Sad day today, I was no longer in Moab riding bikes with wonderful people. In fact I sat through classes from 8 in the morning until 5:30 at night! WOOOO! Not as fun. Though class time ultimately gave me time to reflect upon my biking adventure.
After 4 days in Moab I have one thought, not easy beginner rides. For some reason I had in my head that Moab was easy, entry level mountain biking. Oh how wrong I was.
The first day Garrett and I arrived at the Poison Spider trail head after driving all morning. We noshed on some food and set off, straight up a switch-backing hill, of loose, babydoll head rocks. Though the climb wasn't the tricky part, the sand pits of doom are what wears on you mentally. Walking section, after section of deep soft (mostly unridable) sand, followed by a wall of rock that seemed impossible to get up in one piece, never the less RIDE up -- yah, it almost broke me. Good thing I had some good mental support! Thanks Garrett!
Garrett riding the switchbacks, like a pro, mmm hmmm!
and then we drove down this:
to get to this:
It was a great day, and the next morning we rode slick rock. This is where I was humbled. Again, for some reason I thought Moab was really easy riding, so when I was struggling with some fear I was seriously starting to doubt myself as a cyclist. Slick rock was a 12 mile loop of straight down to straight up and not a whole lot in between. If you could graph it, I would think it would look something like this: \/\/\/\/\/\/
I started to learn how to shift my weight forward when I was trying to get over something. There were a lot of steep climbs that you would have to dig pretty darn deep to push yourself over, otherwise you were going over backwards and sliding down. Not fun.
By the end of the ride I felt like I had really improved my technical skills, which now, looking back, was the theme of the trip. Technical skills, in every sense of the meaning. It was really great to ride with Colton and Garrett, two talented cyclists. It is great to ride with people who are more experienced, you can watch and see how they execute sections differently than what you are doing, which ultimately lets you mimic what they are doing. though sometimes, I found, boys just ride differently than girls do. I still, no matter how many people argue, think that women choose smarter lines than men!
The last day of riding we chose a trail called Amasaback. Now I know, Moab, it's technical. We met up with my roommate and professional mountain biker and cyclocrosser, Teal and her boyfriend Ben. Riding with Teal brought a whole new light to the mix, I found that we chose similar lines and it was easier for me to follow her. The four of us spent hours on the trail, riding and re-riding über technical sections. It was a great day though, with moments of triumph and sometimes defeat.
The drive home was sad, but had to happen. It was a great trip and I can confidently say that I have improved my technical skills, or al least my ability to convince myself to ride scary things.