I’m sitting in a cheap motel in the middle of Utah. I couldn’t be happier. I’m not sure that the words "Utah,” “Motel,” and “Happy” are used in conjunction that often, but it absolutely rings true here.
Two weeks ago I ended my career in the world of Finance. No longer happy with taking part in the rat race for mediocrity, I enthusiastically gave up the life of a middle office trade support excel monkey. I won’t get into any details but suffice to say reconciling other people’s cash and confirming other people’s trades is something that is definitively not for me. Instead, I’ll be jumping into the world of social media and digital marketing.
Leaving my job and switching careers gave me a reason to come out here. I believe that whenever one has a big life change, he/she should get away for a few days and take it all in. A sort of intermission between acts of a play. Maybe it’s more like a half-time show?
I needed to get out of the city for a few days. We’re so over-stimulated in our daily lives that we become numb. What we see and experience can stop affecting us. All day we sit at computers and process information in all its forms. It gets a bit old after a while.
What better place for a reset than Moab. Fresh off of the hilariously brutal pain train known as Battenkill, my teammate Steve and I hopped a plane to Denver, jumped on a comically bouncy turboprop that dropped us into Grand Junction, and from there we drove 2 hours to Moab. Here we’ll spend 7 days mountain biking over and around some of the most beautiful, dramatic and awe-inspiring landscape around.
Yesterday was day 1. After a fantastic breakfast we were met by our guide for the day- Joe. Joe was a pretty awesome dude who had 3 seasons of MTB touring under his belt, and was a rock climber in the off season. He drove us over to the trailhead where our ride would begin.
Our Steeds would be Kona Dawg Deluxes. These dual suspension monsters have 6 inches of travel and will run over just about anything without much of a fuss. I can tell you that I love riding dual-ies much much more than hardtails. It’s just more fun to barrel over the mountain and not have to worry about your junk getting pounded into a pulp.
Today Joe introduced us to a couple of trails that are all linked together. First we hit up Klondike Bluffs, and rode up half of Baby Steps. These trails featured quite a wide range of terrain. There was a good deal of slick rock to ride over, which is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. It’s grippy, easy to climb up, and fun as hell to bomb down.
You’re sort of conflicted when riding parts of this trail. Some of the views are so spectacular that its easy to not pay as much attention to where you’re riding. We made sure to stop a view times and take it all in so that we wouldn’t be distracted when we were actually riding.
By lunch time we had ridden right up to the edge of Arches National Park. That’s home to all of the picturesque geological formations that Moab is known for. As it’s a national park, we had to leave our bikes at the border. We hiked on to the edge of a cliff and stopped for lunch. For the record, Mountain bike shoes with toe spikes may in fact be the worst shoes around when it comes to scrambling around on rocks. not recommended…
After shoving a delicious wad of roast beef down my gullet we plodded back to the bikes and kept going. We hit some more technical singletrack which resulted in me dumping out a few times. The weather was partly cloudy, which in the desert means that the temps drop 20 degrees whenever cloudy block the sun from doing its job. At one point Steve got a flat and i briefly saw snow flurries.
After bombing down some more singletrack and slick rock, we rolled through a fire road imprinted with 4X4 tracks. As we road by Joe found a baby cow on the side of the road takin’ a nap. Probably tired from a day of running around the desert, the little dude was calm and didn't freak out when we approached him. “You’ll make a fine osso bucco someday,” I said to him.
Not a bad experience for day one. The trails that Joe took us on were a great way to get acclimated to the Moab experience, which would prove to be a huge departure from the wooded trails of the northeast.
After the ride we sat in a little Mexican restaurant and pounded fish tacos and cervezas. And to think, at this very moment I could be sitting at a desk staring at 32 excel spreadsheets. This round to me.