Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hurricane wrap-up

After riding 30 trails in 31 days the body was tired, the vehicle needed a bath inside and out, the bikes needed love and I needed a haircut. Guacamole and Gooseberry were our most challenging trails of the trip, and riding them back to back was exhausting mentally and physically. I slept late. The access roads in Utah should be rated black diamond (most difficult) as seen in photo one, so the 4Runner had several pounds of mud caked to the undercarriage. I gave it a bath. I left the bikes on the rack at the car wash, then lubed everything that made noise, keeping the Trance happy. And, I got a much needed haircut. All is well in Hurricane UT.

Many of the people that just arrived on Saturday took a break today by visiting Bryce Canyon or Zion. A few rode, while others kicked back and did chores. Not surprisingly, most people are not used to riding hard four days straight, so a midweek rest day was appreciated.

For me, riding everyday of our trip had become an obsession after the first week, so I was driven. A day off renewed my energy and I have already planned rides for the next three days. I am ready to roll. Tomorrow will bring new trails, new photos and more stories.

Access road to Gooseberry Mesa

Backside of Zion
View from Gooseberry

Monday, May 2, 2016

Hurricane Wrapup

Our condo for the week, and the portion of our crew that rode. Missing are Lou, Mary and Jeanne, who are hiking Zion.

We started the week with a mid intensity trail, progressed to the most difficult, then tapered off to the easiest. All week the weather cooperated with 50-60° start times and no rain during the days. A couple afternoons the winds kicked up 20 knots, which was sufficient to cause unintentional directional changes, but not a problem unless you were near a ledge. Fortunately, all bikes were accounted for at the end of the ride.

There were hiking trips to Zion and Bryce Canyon, shopping trips to local bike shops, and nightly social gatherings. We ate well, rationalizing the inclusion of monster desserts by believing all this riding has been burning major calories. However, I am afraid the weight scale back home will prove otherwise. But like they say, there's no time like tomorrow to start a diet.

It was a fun group that played well together, challenging each other in a positive way, and being more than helpful when needed. Hurricane has been an excellent destination if you like technical trails. The Black trails here are definitely more difficult than anyplace I have ridden, including Moab.

Most people are heading home tomorrow (Sunday), but Jeff, Marty and I are still traveling west to experience Bootleg and Cottonwood Canyon near Vegas. This will probably be my last post, and I hope you have enjoyed my rambling attempt at storytelling. Marty and I plan on arriving back in Tampa late April or early May. Six weeks on the road has been a bucket list item in the planning for some time, and it has all been good, wouldn't change a thing. I do look forward to riding with all you SWAMPers soon. Look for us on your favorite trail.

Zion is well known as one of America's best National Parks. By mid week numerous people wanted a day off to do some hiking, so up they went into the snow. Yep, it is May, but it can snow at these altitudes most any time.

Matt is wondering if this is safer than biking.

Matt and Susan in Zion

Wait a minute, this isn't sand, it's snow.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Red Bluffs

All week we have been riding Black trails, breaking into three groups by abilities. With this being our last day we considered trying at least one Blue trail, so our group picked Bear Claw and Stucki Springs. Combined, these created a four mile gentle uphill. The fun began when we turned around and started downhill. What started as one path soon split into multiple parallel versions of a jump park. It would take a hundred flights down to hit every possible combo, but what we did was entertaining in a 'little kid on a BMX bike' kind of way.

The Red Bluff system had a dozen or more trails of Green, Blue and Black/double Black persuasion. The double Black diamonds trails were possibly the most difficult of the week. Spread around the St George and Washington area are dozens of trails of the Green and Blue level of difficulty. Bottom line, after seven days of riding we only scratched the surface. This place definitely rocks.