A Rest Day Gone Awry

Slick Rock Trail - Moab, UT - Mountain biking the famous trail and when rest days do you dirty. What does a rest day mean to you? Maybe kicking your feet up and watching some movies or how about throwing back some pizza and beers with friends; I’m guessing either of these options sound like [...]

Slick Rock Trail – Moab, UT – Mountain biking the famous trail and when rest days do you dirty.

What does a rest day mean to you? Maybe kicking your feet up and watching some movies or how about throwing back some pizza and beers with friends; I’m guessing either of these options sound like an appealing rest day to the majority of you.

Our definition of a “rest day” went horribly awry when the idea of ‘mountain biking in Moab’ got stuck in our thick skulls. Let me preface this by outlining my mountain biking experience level – hugging the line of training wheels on and training wheels off.

My climbing partner, Eric, was really pushing to ride “The Whole Enchilada”, a 26.5 mile trail with a 7000’ descent. I was really rooting for this one, but it had rained the previous morning and was forecasted to dump rain today. This being a problem for the Kokopelli portion of the ride where the trail is clay, leading to giant cement goops that will permanently put that shiny bike out of commission.  With the potential of this venture being realized now in question, I volunteered the only alternative I knew of – the infamous “Slickrock Trail“.  Definite upsides quickly presented by my local, mountain biking gurus being (1) you can ride it in any weather and (2) it can be done from town – no need for us to waste cherished moolah on a shuttle.

A couple of phone calls and we had secured our steeds for the day from a local outfitter, Chile Pepper Bike Shop — Giant Trance X2 — my first full suspension and all in all a rather plush experience. Adorned with two wheels apiece, we were off. 100 feet or so later I realized that I might have been grossly misinformed about the gentle nature of the climb to the trailhead. Only slightly peeved by the joyous cheers of our fellow riders so effortlessly passing us in their cars (grumble grumble), we made it.  The gate attendant sympathized with our plight and gave us several water bottles with our rather nominal entry fee when I asked about water availability on trail having finished the 1.5 liters we brought for the actual ride.

Practice Loop of Slickrock Trail Mountain Biking - Moab, UtahSlickrock is a unique ride.  The rock has incredible friction allowing one to ride amazingly steep ups and downs, which may-or-may not be unnerving to those experiencing it for the first time (queue mental image of me acrobatically flipping over the handlebars).  My partner watching me fall, walk, crawl, and roll towards him opted to take me around the two plus mile practice loop before setting off on the full double black diamond skull and crossbones experience.  As I accumulated bruises and experienced some blood loss, my climbing partner patiently looked on before gracefully breezing on to the next suicidal downhill. The joy of this experience began to dissipate at about the same pace as the weather.  It seemed like an eternity or possibly just the longest hour of my life, but I eventually finished the practice loop.  Shortly after the trail proper began, I ran into a fellow female rider also looking for an experience less akin to extracting semen from a raging bull and told my climbing partner to press on, be one with the wind.  My new buddy and I rode the practice loop backwards and just as I was getting the hang of this demonic, self inflicted plight we gained sight of the trailhead and the threatening skies let loose. Mother nature pelted us with hail and rain from an impressive horizontal angle, leaving us thoroughly soaked before we could reach cover – giving me ample time to reflect on my climbing partner’s thoughtfulness of leaving me with a water bottle and not my rain jacket as well as suggesting mountain biking as a great rest day activity (grumble grumble).

Slickrock Trail Mountain Biking - Moab, Utah

Slightly distanced (fed and dry), Slickrock was an amazing experience and I definitely want to go back and ride the trail again but with a bit more experience and not with “Mr. Breezy”, my closet mountain bike-riding freak of a climbing partner.

-> Click here for trail map of Slickrock Trail – Courtesy of BLM

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Ilana is a native of Southern California. She is an accomplished rock and ice climber and is the brains behind Thrillseekers Anonymous. Currently residing in Colorado, she is a Registered Surgical/Trauma Nurse, who can be found leading her own adventures on days off. Ilana is a sponsored athlete with GoMacro, WoolX, and an Arcteryx Denver ambassador. She has been featured in various media outlets including the February 2015 issue of ‘Climbing’ magazine, December 2013 issue of ‘Rock and Ice’ magazine, December/January 2013 issue of ‘Gripped Climbing’ magazine, Canyoneering: A Guide to Techniques for Wet and Dry Canyons (How To Climb Series) by Dave Black and Pasadena Magazine as well as a Climbing Expert on MTV’s Parental Control (Season 7 – “Heather”).

Ilana has written 110 articles for Thrillseekers Anonymous.

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