had a full suspension bike.

The biggest pain was in my seat bones. My butt was not used to this seat or sitting so upright so they'd been getting progressively worse all week. By the time we finished that section and got back onto the regular switchback, which was also a somewhat bumpy ride, I was gritting my teeth from the pain.

When I met up with Shauna (she is a great rider so would go ahead then stop and wait for me at the junctions) I told her 'we have a situation'. I so hated saying it, but I told her that I was in a lot of pain, and if the trail continued like this I was going to take the first trail that went south off of Frontline to the parking lot and bail. I'd wait there while she explored the other trails.

Man I hate being a wuss, but I seriously could not take it.

As it turns out the first trail that would go back to the car, the beginning of Zippity Do Da (we started our ride at the tail end of it, if that makes sense), would have been a suicide mission. At least according to the description in the book it would be. So I was going to carry on to Joe's Ridge.

Finally we got to Frontline the main trail that went east-west. As it turned out I didn't need to worry about sitting on my seat because there was a lot of single track, switch back up and down! There were squeals of glee that sputtered forth as I went along.

There was one downhill that made me stop and take a deep breath. Finally I went down and as I got there Shauna heard me say 'Hey, that wasn't so bad afterall!' It's a good thing when on the last day of riding you finally figure things out I guess.

Some of the sections had V like drops in them. They were short drops but the climb on the others side felt like it was at 45 degrees. This meant hitting it in the V and needing to know how to raise your front tire to get up the other side. All in limited space. I tried some of the more shallow ones, but some I had to walk. I just didn't have the skill to figure them out.

At one point the trail took us up and back out of the valley. It was insanely steep so both of us had to walk it. I was totally impressed with the dudes that passed us and rode up it. Note to self...practice riding when I get home!

We finally got to the Zippidity Do Da trail that went south. We decided to ride a bit of it to see how it was. We didn't get too far when we both stopped, laughed and turned around. Even the one section we were on was a bit spooky for me as it was near the edge. I just kept my mantra going of 'look to where you want to go'. Which meant do not go over the side as it's a loooooong way down!

We headed back to Frontline and zipped through the trees. This ride was glorious! I loved the speed we got as we wove in and out of the trees. Again we hit some up down switchbacks. I kept working at these ones trying to get better at them.

I had borowed my cousins bike and knew it made quite a bit of noise. At this point though I started to hear a squeaking. It sounded like the seat was making the noise. I figured I'd have to do something with it when I got back.

I then hit another of those V type drops. That's when Shauna heard a EEEEP! Then she heard 'My ......fell off!' She kindly doubled back to figure out what the ..... was and saw me standing there, with the bike, looking somewhat incredulous.

We pulled off to a section where there was some shade, as it was nicely hot that day, and took an assessment of the situation.

Oh, you may be wondering what happened. Well I'll give you a hint.

Yup. That's a bolt. That's a bolt that's suffered a fatigue fracture, as we call it in the materials science world. I used to study those in university...then as a failure analysis engineer. Of course all this information really didn't help me at this point.

Wondering where it came from? Here's a hint...what's missing in this photo? (Try not to get distracted by the streamers on the handle bars. And yes, they made me go faster.)

Just in case there is too much going on in the photo and you aren't sure. The bolt that fractured held my seat onto the seat post. No bolt = no seat.

Huh. Where the heck are we on this trail anyways and how far back is it to the car??

Of course by this point I'm laughing. And laughing hard. Oh the irony of the situation has not escaped me. I am complaining about how my arse hurts and I can't sit on my seat and BLAMMO, the Universe makes sure this is no longer a problem.

Shauna was mighty impressed with how I was handling the situation. Really though, what other way could I have handled it? I had no idea how far away we were from the car and I wasn't about to walk. So instead I chose to laugh, have a bit of lunch, put the seat and the bolts, along with the seat post, into my hydration pack and start riding standing up!

To be honest, it was easier riding without the seat. Well, at least on the downhills and the flats. The uphills not so much. At one point Shauna stopped and was telling me how Trina had explained that if you shift your butt to the front of the seat when climbing uphill, you have better control of the bike.

I stood there listening ever so intently with a small smile on my face. Then she looked from my face to just behind my butt...where my seat would have been. That's when she started laughing and said, 'Well, that's if you have a seat I guess!' I was laughing too and said I would mentally file that little tidbit away for when I had a seat!

We finally found Joe's Ridge, which was the trail I was going to take back to the car. Due to the time, Shauna decided she'd ride that trail too. Needless to say, Joe's Ridge was one heck of a ridge. It was this long downhill, literally on a ridge!! The first part was so steep and had so much loose rock we both decided to walk down that part to the next section of descent.

At this point I was so thankful I didn't have a seat as it allowed me to move my butt over my back tire so I could get down. I was shaking because of the height and the drop but we took it in sections and it turned out to be a blast!! There were these rock piles on the ridge too...we didn't realize these were the piles that we were warned about in the book. The ones that can flick you into an endo or cause you to break your handle bars.

Sometimes not knowing certain bits of information is a good thing.

As it turned out it really wasn't that bad. From there on it was the usual little bit of downhill and switchback. Having no seat, I was very grateful for the downhill.

Finally we could see the parking lot. By this point, seat or no seat, I was having so much fun I didn't want to go back. But go back we had to. It was our last night in Moab, we had a two hour drive back to the camp and we were all going out for a 'last supper'.

We hit the last bit of trail we needed to ride to get to the car. It was called Kelso's Run. We waited until some riders went through then we hit it.

HOLY HANNAH WHAT A RUSH!! This was the funnest section of trail I have ever ridden on! It was a super fast, slightly downhill, singletrack switchback that curved up into the hill so you were on your side like in a velodrom. Then it had the little V drops, which by this point I was hitting hard and leaping over the other side! I attacked this trail. It was SO skookum. The smile on my face wrapped from ear to ear.

When we finished that section both Shauna and I wanted to go back and do it again, but it was time to go. We had a short trip to the car then the car ride back. All in all I only had to ride about 5 miles with no seat. Not to shabby.

I had been wanting to go to Moab since the early 90's when I first heard about it. Finally, my dream came true. Not only did I get to go to Moab, but I got the bonus of going to Fruita as well. And the super bonus of all bonuses, I got to go with a most amazing group of people!!! This was a trip of a lifetime and I'm so thankful I got to do it. Thanks to all who made it possible!!

I can't wait to go again next year!!

Peace out my Zippity Do Da friends!!


  1. That damn Universe!! No seat - seriously. bet you paid attention to where you put your ass!! Sounds great! Good attitude!

  2. wow..amazing photos....and no seat?

  3. A) I can't believe you were in Fruita. I've never been but you were soooo close to us in Denver. :) Glad you had fun.

    B) I cannot believe your seat came off! I am impressed you didn't sitdown by accident.

    C) Hope you're settled in BC by now. Change is good. :)

  4. You are such a STUD!!!! 5 miles without a freaking seat? OMG, Susi!!! Hahahahahaha --- well, you sure got a workout from that, eh? Hee-hee!!!!!

    And you already have made plans for next year I see. :) What an awesome adventure you had -- the seat falling off is icing on the cake! That's the best story ever. :) :) :) :)

    Oh, and by the way, you rock my world!!!!!! :) :) :)

  5. "failure analysis engineer" thats what my boss calls me sometimes...