ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
[personal profile] ilanarama
DSC00226

I left for Moab around 10am Saturday morning with my mountain bike strapped into the bed of my pickup truck. Ordinarily the day before a half marathon is a day for rest, maybe a couple easy miles with strides at most, but I knew I wasn't in shape for a PR, and Britt was off in the mountains hunting elk, so I had the whole weekend to myself, and I wanted to have fun.

It seems like I get to Moab faster every time I drive there; this time, it was less than three hours before I rolled into town. (Part of the reason for this is because the cheap place I usually get gas was closed down and boarded up, and I figured gas would be cheaper in Moab than in the small towns along the way, so I didn't stop.) I picked up my race packet, then checked into our hotel. Normally we stay at the Gonzo, but we hadn't made our reservation early enough and it had filled, so Karah (my usual race roomie) made reservations at the Silver Sage, which turned out to be almost across the street from the packet pick-up.

I put my stuff in the room, changed into my biking clothes, and headed north through Moab, stopping to fill the gas tank on the way. I also filled my own tank; I was worried about timing and didn't want to stop to buy lunch, so I noshed on homemade granola bars and dried fruit I'd brought along from home. My destination was Dead Horse Point State Park, about 30 miles northwest of Moab and right next to the "Island in the Sky" district of Canyonlands National Park. I had scoured the internet looking for something fairly easy - not too strenuous, because I didn't want to tire myself out for the race, and not too technical, because I didn't want to wreck and hurt myself - and had found what looked like a perfect ride, the Intrepid Trail System.

After refilling my water bottle at the visitor's center near the trailhead, I headed out on the singletrack. At the trail split I went right in order to ride the loop counterclockwise, as the ranger at the entrance station had directed me. This took me along the mesa's edge, with spectacular views. (Also spectacular consequences in the case of a fall. Fortunately all the technical sections were well away from the cliff!)

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on the trail

I ended up riding the longest and hardest loop, the Big Chief loop, which is shown on the trail map as 9 miles but which my Garmin recorded as 8.2, including the bits I hiked back and forth to viewpoints. I'd definitely call it a good beginner/low intermediate ride - I only walked maybe 20 feet, one scary-looking technical climb, and the rest I rode without incident (although a couple of places made me nervous). A true beginner might have to walk in a half-dozen places, but would be able to ride most of it, I think. Riding the preferred counterclockwise direction puts all the best views and technical segments on the way out to the farthest point - the return is overland, along a fast, mostly smooth, and mostly downhill track. It took me an hour and fifteen minutes, including photo stops, and I saw only two other riders.

When I returned to the hotel Karah still hadn't arrived. I showered and got online (free wifi yay!) to find a message from her that she was likely to miss dinner and might not make it until the next morning. I met Paul, a friend from Salt Lake, at Miguel's for our now-traditional race night Mexican food (and margaritas), not as much fun without Karah (or Kevin, another friend who usually does the Moab races as well but was on vacation in Hawaii with his wife), then returned to the room, organized my race gear and faffed about online for a while. Then I set the alarm for a ridiculous early hour, stretched a little, read a little, and went to bed.

Race report next! I promise!
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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

March 2017

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

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