Friday, June 17, 2011

First Timers

I like to take people to Moab, for their first time mountain biking there.  I can be the tour guide, and keep them from getting lost, while watching them react to the place the same as I did, over 20 years ago.

One day, at the bike shop, Nick and Per were talking about the fact that neither of them had ever been to Moab.  They were 18 years old, and life was passing them by.  I  told them to clear it with their parents, and I would take them for a 3-day weekend.

So, a couple of weeks later, we loaded up in my 1994 Dodge Ram 1500 (I miss that truck).  There were three of us, five bikes (Per's, Nick's and my mountain bikes, a demo Gary Fisher Sugar, and the 3-speed mtb I had built up to demonstrate to them that you only really needed a high, middle and low gear to ride trails like SlickRock) plus all of our camping equipment.

On the way by, we stopped at the Loma Exit, outside Fruita, and rode the Mary's Loop and Lion's Loop trails.  Then, we headed on to Moab.  Once there, we set up camp, and went riding on the SlickRock Trail.

At one point, we were playing Follow the Leader, each of us taking turns leading and trying to ride something the other two couldn't/wouldn't.  I had the lead, and I rode over to a twenty-foot drop that I had ridden once, a couple of years earlier, following Tony C.

When you drop over the edge of this particular feature, you ride about a bike's length on a ledge which sits at about a 45 degree angle.  Then, you drop off of that, to a rock face which is just a tad steeper.  As you make the transition, you freefall for about a bike length and a half before your wheels contact the rock, and you can zoom on down to the run-out.  You can't go too fast, or you'll jump all the way down to the bottom.  Go too slow, and your bottom bracket will catch on the rock lip and dump you forward.

I dropped in, and I heard Nick go, "Whoa!"

I stopped at the bottom of the run-out and yelled up to him, "I guess I win, if you don't ride down!"

Of course, being 18, he couldn't let an old man of 38 outdo him.   He rolled back a little, then rode forward and  off the edge.  He got to the drop-down, and tensed a little too much, leaned a little off-vertical and skidded as he touched back down on the rock.  The bike slipped out from under Nick, and he landed on his left buttock and slid all the way down to the bottom as though he was on a playground slide.

"AAAAAAHHHGGGHHH.  It burns with the heat of a thousand suns!" he yelled, causing both Per (at the top of the wall) and me to burst out laughing uncontrollably.

Nick pulled his shorts down, and his butt looked like someone had spanked him with a cheese grater.  Naturally, I took a photo of it, which got hung up with the "1000 suns" quote attached to it, in the service area of the shop, once we got back.

It was quite a trip.


1 comment:

  1. Cool story, Jon!
    You are gutsy!
    I was never that adventurous with MTBs. I was more of a cautious single-track rider.
    Please keep the great stories coming!
    Peace :)


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