A Little Death on the Right

Over 15 years riding mountain bikes and last weekend was my first time riding Moab, which makes me think one thing:

Why the f*@k did I wait so long?

Well I was usually too broke/too busy/too racing/too schooling/too working… always too something. But also a tad too habitual about where I ride sometimes, I think. Especially nowadays with such limited time.  How in the world was I ever “too busy” before I had a family/job/mortgage…? wuss.

I’m protective of my “on the bike” time and once I’ve found a route which fits the intensity and time requirements I want, I tend to stick with it. I find 3 or 4 routes I like and am very content.  I think that’s good for efficient training when time is minimized.

But don’t underestimate the power of adventure.

The Monday night before Easter weekend, my buddy J who works in Moab emailed to see if we wanted to come out for the weekend. I told him I’d have to check with the Prof, thinking there’s no way in hell this is gonna happen. Besides, I’d barely gotten over being sick the week before and wrote it off. “Oh well, someday…” So when Prof texted back “hell yeah”… well, I didn’t believe her, but it was game on!

Packed the Prius with: 3 bikes, blankets, food, hiking gear, biking gear, sleeping gear, clothes, cameras….
0331001804 How did that fit? Could I do it again on the other side?

We pulled out Wednesday night. The plan was to take turns driving the 12 hours to Moab through the night while Sprout slept. It was a great plan except for two little problems: 1) Giant blizzard through Utah and 2) Sprout didn’t sleep.  And mixing number 1 with number 2 made our plan less than ideal.

But at last we made it to J’s place, though about 4 hours later than expected.

He’s a Ranger at Arches…

…and has a cool place in the park which he shares with a nice selection of bikes…

… a motorcycle…

…and a dog, Choco.

We unpacked the car, grabbed some food in Moab, and went off for a hike in Arches, at which point the sprout promptly fell asleep.

Took her back to the pad.

Working with little more than sleepless lunacy, it was time to do the thing I came to do: Slickrock!

Jacob rock’n the slickrock:

It lived up to the hype. That trail is amazing. I felt like I was in the movie Tread. It’s like a skate park. Oh wait, it is a skate park…

Actually, it was kind of a park for anything with wheels.


cars, motorcycles, bikes, skateboards. And even stuff without wheels like…kites!

Besides the kite flying, Sprout seemed to enjoy exploring the moonscape immensely.

The next day was time for a little double whammy action of the Amasa Back trail followed by the Sovereign trail.

Turned out it was the same weekend as the Jeep Jamboree…


…and there were plenty to be had on Amasa Back. But contrary to what I’d heard, we had no problem getting on the trail and the drivers were really friendly as we passed them, stopping and waving us through. Plus, I kind of enjoyed watching them on a couple of the tricky parts.


The drivers seemed just as interested in what we could ride over as I was of what they could drive over. Plus, check these bad boys out:

I feel so manly

I felt like more of a man just standing there!

Oh yeah, the trail…



Amasa Back is an out and back with some good climbing and amazing views at the top.



Best of all, you get to come back down. It’s a pretty technical trail (at least for a skinny xc guy like me) with some nice steps sections where I made the save of my life right in front of some family out for a ride. Cool points. I hit the 2nd step with too much forward weight and started going over. The slow motion kind where you know the tax man is coming. I unclipped the left foot to bail but that was just gonna land me in a big rock garden 10 feet down. Hell no I wasn’t gonna do that. I opted for the skin-of-my-teeth-noway-it’s-gonna-work method. I nose wheeled down the last 3 steps, ass in the air, holding on for deer life, left foot flailing around to counterbalance. If I wasn’t on those 29″ wheels, there’s no way I would have pulled that off.

It’s a great feeling when you pick up your cards and find aces.

Got to the bottom, played it off all cool like, and counted my blessings. I could ride another day. In fact, I could ride again the same day. Sweet! Time to hit up the Sovereign trail. Most of the trails around Moab were originally made by jeeps and motorcycles and this trail was no different. And while the other trails I rode had better views and were also awesome, I have to say in terms of just riding, the Sovereign trail was one of my favorites. Fun flowing singletrack with a good mix of rock gardens and short steep ups/downs. Just fast fun and exciting.

Hmmm, I don’t seem to have any pics, guess I was enjoying myself too much.

The final day of riding was a shuttle day on the Porcupine Rim trail, another amazing trail. We started with 3 miles of continuous climbing up to I think around 7000 feet (chilly!)…


…with some amazing views at the top…

…followed by some crazy amount of good times going downhill. A couple sections of the trail skirt pretty closely to the edge of the cliff. Just ride smart, know when to get off and walk, and all is good. Otherwise, as the guidebook says: “…go ahead, ride it all. I believe in natural selection.”

With a bucket-load of fun trails fresh in my skull, it was time for some good food and drink, relaxing, and a little sleep. I hung with the Sprout so the the Prof could ride a couple times, too. I was stoked to hear that the Prof had a super duper time on the Moab slickrock and wished I could have ridden with her to share the fun. But alas, tag-teaming appears to be the way of the parent when one wants a bit of adventure.

It was time to reload the car and make the drive home.


At home by midnight and back to work at 8am. That was a good adventure.

But next time, I’m not bringing freeze dried strawberries:




4 Responses to “A Little Death on the Right”

  1. My wife and I are currently planning a trip to Moab, thanks for the preview! I’ll use this as a starting point for planning our rides.

  2. Ron Swift Says:

    Ben, I was mindlessly wandering the Internet and came across your blog. It looks like you are doing great! Sounds like you have had some great adventures since leaving Texas. Your picture of me from the Fort Hood mud race is still on my living room wall! Your trip to Moab looks like it was awesome. Talk to you soon. Ron Swift

  3. wow, i love Moab, wish i could go as well. great photos btw

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