|Ergon GX2's, Mountain Feedbag with 1000+ kcal, GPS, and Carly pic; CHECK!|
I couldn't get my GPS to work so I hung on to Lynda's wheel up to Starvation Point. I attempted to find the problem as I thought it was most likely human error, but trying to look down and punch buttons while trying to keep "Speedy" in sight was both difficult and dangerous. Not knowing where exactly I was on the course, I thought the climb up to Starvation Point was just a prelude of rollers prior to the "real" climb. For some reason, I envisioned Starvation Point to be like the Potato Patch climb back home. My legs were pleasantly surprised when I reached the top and realized that was it. Whew! I don't think I could have done a Potato Patch today!
I followed Sarah's line on the descent. Even with a healing collarbone fracture, she was rockin' it! She is deceivingly powerful. The descent was littered with sidewall-slashing rocks, so we were all riding a little more conservative.
As we hit the long flat section out to Joe Blake Hill, Lynda told me to try rebooting my GPS. Presto! The breadcrumbs appeared. The stress factor immediately vanished. With Lynda having "Go go gadget" legs today, I was worried that I would not be able to hang on to my live GPS. Over the next hour Lynda, Dave, and I hammered the flats.
The forecast called for a chance of rain later in the day, but dark clouds loomed in the distance. They were pretty ominous looking. I was glad for layering a bit more today and carrying my Gore-Tex jacket and shower cap. With the potential for getting wet looking probable and carrying 3 days of Lynda-induced fatigue, my core was most grateful for the extra layers.
As we turned onto the road to "Redneck-ville," aka Joe Blake Hill, the road turned up and I popped off Lynda and Dave's wheel. After miles of flats, my legs revolted. I backed off and waited for their return. Of course, when my cohorts are just out of site around the upcoming turn, I slash my front sidewall. Fortunately, I had put two tire boots in my pack this morning. Unfortunately, my tire levers were lying in the bedroom at Dave's! Yep, that brought about the first expletive of Camp Lynda. Thankfully, the slashed tire was a Specialized Captain, which can be changed by hand. I took my time with the repair, running my hands along the inside of the tire for what seemed like an eternity. I did not want to fall victim to an evil goathead thorn.
|15 minute break repairing and having lunch.|
Thirty seconds later, realizing that I had traveled 2000+ miles to ride "new-to-me" terrain, I was not about to send up the white flag. Besides, I had a SPOT and the "God of Tech-Assisted MTB'ing" was watching over me. So I continued on the full monty route, albeit a bit slower and with more caution. I did encounter a couple areas along the single track that were tricky to GPS navigate. After a bit of wandering, I found the correct way.
|Joe Blake Hill climb|
|View from the top of Joe Blake Hill|
Once getting over the initial fears of riding solo, I had an absolutely wonderful time. This is the essence of mountain biking. It is not you versus the terrain, but rather you accepting the ride for what it is and melding with the environment.
I met a strong headwind on the flats back to St. George. That, combined with some chamois rub, made for a long haul. But I was rewarded with more single track: the Bear Claw Poppy Trail and the Stucki terrace climb. These trails were enjoyable but would have been funner had I had more gas in the tank.
|The horizon is where I had been on the day's adventure.|
Today's adventure reminded me of my childhood explorations on our farm and the surrounding area. On the weekends my brothers and I would get camo'd up, grab a canteen, pack a sandwich, and go out exploring the farmlands. We would follow a creek for hours, traversing many barbed-wire fences and passing through neighboring farm lands. This was back in the day when it was safe to "trespass." We would be gone for hours, only turning around when we got hungry or the sun began to drop over the horizon.
|The best birthday ever!|
I am beginning to like this navigation thing ...