8015′ drop

Thurs. eve I called Coyote Shuttle and scored a seat for the 8:15AM shuttle to ride the Whole Enchilada. I spent the night at Sand Flats XG  county XG just above town making a short drive for 8 AM arrival. Late arrivers kept pulling in.

Friday morning I fed myself and cleaned up continuing to my arrival at Chile Pepper for shuttle. Van was filled, 14 riders and their bikes and the driver. $30 fee.

14 bikes 15 riders
Stretched Vanagon that did

This time the van sports a lower geared transmission that allowed 1st gear climbing. Visited with Gary the driver.

Long drive climbing, climbing, and then some more up into the La Salle mountains. Mechanical assist stopped at Geyser Pass at 10538′. Outside old snow remained frozen in the shade. Ride will drop all the way to Moab at 4,000′ with temp forecast upper 60s. Cold at start. I wore a wool long sleeved long undershirt with a sleeveless same over topped by long sleeve jersey covered by a wind shirt but just knee warmers. Chilly. My spending time in CO thin air did not condition me to this elevation plus acquired benefit wanes. Little effort produced gasping for breath. The climb to Burro Pass was a lot of push a bike as I was too winded to pedal plus the tread on the climb was rubble. Rocks up here are from last mountain reformation: no slick rock here.

on way to Burro pass climb

From the Pass just gravity pulling down for primary engine, hence the smile

8,000′ downhill ahead smile

Forest cover downhill was dense maybe spruce. Tread was steep with loose maybe paperback book size that slid with. Beat up. I walked some as I would have drug my brake for control. The trail dropped down a more than babbling brook rimmed in ice. Crossed it 3 times picking my way across icy log steps.

Whole Enchilada

Dropped out of trees into open high country, home of environmentally destructive cattle grazing. Aspen drop their leaves with the slightest provocation leaving just sticks

bare aspen

Trail dropped down to slick rock elevation but in pinon and juniper with not white sand reminding me of ocean woods. But the slick rock corrected me. Trail in places “danced” right on the edge of Porcupine Rim, a bad bump to the right would start a long fall.

trail worked along edge of cliff

Castle Valley viewsheds competed with what was under my tires.

castle valley from porcupine rim

Trail dropped out onto pieces of double track till it hit the boundary for heart propelled users only. Things got nasty again as it stayed close to drop offs to a big splat. I walked many places. Black skid marks on some of the moves either meant speed was controlled or oh shit. Trail drops down to river highway for bike path ride back to town for a long flat pedal home.

I finished at 3:15, sundown is 5:09. I believe there was a second shuttle at 10AM. If so those riders would finish after dark.

I was drained emotionally from mental concentration.

In town I hustle for water refill, groceries, and a shower then drive out to N Klondike arriving after dark. Many rigs parked out here. Picked spot where I stayed 2 days prior.

Today was to be a recovery ride from here which made a luxurious morning listening to Wait Wait.

Beautiful day. I rode out Dino Flow then returned on the easier trails on the west side of the valley. Just pedaled enjoying riding my bike.

west side trail looking onto Baby Steps area

Consideration for other people and myself is a very strong emotion in me. I am really annoyed by drivers dusting people outside. The road tread out here is all weather gravel. Above a speed any rig stirs up a dust cloud. Today my ride finish was on this TH road. I heard a car approaching, I moved to the center of the road to cause the driver to slow down. I motioned with my free hand to slow down which he did before he got to me so I yielded the road. His response was to punch it as he got abreast of me. You Fuck I called. I watched other rigs come and go with each creating a dust cloud. They drove by the parking areas swirling dust. Consideration and empathy for others who are not creating the dust.

Nice afternoon for sitting outside. I listened to OSU and the Cougs win their games. Sundown is 5:00PM now. Weekenders will be leaving tomorrow.

Quite a bunch of van conversions abound.

Moab pleasantries

Bring up strong winds to lift red dirt into the air. I keep my mouth shut to protect my lungs. That works when I am either by myself or not riding. Oh, that was only on Sat. I took off Thursday but spent the evening with Jeff from where I met him at Fruita, he likes out off Dalton Well road that is back in no visible plant life rocky space. Jeff and I worked facts of life around searching for what would make a better way. Thursday was another batch of clean clothes.

My left leg pushed the pain buzzer. I tried a pair of the weakest compression sock but that was too painful. I thought I needed more squeeze so I wore the mid compression sock but that hurt even worse. I scored an appointment with a PA to look at my leg. She said it is what it is, she suggested keeping the area well lubricated to attempt to keep the skin supple. I grease up several times a day. In am back to using the sport compression sock as it exerts the least squeeze and pain yet keeps the swelling down.

Friday I spent the night out past wild horse not at occupied favorite spot. Wind increased over night. Sat was just dusty windy. Stayed inside.

Sunday I drove out to where Chisholm crossed the highway to ride Bull canyon loop. I eliminated 2 miles each way of the dirt road. Beautiful day. Down Get away, drop in Bull canyon, climb back out on Get away etc back to van. Blue sky and chilly temp great for exertion cooling. Weekends bring the crowds, weekdays are now almost deserted trails.

Back at the van there was a yellow paper underneath my wiper. It was from Lee whom I had been playing phone tag for several days. He and Mark are here for a go. I met them at Hood River years ago and had ridden with their group several times. We spent Sunday to this AM visiting and riding. On Monday we rode Rodeo then shared a camp spot out at N Klondike. Still a substantial fly population and I was maybe 200’ from the preferred spot which is where flies moved in the last night I spent there. At night they go dormant, when the van warms up in the morning they take to wings again.

I am working the kinks out of stove top baking of corn bread. I use a box mix per directions. I heat up the skillet melting butter and brown sugar. I put an MSR heat deflector under the skillet, pour in the batter this time included wild blueberries. I sprinkled brown sugar over then covered with foil. Next was flipping it to bake the other side. I kept most of the uncooked batter in the skillet. I stuck a dirty knife into the baking bread, it came out clean so I cleaned the other knife, the bread was done with just a nice brown crust. I shared it at last night’s dinner.

Tuesday was their route selection of Klondike trails. Over time I have ridden all these trails here and sort of had an idea which way to ride. I let Lee and Mark pick the route. Letting a less familiar person pick a route allows me a new experience. Mark rides a Turner Sultan DW link. Rare to ride with another Turner rider. And letting them ride in front of me so that they can see just the trail and make their riding decisions. Lee rides clipless which caused several standing still falls because he could not release the mechanical jaws. I spoke highly of the Catalyst pedals. Lee is starting to come around to flats.

Lee looking out over Salt Valley

They left b4 9 today. I geared up for my own route choices. I pedaled Dino-Flow to its southern end. This is one of my most favorite trails as it has lots of chunder interspersed with pedaling. I am now able to ride everything on this trail. Lots of upper body workout. Working on step ups. So much fun to ride this bike.

at rest in anticipation
typical signed intersection, Arches behind

All by myself out here at North Klondike. Chilly. Forecast temps are dropping. This AM it was 21 outside and 55 inside heated by the furnace. Sun up is 6:52 but later when it clears the mountains. Sundown is just after 5. Tonight I am running the catalytic heater on low just to learn if it will start. Full sunlight did not over fill my batteries.

Thurs is another wash day. I am making it a rest day by surrendering my bike to Chile Pepper to service my rear hub and fork.

Living at 4672’.

Wed night I ran the catalytic heater on medium which was just right matching outside chill with inside “comfort” It puts out more heat than furnace. Flies liked it warm, still populating my domicile.

I stepped up into the cutting board hinge again: scalp bleeding wound. When i run the catalytic I need to put the board up because the heater burns the lowered board. This sets up my head cutting.

Bike is serviced: rear hub and fork at Chili Pepper. I have 1153 miles on the cluster and 1301 on the chain. Chain wear tool shows I am less than .5 stretch. More miles to go and $ remaining in my pocket. This 1X11 cluster and narrower chain are giving more miles than the 2X9 did.

Clean clothes and groceries.

Temp dropping into 30s at night and warming to 60s but the autumn chill is in the air. Not ready for additional warm layers.

Beautiful fall weather ride

Today’s weather was again drop dead beautiful. Another one. Pleased to report that I am not drop dead.

I drove down to Middle Earth TH which is sort of in the middle of the Navajo Rocks system. Today I planned to pick up the northern trails of the loop riding Ramblin to Rocky Top then cutting back on Middle Earth back to my van. I shadowed 2 guys but got ahead of them to watch them ride across this trust your side knobs and counter steer slick rock traverse. There were many pedal strike marks on the uphill side of the bike, I wonder if any of them bounced a rider off their bike then grating down the slick rock.

Rocky Top

Watched this rider clear a roll up, color matched from top to bike

accomplished rider

Today was a short less exerted ride.

Drove down to town for resupply. Drove out to Willow Springs road which is beyond packed. I hoped Nov would chase away the crowds, but not yet. No precip is forecasted, just beautiful time to be here.