Monday, April 4, 2011

Sailing

Yeah, it's a bike story.  No boats involved.

The first time I went to Moab, Valerie and I flew from Columbus, Ohio, to Salt Lake City, rented a car, then drove to Moab.  It was the beginning of November, 1991, and the weather had changed for the worse in the Moab area.  Snow was falling, and the wind was picking up as we drove into town.

For the entire week that we were there, the hight temperature in Moab never climbed over 45 degrees F.  The snow-covered cactus were beautiful, and the night sky was awesome, as it always is. But, while the snow was a come-and-go thing, the wind was a constant and never let up.

I was riding my Cannondale Beast of the East, with a nylon disc rear wheel cover.  I had put the cover on, under the impression that it would make the bike more aerodynamic for road riding, and just didn't think to take it off for the trip.

The day that we decided to ride the Slickrock Trail, the wind was particularly vicious, and was gusting up to 55 mph, according to the national Weather Service.  But, we were operating under time constraints, so we decided to ride the exposed rock trail, anyway.

At one point, as we rode the Practice Loop, we were traversing the ridge which leads to Echo Point.  To my left was a 20-feet drop, to the right was about a 200-feet drop into Negro Bill Canyon.  As I rode along the 12 or 15-ft wide ridge of rock, a huge gust of wind came up.

The wind caught my rear wheel cover like a sail, and actually picked the rear end of the bike up off of the ground.  The bike and I then pivoted around the front wheel and headed toward the huge drop down into the canyon.  Luckily, I fell to the ground before I reached the edge.

I've never been so glad to slam my body into a slab of highly abrasive sandstone, in my life.

Back at the motel, that night, I removed the wheel cover.  Better late than never, I suppose.

x

1 comment:

  1. Gotta go change my undies now. Scariest of your stories so far... well, besides you being run down a dew weeks ago.

    ReplyDelete

As always, sorry about the word verification. It's a necessary evil, unfortunately.