I had planned on a big lyrical post about the joy of bikes and how wonderful it is to do something you love to do and introduce others to it as well. But...sometimes ideas and events don't quite present themselves in a good form to write like that. Instead, I'll limit my rambling prose to at least say that I was really proud of Brenna for coming with us on the ride. I could tell she was nervous. Mostly because she told me as much. "Brad, I'm nervous about this ride." It's kinda hard to miss that. I did my best to tell her that this ride was really "mellow" and that she would have no problems with it. Everyone said it was pretty laid back and just a fun cruising through the desert with a little fun on slickrock.
We packed the 3 bikes on the back of the Corolla and rolled out into the "industrial section" of St. George. It seemed an odd place to find a cool trail, but after driving off the main road behind several warehouses, and then driving through a narrow tunnel under I-15, we did in fact find the trailhead. A few minutes later Monte and his lovely bride, Bonnie, drove up and we took off into the red sands and tumbleweeds.
Nathan and the rest of the group rode on ahead and I rode with Brenna giving her calming advice that she probably didn't want, hear, or even comprehend as the trail soon took a very steep and loose descent into a wash. She rode it perfectly, and I thought she would be happy, even though I was a little worried that she (and I) were realizing that this trail might have some obstacles that were a bit above her skill level.
This concern of mine was confirmed soon thereafter when she stated in no uncertain terms, "I'm almost too scared to enjoy this." Woops...In my defense, I did try to come up with a good ride for her, and it was good for the most part. There were just some scary sections for her to navigate. Go figure...it's Utah mountain biking.
She did ride well and the trail had a few surprises but generally these surprises were items that even the most experienced among us hiked down. There's nothing like a "mellow" Utah trail to make you think...what the heck is "intense"???
We rode through the sandy desert and along rock ledges until we reached what I'll guess was Church rocks. Large rounded red sandstone features reached up out of the tumbleweeds a fine tribute to the power of water and erosion at work on and around them. The formations were the size of a city block and probably a 100 feet high in places. It could have been bigger and higher, but we didn't explore the whole area of course. You could see holes and pockets where weaker sandstone was eroding faster than the rocks around it. There were some really steep sections that were great fun to ride down. One of the nice things about slickrock is that you have almost infinite traction on a bike. You ride at impossible angles and just stick...until, of course, you don't. Then sandstone really extracts some tolls on ones knees and elbows as you slide to the bottom of things. We got through the ride without an incident like last Nathan's slickrock incident last year in Moab. He looked like he had taken on a belt sander and lost.
Now that I think about that last sentence...honestly, when does one "take on" a belt sander and win? Secondly, would a ninja be able to win against an angry belt sander? A question for the ages there folks. You know you come to this blog for deep insights and questions like that...
We rode around lumps and ledges, steadily climbing up the rocks through a winding trail and found a slickrock playground with some drops and jumps to play on.
We hung out there until the storm we were watching develop over Zion looked like it was creeping our way. We bolted back for the safety of the cars with blurry gray columns of rain drenching the desert in the distance. Being up high on slickrock with bicycles isn't a good thing to do with lightning in the area.
A great afternoon was had, and I hope that Brenna will continue riding with me even though she knows the rule that even "mellow" sometimes is terrifying in Utah.
The video. It is becoming apparent that my YouTube and Vimeo channels are becoming somewhat one sided in video selections. It's not like I don't have a bunch of other stuff going on in life to share. I guess riding motorcycles and mountain bikes lend themselves to recording somewhat better.
Next: Angels Landing -- the hike we managed to do after riding all morning and into the afternoon. Why stay home and relax? We were on vacation and climbing to the top of sheer cliffs was right around the corner! What else do you do on vacation?