Saturday, July 12, 2008
Capital Reef Day 2 the epic ride
At this point we were still thinking this was the best trail ever with Golden Eagles soaring above our heads and blue lake below. It was so beautiful!
The top. At 10,010 feet above sea level there wasn't much air. See the blue sliver? That is the lake way below.
The bikes get a boat ride back to civilization.
Ahhh. Much happier after water, pecan sandies, strawberries, and Mountain Dew provided by our rescuers.
Me before I started dropping F bombs.
I had looked up on Utahmountainbiking.com and found a nice trail around Fish lake. The description said the one whole side of the lake was easy beginner trail then it said something to the effect that intermediate riders would continue on the same trail as it climbed above the lake and around to complete a 26 mile loop. Sounds reasonable right?
Kara and I headed out about 10:30 and said our goodbyes to Amy and Lacey since they just wanted to do the easy flat trail by the lodge. About 5 miles into the ride I stopped to fix my flat back tire and take out the duct taped tube that was dated 03 (disclaimer: I did not put this tube in my tire!) The going was great for about 10 miles. Although no one had ridden the trail for a while, it was nice single track with some rocky patches and a bit of climbing. Suddenly the trail turned steep. We rode what we could and hiked a bike when it was too steep.
After about an hour of alternating hiking with riding we looked across the lake and realized we had made no more progression around the lake only elevation gain. We still felt the top was near then we'd descend and be back to the easy stuff. Another hour plus later we finally did make it to the top. At 10,010 I had to keep stopping to breathe because Kara used all the oxygen by going ahead of me. We finally made some progress as we rode across the top of the ridge. Finally, we began heading back down and out of there (we thought).
The first descent was awesome. It was alpine trails with fun, steep but rideable sections. Then one more short climb and we were heading down again. Now the going got really rough. Still steep but with giant boulders. Some sections an expert level rider could manage but much of it had to be walked. Kara went down hard and her helmet saved her noggin when her head slammed into a tree. Finally we made it back down to lake level but the trail was non existent due to boulders. By this time we were both out of water and food and we'd been on the trail for over 4 hours. I couldn't see Kara for a while and thought I was hallucinating when I heard voices. Finally I saw Kara sitting on a boat drinking fresh cold water. I climbed aboard and the fisherman were very nice telling us we looked like we'd been in a fight and offering us a ride back. We probably had 6 more miles and at least 3 of it were unridable boulders. We managed to do 18 of the 26 miles around the lake. I think I'll email utahmountainbiking.com and let them know that "intermediate" isn't quite an accurate description.