Monday, October 5, 2009

Moab Day 3 - Porcupine Rim

Driving up to the trailhead I was feeling a bit nervous. I read the trail description for the Porcupine Rim trail and it said that this trail was technically very difficult to abusive.

Abusive. Abusive. Abusive. That word kept ringing in my head as we wound around the rocky dessert. I just wanted to get on the bike because I knew I would feel better once I started pedaling.

The first 3 miles were uphill, but not the kind of uphill we are used to in AK. I was able to keep up with the guys, because every 50 yards they would stop to play around on the rocks, competing with each other on who could ride up what. I would stop and walk up whatever ridiculous steep rocky ledge they were killing themselves on and take pictures from the top.

The three mile climb took about an hour, but eventually we made it to the top. I was feeling more and more comfortable riding on the rocky terrain and wasn't too worried about the downhill knowing that I could just get off and walk when the drop offs were too high.

The whole group at the top of Porcupine Rim...

Then it was time for 11 miles of downhill. One way to desensitize yourself to riding down rock ledges is to do it one hundred times in a row. I guess that's true with anything. As the day went on, I allowed myself to drop down progressively bigger ledges and became progressively more comfortable.

The boys continued to show off for each other...

The last three miles were a challenge. By this time Tim and I were bringing up the rear, Monkee had gone and forged ahead because he hurt his wrist on a crash and wanted to get back to the house, and everyone else was tired and just wanted to go at their own pace without waiting.

Riding the singletrack around the rim of the canyon was surreal. I walked quite a bit because it seemed the consequence for making a mistake at this time was great. I suddenly lost my nerve as I peered over the thousand foot drop down to the river. But since we were off our bikes a lot Tim and I decided to take advantage of the numerous photo opportunities.

In the end it was one of the best days of mountain biking I have had. The group we rode with was great, the views were unlike anything I have seen before, and I improved as a mountain biker ten times over. There were times when I was riding through rocky sections where I surprised myself. Sections that I would have gotten off and walked through the day before flowed like I had been riding them for many years.

Now we are at the start of Day 4 and I am feeling more confident. Not that I will be able to ride everything we come across, but that I will be able to work through sections and ride more and more of the "technically very difficult to abusive" stuff and not have to worry too much. More later tonight...