Tuesday, May 1

Send-ona: The Fat Middle

Hangover.  From the information I had gleaned off the internet, I woulda preferred doing this trail towards the end of the trip.  After I'd grown a little more numb to exposure.  Mebbe after I'd gotten used to riding technical sections in gears 32x10-50 and all the various cadences that they offered.  Pedal strikes are a plague when you're used to a a gear range of only a three teeth variance and a static bottom bracket height.

But Chad's group wanted to hit it before they left town, and Matt needed the day to get some work done.  Apparently, running Hermosa Tours is not a three hour a week job.  Chad's buddy from Finland knew the route, so that's just what we're going to do.

Wake up.  My head hurts.  I thought a hangover was a prerequisite for riding Hangover.

I digress.

Matt lets us borrow the keys to his truck, and we follow the other group out of town.  Park in a crowded lot and the Finnish guy points to a saddle of rock up and off in the distance.

"We're going there."


Long gravel slog to trail slog to off-camber slick rock to even more off-camber slick rock.  I ride when I feel comfortable.  Such a relative term.  Comfortable.  It only lasts until my pedal strikes an immovable object, and then it's gone just like that.


We get to the saddle and the rock bowl below me is unnerving.  The others are walking all over the ambiguous edge.  My brain is rattled.  I wait for a pair of riders to drop in just in front of me, watch the Finnish guy take an insane optional line into the trail, and "roll in" myself.

I don't know how far or for how long I assertively move forward, but it's close to an even ratio of hiking VS biking.  The trail almost constantly hugs the edge of death with occasional outcropping rocks on the left occasionally pushing me even closer to the edge on the right.  I'm not stopping until I can breathe and my heart rate is below 210 BPM.

I get off the cliff and find myself at the top of a rock face.  Four or so other riders are there, staring down into the abyss.  It's plain sick.  I make my way to the bottom of all that noise because I need to find a place to settle my nerves.  Why did I only bring my plastic-soled SIDIs on this trip?  Finally, the trail tames significantly, I put my bike down on the slick rock and hike back up to watch the brave souls that feel this problem is in their skill set.

Testing traction and mettle, rider after rider makes their attempts.  Some get down clean.  Others... a little ugly but no one dies so okay.

Once we're all down in whichever manner we've chosen, we ride a trail that's more my speed and we boogie back along the gulch/draw/valley (whatever desert folk call it) to the vehicles.

Beer was waiting for us and does well to calm my nerves.

What followed was $1.50 tacos that we couldn't have because we weren't sitting at the bar and they were not legally allowed to be transported twenty more feet to our table so... burritos.

The next day...

It was just gonna be Matt, Bill Nye and I.  We decided on a day that was a little more like a "vacation."

A short "beat the heat" ride on a bunch of porcine named trails in the morning that serve up plenty of actual riding with some butt puckering and huckering and... of course, pedal strikes.

Our early day of abbreviated desert riding is followed by Matt and Bill Nye doing some fly fishing whilst I followed along creek side scrambling over boulders with a beer in one hand, intermittently sitting in the sun enjoying just being somewhere.

I kinda like "vacation."  I guess I really am getting old.

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