WOW! HOLY SMOKES AND FRIGGIN' WOW!
What a week. This will probably take a few different posts and days to tell the tale that was SSWC09.
Moab: The first zone
After a looooonnng day of driving an incredibly slow (but oh so functional) RV we arrive at our first destination late Monday night.... Moab. The plan was to ride "the whole enchilada" on Tue and be in Durango Tue evening but the rain that fell through the night carried over into the next morning. The next morning we stare at the cloud covered La Sals from Larrys' kitchen window during breakfast and ponder just how much it could be raining at the top.... which is also the start of the ride. "The Whole Enchilada" starts high in the La Sals above Moab and descends 7,000ft in 28 miles finally ending at the bottom of the Porcupine Rim Trail at the Colorado river. The thought of riding most of the day in the rain and trashing our bikes didn't sound like the best way to start an 8 day road trip so we invented "plan B" and headed north of town for a ride. We spend the next three hours riding over rain packed sand, slick rock and all the other trail conditions that you can only find in Moab. It was the perfect ride to start the trip. Not too hard. Not too easy. No rain.
Wednesday morning greeted us to clear skies and finally let us get a look at the start of the ride high in the hills above town. We quickly learn that the clouds that obscured our view of the La Sals yesterday were doing more than hiding an incredible view... they were also producing some snow!! Larry figures that the snow level is just at or above the highest point of the ride and we gear up for the shuttle that would be picking us up at the house. After an hour of bouncing around in the back of a van, you gear up and climb for another hour on your bike to the top of Burrow Pass. I could write about the next three hours of trial and how you start in the deep pines up really really high and continue through almost every trail condition imaginable as you make your way down towards the Colorado River. Or, you could google "the whole enchilada" and see for yourself as there's plenty of information out there. But nothing... NOTHING will do this trail the justice it deserves without actually riding it. You won't feel your wrists hurt from the countless hours of one technical move after another. Reading about this trail won't make your cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing for hours straight about lines "that just can't be that good" and pictures can't describe how a ride that only climbs 2,000ft can feel like at least three times that. If you like "full size rides" this one should really be on your list. If 28 miles doesn't sound long enough, just do the whole ride from town for a more epic 60ish mile monster that would satisfy all but the most insane ride requirements. (yes nate, even you) Ryan decides after riding "TWE" that he'd really like a rear brake for the rest of his trip so we stop at a shop in town and bleed his brake. We get back to Larry's, eat our body weight in food, load up the RV and push onward towards Durango.