Sunday, February 10, 2008

So all week I had been looking forward to riding in moab. Realizing the weather had been inclimate all over the state, Chris called down to moab cyclery to see about a trail report, “What are the trails conditions on Sovereign, Gold Bar, Golden Spike, and Poison Spider?” The response he got from the very helpful gentlemen was to expect some patchy snow in areas that are unexposed and don't see much sun. Even though we had been told in the past (see the November 23, 2007 post) that it never snows in moab, we have ridden in the area enough to understand what “patchy snow” means.
Getting the all clear from the local bike shop, we leave Friday after work. The drive down seems so quick in comparison to our recent trips to saint george. We did the usual breakfast of bagels, yogurt, and hot cocoa from the city market. We were running on schedule. We were ready for our early start to Bar M to Sovereign (out and back), to Gemini Bridges road. Then we were going to hit Gold Bar, Golden Spike, and Poison Spider. The weather was supposed to be great and we were excited to start the 70 miles. That is when everything went wrong.

a patch of snow by nine mile canyon

Apparently patchy snow means different things to different people. The patchy snow we experienced would be more accurately described as snowy and muddy with some patchy dirt. Sovereign has always been the highlight of our trips. It was ridiculous. So we took it out, but returned on the road. If you know Chris and his philosophy on road riding you can get an idea of how bad it was. The snow was ankle deep in several areas.

a very long, deep "patch" of snow

Patchy snow on my bike

Not willing to accept defeat early, we decide we will try Gemini Bridges road. In my mind, I am certain it will be a soupy mess. I am pleasantly surprised though. There was lots of snow in the more shaded areas, but it was packed and ridable for the most part. Once we hit the “summit” snow was not an issue at all. Gold Bar, Golden Spike, and Poison Spider had what I would call patchy snow. That ride is so difficult. It is up or down and technical. I was spent by the time we got to Poison Spider which was in good condition. The sandy sections were mostly ridable due to the moisture. Some of the descents were VERY icy and so I attempted to walk or more accurately slid down. Chris broke the “no crashing” rule in one slick section. After 7.5 hours and still probably close to 70 miles, we returned to the car—wasted.

Climbing Gemini Bridges Road

A mile or so later

A warm view

A mixed view from above

1 comment:

Brad Mullen said...

That looks like work and a very hard earned 70 miles. You should be all set for OP. Good luck and be nice to your saddle.