Thursday, June 2, 2011

Riding the Sidewinder

We have so much video.  Perhaps too much?  Nah!  Thanks to Nathan joining me in looking really foolish with a helmet camera during all of our rides, we have hours of footage to pour through.  But for you, my tens of loyal readers, I will get through it all and put together poorly filmed, shaky, and over produced videos for you to enjoy along with my witty prose.

The OTE - Hurricane

We headed with Monte over to the shop to pick up the bikes for the first day, and as we sorted out the shock pressures on these bikes the “Over the Edge Sports Mascot Pooch” flopped on our feet repeatedly looking to be scratched.  That was a really cool dog and it almost makes me wish I had a pet.  Almost…until I think of all the other responsibilities I have going and the urge passes…
The bikes were great and the staff at OTE got us set up and ready to go quickly.  I’ll shamelessly plug them for any of your trips out to Fruita, CO or Hurricane, UT.
The rain clouds were roiling over the mesas and canyons in Zion, so we headed the other (much dryer) direction to go ride the bikes and ended up at the Santa Clara River Preserve trail system near St. George.  The Sidewinder trail actually is part of a pretty large network of trails that run all over the area, and from what I could tell, we covered almost all of them including illusion and the precipice trails.  
The Sidewinder trail is an out-and-back that snakes around the hills and has a turn-around loop at the end before you descend back down at high speed giving it a look of a snake with a head when seen from above, hence the name.  It’s a pretty mellow trail and was a great warm-up for the week.  There were some technical sections with some rocks and a brief bit of cliff exposure, but not too much complicated stuff which was good since we were getting used to our bikes and what they would do.
The views were great and we learned an essential bit of trivia as we were riding around and yakking about everything from geology, to politics, to the merits of bicycles and not crashing.  Heady stuff folks…
That riveting piece of trivia?
The top three reasons tourists and hikers fall off high cliffs:
  1. Posing for Pictures on the cliff edge
  2. Acting like they are about to fall off the cliff
  3. Urinating off cliffs – in the dark.  (I think I’m close enough to the edge…maybe one more step…)
(I’m going to guess that intoxication is also commonly involved in both #2 and #3)
I have no idea if this list is truly accurate because I’m lazy and don’t want to Google it, but they sound pretty dang plausible, so there you have it.  It’s gospel now.  
My advice on this pressing matter you ask?  Sure, I’ll be happy to tell you as I know some of you really wanted to read my words of wisdom.  

First, look at where the edge is, gauge how windy it is and where good footing would be among other conditions, before posing for photographs.  

Second, don’t be a drunken idiot (or just a plain old normal one for that matter) near cliff edges by wildly flailing your arms around and yelling “AAAAaaaaaaahhhhh!”  to try to get a giggle out of your fellow hikers or that cute blond Park Ranger with braids you just saw.  (It's not like the Sasquatch or the chupacabra, she does really exist...  No, of course I don't have pictures...)  
Oh, I digressed a little there.  To the point of acting like you are falling, your friends won’t be impressed, and she really doesn’t care.  Plus, being all mangled and dead at the bottom of the cliff isn’t a good look for a first date anyway.

Finally, if you feel the urge after an evening of imbibing around the campfire…well…whatever…do what you want in that case…Darwin’s theories do have some validity.

We would yell out the appropriate number whenever we saw someone near a precipice throughout the rest of the week, and quite fortunately, I don’t recall yelling #3 at anyone.  Mainly I because I wasn’t looking for people urinating in the dark.  That would be really weird, and I was tired from all the riding.

Some fine examples of posing on high rock outcrops without dying.  A cool set of surroundings to ride bikes if I do say so myself.  We had a ball. 

To close this knowledge packed post, I present you with the first of several videos from the trip.  Riding the Sidewinder, enjoy.  

Filmed entirely with GoPro cameras including the time lapse shots at the opening.

Next post, Zion National Park does its best impression of the Pacific Northwest rain forests. Albeit with Desert Juniper and Pinyon Pine Trees and really big rocks.

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