Thursday, July 21, 2011

A real JEM -- not apologizing for that one...

Ah, the final Utah mountain bike video that you have been waiting for, or quietly wishing I would accidentally forget about editing...

I can't tell you how much footage that Nathan and I took over the course of the trip to Utah.  The number of hours of video was a little over the top, but it has been loads of fun re-watching some of this stuff and trying my hand at editing together questionably interesting videos for others.  I do like to share these videos because it lets other people see some of the views that we got to see.  Bikes are great in the sense that they are quiet, you still can appreciate the views without the confinement of a car, you connect with the outdoors, and you can ride out into places that it would take many hours of walking and overnight camping to see.  Plus, it's a heck of a fun hobby.

I wanted to ride this loop from the first day we got there, but the rains kept us away and the trail a mess, so I had to wait until the last day before we were going to head up to Bryce Canyon.  Nathan opted to ride part of the ride with me, but wasn't in the mood to put up with the first half which included some grueling uphills to get to the top of the JEM trail.  Hurricane Rim was the first segment and it skirted the edge of the Virgin river and offered up some great views.  This ride also pointed out that I am totally directionally impaired.  I had a map and the map said that the trail turned to the right.  The trouble being that out in the wide open area, there were multiple jeep trails and other random single-track looking trails that were probably cut by animals walking through the tumbleweeds.

I ended up taking the wrong track and heading down into the canyon by the river at one point.  At another offshoot, I found that I was off in no man's land trying to follow the rim of the canyon around.  After about 45 minutes of riding, hiking, and fussing at myself liberally, a vulture flew close over my head.  It wasn't just cruising, it was checking me out.  I decided that was a sign to just find my way back to the original trail and head up a different direction.  I was furious.  I could still even see the house where we stayed out in the distance, but I couldn't get there because of a canyon in the way.  Nor could I call Brenna and say my ride plans had changed because cell service in the middle of the desert is sketchy at best.  I was officially not having any fun, so bailing out and just riding up part of the loop and coming back down seemed like the best way to salvage what was supposed to be a fun ride.

I rode up the JEM trail about a mile and magically found (drumroll please) the rest of the Hurricane Rim trail.  I don't know if that didn't tick me off even more because the map didn't say that the Hurricane Rim and the JEM were the same trail for any length of time.  I can't really blame the map.  I'm a little thick headed sometimes and probably just didn't read the map right.  Anyway, I was off again and had only wasted an hour wandering in the wilderness.  A true Moses ride -- thank goodness it wasn't 40 years of wandering, even though it was beginning to feel like it.

I found Brenna and Nathan an hour later in a parking lot looking worried.  I was after all, pretty late in my estimates of when I would meet them there.  The Goulds climb was looming across the road where I would head up a steep road for quite a distance before linking up with the Goulds trail and then the top of the JEM.  Nathan wisely opted to meet me on a side road where he didn't have to put up with the climb.  I being a little thick headed, as I stated before, wanted to ride up the thing.  The effort is cathartic in a way.

The ride was definitely better once I had a buddy with me.  It meant we could at least laugh at each other if we managed to get lost again.  The Goulds trail wound around the colorful reds, whites and even green looking sand/clay at the base of Gooseberry Mesa, and it was fun, but not the main event.  We were ready for the 8 mile downhill where we had seen signs that bike traffic was one way, and that bikes achieved "dangerous speeds" so to be careful.  That's a great advertisement for mountain biking if ever there was one.  Besides, there was nobody around for miles and we could enjoy the expansive desert views whilst tearing around as fast as we could get the bikes to go.

That's enough typing about a subject that most of you couldn't care less about.  I'll let the video show you more of the ride instead.  I hooked my camera on facing backwards and it worked pretty well, but it worked its way loose on the way down, so the video gets a little floppy in places.  I need to build a better mounting system, but the rear facing view was perfect.  We would get footage of both of us as we went flying through the tumbleweeds.


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