The Element was loaded with 3 bikes on top and 3 29er's inside, along with all of KC's gear.
Saddling up at Amasa Back on Friday, before the rain.
KC showing the young wipper-snapper how to ride.
Chris doing his thing. There's not a drop or rock ledge exempt from his attack. Note the same hiking wipper-snapper in background.
Here comes the snow! This is before we hit Cortez.
Race canceled, car's packed. Hurry up and take the picture, Bill. We're off to Moab!
As we drove from Moab to Durango Friday morning, the snow began to fall. Actually, it is more like graupel than snow, but it was white and sticking to the road. We drove through areas of high wind, high clouds and no rain, and down right limited visibility. When we got to Durango around 4pm, it was raining. And it never stopped for more than a few minutes.
The atmosphere at the check-in was subdued, and it seemed like the excitment usually felt at an event like this was missing. I guess most of us subconsciously felt Saturday was going to be iffy, at best. With rain, snow and thunder all around us, having a positive outlook was an exercise in futility. And the prospect of LoToJa 2005 was in the forefront of my mind, as well as Chris & KC Holley, Dwight Hibdon and Bill Dark, all survivors of that near-death experience.
As we left the registration area we were informed to monitor a local radio station at 0600 Saturday to learn the disposition of the race. At about 0605 someone yelled out their tent, "go back to sleep everyone", and that was it! Ironhorse 2008 was officially canceled. To be honest, for me it was no big deal. My training for this event had been very limited, and I'm not a good climber, even when I have good miles on my legs. I was there for the event and to spend time with my cycling friends.
We decided to get out of Dodge asap and loaded my Element during a snow/rain downpour and headed to Moab. Surely the weather gods would be more receptive to us there and allow us to ride with a free spirit and smiling face. And we were not dissapointed. Chris, KC and I got in a ripping, single-speed, 2 hour ride Friday on the Soverign Trail followed by a Brat dinner cooked over an open flame expertly prepared by Chris. We went to bed early and were occasionally awakened by very light rain drops during the night, but nothing close to what we went through dduring the prior 24 hours.
Sunday morning started casually with a light breakfast followed by a single-speed ride on the Procupine Rim Trail. We did the usual start at the City Market and headed east through Sand Flats, past the Slick Rock trail and what seemed like hundreds of campers. There are lots of cool spot to sleep at out there that I'll have to try in the future. Beautiful views, and reasonably quiet. When we got to the Porc trailhead a tour guide suggested the "Lower" road out of the parking lot as a very fun, worthwhile alternative that we should give a try. BS! That variation sucks. I was probably 3 miles of steep gravel and paved road followed by 1 mile of so-so single track. Did I say steep! If you want to grind it out for 35-40 minutes with no relief, take this route. Otherwise, do the normal trail and do an out-and-back from the overlook. That way you'll be able to do the fun stuff and avoid the death climb.
We descended from the overlook like bats-out-of-hell and had an absolute blast. I did some stuff on my 29er that would have been white-knuckled, and over the bars on my Element. Fast corners, fast over the choppy stuff and even a few jumps. Just like Disneyland! Yahoooooo......
After that it was going to be hard to find more fun so we decided to pack up the Element and head home. It was a memorable weekend, and well worth the effort. I'm already looking forward to the next adventure, no matter what the weather gods throw at us.
9 months ago