Yesterday, I should have had a video to post. Really, I should have. But here’s the problem: I let my helmetcam record, mostly nonstop, for most of two big, beautiful rides. I let it record until the 8Gb card was full.
Which is to say, I recorded around six hours of video.
That’s a lot to sift through.
And then there’s the problem that whenever I start trying to extract chunks of video, I wind up just letting the video play and play, reliving the ride instead of editing it.
All of the above is my list of excuses for why:
- I did not post a video yesterday.
- I did not post anything at all yesterday.
- I still do not have a video to post today.
So, today a description of the weekend. Tomorrow — hopefully — a video.
I love certain traditions, and don’t like to see them change. For example, I go to Leadville every year for the Leadville 100, and I always try to get the same room at the same hotel. And go to the same restaurants. And do the same ride the day before the race. And catch up with the same people.
Fall Moab is like that, too. It’s the Core Team going to Moab sometime around the beginning of November. We ride Slickrock, Gold Bar Rim, Amasa Back, and Porcupine Rim. We spend a lot of time in one place, taking turns working on technical moves.
It’s a great formula. Why would you want to monkey with it?
Well, we started changing the formula when we all fell in love with Gooseberry Mesa (and surrounding trails), near St. George, Utah. To suit our collective craving for this incredible network, we decided that “Fall Moab” was a description of an event that centered around the Core Team getting together to ride in the Fall, not necessarily a description of location.
In other words, Fall Moab could be in St. George.
And if in St. George, why not elsewhere? Like Fruita, Colorado, for example?
And the fact that I have family in Grand Junction (which is next door to Fruita) made Fall Moab in Fruita very attractive. I could drive the girls down to Grand Junction (the boys are too teenagery to want to go), leave them with Kellene (thanks, Kellene!) for the weekend, and — abracadabra — I’ve got a weekend with the guys.
It used to be that we always got hotel rooms for Fall Moab. Then, a few years ago, we tried camping. And it’s been camping ever since. Now, I’ve been accused of not liking camping, but that’s just not true. I love camping. It’s just the trying-to-sleep-on-a-cot-in-a-cold-sleeping-bag part that has been a problem for me in the past.
As I’ve mentioned previously, however, that is no longer a problem. Thanks to the miracle of Ambien. Seriously, that stuff is magical. 5 milligrams and a cold sleeping bag turns into a warm, fluffy bed with lullabies playing softly in the background.
And since sitting around a fire, listening to stories (believe it or not, I primarily listen — I’m not much of a storyteller in person) is likely the most time-tested form of entertainment there is, I think I’m safe in saying that people are hardwired to enjoy it.
Really, the only way it can be better — and more primal — is if you’re eating a lot of meat while you’re sitting around the campfire.
Which brings me to bratwurst.
My Favorite Tradition of All
I love good bratwurst — and by “good bratwurst,” I mean “any bratwurst, properly prepared.” And you know what? I love preparing bratwurst.
I was looking forward to brats — both the preparing and eating — so much, in fact, that I skipped the second ride of the day, instead preferring to go to the store to buy everything I needed to make the brats: bratwurst, a pot and tongs (I forgot to bring my own this time), beer, a couple onions, Gulden’s spicy brown, mayo, and a bottle of worcestershire sauce.
It’s a small shopping list for such an incredible meal.
Then, I love opening and pouring — in rapid succession — 12 cans of beer into a pot. Love the smell of brats boiling in a stew of beer, onion, and worcestershire sauce. Love the way they darken on the grill, gathering the smoky taste and crisp skin.
But of course, I mostly love how a brat tastes, served with Gulden’s spicy brown mustard (and for me, mayo, which I understand is a minor sacrilege) on a slice of Kenny’s homemade bread. Everyone sits around the fire, eating and talking. It’s mellow and perfect.
And with 40 brats made for 15 people, running out is unlikely.
I tell you what: The post-ride brats feast was my favorite part of the trip this time.
Two Bikes, One Crash
I brought two bikes with me this trip — my Waltworks SingleSpeed, and my geared Gary Fisher Superfly. The Superfly was an afterthought. Just a “Well, I’ve got room for the bike, why not bring it?” kind of thing.
I was glad I did, though. Because during the first ride on Saturday (I missed the Friday rides because I didn’t want to head out ’til my kids were out of school) — Gunny’s Loop and Holy Cross — I crashed my Waltworks pretty thoroughly.
Specifically, on a very tight section of singletrack with a rock wall on one side and exposure on the right, I hit my left handlebar grip on a rock that was jutting out. This of course wrenched my wheel left and I hit the cliff wall. Then, following the “equal and opposite reaction” principle, I bounced and fell right.
I landed on a ledge to the right of the trail, while my bike continued on down to the next ledge, about five or six feet below. I banged myself up about as much as you’d expect: scrapes and bruises, but nothing serious.
My bike, on the other hand, needed some work. The front wheel was seriously out of true (not a horrible problem since I’m using disc brakes), and the saddle is destroyed. Also, the splines on the rear hub hesitated for about 3/4 a turn of the cranks before catching.
If I’d brought only one bike, it would have meant hours of work — work that I don’t know how to do, frankly. As is, however, it meant that I rode tentatively for the rest of the ride (for whatever reason, after I crash, I am simply unable to get back into the spirit of aggressive riding for the rest of the ride), and then swapped bikes.
A delicious luxury.
Another way this edition of Fall Moab differed from previous iterations is the way we rode. Which is to say, these trails were new to most of us, and so we didn’t feel so much of a need to try to find unusual or oddball “moves” to make them fun. The first time you ride a trail, it’s nice to just experience its flow.
And the trails we rode had excellent flow. High desert singletrack, with rocks and ledges to make the course interesting and challenging.
Which brings up a crucial mountain biker’s dilemma: which is objectively the best surface for mountain biking: high desert singletrack, or forested mountain singletrack?
I have a sense that the answer is, “Whichever you happen to be on right that moment.”
What a weekend. I declare 2010 (Fiscal) Fall Moab (in Fruita) a success.
PS: Everyone in the group agreed: my brother-in-law Rocky (Kellene’s husband) was the ultimate tour guide, selecting cream-of-the-cream-of-the crop rides for us on this trip. Thanks, Rocky!
PPS: If you’re with Team Fatty for Movember, why don’t you email me a photo of how your mo is going? I think I’ll start posting a “mo of the day” with each post.