Sweet November Moab

For Jolene's birthday (a good excuse) we made a quick down-and-back Moab trip to ride the Slickrock and Sovereign trails. We left home at 7 AM and started riding the Slickrock trail around 10:30. It was a little chilly at 42 degrees, but the sun was warm and I was perfectly comfortable all day.

Looking good (for 40-somethings) in the new Fat Cyclist jerseys. Black is good for soaking up the sun.

I don't think I've ever attempted to ride down into the Wooly Gully. Now it seems silly as it wasn't that bad. I think I'd just seen too many riders crash here and it got in my head. Now I just need to get up the other side (although I did ride down it coming back).

This time we did the loop counter-clockwise. We prefer clockwise, but since the only other time we'd done it counter-clockwise was the first time we rode Slickrock back in 1990, we decided to mix it up.

Does the view ever get old? Not for me.

Here's a sequence of three photos near Natural Selection Point: Going down,

making the turn,

going up.

Me going up a steep.

Jolene doing the same.

I made six attempts on Cogs To Spare (a climb I've done 3-4 times now). Two or three of the failures were just my bad, but the others were caused by the rear tire slipping when it got even slightly on edge. I let some air out but that didn't help. Twice I made it past the crux but got slightly off line and spun out. On the last attempt I spun out again, and even though I wasn't that tired, I was frustrated and gave up. Afterward I figured out that my rear tire (a Panaracer Fire XC Pro) has tall and widely spaced side knobs that are good for loose dirt but slip under pressure on slickrock. I'll have a different tire on next time I do Slickrock.

What was supposed to be a video of my triumph, is now an irritating reminder of my ineptitude.

Here's Jolene powering up Cogs. She made it on her third attempt. Her 29er Kenda Small Block 8 tires are great for Slickrock, and of course she's got skills.

We finished Slickrock around 1:45 PM and headed to Sovereign - eating a light lunch on the drive over.

Here's Jolene climbing a ramp.

Sovereign has some outstanding desert riding. It easily matches most Fruita trails.

It doesn't get much better than desert riding in November. It even makes me look like I still have a tan.

Riding under that shelf was cool. This picture is staged since we were going down, not up and face shots are preferred over butt shots.

Here's the rest of that descent. I rode a little of it, but the switchbacks were pretty nasty with 4" of churned up dust.

We didn't make it all the way out to the slickrock section because we were running out of daylight. It was still a fun ride. It's chock full of small technical stunts and I really enjoyed it. My upper body got a workout, especially the arms. Saw a few jackrabbits.

The days are short this time of year and the 7 hours of driving are an issue, but the cool temperatures, sunshine and good riding with no crowds was worth it. Just a great day riding two of the best trails in Utah.


dug said...

"Sovereign has some outstanding desert riding. It easily matches anything Fruita has to offer."

woah. i mean, dude. c'mon. sovereign is nice, but let's not get carried away.

KanyonKris said...

I like Sovereign. It's getting a bit beat-up and not as good as it was, but it's still very good.

Perhaps I did overshoot. How about "It easily matches most Fruita trails." I think Prime Cut and Joe's Ridge is better than Sovereign, but not sure what else. Granted there are still trails in Fruita I haven't done. Care to make some suggestions?

Andy H. said...

That's funny, Dug stole my comment so I'll go with this one:

"Here's Jolene powering up Cogs. She made it on her third attempt. Her 29er Kenda Small Block 8 tires are great for Slickrock, and of course she's got skills"

what you meant to say was

"Here's Jolene powering up Cogs. She made it on her third attempt (I ruined her first two attempts by distracting her). Her 29er is far superior to my measly 26er at pretty much everything and of course she's got mad Moab skillz" :)

KanyonKris said...

Good one, you 29er zealot. ;-)

JoshuaMcC said...

To add fuel to the 26/29 debate, I have finally settled it. 29ers are for those who like to keep their tires on the ground.(Generally hard core XC guys) 26ers are for those who have to muscle their bikes around at speed, (Not necessarily downhillers, but that's a good example)
There is one other qualifier for a 29er fanatic, you have to try and convert everyone else, their like married people and mormons that way. (I can say that because I am a married mormon, by the way, what do you know about the church.......would you like to know more?jk)

Derek said...

OK. If you are going counter-clockwise why are you guys climbing Cogs? Just to show how much better Jolene rides than you?

What great dates the two of you have! I am very jealous.

29er said...

Derek, now I can tell my side of it: I wanted to go straight to cogs while we had fresh legs and see if we could ride it, then go back (it's only about a mile) and do the loop counter-clockwise. Kris didn't agree and said we could do it when we got there if we still felt like it. I didn't let it bug me but when we came around to cogs somehow I felt pretty determined to make the hill- if even just a teensy bit for spite.
It was a really great date. We're lucky to live close enough to do Moab in a day!

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Happy birthday to Jolene! What a great way to celebrate the day.