After an amazing trip to New York, one would only believe that I would be packing my bags again for yet another adventure...this time I was going to the land of slick rock and mo' mo's...Utah!
It started with a text on Thursday from my dude friend Greg "Leaving Santa Monica Now" it was 3 pm - I thought I had all the time in the world, I could finish up my last day in my global role and then go home pack and shower - welp, that quickly changed to franticly bidding my department adieu and rushing out the back door.
34,000 pairs of shoes because I am a girl and must be prepared for every occasion...check.
New camping gear that I am 110% pumped on - duh, I packed that 3 nights ago.
Food...kind of check. One can live on granola bars...right?
Phone charger? Got it...
Oh, wait...what are you driving out to Utah on your next adventure - a Prius? Why yes! I hear that tackle rock gardens especially well, as long as they are named Gladis.
|Glady loaded up and ready to rally.|
After a dervish moment of my life (note I was just told by a friend that I had my life "together") I finally had every little thing I could have possible thought of for camping packed in several bags...I brought them over and shoved them in with a all the other crap. When Ella & my friend Greg arrived in Orange County his car was essentially empty - add two chick and the car was busting from its seams.
So, Virgin should technically only be about 6-7 hours from this materialistic hellhole, but some how we were able to make it take 10 hours. Okay, so there was construction a few accidents, dinner and of course getting lost in Wal-Mart (out of all places).
Lesson: Pre-make all food. Why you ask? Because then you WON'T have to go to Wal-Mart (which in my opinion is the worst place on earth, although it is VERY convenient you can find er'rything you need, I would prefer it was Target. I think the longest debate was in the cheese aisle and the alcohol aisle (which we ended up sending Greg back for a bottle of Maple Whiskey - who are we?). So, if there was an award for packing a car like a puzzle we would have for sure won...there was literally no room. We were riding dirty, the rear wheels were almost dragging. Little did we know we would fit in perfectly in Vegas.
We rallied through the night, I guess everyone else rallied through the night. I was so messed up on time changes that I was asleep have of the time - this is a newly acquired talent. When ever I have flown or driven for long distances prior to the last year I haven't been able to sleep. Wwwwide awake the entire time.
So, the real fun started when we hit the dirt roads.
|Side note, it is 11:11...make a wish!|
We arrived promptly at 5 am the next morning (I know, you are probably thinking - what?!? some how we managed to pull that off). Ella and I pitched a tent and it was time to test out my new camping gear that I had ordered the week before we left. Welp, it turns out it was pretty epic and SUPER comfortable. Being the little girls that we are we woke up as soon as the sun did, and giggled while talking selfies prior to anyone else actually waking up - we will call this being adults.
So, then we actually got up...
|Jump photos in the morning. The spine below us is where the event actually happened.|
After our adventure, and a few more cups of coffee...it was time for riding. So P-U-M-P-E-D. Our group of thirteen hopped on bikes and headed towards the rim trails - PB&J's in hand (okay, so really packed in our packs also filled with a days worth of water. Yes, that pack was heavy). First we hit the North Rim trail, it was awesome - tons of rock that was super fun to play around on - a boat load of technical riding. I was having way too much fun. After we rallied the troops several times, stopped and took a few photos we finally ended up on the tip. Let's just say for someone scared of heights our destination was a little wishy-washy.
|We thought this was a large group...|
|Bikes, on Bikes, on BIKES!|
|I kept my helmet on the entire time. Yes, I am terrified of heights.|
|Lunch with a view.|
After lunch we rallied down the South Rim, which seemed slightly more technical and A LOT closer to the edge of the mesa we hung a left and hit Hidden Canyon to the Practice Loop and then home. Hidden Canyon was a total added bonus, after I had received a text from a fellow Oakley pal we decided to check it out. Let's just say, I am really looking forward to rallying on that trail again next year! Yeeewwwww!
|Biking generally means one thing....You deserve a blue ribbon.|
|Whiskey and a sunset.|
Day 2: Wake up. Camp worthy coffee (note to self: figure out how to make a worthy cup of coffee). Today was a big day, it was time to go and watch qualifiers. I was super pumped for quali's because this is normally when the young guns ride their butts off. We road into the event and checked our bikes at the bike check (next year I will have to devise a smarter way of getting up there), then the scramble up the mesa to watch the riders began. Even just walking up there was a blast! Seriously...
|Not a bad place to stand...|
|You literally run all over the venue so you can see all the different lines. So much fun!|
So, after we watched qualifiers we decided that it was time for our group to take a ride...we packed into cars (this time 20 of us...20 people + 20 bikes). Our main mission was Jem trail. After losing our sense in direction about 3 times we finally found the parking area. The sun was slowly starting to go down, time was of the essence - trying to get that many people of different skill levels rolling is interesting, but, so much fun. We headed up a dirt road and eventually reached the top of the trail. I started getting antsy thinking that we were going to be riding fire road the entire time - well, at least it was good training for my up coming century :)
|Honey Stinger Wayfers, PBR's and Hi-Fives at the top of the trail.|
|1/4 team jump photo|
So, the adventure doesn't stop there. We all decided it was time to bathe...so we all tossed on our suits and scrubbed off the camping germs we had acquired. It was awesome and compared to the water here, the river was warm.
|Soaking in the Virgin River...yes, you may understand this. We were in Utah.|
Then, there was a beer run. Duh. Where we may or may not have indulged in chicken tenders from the deli section...and then we got back to our granola lifestyle. A fire and dinner was awaiting us...yes, I love this! What type of camping adventure is complete without a bottle of tequila, good friends and stargazing? There were a zillion shooting stars. It was amazing. Living in a city you forgot about how beautiful a night in the wild can actually be...I miss the stars and clear nights.
|Waiting for Cam to go|
A latte later, and a long wait for the shuttle (day #2 I took the shuttle because I was sans-bike. It took forever. Seriously...FOR-EVVVVER). We made it there just in time to see Kyle Strait's wining run. Eff ya! It was insane! Then, Zink comes down and tosses backflip off the sender. But, seriously...let's talk about McGarry's flip on the canyon gap - holy sh*t! It was insane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All of the riders that day totally killed it - there were some mega spills. Glad to hear Binggeli is back up and crutching. One of the coolest experiences of the event was the energy of the crowd - it was like being around a ton of friends. Really hard to explain the actual feeling. Of course, like always I didn't want to leave. Who would? Although, the thoughts of a real bed were ever so tempting...
Due to a weather hold the second run was cancelled. We took off prior to the cancellation confirmation. Of course...we were not going to stop watching. It was awesome to have the live stream available, just incase they did start again and we had already left.
|All set up.|
|Reflecting on our Adventure|
I have never been so hesitant about an adventure. Once the car was packed, I didn't even know if I wanted to go...but..I did. Where this adventure hesitation came from, I have no clue - I sure am glad I got over it. The weekend I spent in Utah was one of the most incredible experiences I have had in a while. I met so many wonderful people. Experienced some of the most indescribable energy. Rallied on my bike better than I have in months. Watched some of the most out of this world riding I have seen in my entire life. I am so glad that I can take do these 48-hour adventures. After all the different places I have been over the last few weeks, I strongly urge anyone my age to step out of their comfort zone and adventure, because you only have 48-hours to live...
Oh, ps, I will work on the video thing...I have a super sick one of Cam and McGarry.