Ahem. Jeep week. F$@# Jeep week. For that matter, F$@# jeeps.
One cool thing about it, though ... the local merchants and baristas seem much happier to see you, a mountain biker, than they likely would be during any other week. I overheard several locals' conversations about Jeepers parking their trailers on sidewalks, constantly revving their loud monstrosities, clogging parking lots, and behaving generally obnoxiously (and stupidly). My guess is that mountain bikers are more warmly welcomed during Jeep week because they're not Jeepers -- they're rather the lesser of two weevils -- but without the Jeepers there in high numbers the mountain bikers might be the obnoxious guests filling the stories.
But I gotta say that the Moab locals are pretty damned cool.
Moving on ...
Wednesday we rode Amasa Back, and got stuck in traffic. Lots and lots and lots of traffic. Yup. Traffic on a mountain bike ride. (That sounds so L.A.) On several occasions we got to stand by while the Jeeps filed through the tough sections, one-by-one. And there were looooooots of Jeeps. The larger the group of Jeeps, the longer they take on a trail. It's so awesome that we were there at the same time!
The lesson learned is that, during any week, there may be little difference in what trail you ride -- you just go for what you fancy on any particular day. But during Jeep week, there is no question at all: don't even bother with the Jeep-accessible trails. Stick to single track and closed or otherwise impossible-to-navigate-with-four-wheels parks (like Slickrock or Bartlett).
The Amasa Back ride starts with THE STEPS. or THE STAIRCASE. or something. Aaaaand wouldn't you know it, I didn't get any pictures of that part (maybe Mike did), which turned out to be the only remaining part of the ride that still deserves its notoriety, since all the other sections (e.g. Humbucker) have been trampled, dug out, blasted, or otherwise flattened and tamed. Not that this is always a bad thing, though. "Death on the left" is one of an obvious set of warnings that should be taken seriously, and the newly tamed line that Humbucker offers is still kind of fun, but without the high peril. Though, to be fair, I never had the opportunity to ride Amasa in its original, truly terrifying form. And the steps are right at the beginning. As a newbie I was not anticipating having to be so ready to charge so early. Steve likes his long warm-up.
One more note about "Death on the Left": If you can look past the death, the scenery is pretty spectacular. Here's a shot from Mike of Kev and me near the top of Humbucker:
Not a whole lot more to say from my end. As with all rides in the area, the views were truly amazing.
And to send this point home, a couple more pictures from the same, gorgeous, Jeep-free overlook at the top of Amasa.
Pat points out how amazing it is to see snow-capped peaks on a hot, red, dry desert day.
And then I strike a rigid pose ...
It was at the top where Kev relayed his story of passing by one Jeep occupied by a fat, fat man smoking a cigarette. Said occupant queried, "So when's the part where you have a heart attack?" The irony just drips deliciously ... so rich and smooth.
I know Mike took a few pictures on this ride, too ... ones with the whole crew, and from different spots. Hopefully we'll see those soon, and hopefully he'll have more to add, especially since he was one of the seasoned Moab MTB veterans.
The second ride that day was the Slickrock Practice Loop. I know that I was a weenie that day. I remember just feeling totally exhausted, but thinking back I can't figure out why, as both the Amasa and Slickrock rides are relatively short (the Practice Loop, anyway). Funny that. I know part of it was the crooked dagger that I had in my lower left back those first few days and the horrible discomfort of riding over hard, non-smooth surface like slickrock.