Friday, April 6, 2007

Moab Slick Rock Mountain Bike Trail April 6, 2007

Moab Slick Rock Mountain Bike Trail April 6, 2007

Yesterday I rode the whole Moab Slick Rock Trail.
Click here to open link for Ride on
Google Earth View of the ride. You can get all the details of the ride on by clicking on the image above (or here). You can then play with it in Google Earth by clickingon "Dashboard" in MotionBased and the clicking on "Google Earth" located under the map
A few days ago I started this ride, but after getting to the start of the big loop I realized it was too much for me that day. Not only was I feeling stiff and sore, but the wide open vistas, endless dropoffs, steep decents, and seemingly verticle climbs intimidated me. As you can see from the photos it is a whole different world out there. I had never thought about having agoraphobia (fear of wide open spaces) until I was out on the ridges of the trail with everything dropping off all around me. There are a lot of very steep climbs and drops, and they look a lot steeper when you are at the top, quite often, because of the roundness of the rock formations, the trail just disappears out of sight and you have no idea how steep it gets or where it goes next. I have decided to ride within my "comfort zone": when I see something that scares me and makes me feel too uncomfortable I get off my bike and walk the tough stretches. Slowly as I get used to the new conditions and more comfortable with the trail conditions I find myself attempting more and more of the difficult and scary stuff.

Here I am out on the trail. You wouldn't know it looking at the picture, but the Abyss Canyon which comes in from the lower right is several hundred feet deep, and the trail just drops away towards it. The first time I was here a couple of days ago I walked down this stretch, even though it wasn't very steep. It just scared me too much heading into the unknown with an unknown drop off ahead. This time I knew what was ahead so I took it very slow, but on the bike.

Some fellow riders I met on the trail.

The mighty Colorado River way down below, looking upstream.

The first and only flower I saw on the whole ride. I do like red.

You can see how the steep the canyon walls can get. I feel totally justified in my fear of heights up here. It is strange because usually a fear of heights is associated with being high above the ground in a tower, building, sailboat mast, or whatever. Out here you can be on solid flat ground (and what could be more solid than this expanse of slickrock), but then the ground drops away from you.

After a long, hard, hot ride with over 2,800 feet up climbing I was pretty beat. But feeling good, I had even thrown in doing the practice loop on the way back, and happy to have done it, especially since I had bailed out of doing the whole ride a few days before. A large part of this trip has turned out to be dealing with my fears. Not a bad way to prepare for getting back into creating sculpture.
Less than two weeks left. I'm going to have to start planning out how to finish the trip.
PS I wrote this article while having a very long breakfast at The Red Rock Bakery & Net Cafe located at 74 South Main St. Moab, Utah. Good food and coffee - free refills too!

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