Kathleen, Carmen and Lynnette (old friends from AZ), Celia and Dana (new friends from Marin in CA), and I met up in Moab for a long weekend of some serious riding. I mean serious - most of these gurlz are competitive downhillers. Being women of means, we rented a swank condo so we could relax in comfort before and after each full day of shreading and hucking. I left the Singlespeed in the garage and spent the weekend-plus on my full suspension, geared Titus. This is my "BIG BIKE" but compared to the other gurlz' bikes, my Titus was undersized. I was the only one without a through-axle fork (I am going shopping soon...).
All six gurlz arrived on Thursday and set out for a late afternoon jaunt on the Slickrock Trail. This trail is one gigantic mass of red rock. You can essentially ride wherever you want, but following the painted marks on the rock helps to ensure that you won't ride off a cliff. Celia and Dana had never been to Moab. They were amazed by the bizarre rock formations, the incredible views and the strange tacky rock that you can almost ride vertical up. I've been to Moab several times and I'm still amazed by it!
The trail boasts a lot of up and down, some quite steep. I had my first (and only serious) wipe out following Carmen off a drop I thought was a roller. Hucking Rule Number One - look ahead not down. I was saved by my cute pink armor.
Slickrock was the perfect warm up for the next day's bigger ride. We caught a shuttle up to Lower Porcupine Single Track (LPS). We had wanted to start up at Hazard, but it was still a tad under snow. This was on a Friday, so there were not a lot of other riders on the trail, which allowed us to stop and play some on the ledges, working on our drops. I started out feeling a somewhat timid (for me at least) but began to get in the groove as we descended onto Porcupine Rim proper. I even did some drops that were not rolls. Hucking Rule Number Two - keep your rear tire even with your front tire until it has cleared the drop. Porcupine takes you along the top of a huge mesa - the valley straight down over a thousand feet below. The views of Castle Valley and the La Sal Mountains are spectacular.
The ride eventually drops down to the Colorado River via Jackass Canyon. All in all, this ride totally rocks and is one of my all time favorites. The profile is quite a contrast to the previous day's up and downs. However, going downhill that long on rocky technical trail is tiring, so we were all ready for beers, hot tub and dinner.
Porcupine was the perfect warm up for the next day's bigger ride. Mileage-wise, Saturday's ride was a few miles shorter than our LPS - Porcupine Extravaganza. But effort-wise, it was way more work. We decided to try something new for all of us. And, something not in the guide books. And something poorly marked, just to make the route finding really tricky. And something remote and way out in the high desert. I don't know of many groups of women who would head out and do a ride like this without a MAN to help find the way.
We started out at the far end of the Gemini Bridges Trail. The tail starts out as a gravel road and tended downhill for about 5 miles. Then we intersected the Gold Bar Trail and began to climb up toward the ridge, looking for the mysterious Blue Dots Trail. This trail had been recommended by locals as a bike only alternative to Gold Spike, which allows jeeps and motorcycles. Blue Dots was reportedly hard to find, but we did it! It takes the rider up closer to the ridge, eventually turning into the Green Dot Trail and then dumping into the infamous Portal Trail. Blue Dot/Green Dot was a blast! We had to work hard to keep on the trail, which sometimes petered out. The trail went up and down, some sections very technical, over white sandstone. We were often very close to the edge, with a massive thousand foot drop.
Kathleen scared us all with a nasty crash on a techy section that was closer to the edge than we realized. I still can't believe she attempted to ride it, and she almost cleaned it. Instead, she went ass over tea kettle and cracked her brand new helmet (which she had just bought to replace the helmet she cracked a week before). I tell you, Kathleen's Ovs have grown since she got the BeSHEmoth. Hucking Rule Number Three - spot the drop before you ride it. Check out the video link at the end of this posts - the crash is in there.
As we came up to a rocky protuberance along the ridge, we knew the Blue Dot/Green Dot Trail was over and we would soon be descending down to the Colorado River on the Portal Trail. The wind had been picking up all day. In fact, it had wigged me out on a few sections of Blue Dot/Green Dot; I lost my nerve to ride a couple really technical and exposed sections after nearly being blown over. The wind certainly added another element of danger to the Portal, and the Portal doesn't need any more dangerous elements. The trail starts out with signs warning that three people have died on this trail. The trail is extremely rocky, without much flow, and the ramifications of messing up a rocky section are to fall hundreds of feet off the cliff. Although I would never claim that I could clean this trail, I walked a lot more than I would normally if the wind wasn't such a factor. Even Carmen and Lynnette got wigged out from the forceful wind gusts. Nevertheless, the trail was a fun end to our epic ride that day. Ok - beers were the fun end to our epic day!
The last day, Sunday, we opted to tone it down and ride the Sovereign Trail. This is a nice up and down trail with no really technical sections. Since it was still really windy, we were happy to be off the exposed ridgelines and technical rocky sections of the past two days. I have ridden this trail once, last November. However, the trail has already been modified, with some reroutes and new sections. Despite the reroutes, Kathleen and I were able to mostly find our way using maps and GPS. We ended the ride in a sandstorm at the parking area and high-tailed it back to the condo for adult beverages and hot tubbing.
All six gurlz packed up and left town the next morning, with the sense that this was the first of many GWOs!
Check out a bunch of pics here (coming soon):
Check out the video here: You Tube Video of Girlz in Moab