Moab Century Plus

Well, I finally made it to the Moab Century! For some reason I've been semi-obsessed with this ride. It eluded me last year and I was determined to make it this year. I also climbed the Big Nasty by myself 2 years ago and I didn't make it all the way without stopping, so I really wanted to see if my climbing has improved.

The weather was not looking good. Driving down from Orem I had heavy rain all the way except for 10 minutes in Green River. A ways out from Moab I could see big thunderheads crowding the LaSals with lightning lighting up the sky every so often. At 4 AM it poured and I thought the ride was going to be wet, cold and miserable. But as the morning dawned there were breaks in the cloud cover and by start time it was only partly cloudy. The road was still wet, but it could have been so much worse.

The ride out of Moab went fine and provided a nice warm-up for the climb to come. Soon enough I hit the "Little Nasty" and did OK climbing it even though it registered a 12% on my cyclocomputer and seemed to average 10%. I skipped the mid-way aid station because I wanted to do the whole climb without stopping. They had signs announcing different sections of the climb. One said "launchpad" and I guess it meant that this is the mellow part before you "launch" into the really steep stuff. Sure enough it turned up steep and while I was pretty sure this was the first section I had struggled on 2 years ago, it didn't seem as bad. Sure it hit 14% grade, but I was able to keep going easier than before. Then the grade eased off a bit and soon I hit the second steep section at 13%, but I was still going OK. Anyway, I was breathing heavy and going pretty slow, but I kept moving and made it to the top aid station. Yes, I had conquered the Big Nasty!

The road was mellow for a while and the views were incredible. Then down into a canyon and climbing up the other side (more climbing?!). The rest was pretty mellow, but did have some hills. Then it was the decent into Castle Valley - twisty and steep. And the views of the valley - wow! I got a great view of Castleton Tower part way down - I'd climbed it 2 years ago. You could really open up the speed if you wanted, but I didn't know the road and took it easy. Down in the valley I passed an accident - it appeared that a rider had hit the back of a truck. He was laid out on the pavement. Other riders were already on the scene so I kept going. Scary.

At the junction with the Colorado River road, I felt OK, but tiring so I opted for the 65 mile route and headed back to Moab - it was a good choice. The wind was blowing up the river pretty good and it was exhausting. Luckily I was able to work with some other riders at times. The tall walls of the river gorge are quite impressive on a bike.

By the time I hit Moab (around 12:30) I was getting weary. They had a potato bar for lunch with some really good brownies. I ate and lounged on the grass then headed back to the hotel to shower and take a quick rest.

I left at 2pm and headed to Klondike Bluffs for a quick mountain bike ride. I still had some fuel in the tank and made it out to the Klondike Bluffs lookout to snap a few pictures then returned via the upper Baby Steps (not that great). Car to car was 2 hours. With all the rain the road was a mess in places as was the trail. Then I got in the car and headed home.

A good biking Saturday for me with 65 miles on the road bike and 10 on the mountain bike.