20080914

Location =  Moab UT  
Distance =  11.09
Time =  1:59:31
Ave. Speed =  5.5
Max. Speed =  20.5
Monthly Dist. =    164.60
Yearly Dist. =  2906.69

It's day three of my annual pilgrimmage to Moab and time to go home, but not before I ride the Slickrock Trail one more time. I packed up the campsite and then drove to the trailhead to get started. I skipped the practice loop this time, and then headed around the trail in a clockwise direction.

I got to the spot of my first crash on Friday, and I couldn't quite clear it, but at least I didn't flip over backwards. I heard someone behind me say, "You can do it. Come back down and try again." I didn't do that, but we started riding together, sort of. He was a local who has been riding this trail for 20 years, and he knows every curve, dip, and shortcut, out there. His name was Kevin, and he was riding with his dog, and no helmet. He asks me if I know the "halfpipe" which of course I don't. He wants me to follow him, but I get the sense that if I do I'm going to die, so I told him that I'm sticking to the dotted line. Kevin and his dog keep disappearing and then reappearing, after one shortcut or another. Here's a picture of Kevin and his dog as they headed off looking for a puddle with some water in it, so the dog could get a drink.

At some point we decided to stop for a break, and Kevin asked me if I had ever been on top of Shrimp Rock. I said that I hadn't but I'd give it a shot. We rode over to Shrimp Rock, laid our bikes down, and then headed up the rock. The last 30 feet to get on the rock was nearly vertical, and I was terrified. My bicycle shoes don't make for very good rock climbing, and if I fell, it was going to hurt a lot. I told Kevin that he need to help me get up, and down, which he said he would. He got in position near a crack in the rock and told me where there was a hand hold that I needed to grab onto. I nearly chickened out, but I forced myself to make the scramble, and I pulled myself up onto Shrimp Rock. This is a picture of our bikes at the bottom of Shrimp Rock. It doesn't really capture how terrifyingly steep it was, but it gives you some idea. Here's a picture of the Colorado River that I took from up on the rock, and this is a picture of Upper Shrimp Rock that is in the other direction. After a few minutes on the rock, it was time to get down. Now I was really scared. Kevin positioned himself under the crack, and let myself down very carefully. Once my feet touched solid ground, I slid down on my stomach to where it wasn't quite so steep. I scraped my right shin a little bit, but I didn't care. I was just glad to get off of there safely, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Thanks Kevin!

We rode back to the parking lot, and my brief vacation to Moab had come to an end.

It was another perfect day, in a perfect place.



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