Thursday, September 27, 2012

bikes in the desert, pt. 2

Friday morning was rather chilly to start, so we walked over to the Moab Diner for breakfast while the sun started to warm up the desert air.  The Moab Diner is okay but nothing special - I had a mediocre granola, yogurt and fruit (being just down the road from Green River means the melon should be local!) while H had eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast - what sets it apart from all other diners is that it's closed on Sundays, which seems like an odd choice for a breakfast joint.  After thus fortifying ourselves, we went back to the motel, got our gear ready for the day's MTB adventure and headed north seventeen miles on 191 to the Klondike Bluffs trails.

Klondike Bluffs area

There were a few vehicles in the trailhead parking lot when we set out but we saw very few people all day.  The first trail we did was the Klondike Bluff Trail, an 8.2 mile out-and-back, combination 4x4 road and wide-open slickrock, climbing subtly but steadily out to the Arches National Park boundary.  Some of the 4x4 road was sandy and I quickly added sand to my list of MTB nemeses: even when coasting through, holding the handlebars steady, my rear wheel would slide out behind me.  I walked the sandy bits.  The slickrock portions were fun, especially since the rock was so expansive that I didn't have to worry about falling off any cliffs.  The MTB trail ends at the national park boundary but there's a footpath through the fence, so we left our bikes and hoofed it in another half mile or so, to a view point out over the park.  The skies were a little hazier than we would have liked, the result of the smoke from the Idaho wildfires that was drifting to cover all of Utah, but the views were still pretty spectacular.

A climbing the slickrock

We debated trying a different trail for the return (part of the Baby Steps loop) but ultimately decided to retrace our steps until we got to a trail junction where the Dino-Flow Trail joined the jeep road.  Not yet ready to quit, we headed out on that trail, a lower-intermediate skill level 4.6 miler of single-track and a little slickrock.  Dino-Flow was more challenging for me - I find single-track tough because my bike-handling is so all over the place; double-track gives me more margin for error - but H loved it as the trail wound up and down over small rollers, skirting the foothills.  I finally crashed, just as I was catching up to where H was waiting for me: he was up a little rise and said, "Don't stop pedaling!" and I of course stopped pedaling right before the top and fell over, banging my elbow and skinning my knee a little.  That took the wind out of my sails a little but we were near a short connector that brought us out to the Copper Ridge jeep road (lots of sandy bits) that we were able to follow back to the truck and our cooler of PBR.  Ride stats:  16.35 mi., 2 hr. 57 min. riding; 1,313 feet of climbing.

That's a purty MTB trail

We headed back to town, hit the grocery store for muffins so H would have something to eat before his century ride on Saturday, got cleaned up and then walked down to the Moab Brewery.  This time it was a gyro wrap for me (lamb and steak, with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and feta) and the chicken cordon bleu dinner special for H.  And beers, of course: Scorpion Pale Ale and Dead Horse Amber.  We moseyed back to the motel for an early evening since we'd have an early morning: 100 miles on a road bike for H and a little hiking for me.

Cowgirl on a cattleguard

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