Sucker Hole

Yesterday was per the weather forecast of big winds w/ rain mixed in. I stayed inside my van out on Willow Springs rd, ever crowded. Late in the afternoon clouds looked less threatening for rain but still way too windy as I watched dirt being blown up onto where I would be breathing. The winds played w/ whatever is underneath the van.

Forecast for today was for less wind and a probability of rain. I drove into town for resupply, most importantly locally fresh roasted coffee. The roaster and I have visited over the years.

one is real, the other a posser
one is real, the other a posser

Interesting artist:


I am brewing cold brewed coffee presently w/its bouquet masking damp riding clothes.

A brief visit to Chili Pepper to inquire about trail conditions. Stay away from low trails that are clay based, Klonzo is one system to avoid. I drove back to Willow Springs and hunkered down. Light sprinkles fell off and on. Maybe the rain is moving on. Perhaps, perhaps. Skies looked promising, I changed into my riding kit. Sprinkles fell w/ more gusto. Rain quit, I put on my shoes and stepped out of the van. Still very light sprinkles. Skies upwind I made look clearing. I hopped on my bike and pedaled back out to Klonzo TH. Great traction on the road: no dust. Wheel ruts were cast in the road. But not sticky. I made Klonzo. The first trail I rode was just fine: no sticky clay stuff. I kept going. Way up high I jumped onto Zoltar which descends on mixed slick rock and patches of sand. Pedal on the rock and keep upright and straight on the sand.

tight turn solution
tight turn solution
Roller Coaster
Roller Coaster, hand built

Sprinkles started again, just a warning that I heeded. I made the road then pedaled back home. By the time I pedaled the 2.3 miles of road back to the van the skies were loosing bladder control. I put the bike on the van and moved into the security of shelter. I took my damp clothes off. I made it back before the hole closed as precip was a much stronger sprinkle.


Forecast tomorrow is more favorable. Klonzo, Klondike, and Brand M trails need another day to dry out before rain on Thursday. I might drive up onto the mesa for Navajo Rocks loop.

I learned more about my Change Agent badge from a woman working in Moab Classics bike shop which is on the other side of the alley from the interesting artist’s place. She said they were created during the Occupy Wall Street movement but had no knowledge on a supply of badges.

Wind Affected

Thursday after creating clean clothes and buying groceries and loading up on water I drove up to Horse Thief XG, a BLM paid XG, costs me $7.50 per night and I will have an assigned camp spot. I drove the loop where I have stayed in the past and grabbed the first open spot which was prolly the last open one. OK spot.

I saw from the posted trail map that a trail goes from the XG over to connect w/ Mag 7 trails. I found that out previously, today I hiked it out and back. I added more to it by bush bashing to pick up Chisholm again on the far side of the butte. This pic shows a piece of that trail which is typical of the purpose built mtn bike trails, just so well done and it just speaks mtn bike talk. It plays the contour and uses grade dips to get water off the trail very quickly. Very sustainably built.

Chisholm trail
Chisholm trail

Fixed dinner and cleaned up. Internet service is inconsistent w/ one moment 4 G the maybe 1X. No on line connection. Fell asleep riding my tomorrow’s ride.

On Friday I rode from camp and did Mag 7 trails. Chisholm over to Mustang connecting to Get away piece to Bull Run start, down it passing Gemini arches, connecting w/ great escape to start the climb back, this was mid point of 12 miles. Arth’s corner back to Get away and back to camp. 25 miles pedaling 3 hrs 20 mins climbing 2265′. This was the biggest ride to date. Almost ran out of water. Big ride.

Back at camp great not having to move. Spit bath to wash off the salt and dust.

Friend Joe from Flag will be joining me for the night. Our plan is to ride Navajo Rocks on Saturday. Nice night for sitting outside.

Forecast for Sat is a wind event. Like 20 to 30 mph winds, gusts to 45. Joe sleeps up in the fabric poptop on his Sportsmoble van. He said overnight winds snapped the fabric. I didn’t notice. Winds were definitely increasing in speed. I found the weather report for the Moab airport which is exposed, a 47 mph gust had been recorded. I said it was way to windy for me. Joe said he was going to give a short ride a whirl as he didn’t know when he would be back. A text message from his said he didn’t know which was worse riding his bike or driving his van. He hasn’t told me of his ride. I just hunkered down inside. Van rocked so hard that the pad I was writing on  moved under my pen. Wind blew all day into the evening.

Forecast for today, Sunday, was for just 10 to 15 mph winds in the AM increasing later to welcome in another wind event for tomorrow.

I left the XG at 9 and drove down to Middle Earth of the Navajo Rocks loop. There were just a few rigs in the lot at my start. I chose to ride Big Mesa, Big Lonely, and Coney Island to Middle Earth. My body did not like the effort it was being made to do and rebelled w/ nausea. I bailed at Middle Earth. Ran into a group of 4 men older than me just finishing a safety meeting. Oh yeah.

Coney Island
Coney Island


The place is just plugged. Horsethief XG filled up early afternoon each day. The camp host hung the Full sign at the entrance but still rigs drove the XG hoping the sign was in error. XG roads are graded gravel, wheeled traffic stirs up dust, faster it goes more dust. Lookers were not slow pokes.

Today I drove back into town. A shower, water loading, and grocery shopping then dash back to Willow Springs. I arrived before 2 again to first spots taken. I’m in a smaller big open area. Rigs are still driving back past me. The place is plugged.

I get stressed when I don’t have a place to sleep as a result I forgo hanging in town socializing to drive out to place to camp to assure a spot. Willow Springs has 3 bar 4G.

To me the thing about track cross country skiing is really not cross country as the ski equipment requires the skier to ski only on a prepared ski track. And there is usually pay to play price. I chose the freedom on making my own tracks. I have struggled with riding on these trails purposely built for mountain bikes comparing them to the ski tracks. I hiked hiking trails and some of those were what I rode. I realized that the hiking trails were purpose built for hikers to get them somewhere and back.  How wonderfully built these trails are for us bikers. But some of the trail systems remind me of XC groomed trails because of the high density of trails such as Brand M trails. So riding has become just an exercise, riding  a loop then going home. SO, how does Monarch Pass compare? It is a point to point on the hand built CDT ride. It goes somewhere. But at then end of the day it is a beer at the end then back home. These purpose built trails are so  much fun to ride. I do really like Moab for the miles of trails and their slight variations.

7 days, 6 liners and 420

Yesterday I made the TH at the N end of the Klondike Bluffs trail system. Road has been made into an all weather road eliminating the dicey spots. I hoped to get a favorite spot but found it already occupied. I picked another one out in the open.

Chilly wind blowing and sunshine warming. Still I chose a wool long underwear top under a long sleeve REI jersey and wind shell. I pedaled the west side of the valley enjoying pedaling. I warmed up enough to shuck the wind shell. As I pedaled south the warmer it became. I crossed the wash and started climbing Miner loop. I shucked the long underwear. The trails here again have been designed and built for mtn bikes, just follow the paint marks and make the moves. The trail provides a solution to the wandering around searching for a line. Many wheel traps. Trails here are also more technical than the mesa trails, no spinning here except the part where I started. Brutal short punchy climb maybe followed by a short level or even better a slight downhill. However, because the route is up any down will have to be reclimbed. I made route decisions at the intersections where a map was posted w/ an emoticon smiling at your location. Mostly all alone. I made my move working around a rock when I was sharply blocked on my left side, my left arm hit something which twitched my handlebar to the right turning the front wheel into a straight faced rock which stalled the forward progress. I looked where I didn’t want to go where the front wheel stopped which was the out slope. I managed to unclip and stab a rock w/ my foot as I was about to learn  more about the outslope. I hit a stob that was not cut at the trunk that I did not think to look for.

bad enough to stop and bandage it
bad enough to stop and bandage it

I carry a first aid bag from which I used a wide bandaid and wrapped it w/ a round of magic tape. Bleeding stopped.

I met 3 riders and we exchanged pleasantries. I am wearing this old long sleeve REI jersey that is cut too short to cover my back or belly. I learned that at least 1 woman worked for REI, she offered to buy the jersey so she could show history to her store. I declined. I followed them at an increasing distance back to the TH. In conversation they mentioned camping on Willow Springs. I said that the place was packed, where they were would be far better. Turns out their gang grew later and this spot provided enough tent room. About dark another group camped between us.

Lots of recreators visit at this time of year. In November very few people are visiting such that I am able to casually find a sleep spot on Willow Springs rd which is the closest to Moab primitive camping spot. Place is packed. Lots of rigs carrying mtn bikes.

Windy night.

Today my plan was to ride early to finish shortly b4 12 which is check out time at the camp grounds. I wanted to score a spot at Goose Island for 2 nights. By having a paid for spot I knew that I didn’t have to bolt early to find a spot. I drove away back to town. XG was full. Camping would be back at Willow again which now forced an urgency to my day. I showered at the rec center the drove to Gearheads for water. I walked over to Chili Pepper for brake pads. Placed an order. Store is busy but not crazy like it was on Sat. Amazing number of mtn bikers in town.

Oh, but I did ride first. I took Homer which is mostly straight up right from the get go. Next was Alaska

Alaska, salt valley Lasalles
Alaska, salt valley Lasalles

Route figured out then built.

This is what the raw land looks like

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpring time flowers:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis morning I searched thru my bike clothing drawer looking for a liner. Lots of tops but just 6 liners. I do my wash every Thursday, every 7 days. I rode 6 of the last 7 days. I found the last clean liner, the one I like the least. Tomorrow is laundry day, a Thursday. It will also be a rest day. Drive the about 12 miles into town, do stuff then drive back mid afternoon for a camp spot.

And today was

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrowded Willow Springs. Again I watch rigs pass me by headed to the end of camping. That backend must be plugged tighter than a Walmart parking lot on a pay day. At least where I am in an open area maybe 150′ wide there are just 2 other campers. More might join.

Klondike Bluff trails are harder. EKG is a bitch going up and down as it travels lengthwise. I might be done with it anymore as it beats me. Back when I was younger, even on this odyssey, I was able to pedal the uphills mostly. I am struggling now. I have been envious of younger riders doing what I used to be able to do. I have changed my focus to be on what I am still able to do because I am. The younger riders will age and time will tell whether they are still riding at my age. We are where we are because of decisions we have made. We are a product of them. Younger riders have years of making decisions to get to be my age of 66.


Off to bed.