Furnace never turned on last night up at 4290′. No cramps while in bed in spite to tremblers before laying down, almost over slept 9AM bfast at Main st cafe to meet Stacey and Jeff for Gander ride.

More riders joined. 4 bikes in the back of Stacey’s van which has 3 bike mounts mounted onto the van floor. Fast ride on pavement to the Smithsonian rd which is notorious for horrible mud when wet has been reconstructed to an all weather road. Newness stops right at the Gooseberry turnoff. We continued on Gooseberry until a nondescript unsigned double track took off to the right. Pinstriping on rig finishes. Winded along until a small wide spot appeared. This is the start. Gander is a social trail meaning it was not built with land managers permission hence anything goes for route choice and no signage. Nasty tight single track with lots of limited sight lines to prepare for the next move. Lots of nastys. Trail kept to the edge of Gooseberry Mesa as much as it could. There were numerous Thelma and Louise opportunities.

The trail ended up at the yurts 8 plus miles from the start. I was way off the back just enjoying what I was able to ride and at my slow speed. Their plan was to do a Gooseberry ride in addition. I bailed choosing to leave a mesa ride with the Sat ride group. Returning had a slight downhill pitch which helped make step ups. I missed the sketchy spur trail to the rigs continuing to a wash. I remembered from previous ride that the trail dead ended at the fence. I had crossed a road a short piece behind to which I returned to and rode back to just 1 ride. The others did Gooseberry but then rode the road back down arriving well before me and left.

trail stayed close to the edge

Horse shoe tracks on the trail said that horses and riders negotiated a nasty trail corridor. I am surprised that it was ridden on horseback.

76 degrees

Today that is what the van thermometer read at the finish of my ride of the Hurricane Cliffs epic ride. Desert riding in full on sun. I am cooked.I started near the bridge over Virgin river on Sheep Bridge road. This starting point is a drive away from Hurikin meaning that I seldom get to ride this piece. Old friend Don liked to start from here as it provided a bit of a warm up for us older guys. The tread here is sharp edged rock slabs with numerous crossings of washes and lots of little ups and downs mixed in except for the road climb up to Goulds rim, finally a long climb where I could set back and just grind away. That’s what i did. What a hump. I did ride several previous walk moves but the ones remaining are beyond either my ability or wind. Saw just a few riders for such a beautiful day on last day of T-day break. 24.4 miles climbing 2250′ pedaling for 3 hours. Trails are extremely dry, my legs look like I got dusted in dirt.

no shade out there

I was cooked. At the van I did a full on sun repair, no shade tree mechanic me, replacing my chain and cassette. 12xx’ miles on chain.

One beer for recovery I headed to Hurkin ( as some locals pronounce Hurricane) right to Over the Edge. Quentin was on the porch. Warm greetings. This is my ninth yearly visit here. First was back in 2009 while I was recovering from a lacerated left kidney. Made a home.

Ran into Jeff from Salt Lake whom I ran into at Park City this spring. And Stacy. The 3 of us and perhaps more will be riding Gander which is on the Grafton side of Gooseberry mesa. Stacy ran into me yesterday on Thunder Mountain, he said I looked familiar, he pegged me, Me not so lucky.

Washed dust off at anytime which is right in town, bought groceries then drove up out of town to spent the night at upper JEM TH.

But yesterday’s ride on Thunder Mountain trail was a eye candy overdose. I rode a loop starting from the bottom then pedaling up a paved bike path to the top then rode a gravel road to the Coyote TH and the start of the 7.78 mile trail which trends mostly down hill. The trail is an old hiking trail. What sets this place off is the scenery similar to Bryce Canyon NP. Conditions were optimal, scenery was clear blue sky and the yellowish orange sandstone.

along the road
even the bike needs a breather
several layers of columnar basalt
knife edge


Just spectacular scenery.

From Hoodoos to fossilized sand dunes etc of Zion NP as I drove thru the park on way to Springdale to watch Apple Cup at Jacks which is a sports bar, a rarity in mormon land. park was crowded. I was driving into the sun set and paying attention to narrow no shoulder road with consequences. More eye candy. At the west entrance in the NPS booth a woman wildly waved at me. It was Dolly dressed in full NPS regalia. I met here when she was driving Pink Jeep in Sedona then rode with her last year here.

At Jacks I watched most of the first half of the Apple Cup till the Cougs play finally became apparent that they were being taken apart. Stick a fork in the Cougs.

Springdale main drag is chewed up for some major utility work. One way traffic created major delays. I left Jacks finding an opening in the stream of vehicles. The driver behind me aggressively tailgated me. I let his actions get to me. I thought of pulling over but there was no spot. Finally at a curve and a double yellow in our lane the guy zipped out and passed. SHIT. Then right beside me the sky was lit up by blinding red and blue flashers as the trooper passed me and pulled over the guy. Karma happens.

I drove a short ways on Sheep Bridge road and took the first off the road parking spot for the night. Warm temps.

Thursday I volunteered at the WabaSabi community thanksgiving feed. After an hour of humping ice water to the tables I got my turn at the trough. Good food stacked high. The aquatic center, home of my shower, was closed for the day which affected my riding choice. I showered on Wed to be clean for being around people eating. No shower meant I needed to keep the clean glow on so no ride. I did do my wash before hand.

Willow Springs road is just a big parking lot. The state has placed porta poties along the way. There is little personal space honoring as people parked almost close enough to bang doors. It is what it is. I stayed there on Wed night also.

Friday was a short slow ride at Moab Brand trails where I just enjoyed the tech challenges. I managed my time to be able to get to Thunder mtn before dark. I 70 works its way across the geological features including a gap thru the San Raphael Swell (?). I did drive new roads for me that are now highlighted in my old road atlas.

So now I am here in Hurkin till just before new years unless the trails turn to mud.

Down in Luckytown.

Sunshine and desert riding

Monday eve I drove up to and past Horse Thief XG which was all but empty out to where I stayed with the Hood River boys. This place was dead empty. I found the spot. The wind event on Fri scoured the unattached sand grains erasing signs of previous visitors. I walked out the road which joined another one, social dirt double track, and saw that there are several more camp spots. All by myself. Temp dropped below freezing which means the catalytic heater. The temp during the night remained constant, just right.

Tues I rode from camp thru the XG to pick up Chisholm and crossed the highway to continue on Chisholm this ride I rode the Horse Thief trails. Last time I rode these trails was on the Spot. Nothing against the Spot but I walked a bunch of the step ups. This ride with the RFX and 27.5 wheels and a 170mm fork I was able to ride up everything. I was pleased. Shorter day light hours crunch ride window, usually I start between 10 and 11 before the solar gain has turned on, I usually wear a long sleeved wool top under a long sleeved jersey. In short time my body warms to the exertion and asks to be cooled down. Off goes the long underwear. Can’t ride without the jersey. I enjoyed the trails as if I was riding on private trails as I had them all by myself. As I hit the parking right on the highway other riders were gearing up in short sleeves. Just enjoyable trails with stuff to pay attention to and pedaling.

Weather forecast called for above freezing nights including last night. I ran the furnace on a lower setting. Other than the blower noise the furnace makes for a more comfortable inside space as it doesn’t produce water vapor. Pleasant night and vivid sunriseĀ  which per the sea farer states red sky in morning sailors take warning. Nothing has happened. Forecast calls for no moisture.

Today I drove down then out on Willow Springs rd to ride the Klonzo trails for the first time this year. The physical plant is just open dirt on one side of the road but on the other into slick rock with intermittent patches of loose deep sand.

I rode the 2 miles of Willow Springs road each way because I did not want to drive the sand and I wanted a warm up. Trail intersections are marked with trail names and a map showing a smiley face for your location. Well done.

Preferred spot is still occupied by the same party. BLM does not manage the 14 day limit. Willow Springs road crosses state sovereign land then into BLM land. This year these are quite a few portapotties lining the road. Lots of campers out here, not as many today as last week.

Tomorrow is laundry then over to Waba Sabi Thanksgiving feed for my busing shift.

I am thinking leaving here Fri driving down to Panguich and check out Thunder Mountain trail. Might be some freeze thaw mud. Weather just invites being outside.

Dropped post still has issues in that it won’t ride its entire length, it stays up. To raise it all the way I reach between my legs and pull the nose of the saddle up. On the single track the slightly lower position allows for a strong pedal stroke and agility getting off the saddle. On the pedal pieces I have to raise it home.

I am riding Maxxis Minnion DHF 2.5WT tires. The 2.5 is to mean the tire width. Bigger than the 2.4. The larger tire offers better flotation on the sand. The Houdini trail is a mix of rough slick rock following fading paint marks dumping onto a small patch of sand then back up on rock. I do have some control on the sand that comes from the wide tires. Reading research seems to favor this size of tire, not the wider plus which is 2.8 to 3.0 wide.

May your Thanksgiving be full of thanks. I am thankful for helping trail advocacy and volunteering on trail work. And modeling my behavior as a role model. Be kind to everyone, it is the right thing to do.