Monday, October 31, 2011

Going All the Way

This weekend, six intrepid rez dogs traveled far from home to a wildly remote – and secret – part of the Colorado Plateau to complete an epic high desert slick rock ride.  A report: 
1.     WE’RE GOING ALL THE WAY TOMORROW”Saturday night, before things got wild, Chuck Van Drunen pronounced, “We’re going all the way tomorrow.  We’ve been courting this ride for three long years and we’ve been to second base and third base, but tomorrow we are going all the way.”  After four or five reconnoitering trips by different groups of guys that established both ends of the route, the vast middle section remained untouched by rez dogs.  During our scouting rides we’ve encountered herds of wild horses, gale force winds, a band of yelping coyotes, a surreal thunderstorm, a stoic local standing guard on a knoll with a rifle . . . and bleached bones that serve as a stark warning to the unprepared. Through it all, we have come to know, respect and love this route.  Yes, it truly was time to go all the way. 
2.     PETER’S PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTION.  Two hours into the ride on Sunday the pack – Chuck, Peter Tempest, Greg Cavanaugh, Andy Stravers, Paul Barry and Bob Rosebrough – regrouped and Peter said, “I have a philosophical question.”  All eyes turned to Peter: “Should we disclose the location of this ride on the blog?”  Bob: “That’s just what I’ve been thinking about. I’m inclined not to.”  Chuck: “Hell, no! We’re not going to disclose it on the blog.”  A discussion followed of the practical and ethical reasons why the route should remain a secret with heads nodding all around and the decision was made. The location will remain a guarded secret: no mention of location on the blog and even scrutiny of panorama photos.
3.     PAUL:  “LET’S DO MORE EPIC RIDES AND LESS RACING.”  Earlier in the week, at the Third Street Tavern, after the Wednesday night ride and storm, Paul – who has done more racing than any of us – suggested, “Next year, let’s do more epic rides and fewer races.”  Paul followed up with specific examples of the fantastic rides that are available to us in the Southwest.  This weekend’s ride was exactly what Paul was talking about:
·     an elevated sea of slick rock extending for miles,
·     endless opportunities for exploring,
·     a six hour and forty five minute effort from beginning to end, and
·     a sense of real adventure fostered by the absence of tire tracks, trail signs or cairns for a twenty five mile plus section of the route.
·     A surprise celebration of Peter’s 49th birthday Saturday night with a cake (decorated with image of the Bread Springs loop sheep - of course) and ice cream on a canyon rim under a sea of stars,
·     A wild, nighttime romp down and back up a desert canyon highlighted by  perfect echoes off the walls at the bottom and a rare sighting of a ring tail cat poking his head over the lip a huge boulder to reflect our headlamps with his eyes,
·     The death (sometime before 6am Sunday morning) and miracle resurrection (at precisely 6:05am) of Morning Guy,
·     Chuck peering into the distance, at lunch on the lip of the rim, and announcing that he spotted Dirk on his road bike fifteen miles to the south on the highway,
·     Six HUGE camel backs including (if you can believe this) what appeared to be a 35-compartment-Gallup-Flea-Market-camelback at FULL capacity, and
·     Chuck – who had been spinning and exploring – giving in to the call of the dark side by incrementally dialing up the speed and dishing out the pain after we got off slick rock and hit the road leading to the shuttle truck (“You never know what a road will do to your soul.”), and
·     Paul giving an instructional lesson on English slang to the blokes on the way back home.
How do you assure that you get individual blog attention?  Simple.  Greg hit on a sure fire way Saturday at Chuck’s house, just before departure, when he mistakenly thought Bob’s attention was diverted and he said, “My primary objective this weekend is to lay low so I don’t get on the blog.”  Not quite low enough Greg, but as Paul would say, “Nice try mate.”   

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