Dave and I spent Monday afternoon riding the Pro/Cat I course for the Mountain States Cup race #1. The ride is epic really- amazing views and terrain changes and technical nuttiness (including many, many yards of deep sand trap) rolled into a mondo 30+ mile loop.
The world class mileage along the Western Rim has a magical way of erasing the agony of the hike up to westwater mesa (do not buy the BS that it is a "challenging uphill"- it is a brutal HIKE) and the crappy dirtbike whoopdies that must be traversed to connect the Overlook trail with the Western Rim.
At the end of the day this is a wonderfully challenging ride, but I sure am glad I won't be racing it...(have at it CAT I's !)
Atop the Westwater Mesa- looking back on the Kokopelli Trail traversing Rabbit Valley
The feedzone at the top of the "challenging climb" out of Bitter Creek. That jeep road is the Kokopelli Trail headed off to Moab and the snow capped La Salles on the horizon.
the race course goes the opposite direction along the Westwater Mesa on the Overlook Trail
One of the brilliant stretches of slickrock shelf that form the Western Rim
The desert is just starting to bloom and when you look closely you can see the second wave of blossoms (the agave, the cacti) about to explode.
There was weather today- lots of weather. Blustery squalls sweeping across the valleys making dust clouds forever. Sucker holes of sunshine blasting down over the horizon revealing snow covered mountains and then swallowing them up into a single dark cloud. Beautiful and adrenaline producing.
I put the hammer down and made it back to the trailhead windswept and wet- but, miraculously, spared the agony of a redclay coated bike. In fact- it all came together so well today I think I may consider this my Race Day and save the ridiculous $50 registration fee (+$10 to register on site and $5 usage fee) on Saturday and treat myself to some yummy sushi down at No Coast or maybe a friday afternoon skills clinic and fun ride at the local huckin' park.