I am still reeling from another 5 days in the Maze District of Canyonlands NP. With summer storms come stunning beauty; the sky pops with colors and big puffy clouds, the desert sand rich with beautiful bright flowers waiting to receive that rare drop of rain. It’s easy to see the challenges of managing a bike trip in gale force winds and rain but oh so important to take a step back and look at the big picture. Life is happening all around. Celebrate the next rainy day.
Neutral body position
Arms and legs bent, knees and elbows out slightly as if you are bouncing a basketball.
Chin up, vision high, look further ahead.
Able to take the bike into the body or push the bike away from body depending on terrain.
Pedals level, heels dropped slightly. Pedals and bottom bracket stay level on a flat plane (magic carpet) no matter what position the bike is in.
|Sun rise view of La Sal Mountains|
I look around and in every direction I see incredible rock formations, vibrant spring flowers, and stunning skies. I am in the Maze District of CanyonlandsNational Park. The Maze is the least accessible district of Canyonlands. The Maze is rarely visited due to its remoteness, difficulty of roads, and trails. This is my first week of three that I will be spending in this remote desert.
|The Maze: Chocolate Drops|
|Horseshoe Canyon: Holy Ghost panel in the Great Gallery|
Day 1: Horseshoe Canyon hike. Ok, so I’ll admit right off the bat, I am not much of a hiker; in fact I’d say that I don’t even like it very much at all. In my opinion there are few reasons to hike, summiting a peak or skinning to make some creamy backcountry turns. Anyway, I digress. Today, a 7mile out and back hike to The Great Gallery, a wall featuring pictographs from the Desert Archaic culture. The pictures are both etched and painted with mineral rich paint made from iron, manganese, and other minerals. Very similar to the minerals found in desert varnish. These archaic people where believed to have left the canyon in 1300 B.C. leaving only these pictures behind. It’s a powerful thought to think about the habitat and quality of life of the people hunting and gathering in such a harsh environment. Hike and all it was astonishing and I am very glad I did it.
Day 2: Drive. Some would say big deal you drove all day. This is no ordinary drive. With a fully loaded F450 Western Spirit style and heinous rocky steep terrain, it was no picnic. The Flint trail, very steep, narrow, and rocky. In one section I had to do a five point turn to negotiate a hairpin turn albeit in four wheel low with a harrowing precipice below. The constant rocking stayed with me all the way through dinner that evening. Something like the feeling you have after being on a boat all day.
Day 3: A 14 mile sandy hike through the Maze district. Today we drop in the canyon from Maze Overlook. Today,was my most memorable scenery from the trip. We circumnavigate Chocolate Drops, view more pictographs, lunch at Chimney Rock, all while in the presence of astonishing landmarks such as Elaterite, Bagpiper, and Ekker Buttes. We spend the day above, in, and below the different rock layers of The Maze. On the hike we have some exciting scrambling at the beginning and end due to the lollypop shape of this particular hike. The scrambling was really fun with a group supporting each other and shouting beta back and forth. “ Left foot down six inches, hand hold up and left a twelve inches. “ Once we reach the canyon below it’s a seemingly endless sandy walk down canyon and eventually out to Chimney Rock. We finish along the mesa back towards camp. 8 hours later we are back in camp and preparing dinner for 8.
Let the wheels do ONE thing at a time.
If your tires are braking they are braking, if your tires are turning they are turning.
Get your braking done early and let the tires roll, rail and grip through a turn.
Once the grip between pad and disc is stronger than the grip between tire and ground you loose traction and control.
Saturday, Gina Begin and myself took part in the inaugural Moab Bike Rodeo organized by Ashley Korenblat of Western Spirit. We obtained over 50 donated bikes and helmets fixed them up and found them all very good homes with young Moab shredders in training. The event took place at the elementary school where we gave free tune ups, slimed tires, riding clinics, safety tips, and refreshments. It was a great day with over 100 children showing up. It always feels good to spread the stoke on two wheels. Ride on kiddos.
LOOK where you WANT to go; go where you look!
When you look somewhere, you tell your brain and body that’s where you want to go.
See as fast as you ride, you can only ride as fast as you can scan the trail.
When your eyes slow down and look closer to the front wheel, you have to slow down. When your eyes speed up and scan further ahead, you can speed up. Keep scanning ahead; never lock your eyes on anything.
By looking ahead you give yourself more time to deal with changes in the terrain.
|St. George, UT: Barrel of Monkeys|
I begin Saturday guiding a Western Spirit mountain bike adventure. My first three trips are located in the most remote district of Canyonlands National Park, The Maze, unique in the world, was made famous by Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang. On this five to six day trip we’ll spend the days hiking and biking through the vast open skies and unique rock formations. Follow me to hear how the dispatches from the trail unravel.
Filmed April 6-10 at Canyons in Park City, Utah
Some of the greatest snow on earth arrived here in the Wasatch on April 6th. Jaded locals may have hung it up and called the season a loss, I for one have had an amazing season all the way to the end. Then again it is what you make of it. Bluebird powder turns, beers, and great friends have me finishing the year stoked and excited for next.