April 3, 2017
I decided I’d keep going for a bit, maybe just another five minutes or so. I was feeling fine and the bike was handling beautifully. I’d spent a few minutes exchanging pleasantries with a couple of other riders and they happened to stop just a little ways ahead of me. It’s been, like, five years since I’ve ridden the whole trail and I think I’ve really only done the whole thing three times in my whole life so I couldn’t remember…just how much farther was it? Could I make it pretty easily? Or if not easily, at least not miserably? I caught up to the guys and asked if they knew how much farther it was and whether we’d gotten the biggest chunk behind us. The older one of the young guys surveyed me up and down for a moment, more to get an idea of what I was made of rather than checking me out, and asked, “Have you never done this before?
There was a part of me that started to default back to the girl pretending or trying to maintain her position as a badass, the kind that makes me want to drop my voice a few degrees, to deepen it so it sounds more like a man’s, more like the voice of someone you don’t want to trifle with, rather than the sweet, dainty flower, I really am. Actually I’m both. Dainty and not to be trifled with. Anyway, I caught myself about to put on airs and made the conscious choice that I didn’t want to do that. Not anymore. Not ever again. I want to be authentically and confidentally me. So I told the truth, in the voice I’m still working on reclaiming, “I have, but it’s been many years.”
He asked if I’d heard of this phone app called, I think, Pink Trails. And I said that I hadn’t. He took out his phone and showed me a miniaturized map of the slickrock trail and our exact location on it. I was dismayed to see that it didn’t appear we’d even come half way. And it had been a bit of a bear of a trail. My shoulders must have visibly slumped because he pressed another button and it showed the topography of the trail and he pointed out that we’d already done the bulk of the climbing and just a few more hills and not only would we be at the halfway mark, but we’d also be done with the bulk of the climbing. He said it was all pretty much all down hill after just a few more up and down climbs.
One, I should know better than to ever listen to anyone on a mountain bike trail that tries to sell me on it all being down hill from here. It’s never been true and it’s not even possible. Mountains aren’t really shaped all uphill and then down outside of elementary school art walls. But I swallowed it whole. I guess I wanted to. I’d always heard that the other direction on the lollipop loop was the hardest but plenty of people said it didn’t really make any difference.
At any rate, I shot off. The truth is that the bike is soooo much easier than my old bike. It FEELS lighter and it isn’t wearing me out as quickly. I basically got off the couch and went riding the slickrock trail. One of Moab’s hardest and most dangerous. Although a quick survey and reading one actual list and it wasn’t even on the list. Gonna have to do this portal trail someday. Wait? Why? I don’t know, but I have the feeling, I’m gonna have to. Listen to the rest of this story and it’ll tell you why.
So I kept going, at my own pace which includes quite a bit of looking up and around at the incredible terrain, from far off vistas of red gulfing canyons (whatever that means) to the red rolling mounds of slickrock, seemingly blasted onto the turquoise skies, the likes of which can’t possibly be the same skies that float above the rest of the world. The view is one that can best be captured by this image: My eyes are down at the red sandstone passing under my tires as I pump my legs, pump my ass, and then I look up to get my bearings and have no choice but to swing my gaze in all directions, taking it all in, like I’ve just burst through a portal and I’m forced to say, yet again, “HOLY FUCK!” In appreciation.
At this point I’m hopping off my bike every other minute to snap pictures with my, inadequate to the task Samsung Galaxy. I have such high hopes that what I’m seeing will transcend bad technology, but it won’t. My phone will not capture these views for anyone and will only make me rekindle my drumming for my husband to replace it with an Iphone. Yes, I let him in on making those decisions. I don’t want to be selfish and the man never buys a thing for himself. How can I say, “Well, I’m taking half a grand or so and bloody well getting myself the best phone on the market, bub. Enjoy clipping coupons to preserve our future. And, truth be told, I have a helluva a jerky knee and have wasted money more than once in a moment of gotta-have-ititis. He’s my check and balance. He helps me take a breath and determine, do I really need it? Or am I falling for the hype? This trip, however, did it. I need it. I need the best camera phone available because I feel obligated as a member of humanity to share these sights with you.
But I don’t have the Iphone on this day. When you see the pictures, you’ll see that. Professionally, I have Cannon G12 that I use for when I’m “on the job.” But more and more often, I’m seeing these opportunities in situations that I didn’t bring the ‘G’ because I’m pretty sure it would get destroyed on the journey. A phone is a lot easier to safeguard. But I digress and I’ve hit me 1000 words for the day. 1138 to be exact. Tune in tomorrow when you’ll hear me say …….