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Thread: Damned.

  1. #1
    This place needs an enema
    Reputation: mikesee's Avatar
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    Damned.










    There's this place to our west, completely unpopulated, infrequently visited, and visually stunning--in a truly visceral way.  























    The landscape is utterly unlike anywhere I've ever visited or even heard of.













    For various reasons involving winter snow, summer heat and deep-in-fall sand, we typically reserve trips there for spring--after the snow but before the heat.













    With near-record rainfall this autumn, I figured the sand would have been rendered less of an issue.  













    Plus I just really wanted a fix--I can never, ever get enough of this place.













    The riding is brutally difficult no matter who you are.  The more you want to ride instead of push/pull/drag your bike, the more energy you will expend.  Sometimes exponentially more--because traction is often perfect, allowing you to get up anything.  Well, provided your legs, desire, and skill combine just-so.


















































    In ~15+ trips to ride this area, I've had two devastatingly bad days.  Gravity squall kind of days--the kind where your brain is screaming out for you to extract yourself at the first opportunity, before you cut your own head off with a tire lever while fixing yet another flat.  





































    Curiously, there are 3 opportunities to escape the route, each marked with a can't-miss, painted-on-rock "ESCAPE" and an arrow showing the way.  It has always been at the forefront of my mind that the trail builders (trailpainters?) refer to these as escapes and not shortcuts or easy outs.  The main difference being that the former is needed while the latter is usually just wanted.





    The other 13 days out there have been ones to mark down for remembrance in old age.  The kind that can brighten your day many years hence at the mere thought.



















    My interest was piqued by the near-biblical rains that had deluged this area in preceding weeks and days.  Because the route is entirely rock or sand, an excess of moisture scrubs errant traction-robbing grains from the rock surface and deposits them in the washes.  So not only is the traction on rock at it's absolute maximum, but the moisture in the washes allows you to ride where in drier times you're foot slogging more than ankle deep.



























    And it was just like that--clean rock and packed washes--as we started out.  Then, not more than 5 minutes into the ride, we were passed by 5 grinning guys on moto's, whom proceeded to lay waste to every inch of every wash we had to traverse.  They were so exuberant as they passed--yelling "what a crazy offing trail!" and "what the hell is this place?!"--that I couldn't fault them for what they did to the sand.  I was once a throttle jockey too and in similar situations would often just turn the bars to lock, rip my right wrist back and dump the clutch, spraying sand while spinning in circles and digging myself into place.  I'd stop when I judged it'd take more than my ownself to extract my bike from the hole I'd dug.  At least these guys were largely keeping it straight.

























    Still, we were damned to walk every inch of every wash throughout the day.  A good opportunity to look around, we told ourselves, since when on rock your focus cannot waver for an instant.


























    Thus were we damned to enjoy some of the most unbelievable scenery and challenging riding we've ever done.

































    Currently hoping that the weather holds awhile longer so that we can get back out there once more this year.  Or maybe twice…





    Thanks for checkin' in.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    Damned...

    ... nice!

    1x10 with a 28t chainring?

  3. #3
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    Damned.. you know how to tell a story through photos! Thanks!

  4. #4
    The 5th knuckle
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    Making me feel small again. Such a big world out there. Keep it up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hernando Gutierrez
    The only thing you have to figure out is don't fall down. To keep riding the bike.

  5. #5
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
    Reputation: scrublover's Avatar
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    That's been on my hit list for a while now. Hoping to make it happen the next trip out that direction.


    Very nice, as usual!
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  6. #6
    dead weight
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    I've been considering riding there too, but have a bit of the limber tail.
    A bunch of my ride pics: http://uberfarm.com/mnf

  7. #7
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    Wow, nice!!!

  8. #8
    orthonormal
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    That is so freakin' amazing! Awesome riding and equally awesome photography.
    The glass is twice as large as it needs to be

  9. #9
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    Where is this at?
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
    - Julie Furtado

  10. #10
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Quote Originally Posted by woahey View Post
    Where is this at?
    It's in the desert.
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    It's in the desert.
    If I wanted a smart ass answer, I would have answered that myself.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
    - Julie Furtado

  12. #12
    Yappy little dog!
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    Check. On the list. Great photos!

  13. #13
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    nice pics.. where out west??
    Rocky Mountain 13 Instinct
    Rocky Mountain 13 Solo
    Pugsly 12
    Trek XO Cross 11

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtchopper View Post
    nice pics.. where out west??
    Didn't you see rideit's post? It's in the desert...
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
    - Julie Furtado

  15. #15
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Yeesh, you wanted specifics?

    It's in a diabolical desert.
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  16. #16
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    Five Miles of Hell in Utah. Not secret, but it is a moto trail.... and a damned hard one at that. I don't think there's much chance of it getting overrun by the masses by my divulging its whereabouts. It's very remote and strictly for the bike masochists. Great riding and great photography mike. I'm still in (tentatively) for next week.
    Last edited by KRob; 11-07-2013 at 06:55 AM.

  17. #17
    This place needs an enema
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Five Miles of Hell in Utah. Not secret, but it is a moto trail.... and a damned hard one at that. I don't think there's much chance of it getting overrun by the masses by my divulging its whereabouts. It's very remote and strictly for the bike masochists. Great riding and great photography mike. I'm still in (tentatively) for next week.
    Watching weather and crossing fingers. Should know if it's a "go" by Tuesday PM.

  18. #18
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    looks 'Swell'

  19. #19
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    Wonderful, looks like a blast.

  20. #20
    old skool newbie
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    I had never seen a picture of the space cowgirl dabbing. Not sure how to feel about that.

  21. #21
    JenyJo
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    golden boy -- you are funny
    lots and lots of dabbing, stopping, WALKING... omfg. whole new world of mtbsportbliss....

    jj

  22. #22
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    Beautiful. Thanks for posting this.

  23. #23
    Powered by ice cream.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Five Miles of Hell in Utah. Not secret, but it is a moto trail.... and a damned hard one at that. I don't think there's much chance of it getting overrun by the masses by my divulging its whereabouts. It's very remote and strictly for the bike masochists. Great riding and great photography mike. I'm still in (tentatively) for next week.
    Sorry to miss you Kent. Please know, though, that this place handed me my ass. Second worst butt kicking I've had on a bike.

    It is a place for persistent masochists and I think you would love it
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  24. #24
    This place needs an enema
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enel View Post
    Sorry to miss you Kent. Please know, though, that this place handed me my ass. Second worst butt kicking I've had on a bike.

    It is a place for persistent masochists and I think you would love it
    Might have worked out differently had you brought your fatbike…


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Might have worked out differently had you brought your fatbike…

    Okay, this thread is fixed thanks to the "wide" setting. Who knew it was so easy?

    And Mike: If there ever was a trail for a fatbike, this is it.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

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